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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Chaos and fractals and nonsense

Many people only know about chaos through the saying "a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a storm half-way around the world". Well, two brewing current events have got me thinking about placing this saying in a proper context. First, I can imagine an even smaller effect than a butterfly's wings creating just as significant a chaotic perturbation. Consider a single deadly virus finding a human host in China and spreading rapidly through the world. Though not strictly chaotic, the role of positive feedback acts to push this forward much like a hurricane gains strength by feeding itself. Secondly, consider the Chinese machine of industry on its relentless march forward, soon to exert a huge extractive influence on the world's oil supplies. Kind of an iron butterfly that one, and an army at that. Like, in a gadda da vida, man.

The visionary sister to chaos's sound and fury, fractals occupy an orthogonal space. Khebab at Graphoilogy has resurrected Laherrere's parabolic fractal ideas to estimating URR. I have often run across Laherrere's original paper, but looked at the amount of data you would need to give it justice and left it alone. I find it encouraging that Khebab picked this up because the approach looks solid and it provides a largely independent way of looking at URR estimates from the traditional Hubbert linearization.

It certainly beats what EnergySpin had to say about Laherrere:
Considering Laherrere's mathematical fractal metaphysical nonsense I would take a good look at the USGS data by myself.
Evidently, Khebab put his money where the spinster's mouth resides.

The WashingtonMonthly reports that former treasury secretary Alan Greenspan has discovered the challenges of oil depletion in his retirement years.

How convenient.

In any case, this prompted Kevin Drum's commenters to offer up a lot of good links. Like this one concerning low-speed vehicles. As I predominately use the ultimate low-speed vehicle, the bicycle, I find it encouraging that many states have actual laws on the books to allow low speed limits on what we usually consider freeways. I knew that Canada's trans-national freeway system has long allowed bicycles, but it came as a surprise that :
According to the map on their site, the only states that have not passed some form of LSV legislation are Idaho, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
Drats on da Minnesoda dere. We'll just have to wait until Al Franken gets elected.


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