November 22, 2009
Behold the Mandelbulb
Daniel White posts some amazing pictures of a 3D equivalent to the Mandelbrot set. I’m not sure whether to compare it to a cave system, a coral reef or alien architecture. The way he’s rendered it gives the ‘Mandelbulb’ an eerie, deserted look, with shadows, caverns and strange looming formations, quite unlike the brightly colourful swirls of the 2D set – but all, of course, covered in intricate fractal detail. Go take a look.
(You don’t need to know the maths to appreciate the pictures, but if you’re interested, there’s a second page with the formulae, commentary and links.)
November 08, 2009
Behind the scenes at the opening of the Berlin Wall
BBC News: How a blunder finished off the Wall: “Mr Schabowski's announcement was complicated and bureaucratic, and like many others that evening I puzzled over it before concluding that it signalled free travel… East Berliners were rather quicker off the mark. Tens of thousands of them started turning up at the border demanding to be let across. But the guards hadn't been told anything - their standing orders were to stop anyone crossing. Until recently they'd been instructed to shoot to kill anyone who tried… The guards asked their headquarters for orders but the government ministries in charge of security told them nothing… The guards on the ground - at the time - made the critical decision. They ignored their standing orders. They said, ‘Open the border.’”
The 1989 “carnival of revolutions” is a story I will never get tired of hearing.