Fractals of the Week | Partying like it’s Space: 1999


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G’day! Caturday’s Astrophenia will be back next week when the fortnight is over. This week, I’ve recent uploads to DeviantART and this time with real titles, something I ought rightly to do more often with these pieces! First, they are available as prints in a variety of formats and as free raw file downloads at 6400 x 3600 pixels and about 20 MB in file size or so, so I advise caution for those of you with finicky Internet connections.

So, a little commentary on the titles. These derive from what I initially saw in them as they completed main rendering and the shadow calculation was finished.

Caught in the Backblast reminds me of a starship’s main drive engine seen from the rear, perhaps some sort of ionized low-density plasma, either an ion drive, or the initial warming up of a fission thermal chemical propulsion engine, or a high-thrust fusion-torch drive, like that of an interstellar Bussard ram-jet. It definitely does NOT remind me of a nuclear-pulse drive, like that of the old Project Orion proposal that was abandoned after its designers realized the potential for nuclear terrorism that the technology posed. I STILL can’t do nuclear explosion effects in space very well even at this point in my ability with the software (Mandelbulb 3d), and I may have to resort to after-rendering editing with the appropriate software, like Pixelmator (my favorite), or GIMP, or whatever works best for the OS (I currently use El Capitan).

Caught in the Backblast

A Place of Strangers comes from the fact that to me, it evokes a long-lost space-borne site of my Gods of Terra aliens, the Strangers, still drifting in the void between star systems and humming with power after billions of years. Funny thing about that species: They are a Precursor race, seemingly vanished or extinct long ago save for their artifacts and installations scattered across the galaxy, but are actually from billions of years in the distant future, the evolved descendants of humanity, still extant, who looped back through time into the early history of the universe to preserve the flow of history and their own existence through meddling in the past by preventing paradoxes that would erase them.

A Place of Strangers

Macroplasmid uses a Julia set of a hybrid Mandelbox formula, one of the component formulas being a Smooth Mandelbox, which typically has a very cool, curvy, biological and sometimes creepy feel to it. The title derives from the odd, organic-matter look and the aliens from an old Space: 1999 episode (I believe from the second and final season) Bringers of Wonderment in which the aliens, illusion-casters who wanted to blow up the Moon in a nuclear blast and kill all the humans on it so that they could feed on the radiation, were pretty horrific in their true form and described by resident alien Maya as looking like ‘decayed plasmids,’ or something of the sort. Damned ugly, and weird to any extent.

Macroplasmid

So, what do you see in these?

Tf.Tk.Tts.

All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created via a variety of apps and unless otherwise stated are copyright 2016 by Troy Loy. I hereby permit the free, noncommercial use of these images, as long as proper credit is given for them.

Cat Thursday | Featuring the Mighty Willow the Pillow


 

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Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It’s all for the love of cats! Enjoy!

This week I give you a massive surge of cute overload featuring Willow the Pillow in three recent videos I shot while visiting her. I don’t always sound like I do in the videos, BTW… That’s my “spoil the cats rotten because I’m awed by their adorableness” voice when dealing with absurdly cute semi-domesticated predatory mammals, which Willow is, as long as she’s not terrorizing other cats like she’s been know to do to with Eccles and Gorgeous!

Willow gets the royal treatment…

Willow gets spoiled rotten…

Willow fluffs out…

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | The Rani of Stars


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G’day! I’ve finally finished  the image I’ve been working on, The Rani of Stars, and I’ve posted it below. May you all have a glorious Sunday and a happy week. I’ll try to do likewise, and of course for the cats.

It’s a cold and blustery winter here!

Tf.Tk.Tts.

Rani_Of_Stars 1

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Why Does Fallout’s Nuka-Cola Quantum Glow Blue? (Because Science!)

Caturday’s Astrophenia | 2016.02.06


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I’m listening as I type this to a fractal music piece, Eyesight, by Fractovia. What’s fractal music? It’s a series of musical tones generated to be self-similar, having roughly the same audible structure no matter the playing speed. It’s something I occasionally listen to, though it can sometimes sound random and even jarring and takes some getting used to at first.

This week, I’ve added a new page to this blog, one sorely needed, I regret since the creation of this site on December 28, 2008. It’s Reason & Purpose… and it lays out in broad terms what could be called this blog’s mission statement. I make no secret of my religious nonbelief, and there exists on this site previously posted material discussing religion or politics, but henceforth I’ll restrict that to scientific claims made by religious leaders and politicians, those that are in principle testable. The God question is, I believe, inherently unsolvable. As it is possible to conveniently define God in any way, even those ways that cannot be disproven, the issue can never be definitively affirmed or refuted by evidence, and so is outside the realm of science. And it is science, not religion or politics, which is one of the rightful foci of this blog. Believe or vote however you like. You will anyway.

Thus do I bring you this edition of the Astrophenia on a fine winter fortnight’s morning. There’s a chill in the air and the stars are out. I hope you’ve brought your viewing instrument of choice along for the ride.

