Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chaotic Chaos

Quote... unquote....

Been tied up with other things lately, but will put up for contemplation this passage from chapter 9 of Michael and Ellen Kaplan's book "Chances Are...," wherein they're discussing the work of Edward Lorenz, chaos theory, and deterministic systems:
"The mathematics of chaotic systems produces the same effect at every scale. Tell me how precise you want to be, and I can introduce my little germ of instability one decimal place further along; it may take a few more repetitions before the whole system's state becomes unpredictable, but the inevitability of chaos remains. The conventional image has the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil causing a storm in China, but even this is a needlessly gross impetus. The physicist David Ruelle, a major figure in chaos theory, gives a convincing demonstration that suspending the gravitational effect on our atmosphere of one electron at the limit of the observable universe would take no more than two weeks to make a difference in Earth's weather equivalent to having rain rather than sun during a romantic picnic."

1 comment:

Brian Smith said...

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