Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Black Zones

NASA's Wayne Hale offers a fascinating discussion of the "black zones" in crewed spaceflight - the periods during flight when saving the crew from an emergency is impossible, and how the various types of vehicles we've flown over the years compare. (The original blog postings can be found at NASA Blogs, but SpaceRef has performed a useful service by collecting the multiple segments of the "Black Zones" piece into a single page.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mandelbrot Fractals

I recently returned to my explorations of the Mandelbrot fractals, using my custom, multi-processor implementation of the classic algorithm. One rude surprise: Java's Bicubic interpolation, which my code had counted-on for antialiasing the images, has spontaneously ceased to work somewhere in the couple of years since I last went diving in Dr. Mandelbrot's seas. One custom down-sampler later, and I'm back in business, but still wondering what happened to the Bicubic interpolation support. (Some Google searches confirm the issue, but don't explain why it ever worked, or how to get it working again.)

Anyway, some of these images are new, while some are higher-resolution renderings of images I'd previously produced. All use 16:1 antialiasing for clarity. Unfortunately, Blogger has scaled-down the images in accordance with its internal size limits. To see these, and other Mandelbrot images, at full resolution, visit my Mandelbrot fractals page.

(0.251264159878095-0.000071302056312561i,+0.2512651036183039-0.000071898102760315i) (0.2512619694073995-0.000070631504058838i,+0.25126574436823523-0.000073015689849854i) (0.2512600819269816-0.00006943941116333i,+0.25126763184865314-0.000074207782745361i) (-1.9415377561052738+0.000004419728327122i,-1.9415377426291933+0.00000441121711836i)

The image above had to be computed to a depth of 2.5 million iterations. At lesser depths, the structure appears to be a part of the Mandelbrot set. How many other apparent parts of the set would turn-out not to be, if they were examined deeply enough?

(-1.9405475727980244+0.000000000020618141i,-1.9405475727568255-0.000000000020580682i) (-1.9405475727807724+0.000000000003366096i,-1.9405475727740777-0.000000000003328637i) (-1.9405470533408833+0.000000000011699758i,-1.9405470533399718+0.000000000010788309i) (-1.9405469455956967+0.000000000712956i,-1.9405469445200192-0.00000000072128073i) (-1.9405469451864226+0.000000000549857802i,-1.9405469449474801+0.000000000398946793i) (-1.940547686187619+0.000000000256137123i,-1.9405476861868012+0.000000000255319443i) (-1.940546945070056+0.000000000267948696i,-1.940546945067154+0.000000000265046485i) (-0.7499062220255533+0.01945350170135498i,-0.7498911221822102+0.019443964958190917i)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Barack Obama will be President of the United States of America. An eight year nightmare is ending, and what an ending. It'll take a while to fully sink in for me.... We have a staggering mess to cleanup, but now the process can begin. At long last. Wow.

And just to anticipate a question: No, I don't trust electronic voting machines one iota more now than I did before the candidate I supported won, and neither should you.

Monday, November 3, 2008

One Down, Eight to Go

My show of photographs over at the New World Deli & Café continues, basically because the owners like the look of my work on their walls. Which suits me fine. The longer it's up, the more time there is for confidence in the economy to grow to the point that some people can think about spending serious money on art again. And, wandering in on Saturday for a meal and a chance to spend a few hours reading a good book (The Eternal Frontier by Tim Flannery), what to my wondering eyes should appear but a "SOLD" sign on one of the canvases. Specifically, "Lake, Turtle, Sunset", artist's proof no. 1. It was purchased by the Café's owners. Here's wishing them many years of enjoyment from it.

I'm still operating at a significant loss on this show (no surprise), but it's nice to sell a piece, regardless.