Hymne à la Chim’ !

« Quelle chimère est-ce donc que l’homme, quelle nouveauté, quel monstre, quel chaos, quel sujet de contradiction, quel prodige, juge de toutes choses, imbécile ver de terre, dépositaire du vrai, cloaque d’incertitude et d’erreur, gloire et rebut de l’univers ! » — Pascal

“What a Chimera is man! What a novelty, a monster, a chaos, a contradiction, a prodigy! Judge of all things, an imbecile worm; depository of truth, and sewer of error and doubt; the glory and refuse of the universe.”

Toxic Turntable #15

Currently listening…

• Coöperatif-41, Bokej z Banvú (1997)
• Hedgehoppers, Age is a Perfect Curve (1986)
• Xexzi, W3 R Bilius Qeenz (1996)
• Koyske, Ijt Dael’dui (1973)
• Les Vraies Pêches, Huitztzilin (2014)
• Corpa Cicuga, Lo-Jakt (1983)
• DeciDames, Froschfrauen (1985)
• Tōbz Zuriū, Huāopāh Remixes (2000)
• Milly Boxbrough, Bojfrenzi (2012)
• Ituh Ba, Uyc Nue (1960)
• Ecce Tambora, En las Últimas (2009)
• Tinnitus Sect, Auricular (2014)
• Lupa In Silva, Exocets magnetiques (2007)
• P.A. Locatelli, Concerti Grossi (1990)
• Iümgenker, Gleimxi (2013)

Previously pre-posted:

Toxic Turntable #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14 •

Square Routes Re-Re-Re-Revisited

Discovering something that’s new to you in recreational maths is good. But so is re-discovering it by a different route. I’ve long been passionate about what happens when a point is allowed to jump repeatedly halfway towards the randomly chosen vertices of a square. If the point can choose any vertex any number of times, the interior of the square fills slowly and completely with points, like this:

Point jumping at random halfway towards vertices of a square

However, if the point is banned from jumping towards the same vertex twice or more in a row, an interesting fractal appears:

Fractal #1 — ban on jumping towards vertex vi twice or more

If the point can’t jump towards the vertex one place clockwise of the vertex it’s just jumped towards, this fractal appears:

Fractal #2 — ban on jumping towards vertex vi+1

If the point can’t jump towards the vertex two places clockwise of the vertex it’s just jumped towards, this fractal appears (two places clockwise is also two places anticlockwise, i.e. the banned vertex is diagonally opposite):

Fractal #3 — ban on jumping towards vertex vi+2

Now I’ve discovered a new way to create these fractals. You take a filled square, divide it into smaller squares, then remove some of them in a systematic way. Then you do the same to the smaller squares that remain. For fractal #1, you do this:

Fractal #1, stage #1

Stage #2

Stage #3

Stage #4

Stage #5

Stage #6

Stage #7

Stage #8

Fractal #1 (animated)

For fractal #2, you do this:

Fractal #2, stage #1

Stage #2

Stage #3

Stage #4

Stage #5

Stage #6

Stage #7

Stage #8

Fractal #2 (animated)

For fractal #3, you do this:

Fractal #3, stage #1

Stage #2

Stage #3

Stage #4

Stage #5

Stage #6

Stage #7

Stage #8

Fractal #3 (animated)

If the sub-squares are coloured, it’s easier to understand how, say, fractal #1 is created:

Fractal #1 (coloured), stage #1

Stage #2

Stage #3

Stage #4

Stage #5

Stage #6

Stage #7

Stage #8

Fractal #1 (coloured and animated)

The fractal is actually being created in quarters, with one quarter rotated to form the second, third and fourth quarters:

Fractal #1, quarter

Here’s an animation of the same process for fractal #3:

Fractal #3 (coloured and animated)

So you can create these fractals either with a jumping point or by subdividing a square. But in fact I discovered the subdivided-square route by looking at a variant of the jumping-point route. I wondered what would happen if you took a point inside a square, allowed it to trace all possible routes towards the vertices without marking its position, then imposed the restriction for Fractal #1 on its final jump, namely, that it couldn’t jump towards the vertex it jumped towards on its previous jump. If the point is marked after its final jump, this is what appears (if the routes chosen had been truly random, the image would be similar but messier):

