“Nevertheless, the fact is that there is nothing as dreamy and poetic, nothing as radical, subversive, and psychedelic, as mathematics. It is every bit as mind blowing as cosmology or physics… and allows more freedom of expression than poetry, art, or music… Mathematics is the purest of the arts, as well as the most misunderstood.” - Paul Lockhart
I know I’ve posted this before, but it’s always worth revisiting. So great.
It’s time to walk around in circles and eat
Pipie, kids. Hop to it.
Happy Pi Day!!
When lightning travels through air, its fractal extensions and plasma-infused tendrils are only present for a fleeting fraction of a second. This makes studying those patterns a bit difficult, obviously.
You could use an expensive high-speed camera to capture the phenomenon at >7,000 frames per second, but there’s a much cheaper method: Pump 15,000 volts through plywood.
That’s what Melanie Hoff did above. Sure, it’s not a perfect recreation of a meteorological event, but the slow creep of fractal zaps makes their patterns, and how they are created, jump out. A lesson in math, or weather? You decide.
(via Open Culture)
I know you love fractals, because we’re friends, and all my friends love fractals. We’ve seen them in nature, in the recursive spindles of branching rivers, but they’re more rare in living things (although our blood vessels follow a certain fractal-like pattern as they spread to capillaries).
That’s why it makes me so happy to see fractals captured in an imaginative art/nature intersection. Silvia Cordedda uses fractal generation software to digitally draw fractal flowers. They are mystically unreal (unfortunately for us) but they remind me of several near-fractals in actual flowers.
That’s right, fractals (or at least near-fractals, because they aren’t infinite) DO exist in nature, and you’ve probably seen them. My favorite flower fractal? Romanesco broccoli (yep, it’s a flower!):
If you can’t choke that down, pour some Vi Hart cheese sauce all over it and check out this video of fractal fractions:
(via My Modern Met)
The world’s largest known prime number, converted to RGB pixels. Dr. Curtis Cooper recently found a >17 million digit prime number, 2^57,885,161-1, setting a world record. These super-large primes are known as Mersenne primes, after the French mathematician who studied them centuries ago.
The raw digits containing 0-9 were split to six-number chunks, and then converted into the RGB color scale by pbump on Flickr. Here it is much, much bigger. It’s almost a perfect representation of noise.
The tricky part in designing [the algorithm] was how to take something mysterious — human attraction — and break it into components that a computer can work with.
How OKCupid’s love-matching algorithms work. Also see the math of finding love and how one woman hacked the algorithms of online dating to find her soulmate.
I love this look behind the curtain of finding a match in the modern age. Analyzing the scientific nature of love does not diminish its beauty and passion, but instead unlocks a new appreciation for how special that combination of neurochemistry, mathematics and human evolution truly is.
Combine this with my latest YouTube episode: The Odds of Finding Life and Love (with a Sagan cameo!)
Draw some random points on a piece of paper and join them up to make a random polygon. Find all the midpoints and connecting them up to give a new shape, and repeat. The resulting shape will get smaller and smaller, and will tend towards an ellipse! [code] [more] [bigger version]
This a fun demonstration. Try it on paper! Or with code if that’s your thing.