a non-linear space for students of chaos and fractals....


Notes on Two Bradbury Stories

Originally posted by Tom Plick

At the end of "A Sound of Thunder," I was amazed at the slightness of the changes that occurred because of Eckels' killing the butterfly. The English language was spelled differently, but still pronounced the same way. Everyone who had existed "before" the trip still existed afterward. (Think of that old conceit in the movies, where someone's parents never meet, and so the person is never born.) It boggles my mind that such small changes are all that take place over thousands of millennia.

I read another of Bradbury's stories in grade school, entitled "All Summer In a Day." It is about a group of kids in an underground society on Venus; they live underground to avoid the constant rains. The rain only stops every seven years, for an hour at a time. The kids in this one class are skeptical about the outdoors, except for a frail little girl named Margot, who has known the wonders of nature and misses them dearly. When the teacher prepares the kids to go outside during the brief window, the kids hatch a plan against Margot.

I won't spoil it for you - you can read the story by clicking here. (It's about four pages.) I will tell you that years later, I am still turning it over in my head, pondering its true meaning.


Intro to FractaLog


Trying to pin down Chaos and Fractals is a lot like pushing a very full drawer closed only to have a different drawer pop open. The concepts are groundbreaking and mysterious. Just when you think you understand them and, by applying them, a bit more of the workings of the world, you are reminded that your level of understanding may be much more tenuous. Instead, you find yourself predicting only, without any understanding deeper than a surface level. Or perhaps you are postdicting, and you only have a quasi-understanding after the fact.

It's my hope that this FractaLog serves as a place of comments, questions, and provocative speculations based on our readings in our Chaos and Fractals course. May the dialogue lead to a deeper appreciation of how we model, predict, and understand our corner of the universe.

And just maybe we can keep some of those drawers closed a little longer. But don't be surprised if we find many more drawers nested within drawers within drawers ...

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