Illustrating exponential growth using movement towards a target, revisited


The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

Professor Albert Bartlett (19232013)

Back in May, I used a series of photos taken at regular intervals along a footpath in an attempt to illustrate exponential growth. Last month, I happened to be walking that same path once again. That day was not a bright, sunny one; it was instead bitterly cold, and a freezing fog obscured the view ahead (cue the ignorant climate science deniers crying, “Global warming? What global warming?”). Halfway along the path, it suddenly struck me that this would be a far better way of portraying a journey into a murky future. I retraced my steps to the start of the path so that I could repeat the exercise, once again taking snapshots fifty steps apart….

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