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This Noir Cartoon Is the Best Explanation of Fractals You'll Ever See

Math is way more fun when it's lent some narrative, some purpose—and we've never seen a better example than this stunning noir cartoon which explains fractals. You have to watch it.

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Starring a private eye called Manny Brot, it's a brooding tale which kicks off with a bump on the head, a mysterious femme fatale and a strange encounter on a windswept peak. As Brot tries to save the dame, he faces geometric riddles and tortuous math. This is The Case of the Missing Fractals. [TED-Ed]

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DISCUSSION

larkin5400
larkin5400

funny you post this now, Im in a CS course now called Chaos and Dynamical Systems. We've been computing fractals for the last 2 weeks or so.

Fractals are pretty cool, the case of the Julia and Mandelbrot sets the fractal can be formed by computing the number of iterations an orbit takes to escape towards infinity and then coloring that point in the plane accordingly, different escape iterations can be assigned different colors which result in the cool patterns you see.

The triangle in the video is known as the Sierpinski triangle, you can draw one very easily if you set up a program to plot an infinite number of times from an initial start point and from then on plotting the next point by randomly choosing one of the points of a triangle and plotting your new point half way between the triangle edge point and the previous point you drew.