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These rotating circles that are referenced by the article will forever remain a cautionary tale for me: http://blog.matthen.com/post/42112703604/the-smooth-motion-o...

In pre-Copernican astronomy, where the Earth was considered the center of the cosmos, the erratic orbits of the other planets relative to us were explained away as epicycles within perfect circles. Later, closer examination of the orbits required modeling the orbits as epicycles within epicycles, exactly as depicted in the rotating circles above. In the end, it turned out that there aren't epicycles in the orbits, they were just creating a Fourier transform to explain the orbital paths. We now know that you can create a Fourier transform to generate any arbitrary path.

I sometimes wonder how many of our modern physics models, such as the standard model, differential geometry, and M-theory, are just highly sophisticated versions of the Fourier transform.




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