Tf.Tk.Tts.

Star Cluster R136 Bursts Out

Where Your Elements Came From

A Candidate for the Biggest Boom Yet Seen

An Airglow Fan from Lake to Sky

Elliptical M60, Spiral NGC 4647

Hidden Galaxy IC 342

A Five Planet Dawn

MWC 922: The Red Square Nebula

Find the Man in the Moon

Comet 67P from Spacecraft Rosetta

Galaxy Wars: M81 versus M82

Dwarf Planet Ceres

Massive Stars in NGC 6357

Five Planets at Castell de Burriac

Image of the Week:

Image Credit: HubbleSite

Weekly Astrognuz:

China Shares Stunning New Moon Photos with the World

Smith Cloud due to collide with our galaxy in 27 million years.

“Creative Class” Featuring Jill Tarter

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Burns for Jupiter

50 Years ago We Got Our First Picture from the Moon

Images from Mars via Mars Express give a planetary overview.

Planet Nine: Are We Not That Special?

Small Asteroid to Pass Close to Earth March 5

Astronomy Cast Ep. 401: Predictions for 2016 and Beyond

Original Star Trek Enterprise model undergoing conservation.

Big Picture Science Radio Show | Skeptic Check: Glutenous Maximus

Six CubeSats with JPL Contributions Chosen for SLS Flight

A Cataclysmic Collision Formed the Moon, but Killed Theia

Climate change denier claims 2015 wasn’t the hottest year.

Airborne Asteroid Impact Chasers Release Findings On Space Junk Object WT1190F

Saturn’s Rings: Less Than Meets the Eye?

What Are Alien Megastructures?

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Ubi Dubium… | Toward a Better Understanding of the Schizophrenias


 

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Welp, this is an interesting development. We now have a considerably clearer understanding of one of the mechanisms behind schizophrenia, as a recent study published in Nature reveals. The authors of this large-scale study bringing together several lines of research, have identified a set of genes, particularly a variant of gene C4, C4A, involved in the culling, or pruning, of synaptic connections in the brain, and the findings were remarkable.

Particularly between the late teens and early twenties, the development of a normal brain involves some level of synaptic pruning as a means of increasing the efficiency of the brain’s operation, especially those neuronal connections that are seldom used.

I find this research particularly interesting because of my own personal history of schizophrenia. Anything that improves my understanding of this disorder, or more accurately, this class of disorders, is in my view a good thing. Insight and understanding have been two of the main tools in my ongoing recovery.

So, back to the study.

This particular gene variant results in an extraordinary rate of pruning of neuronal connections, in which synapses are so heavily deleted that many of the necessary connections in the adult brain are simply never established, resulting not just in delusional thinking and (in my case) hallucinations, but the cognitive issues many of us with the disorder experience.

I’m eager to see what direction further research will take.

It’s a monumental step nonetheless in understanding the process by which the illness develops. Schizophrenia is a complex family of disorders involving a interplay of mechanisms, with a strong genetic component, and it is highly heritable. It’s a class of illnesses that we now have a clearer understanding of. But I’m not pinning any (likely false) hopes on a cure from this.

To quote one of the collaborators of the study, neurology professor Beth Stevens of Boston Children’s Hospital,

“Now we have a path forward. We want to better understand how it’s working.”

 Ubi Dubium… gets its title from a Latin proverb, and the current tagline for this blog. It is a limited series of posts dealing with science, scientific skepticism, and the unruly twin dragons of pseudoscience and antiscience. Join me, if you will, on an exploration of science and reason, their borderlands, wastelands, and why a good understanding of both is crucial to living in this age of science and technology.

Fractals of the Week | Mandelboxosity, Mandelmonstrosity


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G’day! this morning, I present four images from recent experimentation using Mandelbulb 3d, all based on a custom preset which I’ve labelled MB3d55, each of them of distinct Julia sets with slight variation in the seed numbers used.

These seed numbers all derive from 3d spatial coordinates located on a Mandelbox figure, just as the ordinary Julia set in 2 dimensional fractals derives its seed numbers from a unique point in the base fractal set, often the Mandelbrot set, or other similar figures. In short, there is an infinite set of possible points, and so an infinite range of possible seed numbers.

It is these seed numbers that determine the resulting precise form of the figure. Each set is unique at any given level of magnification, with those of closer seed numbers bearing closer resemblance to each other.

The first three of today’s post are uploads to my DeviantART gallery, the fourth, a direct upload to WP at 1600 x 1200 pixels. May you have a great Wednesday, and an excellent week ahead! I’ll try to make the best of it…

Tf.Tk.Tts.

Cybratine

Byeotron

Flutterbot

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All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created via a variety of apps and unless otherwise stated are copyright 2016 by Troy Loy. I hereby permit the free, noncommercial use of these images, as long as proper credit is given for them.