Rigging in the Trigging

Here’s a simple pattern of three triangles:

Three-Triangle Pattern


Now replace each triangle in the pattern with the same pattern at a smaller scale:

Replacing triangles


If you keep on doing this, you create what I’ll call a trigonal fractal (trigon is Greek for “triangle”):

Trigonal Fractal stage #3 (click for larger)


Trigonal Fractal stage #4


Trigonal Fractal stage #5


Trigonal Fractal #6


Trigonal Fractal #7


Trigonal Fractal #8


Trigonal Fractal (animated) (click for larger)


You can use the same pattern to create different fractals by rotating the replacement patterns in different ways. I call this “rigging the trigging” and here are some of the results:




You can also use a different seed-pattern to create the fractals:

Trigonal fractal (animated)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)



Trigonal fractal (anim)


Note: The title of this incendiary intervention is of course a paranomasia on the song “Frigging in the Rigging”, also known as “Good Ship Venus” and performed by the Sex Pistols on The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle (1979).

He Say, He Sigh, He Sow #48

• « S’il est un homme tourmenté par la maudite ambition de mettre tout un livre dans une page, toute une page dans une phrase, et tout une phrase dans un mot, c’est moi. » — Joseph Jourbet (1754-1824)

• “If there is a man tormented by the cursed ambition to compress an entire book into a page, an entire page into a phrase, and that phrase into a word, it is I.” — Joseph Jourbet

Curvous Energy

Here is a strange and beautiful fractal known as a dragon curve:

A dragon curve (note: this is a twin-dragon curve or Davis-Knuth dragon)


And here is the shape generally regarded as the dullest and most everyday of all:

A square


But squares are square, so let’s go back to dragon-curves. This particular kind of dragon-curve looks a lot like a Chinese dragon. You can see the same writhing energy and scaliness:

Chinese dragon


Dragon-curve for comparison


Dragon-curves also look like some species of soft coral:

Red soft-coral


In short, dragon-curves are organic and lively, quite unlike the rigid, lifeless solidity of a square. But there’s more to a dragon-curve than immediately meets the eye. Dragon-curves are rep-tiles, that is, you can tile one with smaller copies of itself:

Dragon-curve rep-tiled with two copies of itself


Dragon-curve rep-4


Dragon-curve rep-8


Dragon-curve rep-16


Dragon-curve rep-32


Dragon-curve self-tiling (animated)


From the rep-32 dragon-curve, you can see that a dragon-curve can be surrounded by six copies of itself. Here’s an animation of the process:

Dragon-curve surrounded (anim)


And because dragon-curves are rep-tiles, they will tile the plane:

Dragon-curve tiling #1


Dragon-curve tiling #2


But how do you make these strange and beautiful shapes, with their myriad curves and curlicules, their energy and liveliness? It’s actually very simple. You start with the shape generally regarded as the dullest and most everyday of all:

A square


Then you see how the shape can be replaced by five smaller copies of itself:

Square overlaid by five smaller squares


Square replaced by five smaller squares


Then you set about replacing it with two of those smaller copies:

Replacing squares Stage #0


Replacing squares Stage #1


Then you do it again to each of the copies:

Replacing squares Stage #2


And again:

Replacing squares #3


And again:

Replacing squares #4


And keep on doing it:

Replacing squares #5


Replacing squares #6


Replacing squares #7


Replacing squares #8


Replacing squares #9


Replacing squares #10


Replacing squares #11


Replacing squares #12


Replacing squares #13


Replacing squares #14


Replacing squares #15


And in the end you’ve got a dragon-curve:

Dragon-curve built from squares


Dragon-curve built from squares (animated)


Year and Square

The simplest and in some ways greatest magic square is this:

6 1 8
7 5 3
2 9 4 (Magic total = 15)

All rows and columns sum to 15 and so do both diagonals. Using other sets of numbers, you can create an infinite number of further 3×3 magic squares. Here’s one using only prime numbers and 1:

43 01 67
61 37 13
07 73 31 (Magic=111)

The magic total is 111, which is 3 x 37, just as 15 = 3 x 5. It’s an interesting but untaxing exercise to prove that, for all 3×3 magic squares, the magic total is three times the central number. So you can use only prime numbers in a 3×3 square, but you can’t have a prime number as the magic total (unless you use fractions and so on).

And guess what? 2019 = 3 x 667, the first prime number after 666. So I decided to see if I could find an all-prime magic squares whose magic total was 2019. I found nine of them (and 9 = 3 x 3).

1117 0019 0883
0439 0673 0907
0463 1327 0229 (Magic=2019)

1069 0067 0883
0487 0673 0859
0463 1279 0277 (Magic=2019)

1063 0229 0727
0337 0673 1009
0619 1117 0283 (Magic=2019)

0883 0313 0823
0613 0673 0733
0523 1033 0463 (Magic=2019)

0619 0337 1063
1117 0673 0229
0283 1009 0727 (Magic=2019)

0463 0439 1117
1327 0673 0019
0229 0907 0883 (Magic=2019)

0463 0487 1069
1279 0673 0067
0277 0859 0883 (Magic=2019)

0379 0607 1033
1327 0673 0019
0313 0739 0967 (Magic=2019)

0523 0613 0883
1033 0673 0313
0463 0733 0823 (Magic=2019)