This week, I’m mixing images from different apps in one post. The top image was done using Fractal Domains, using a modified Newtonian or Halley method formula, the shapes produced by trapping the geometric orbits of the number set, and the color map was randomized and selected for in an almost Darwinian fashion, but artificially, not naturally.
The lower image may make some of you a bit queasy from the resemblance to diseased tissue or to me, something out of Lovecraft, but it’s a closer match than the above to what I’ve termed ‘horrific elegance,’ with it’s non-euclidean, alien-looking geometry giving sometimes monstrous results.
Maybe it could be something that Cthulhu’s interior decorator would come up with. This image was generated via Mandelbulber, using a customized parameter set, I believe a power-6 3D Mandelbrot set.
It’s hard to believe that such images were produced using a piece of hardware built with silicon chips employing mathematically precise software commands and formulas. But that’s science behind it all, both quantum electrodynamics, computer engineering, and the maths of fractal geometry.
Images copyright 2012 Troy Loy
- Fun with Fractals? (psychologytoday.com)
- Fractal by Viktor Lakics (500px.com)
- holy crap – is it Friday again, already!?!?!? (buddhakat.wordpress.com)
- Wish To Create Fractals? Here are 7 Free Tools for Generating Fractals To Get You Started (vikitech.com)
- WebGL Demo – Real Time Fractal Morphing (webgl.com)
- Where Math Meets Beauty: Generate Stunning Fractals With These Free Tools (makeuseof.com)
As an ex-Adventist, though I’ve mentioned elsewhere my position on use of the self-descriptor ‘atheist,’ it’s sometimes necessary for a number of reasons to use it, though that use is reluctant — it is used as an epithet by theists, and a form of often defiant self-branding by atheists themselves.
More power to the latter, I say.
I prefer to go by the less baggage-laden ‘nontheist,’ and there are problems with even that, since the semantic neutrality of verbal language is often extremely difficult to obtain in practice due to the multiple, even contradicting evaluative meanings and usages we give to words in different places and times.
So at times, atheist it is, as meaningless though it sometimes seems.
Theists I’ve read and talked to offer as one reason out of many, and no doubt it is a powerful one, that they believe because it gives them hope…
…but hope for what?
It’s apparent that much of the hope offered by some traditions, including but not limited to hope for a better world, a better life (often beyond this one), or a better future is often limited, depending on the tradition, to hope for those who are, according to the tradition’s doctrines, among the ‘Saved’ or ‘the Elect,’ even if that hope of salvation may only be realized through harm to or intolerance of others different in some way from them.
Many traditions (and in Christianity alone there currently exists more than 30,000 denominations worldwide, some of which will passionately dispute that the others are actually Christians) claim that salvation may be reached only through them.
Believers have different approaches to salvation, in some, it is a way to gain perfection in the next life, and in others, more perniciously, it is obtained by being perfect in this one.
Both are based on questionable assumptions, but I’m going to focus on the latter here.
My thinking is that much of this hope is the hope to avoid the often greatly feared consequences of not being among the Chosen, often, though not always, those of not having membership in the faith, which typically only a potentially willing convert or long-time believer will actually think worthy of serious consideration.
And so, as a nonbeliever in nearly every concept of God out there — including, shockingly enough, Cthulhu and Azathoth — I don’t, for instance, fear transmigration to the Center of the Universe™ upon death to be eaten by the mindless Other Gods of Lovecraft.
Religion’s principle lack of appeal to me is its anti-humanism — In my own youthful religious affiliation, there was much emphasis on being flawless in this world so as to gain access to all the good things of the next — a view that painted humanity as inherently unworthy, sinful, and fatally defective because a remote ancestor of the fair sex ate a piece of fruit no more than 10,000 years ago, a species whose members were thus tragically doomed to burn in the hereafter unless they were (of course…) Adventists in good standing.
And that means a lot of guilt over some very human and unavoidable traits, and shame when these imperfections are seen and noted, with much disapproval, by other Adventists…
…A lot of guilt and shame over those very things that make us what we are, both vices and virtues, but especially the former.
