gratuitous image
6 July 1996

Befuddled by Certain Ratios

Today's task is to create work on the Internet from ideas that were once destined for a sheet of paper. The difficulties in this seemingly simple undertaking are exacerbated by very fundamental geometry problems. A "normal" sheet of North American paper is 8.5 inches by 11 inches, or a ratio of approximately 1:1.3. (Its 210 millimeter by 297 millimeter European counterpart, the alluringly named A4, is in the same neighborhood at a ratio of roughly 1:1.4.) Today's targets, though, are computer monitors with entirely different dimensions: 640 by 480 pixels, 832 by 624 pixels, et cetera, or a ratio of 4:3. The geometry is most perplexing.

As A.D. Coleman nimbly demonstrates, the problem of fitting a rectangular peg in a round hole--the essence of photography--is relatively quite straightforward. Life goes on.

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©1996 David Glenn Rinehart