Monday, September 10, 2012

Beautiful Numbers

      I will freely admit that math is not my favorite subject (I hate it) and that I'm a bit rusty at it (I can't multiply anymore). But recently I've discovered a new form of math, and I'm a bit obsessed. This discovery has caused me to realize that it's not math that I object to so much as the fact that it's taught in a completely abstract and simultaneously (and a bit paradoxically) practical way. It's boring. And Gross. And makes me want to curl up and die.

      But children there's hope! There is another way to learn mathy things that is infinitely more satisfying. It is abstract and concrete at the same time, but without the mundane attachment of the practical. Yes my friends, they're called Fractals. Fractals are a geometric pattern that is repeated (iterated) at ever smaller (or larger) scales to produce (self similar) irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical (Euclidian) geometry. Basically, they're irregular geometric patterns that repeat at varying scales into infinity. Alternately they're the graphical representations of non-linear functions. 

      Fractals take the abstract form of an equation and give it a visual representation. It's like looking at math. And the best part is that these complex equations can be turned into..... ART!!!!!!!!! They lend themselves very well to a sort of abstract expressionism that can be quite beautiful. Fractal artists use computer programs to insert equations and overlay color patterns to, in some cases, create quite masterful works of art.  

     This is especially neat in the ramifications it has for understanding, well everything. In modern society we've tended to separate all of the individual disciplines from one another and this has had a very curious (detrimental) effect on all of them. Basically each discipline has become specialized and narrowed to such a degree that it no longer has any concept of its purpose or place in the world (but that's a whole different subject). It's actually a pity that math has been separated from everything else. Math isn't just abstract equations and stuff. It turns out that all the numbers and equal signs actually mean something!(?) And it also turns out that, eventually, all of the technical disciplines devolve into pure mathematics at some point, and even the whole of the natural world. It was once said to me that Biology is Chemistry, Chemistry is actually Physics, and Physics is actually Mathematics, and this is pretty much true. Nature can be broken down into mathematics. Beauty too can be understood in this way. Music is math. Art - math. Poetry - Math. Boom. So, as it turns out, math is a perfectly wondrous medium for creating art (not even always abstract art. sea shells and plants can represented with relative ease in fractals). And now, for your viewing pleasure Fractal Art:

 Lucid-light's Fly Beautiful, one of my favorites

 by Jeddaka This one looks like the White Tree of Gondor

  by lindeloske Math in nature

 By rsidwell This is my favorite one!

 By rosshilbert This one had a super complicated description and all I can contribute is "This is pretty" :D

There you go. This is my new favorite art form that I only half-way want to do. It honestly represents the order and beauty of God's creation. Everything in creation can be represented by math (or at least that's what many mathematician's claim), and Fractal Art is one way to transform abstract concepts into a concrete visual representation that is filled with beauty and grace. #josephgordinloveitt

Friday, September 7, 2012

Insert Witty Title Here


     Do you smell that? It's the smell of achievement. Last year I made a bunch of random doodles that all seemed to cohere into a quirky cast of characters. I taped them to my wall (because what else would you do with such doodles?) which, of course, allowed my sundry of roommates to view them. One of them suggested the crazy idea that I turn them into a sort of strange children's story. Ridiculous right? Of course not. I live to do things like this. And so, an idea was born. But, the question remained: How to turn a bunch of doodles into a compelling and magical story?

     Subsequent weeks were spent drafting characters and world dimensions. I made preliminary plot charts, more plot charts, character sheets, drawings. I wrote the laws of the Universe, and made maps. Finally, I was all set, I was going to go for it in June's Camp NaNOWriMo. I wrote about 2,000 words and realized something dreadful. My plot had one huge, gaping hole which made it impossible to move forward. Why were my villains doing what they were doing, and what were my heroes trying to save everyone from? Of course it would be my villains giving me trouble, although I will admit I've never had this kind of trouble writing before! Usually my plots come perfectly gift-wrapped in a false veneer of completeness that I can sort of wrangle into coherenceness as I go. I've been stuck all Summer. I just couldn't figure out where I wanted to go with my story. What do you do with a genre that's been overdone (Teen Supernatural Fiction) to make a story that's new and engaging? Why you borrow heavily from an old source of course! And not just any source, but The Source.
      It couldn't be anything other than the Word of God that saved my story from wallowing in the pis of lame plotness. But yes, several days, in a sudden fever of inspiration I was able to fill in all plot holes, find a solid direction for my book, and two more besides! I would like to take this time to thank the author of Daniel (Daniel) for writing down his mysterious visions replete with so many details and crazy neat things that happen. I won't tell you what it's about (for now), until I get a bit of real work done on the story. These things have a nasty habit of changing themselves along the way, so we'll see :).

On another pleasing note (although probably unimportant) I've passed 1,000 pageviews, so yay! 

Coming Up Next: For real, Fractals will be next.....