Friday, November 05, 2010

Frozen Drops Are Not Fractals, But They're Nice Too

I got an email about a fractal show in the new planetarium in the new science building at UAA, and given the sunshine, but icy streets and walkways, I decided to walk rather than bike over.  That probably was a mistake.

I guess it's too small to read, but it says "doors remain locked until show is over."  Some things you have to be on time for.   At 12:34, they were already started.  Two more disappointed souls showed up just after I did.

The day was beautiful and not too cold (around 0˚ C), so I thought I'd just go out looking for real life fractals. 

So I wandered back out of the building to see what I could find.

I sort of knew what fractals were, but I couldn't have given you a strict definition.  I checked when I got home.  This is from a website on fractals for kids.  Just about my level.  You can click on the links to see more explanation of what each of these three properties means. 
Fractal Properties
    Fractional dimension
    Formation by iteration
I thought I might find some fractals in the snow and ice all around, but it wasn't to be.  But what I saw was still nice.   I think this birch came closest to having fractal properties.

 But these frozen drops really got my attention.

There's a whole other world inside this drop, frozen on the end of the spruce needles.  I apologize for these pictures not being better.  I really needed a tripod so I could hold still enough.  But this is a large magnification from my pocket sized Canon Powershot.  It's like having a little microscope in your pocket, because you can take a picture and then enlarge it on the screen to see this world you couldn't see with the naked eye.

If you look closely you can see these are two different drops.

As you can see, it doesn't take much to keep me entertained.  It wasn't that long ago that most of humanity's entertainment came from observing nature.  

This was the ice that formed on the water in the gutter.


  1. Well, when I tell people I am from Kőbánya, they are actually surprised, because I am not like their typical Kőbánya dweller stereotype, but I admit I would be surprised if one day Kőbánya was the intellectual centre of the country/Budapest, because it is indeed a workers' district but I see nothing bad in it.

    Nice photos by the way.

  2. Steve, your images are fantastic.
    I consulted last weekend the alaskan weather forecart. Habitually I do. The possibility of snow was more than 50%. I see it. Also I take a look at the temperatures. Here we have an inusual november: 22ºC higher. Alaskan temperature... in summer, he, he.

  3. Thanks to both of you.
    Ropi has an interesting post on his blog about his district in Budapest. The name Budapest, to me, is not much more than a name. His post gave it some background depth.

    Tomás has an incredible gridlock painting he did on his site right now.


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