Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fractal Africa

Wow. I really should keep up with those TEDtalks videos.

This one is just fascinating: Ron Eglash, an 'ethno-mathematician', spent a year traveling Africa, where he discovered that almost every African village is constructed, quite consciously, according to precise fractal algorithms, repeating all the way from the village as a whole down to the arrangement of pots in a room. And it's not just their villages: their art and even their divination practices use fractal patterning.

I remember when I was in uni, I was arguing with one of the foreign development kids, and insisting that Africa (well, sub-Saharan Africa) never had a 'civilization', exactly. I was really just trying to push her buttons, but man, what a thick-skulled idiot I can be.

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