Friday is for freading

Here’s some stuff I’m reading today:

  • Benoit Mandelbrot, who discovered the famous Mandelbrot Set of fractal geometry, as interviewed in New Scientist magazine:

> Q: Your work has covered many areas. Would you describe yourself as a pure or an applied mathematician?

> A: A mathematical scientist. It’s the official name of my chair at Yale and it was chosen with care. It is deliberately ambiguous. In a different era, I would have called myself a natural philosopher. All my life, I have enjoyed the reputation of being someone who disrupted prevailing ideas. Now that I’m in my 80th year, I can play on my age and provoke people even more.

Check out the Infinite Fractal Loop, too. It’s pretty.

> Even before first light — U.S. Marines, soldiers and Iraqi National Guard troops swarmed into Falluja. Tanks and heavily armored Bradley Fighting used their main guns to blow up cars and buses parked down side streets — just in case they might be booby-trapped — packed with explosives.

> “This is a frigging ghost town,” says Corporal Steven Wolf, a squad leader for the vehicle the CAAT (Combined Anti Armor Team) Platoon. The streets are deserted. But there are some exceptions. The dead.

> The Marines are operating with liberal rules of engagement.

> “Everything to the west is weapons free,” radios Staff Sgt. Sam Mortimer of Seattle, Washington. Weapons Free means the marines can shoot whatever they see — it’s all considered hostile.

  • More about future-proof URLs and smart 404 pages from Mike Davidson:

> Beauty comes in many forms. For normal people, maybe it?¢‚Ǩ?°?É‚Äû?ɬ¥s Ashley Judd in a bedsheet on a Sunday morning. For web dorks, however, it can be something as mundane as extensionless URLs or intelligent error pages. Sad as that may be, most of us don?¢‚Ǩ?°?É‚Äû?ɬ¥t have the Ashley Judd option available anyway, so we shouldn?¢‚Ǩ?°?É‚Äû?ɬ¥t feel too bad about deifying code.

> The South isn’t the only region of the country that is over-pious about its churchgoing and aggressive in trumpeting its “values.” You can find equal culprits all over the country. This isn’t a regional conflict we’re in, it’s an intellectual one, and people live on both sides of the debate in every state. Northern stereotypes about the South are snobbish and annoying. Enough already!


Great news — Fabian is coming back to New York for a few weeks! He says he’ll probably be at Share this Sunday.

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