Thursday, 28 July 2016

Adventures in Micro Worlds. Fractals. Mathematics is the language of Nature.

                                                ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
Ever wondered why the world around you seems so perfect at times? Not the mess and chaos that human populations manage to create everywhere they go but the perfection that often exists in nature, especially when you zoom down to micro levels and you see precise patterns replicated in fine detail to a scale that you can hardly see with the naked eye. The big news is they continue past that until they become invisible- and still continue replicating..... "to Infinity... and beyond" as it were. I was very impressed last month to discover this tiny flower with a perfect cross (or branding iron) sticking out.
Common Blue Butterfly. This is a post I've been working on for several weeks now in my head- in fact it's been several years finding out all the details until they fell together, like a jigsaw puzzle making a complete picture I could understand... to my own limited non intellectual satisfaction that is- as I'm pretty thick at times... but I try my best to keep up.

Years ago, when they still had high street video shops, I purchased a very unusual film called Pi, a black and white low budget affair by Darren Aronofsky and his first as a director. Although made with a tiny cast and very little money the ideas in it were astonishing to me- that everything in nature and the universe can be explained by the laws of physics and mathematics. I always hated maths at school as I had no aptitude for it, and still don't ...but in old age I'm grudgingly accepting it as fact. "Mathematics is the language of nature." Everything has a code and over time we are learning to read more of that code and understand it... well... some of the world's brightest scientists and mathematicians are... while the rest of us just look on in amazement. "Gobsmacked" seems an apt word here.
It doesn't happen very often but occasionally you see or learn something that changes your perception of the world around you so that you see it differently with fresh eyes and this makes a lasting impression. The ideas put forward in Pi certainly did that for me. 1998 it came out and I still remember it vividly.
It sometimes pays to see the fine detail of objects in front of you. (Not so subtle hint to click full screen here.)
Which brings us to The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite. Two computer games that made a huge impression on me. The first for it's great story-line, believable characters and incredible lifelike graphics of people, plants, natural features and urban wastelands - The second, Bioshock, for it's imagined worlds, it's bold introduction of quantum physics theories and discoveries placed into a game setting... and again it's great believable characters and heightened graphics. Not being a gamer it was the details of the computer generated artwork and the ideas that mesmerized me most. Similar to the elaborate album covers of certain bands when I was growing up that accompanied the 1960s revolution when a grey drab world suddenly exploded into vibrant psychedelic colour as I've always taken an interest in art and illustration...and although not having much talent in that department myself I can appreciate the worlds created and see it as the great new frontier it is. How could they make the background visuals so  precise and finely detailed in modern games I wondered?
Part of the answer lies in the discovery of "Fractals." They exists in all of us, throughout nature, throughout the entire universe... and are some of the building blocks of life itself... even when they are invisible and all around us. The language of nature... now being understood and used in computer games for the last 20 years, inside smart phones, and loads of other practical applications. Over to an expert to explain things better. This is worth watching and if you don't know about fractals already it should change your understanding of everything around you.

Heady stuff but easier to understand than quantum physics :o)

Dragonfly wings sparkling in the sun.
Patterns in nature working to order.
Hoverfly on flower.
Sticky Raindrops.
Pink sunset.
Beauty or a wee beast?
Obviously very attractive and desirable to some.
Still at it. A busy flower.... and so it goes... replicating down through smaller and smaller worlds into infinity... and then beyond ? Always wondered why Buzz Lightyear said that. A quantum physics in joke perhaps?
Fire clouds over Glasgow.
Red July sky thick with flying insects.
Wasp and Bumble Bee share a flower.
Large wasp with pollen grains on body.
Patterns in nature. Insect chewed leaf. Is this pattern purely random or a fixed course set by internal design? Do we also live by set design as well without realizing it? Are there further mysteries to come...further codes already there to be unraveled and eventually understood? You Betcha.
Water beasties. Tiny and even smaller... and hidden things you cannot see.. even with a very powerful microscope?
 Not being religious I just find it fascinating, beautiful and serene. Hope we don't destroy it all... or  end up living inside someone's virtual dream.

Speaking of dream world scenarios, games are getting so realistic I can see them replacing conventional films, actors and actresses to a large degree, especially if it's cheaper to produce films via computer animation. I could happily watch a film version of  The Last of Us or Bioshock with most of the shoot em up repetitive action and game strategy cut out. You can almost do that already on You Tube and the resulting film is better than most of the rubbish on television presently. Think I'm joking?
I like the details of old period London in the second game in here and the landscapes of Witcher 3. Worth a watch full screen in HD. Some of these new game world's are so lifelike in a few years time you might be hard pressed to tell if you are watching reality or a created fantasy as each year they merge closer togeher. And that will bring it's own set of problems. They are already gearing up to test for athletes in the current Olympics that have been genetically enhanced to make them stronger and faster with longer stamina so it's a strange new world we are living in indeed.


Carol said...

Do you know, I haven't seen a wasp in a few years now... am I sorry? nope! not since I had a wasps nest in my compost bin a couple of years back and they all flew out at me!

