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really – like “tim o’reilly” wants to hear me babble about fractals in the middle of
Thinking About Wendell Berry’s “In Distrust of Movements”.

what was i thinking?

oh yeah – i was thinking that Wendell Berry’s writings reminded me that while our processing and data-mining capabilities keep growing exponentially, the socio-economic issues we seem to love to model don’t seem to change much.

i was also thinking about fractals… and that we need to recycle our ideas as well as our garbage… and that we live in a virtual world every bit as much as we live in a physical world…

… more coming soon … check back in a little while … AFK … i REALLY should stop editing production – it’s so unprofessional – that’s what the DRAFTS button is for, lisa – I KNOW – I KNOW …

AFK on a blog. why is that so funny? what i find even funnier, is that this is the FIRST post that i actually constructed in “draft” mode – i published instead of previewed by accident! (ok. i’m probably the only one amused by this, so back to what i was trying to say…)

what is a fractal ?

fractals are kind of hard to explain. so is chaos theory. the two overlap – here is some good basic information.
Fractal Foundation : What is Chaos Theory ?

some interesting portrayals in nature and science…
Gallery of Mathematics – Loughborough University

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2 Comments

  1. OK. Here’s the commentary that I posted.

    LisaLJL [12.30.08 03:39 AM]

    Fractals. I can’t help reading these various viewpoints and not think of fractals. I DO tend to oversimplify. But really – isn’t a fractal just an organized way of describing and indexing “identified or repeatable chaos” (for lack of a better phrase)? Another way to look at it would be to consider a fractal-equation a representation of the “stuff” that lies somewhere in-between the more commonly accepted dimensions.

    Tree and forest growth patterns – I watched a documentary in which a tree in a tropical rain-forest was examined and the growth-patterns portrayed “fractally” [hmm – is that a word? you know what I mean]. They were convinced they could predict the growth pattern of the entire rain-forest, based on that model. Many cycles follow seemingly chaotic patterns – I believe that we just have to allow ourselves to see them.

    …that just maybe, we are getting the first signs that our society as a whole (and not just our financial system) is a kind of gigantic Ponzi scheme that will one day run out of room for growth… — from article by tim o’reilly

    So, DO you think that society could really run itself out of room for growth? Maybe. Isn’t that one of the reasons for recycling? To take the “stuff” that isn’t really anything anymore, identify and organize it, and re-use it in the creation of something new? If we never tend to recycling and garbage collection – well I suspect we WILL run out of space – and perhaps even time. I hope it is not our IDEAS that never get recycled. Without exploring new ways of thinking and problem-solving, you are restricting your imagined solutions. And if you cannot imagine it, well, then you cannot create it.

    The proper business of a human economy is to make one whole thing of ourselves and this world. — from article by tim o’reilly

    Step 1, I suppose, would be to define the scope of both “economy” and “world”. If you are at a market, and your objective is to trade firewood for rice, and that transaction occurs, then your economic interaction (at least within “your world” as of the time of the trade) WAS one whole thing. Is your world physical or virtual? Is your human economy physical or electronic? Are you talking global? by industry or sector?

    By default, we tend to think of space in 3-dimensions [0D=point; 1D=line; 2D=plane; 3D=volume]. Is there really “stuff” between these dimensions that really exists but doesn’t contribute to the current instance of point-line-plane-volume? Well, why not? In VB-6, if you created stuff and forgot to close or destroy it, you’d get some annoying, undesirable results – which usually involved running out of resources. So just because you forgot about something, or because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

  2. look – here’s another one…

    i know this is a statement riddled with oversimplification, but the internet [or interweb as i’ve affectionately heard it called] reminds me a LOT of the old mainframe days. gimme a programmable terminal and plug me in to the old VAX/VMS main-brain. [not to exclude the IBM or UNIX main-brains – but i cut my teeth on JCL – slight preference]. i was with the computing services group, led by a shy, quiet brilliant man named Mahendra. he was paranoid – we had great security.

    anyway, my first experience with a “PC” was a standalone – coming from a mainframe environment, i considered it “useless” when i was told i could not use it to message anyone. [NOVELL came along, and i was a bit happier – but only having 10 or so people compared to hundreds still seemed a little… limiting].

    there are, of course, many differences between a mainframe or network environment, and “The Web” [remember, here, that i am grossly oversimplifying]. the biggest difference, though, might be the lack of one central organization or agency “in charge”. oh, there are groups that write standards, and browser-makers that both follow and ignore standards, and encryptions to ease our concerns about electronic and virtual security. but “The Web” is, and will continue to be, a massive hodge-podge of global virtual identities. not just hundreds, but millions. more. we really are becoming a “collective” virtual culture.

    so is there an answer to “who’s in charge of the web?” isn’t it kind of like asking “who’s in charge of the world?”


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