Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hunting the Hidden Dimension

I was looking through ASMP's website and found this photographer's work. And then this amazing image. I shamelessly copied it to my desktop to look at again and again. And then I decided to share it with you, giving him full credit.
You can view it larger here by clicking on it. If you would like to see more of his work, please click here.

This image seemed to illustrate to me the kind of brink on which we all currently stand; in the midst of a vast unknown, full of peril, full of possibility. It looks like White Sands, NM, a bizarre configuration of gypsum sand in the middle of a desert basin. I was there in December once and remember the distinct feeling of strange as I took off my shoes and wiggled my toes in cool, white sand without the sound of ocean waves.

Things are not always as they seem, and that is a blessing to understand. Our minds are so limited, and such tricksters! Speaking of which, I was enthralled to watch Nova on PBS this last week, from which the title of this post comes. It was on fractal geometry and you can watch the whole thing here. I loved seeing how many dried and true mathematicians poo pooed the work of Benoit Mandlebrot several years ago, and literally told him he was nuts. Einstein was right, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds". Mandlebrot wrote The Fractal Geometry of Nature, and I look forward to checking that out. Here's an image from it from Wikipedia (where else?)

I am vastly under-qualified to explain it so best to check it out for yourself but essentially "A fractal is generally "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole." Suffice to say: it is cool!

In the program a physicist by the name of Nathan Cohen was interviewed. He was a Hammer (a Ham radio enthusiast) and a professor at Boston University in 1988. His landlord forbid him to put up an antennae on the outside of the building. By chance, Cohen went to a lecture by Mandlebrot and became intrigued by this work. Long story shorter, he went home and pondered the problem of the forbidden antennae and decided to try something out on his own. Instead of taking a line of wire, he took that same line and bent it to look something like this:
It worked. It worked better than a traditional antennae. It worked so well he continued to explore it, and in the mid 1990s obtained a patent. His work has contributed to the evolution of cell phones. You can read more here.

What has an image of a person doing the yoga tree pose in the middle of a 'beach' in the middle of a desert, have to do with fractal geometry and a man who was told no, and took the no and moulded it into something exceptional? I cannot explain why to you in words, I just know it does. I also know that when we are confronted with no's and cannot do's, with apparent limitations in our perceived physical realities, that inherent in this is a great, big, fat uncollected blessing. It is unknown, and it may seem perilous. But it is full of possibility.

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