Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: You had me going there (Score 4, Insightful) 576

According to Mr. Shatner, if the KickStarter campaign doesn't raise enough money then he will donate whatever that has been collected... a politician who promise to build that water pipe.

Haha! He almost had me going there, right up until that last bit. Well played, Shatner, well played.


Comment: Good grief (Score 1) 60

by wonkey_monkey (#49509877) Attached to: New Nudge Technology Prods You To Take Action

What next? An app to remind you when to eat? Or when to take a dump and how to wipe your arse afterwards?

Wait, no, pretend you didn't hear that last one. That's my new project.

Mind you, I can't really talk. I appear to have a faulty sense of thirst. I can tell whether or not I'm thirsty, but only if I think about it, and even if I am it doesn't give me a great urge to drink. I've got into a routine of finishing off a bottle of water every day (and all without any reminders from my phone!), but before then I'd often find myself getting to chapped-lips stage almost without realising.

Comment: Re:De Facto Political Prisoner (Score 3, Insightful) 161

by wonkey_monkey (#49509427) Attached to: Assange Talk Spurs UK Judges To Boycott Legal Conference

That these judges were required to show "loyalty" to their government by walking out, instead of asserting the independence of the judiciary

No, they showed loyalty to the judicial system by not allowing it to be railroaded into becoming part of a piece of political theatre.

Comment: Doesn't really bestow anything (Score 1) 116

by wonkey_monkey (#49509023) Attached to: Pull-Top Can Tabs, At 50, Reach Historic Archaeological Status

A simple relic of 20th century life has taken on new meaning for archaeologists: The ring-tab beer can — first introduced 50 years ago — is now considered an historic-era artifact, a designation that bestows new significance on the old aluminum cans and their distinctive tabs that are still found across the country.

Like people, things don't suddenly become more important or interesting just because they turned 50.

Comment: Re:confused (Score 3, Informative) 145

The idea is that the "scale" of the observable universe is the ratio from the largest "thing" (the whole observable universe) to the smallest "thing," which is the Planck length. That ratio is 10^63 or something like that, much less than the zoom level that's achieved in the video.

Comment: Re:It's that twat with the upside down head again. (Score 1) 145

You can't do it from one complex number.

I'm not quite sure what you mean. The summary says (as does Wikipedia) that the sequence goes:


You only need one complex input variable (the coordinate of the point) to determine whether or not the point is in the set. I think your link says as much:

The calculation of a Mandelbrot set is similar. The difference is in the values that are substituted into the equation. In the equation for f(z) the pixel coordinate (x,y) is substituted into the complex number C and (0,0) is substituted for a starting value of z.

You can instead just use skip the first iteration and use c as the starting value of z, because that's always the next result after z0=(0,0).

If what you said was true then why does every implementation - and I've written at least two[1] - use two complex variables?

Err, I dunno. You wrote them so I'm not sure why you're asking me. If you're just talking about program variables, you presumably use one to store the result of each iteration.

And why is there such a thing as a Julia set

We're not talking about Julia sets. They do use two complex variables - the coordinate of the point and a constant (for that particular set). I think that's what those Julia animations are about - altering the constant to produce different slices.

Comment: Re:It's that twat with the upside down head again. (Score 2) 145

It's not n^2 + n

Yes it is, for the second (or third, if you're starting from 0) element in the sequence. The article isn't defining the sequence, per se; it's listing elements in the sequence calculated solely from the initial complex number.

I think the confusion has arisen because n is usually used as the element number, not the complex point (which usually goes by c).

the number you multiply by itself isn't the same as the number you add.

No - well, just once - but that's not what the article says. You square the previous element, then add c.

Wikipedia says:

The Mandelbrot set is the set of complex numbers 'c' for which the sequence ( c, c^2 + c, (c^2+c)^2 + c, ((c^2+c)^2+c)^2 + c, (((c^2+c)^2+c)^2+c)^2 + c, ...) does not approach infinity.

which is exactly what the article says, except using c instead of n.

Comment: Old, old news (Score 5, Interesting) 145

Mandelbrot Zooms Now Surpass the Scale of the Observable Universe

First off, does that even mean anything? What units is the "scale" of a universe expressed in?

Okay, let's take it to mean the ratio of the size of observable universe to the size of the Planck length, for lack of any better definition. In that case, Mandelzooms surpassed that years ago.

with no signs of loss of complexity at all.

You make it sound like we're expecting a loss of complexity, and we just haven't found it yet. But isn't it mathematically proven that the Mandelbrot set has the same "complexity" at all scales? Kind of inherent in the whole "fractal" thing, I thought...

I'd have thought it would be more interesting to talk about, for example, how all the pretty colours that everyone gawps at aren't even points in the set. They're just colour-coded as to how long the sequence takes to reach a certain value (all of the coloured points ultimately diverge to infinity, which is what makes them not part of the set).

Comment: Eh? (Score 4, Insightful) 55

by wonkey_monkey (#49506081) Attached to: If Earth Never Had Life, Continents Would Be Smaller

It may seem counterintuitive, but life on Earth, even with all the messy erosion it creates, keeps continents growing.

It had never occurred to me to consider that life might cause erosion. That's usually what wind, rain, and gravity are famous for, isn't it? Plant life is pretty famous, surely, for countering erosion by stopping soil getting washed away (a lack of which leading to occasionally disastrous consequences in flash floods, for example).

The sediments, like milk-dunked cookies, carry liquid water in their pores

Milk-dunked cookies don't carry liquid water in their pores. They carry milk. So the sediments are more like water-dunked cookies, moreso because they both taste yucky.

But over time, if life never evolved on Earth, not enough water would make its way to the mantle to help produce more continental crust, and whatever continents there were would then shrink.

Now, continents cover 40% of the planet. Without life, that coverage would shrink to 30%. In a more extreme case, if life never existed, the continents might only cover 10% of Earth.

That's very confusingly written. The first sentence say "if life never evolved on Earth...continents there would then shrink." But then how did those continents get so big in the first place? Surely shrinking continents is only the case when life did evolve, but then theoretically all dies off.

365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer. = 1 Lite-year