Monthly Archives: March 2010

Chaos Theory – Part Two

Here is the second installment of the Chaos Theory post. If you haven’t read the first part, may I recommend you read Chaos Theory – Part One. To the rest of you, thanks for waiting for the follow up!

In this post I am almost going to diverge from chaos to talk about self-organisation. They are different subjects, but they do have parallels. Self-organisation is the name given to a process of organisation that is carried out by a system without external influence.

Electryfire bacteria

Self organisation in Electryfire bacteria

Self-organization is a process of attraction and repulsion in which the internal organization of a system, normally an open system, increases in complexity without being guided or managed by an outside source.”Wikipedia Read more »

Thoughts on the Length of a Day on Earth

I’d like to share with you my thoughts on day length and where it is headed. First, let’s just refer to Wikipedia’s definition of day length:

Day length… refers to the time each day from the moment the upper limb of the sun’s disk appears above the horizon during sunrise to the moment when the upper limb disappears below the horizon during sunset. Due to the diffusion and refraction of sunlight by the atmosphere, there is actually daylight even when the sun is slightly below the horizon. The period when it is still somewhat light even though the sun is below the horizon is called twilight.” – Wikipedia

Antarctic sun rise

Antarctic sun rise

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Chaos Theory – Part One

Strange Attractor

Strange Attractor

What is chaos? We hear the term often enough, what does it mean? There are many aspects of our universe that seem to have no order, make no sense and have no underlying structure. They just ‘are’, and will continue to ‘be’. This is satisfactory for some, but others struggle to accept that some things are just too chaotic for us to ever understand. These same people may also believe that there must be some underlying structure to these systems, that there cannot just be total chaos. Chaos theory is the process of trying to discover the structures and processes that are present within these systems and to understand and predict future outcomes. At this stage it may be useful to mention a few systems that are chaotic in their structure. There are changes in the weather, the movement of satellites in the solar system, ecology and population growth, molecular vibrations. There is also speculation over the existence of chaotic dynamics in plate tectonics and in economics. Ecology still remains one of the best examples of a chaotic system. Population growth and distribution, like all chaotic systems, are very dynamic and deterministic, meaning that future outcomes depend heavily on initial conditions. This is the basis of chaos theory: the hope that we can understand the structure and differences caused in various outcomes through differences in the systems initial input. Read more »