Fractal #1, restriction on final jump

Then I imposed the same restriction on the point’s final two jumps:

Fractal #1, restriction on final 2 jumps

And final three jumps:

Fractal #1, restriction on final 3 jumps

And so on:

Fractal #1, restriction on final 4 jumps

Fractal #1, restriction on final 5 jumps

Fractal #1, restriction on final 6 jumps

Fractal #1, restriction on final 7 jumps

Here are animations of the same process applied to fractals #2 and #3:

Fractal #2, restrictions on final 1, 2, 3… jumps

Fractal #3, restrictions on final 1, 2, 3… jumps

The longer the points are allowed to jump before the final restriction is imposed on their n final jumps, the more densely packed the marked points will be:

Fractal #1, packed points #1

Packed points #2

Packed points #3

Eventually, the individual points will form a solid mass, like this:

Fractal #1, solid mass of points

Fractal #1, packed points (animated)

Previously pre-posted (please peruse):

Square Routes
Square Routes Revisited
Square Routes Re-Revisited
Square Routes Re-Re-Revisited

An N-Finity

10111 in base 2
212 in base 3
113 in base 4
43 in base 5
35 in base 6
32 in base 7
27 in base 8
25 in base 9
23 in base 10
21 in base 11
1B in base 12
1A in base 13
19 in base 14
18 in base 15
17 in base 16
16 in base 17
15 in base 18
14 in base 19
13 in base 20
12 in base 21
11 in base 22
10 in base 23
N in all bases >= 24

√23 = 4.79583152331…

Bi-Kin (Lichen)

Sunburst lichen, Xanthorina parietina,* and Sea ivory, Ramalina siliquosa

Previously pre-posted:

Songs from the Center of the Sun — an interview with Faster Than Lichen
The Gold and the Grey — a pre-previous pre-posting of another version of this image


Prior Analytics

In terms of ugly, pretentious phrases used by members of the Guardian-reading community, the “signature” phrase is undoubtedly “in terms of”. But there’s another phrase habitually deployerized by Guardianistas that is perhaps even worse in terms of its core Guardianisticity. To get to it, let’s first engage issues around the title of this post: “Prior Analytics”. I took it from the title of a book on logic by Aristotle, Prior Analytics, known in Latin as Analytica Priora.

Are you surprised to learn that Prior Analytics has a companion called Posterior Analytics, or Analytica Posteriora? No, of course you aren’t. “Prior” and “posterior” are high-falutin’ words that go together: when the first appears, the second naturally follows. And you might think that this obvious pairing would alert Guardianistas to the ugliness and pretension of another of their signature phrases, “prior to”:

• Foreign press warn over dangers of new UK media laws prior to Leveson report — headline in The Observer, 24xi2012
• “Prior to its emergence the trend was not to talk truth to power but to slur the powerless.” — The Great Gary Younge in The Observer, 6xi2011
• “Prior to a prang outside Tesco which, for insurance purposes, wasn’t actually my fault”… — The Great Zoë Williams in The Guardian, 8ii2005

Why do I think “prior to” may be even worse than “in terms of”? There are times when “in terms of” isn’t particularly bad English. I don’t like to admit it, but there are even times when it’s the best phrase to use. But “prior to”? It’s almost always just an ugly and pretentious way of saying “before”. I say “almost always” because you can make an exception for a technical usage like “Existence is logically prior to essence.” But that’s a rare exception, so I repeat: “prior to” is almost always just an ugly and pretentious way of saying “before”.

And guess what? You’ll find this in the Guardian and Observer style guide under “P”:

prior to, previous to

the word you want is “before” (see Guardian and Observer style guide: P)

Guardianistas should be able to realize that for themselves, because “prior to” naturally suggests “posterior to”. However, even Guardianistas don’t habitually say “posterior to” instead of “after”. Even a Guardianista’s ugliness-and-pretension-o-meter is tripped by “posterior to”. But only in the flesh, as it were. Guardianistas are apparently incapable of two-step logic: first, noticing that “prior to” rather than “before” naturally suggests “posterior to” rather than “after”; second, deciding that because “posterior to” is ugly and pretentious, they shouldn’t use “prior to” either.

Elsewhere other-engageable:

All posts interrogating issues around “in terms of”
All posts interrogating issues around the Guardian-reading community and its affiliates