One of my favorite discoveries in life is the Mandelbrot set. Considering it gives me a strong sense of the numinous. I’ve been enthralled by it ever since Fractint, an MS-DOS program that generated fractals. I’ve posted about it a lot here; today I want to take you into the heart of its chaotic behavior.
The Mandelbrot set has a number of properties that make it such a fascinating study: Firstly, it demonstrates chaos theory. Secondly, it demonstrates how complex patterns can arise from simple beginnings. Thirdly, it reveals a problem concerning real numbers. Fourthly, every pixel is a demonstration of Turing’s Halting Problem. It’s also infinitely complex and incredibly beautiful.
Today we’re going to explore the shore of the Mandelbrot lake.
I realized that, if I’m going to do the Mandelbrot in May, I’d better get a move on it. This ties to the main theme of Mind in May only in being about computation — but not about computationalism or consciousness. (Other than in the subjective appreciation of its sheer beauty.)
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I’ve heard it called “the most complex” mathematical object, but that’s a hard title to earn, let alone hold. Its complexity does have attractive and fascinating aspects, though. For most, its visceral visual beauty puts it miles ahead of the cool intellectual poetry of Euler’s Identity (both beauties live on the same block, though).
For me, the cool thing about the Mandelbrot is that it’s a computation that can never be fully computed.
It seems fitting to take this opportunity to write a Sideband post the way I had originally intended when I began them. That intent goes back to the beginning; the first Sideband post was my second post here. For better or worse, the original intent didn’t last long.
In fact, it’s hard to see much difference between the Sideband posts and the other posts. That probably reflects a lack of focus on the main topics. Sidebands were intended for stuff that was off topic. But I’ve been so all over the map on topic that at least one blogger asked if I had a short attention span. [insert here one of the short attention span jokes you’ve heard before]
That’s not going to change. I’m eclectic; so is my blog. Sidebands will evolve. For now, here’s a Sideband on yesterday’s post, just like Blogger originally intended.