Needless to say, the quest for perfection, especially in an inherently imperfect world as seems the case, is something that’s doomed to failure from the start.
Seeking absolute perfection in anything is both irrational and a self-destructive enterprise.
As a nonbeliever and a skeptic, I keep hope, one based on my understanding of the likely prospects for, the limits, and the strengths of my species, a powerful species whose flawed but brilliant and highly successful nature I without guilt embrace, with meaning and purpose that is not dependent on arbitrary imposition from somewhere on high.
If offered a choice between awe and reverence for the parochial and shallow wonders offered by supernatural dogmas and revelations demanding faith, or that for the real and profound wonders uncovered by the sciences which make no such demands…
…then I unequivocally and unhesitatingly, while keeping a questing mind, choose the latter.
Readers and visitors of this site may notice a few things have changed in the past few days, some of them rather obvious, since I’m making both functional and cosmetic mods to the Call.
There is, of course, the background and header of the site, which uses a fractal I came up with that bears a suspicious resemblance to Cthulhu, ya know, kinda accidentally/on purpose, and perfect for the eldritch moniker of yours truly.
It took a few adjustments to do, but I finally came up with a decent diamond-pattern of the fractal set in my favorite color, black, and the two little Cthulhu heads for the header, which I made by cutting and pasting a reduced-size jpeg with Apple’s Preview software.
Also, I reduced the number of RSS widgets and others, because the excess widgets were apparently eating up all my bandwidth, and causing all sorts of annoyance.
I’ve kept only those feeds to websites and blogs owned or posted on by people I know or follow on various websites, and in any case, whose sites I subscribe to, comment for, and interact with on Twitter and their own blogs.
The “links” widget will remain as it is, since I often visit the sites on it, even if just lurking around a bit. Some of them I post hyperlinks to in entries for citation purposes.
It’s not fair for me to piggy-back on the feeds of the more popular blogs by coming up on search results meant for them, and since they are doing just fine they don’t need any extra traffic from my site.
There will be other changes, of course, and I’m currently considering my options, but I am satisfied with how the site looks. I have added one widget, though, a search window for this site’s posts in the sidebar that should making finding things easier and more interesting for visitors.
Last Friday’s xkcd post wasn’t that good in my view, and so I’ll have to reassess the way I do embedded image posts like that.
Perhaps just one image per such post would work better… Hmmm.
Last week I brought back an older but popular series of inquiries/essays, which I had dropped for a while due to scheduling conflicts and more personal reasons, none of them to do with this blog.
I’m considering the possibility of trying out more regular features, though it’s not a good idea to become too set, too rigid in my mindset or posting methods and habits.
Consistency balanced with innovation is a good idea though, and I do greatly appreciate those of you who are generous enough to click the “like” buttons, rate the posts, and share my stuff, like the fractal posts and videos, even my text pieces, on other social networking sites.
Thank you. I’m also thanking those blogs and websites that have sent me traffic in the past, like Skepticator, The Skeptic’s Dictionary, and numerous others which have shown up in the referrers box on my stat page.
…And not least my subscribers. Without you all, this blog would be, is nothing.
I’m going to do more review posts as well, like last week’s entry on Michael Shermer’s new book, but also including popular works of fiction by those we skeptics often critique, which will be a lot of fun for me, and any perceived ad hominems, arrogance, or undue cruelty in those entries will exist only in the mind of the reader.
I do not do mud-slinging…My standards are higher than that.
Here’s to making this a better blog, and a more enjoyable, interesting place for you all to visit, even if only once.
MP3 NOW AVAILABLE!: http://www.ebenbrooks.com/catalog/pro…
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Having made a better audio recording of “Hey There Cthulhu” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut82TDjc
iSg) using a karaoke track of “Hey There Delilah” (from the album Karaoke Bash Vol. 3 (p) 2007 by Starlight Karaoke), I decided to do a photomontage-style video for it using artwork and photographs I’ve come across in my travels through these Intarwebs. So here it is!
All images copyright © by their respective creators. Credits available upon request