Beautiful butterfly photos - I don't think we get anything like that variety of butterflies in the north of England.

Anabel Marsh said...

I remember years ago doing an OU course and learning about the mathematical laws that the orbits of the planets obeyed. I suppose when you think about it, if they didn't they might randomly crash into each other - but I was similarly enthralled at the idea.

Linda W. said...

I took lots of math classes in engineering school. Some of them (such as parts of calculus) were too far-out for my little brain. But I agree, nature does seem to have perfect patterns in the flowers, plants, insects, etc. and I love observing their finer details. Never thought much about the mathematics and nature connection, but your post has brought it to my attention.

Neil said...

Wow! Brilliant!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
That was the first wasp I've seen this year and don't remember any last year or certainly none I noticed being a pest. Not my favourite insect but an important part of the flying world. Have read that many flying insect numbers have crashed in the last 30 years and they are probably prone to the same stress factors that bees are under with pesticides. Certainly not the same numbers or variety of butterflies as there used to be as I plant nasturtiums every year hoping for cabbage white caterpillars and it's only occurred once in a decade :o(

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
According to current theory(it could change as new info is discovered) a Mars sized object crashed into Earth in the early days of the solar system creating our moon, which is larger than any of the other satellites compared to size of home planet beside them. It's also gradually getting further away from Earth as it used to be closer and would have been a different colour- an interesting speculation I played around with two posts ago when I inserted different sized moons into my sunset photos.
I believe they do have an "earth watch" in place to watch out for sizable rouge meteorites on a collision course with our planet and various theories exist about "Nemesis," a hidden planet supposedly on the edge of our solar system with an unpredictable orbit. A meteorite that reached touchdown and is the size of a large TV can be found(a replica anyway)beside the bike trail around Possil Loch in North Glasgow. I think the planet has had a few hits in the last hundred years that didn't burn up and made touch down as many fall into oceans and go unseen but most are smaller than a family car. Makes you think...

blueskyscotland said...

Evening Linda,
I couldn't get my head around math or algebra but I do like interesting science and ideas and watch BBC 4 and Horizon or tech programmes. Did you know that all or most animals, including us, have tiny magnetic crystals in our brains which may aid navigation in fish, birds and other creatures that migrate using the earths magnetic field which begs the question "why have we got them?"
Maybe we can be affected by tiny electrical currents- like say cell phone transmitters after all :o)
Found under "Magnetite in human brains- bio magnetism." Yes! It's good to know my head is made of iron ore.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Neil,
I also found it intriguing that some of the more elaborate Buddhist Mandalas and the Paisley patterns mentioned in the last post along with certain paintings done by artists in the 1960s after LSD use have some of the same characteristics that fractals have.. but maybe that's just coincidence ..or people simply looking at nature in really fine detail with meditation during an era when people were encouraged to sit still for long periods and look around them as part of that counter culture.
If you type in "fractals" then browse "images" on goggle you could be back in the swinging sixties with the vivid patterns and swirling colours.
And that's me done with brainy stuff as my heads hurting... off to ZZZZzzzz land.
I'll wake up stupid again tomorrow and be back to normal... :o)

Carol said...

We certainly get plenty of Cabbage Whites here - about all we do get. We also get the odd Red Admirals and very occasional Peacocks but that's about it.

Linda said...

Although I love bees I am not a fan of wasps. In comparison, I find wasps to be aggressive and troublemakers. LOL! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous!

Ian Johnston said...

What a great post Bob - I can see why it took you some time to put together the thread of it. I was rubbish at maths when at school, and still am - but I can appreciate the "language" of mathematical patterns is the basis for so much in nature; the recent Brian Cox documetary about snowflakes and how the maths involved can explain a whole universe was mind boggling

Best regards

blueskyscotland said...

Hello Carol,
I remember seeing loads of different caterpillars in my garden as a child every year(from butterflies laying eggs)and they were never hard to find. Now I never see any apart from the large woolly ones up the mountains. Not surprising since most species of every creature, large and small, has declined (some by 50 to 70 per cent) in the last 30 years. Who would have imagined then sparrows, starlings and gull numbers falling to record lows?

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda,
They are normally only a pest at picnics, drinking in beer gardens, or late in the season but they do seem to be fairly thin on the ground in recent years, certainly where I live.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Ian,
Yes, I managed to catch most of the Forces of Nature series. Very interesting info.
Also find it hard to comprehend how you can create an entire virtual universe and put it on a DVD as a game. By the sounds of it you could explore it for a lifetime and still discover new planets- the downside being everyone should appreciate the real one more as we seem to be heading towards an internal vacuum. I've been taking a lot of beautiful sunset shots recently but everyone that walked past me outdoors, young and old, had their eyes down, attention completely focused on smart phones and tablets and I've lost count of the number of folk walking in a group or as a couple where all of them have been on separate devices and might as well be strangers to each other for all the attention they paid to the real world around them or their companions.