"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Birthdays Today

Weird birthdays today.  On the one hand, we have one of the most famous pure mathematicians of the Twentieth Century, Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, born in 1924.   Fractal geometry derives from mathematical equations that undergoes "iteration," a form of feedback.   The forms that the equations yield are quite beautiful, and have fine structures at small scales that echo similar structures at larger scales.   Mandelbrot's most famous work is The Fractal Geometry of Nature.  Here, for instance, is the fractal geometry of a cauliflower at microscopic scale:

On the other hand, today is also the birthday of a series of relatively minor actresses, all of whom I liked at one point in their careers, but who have never really made it big: Ming Na-Wen (ER), Callie Thorne (Homicide), and Sabrina Lloyd (Sports Night).   All of them are in their early 40s, which unfortunately means that in modern Hollywood we probably won't be seeing much of them from now on.  Too bad.

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