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Leather sleeves & chaos theory | WE THE CURIOUS vol.1 no. 15

Leather sleeves & chaos theory | WE THE CURIOUS vol.1 no. 15

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Published by Mackenzie Hawkins
Things that make me think -- and think again. Published weekly.
The writing is short, the topics broad, the mood inquisitive.
Things that make me think -- and think again. Published weekly.
The writing is short, the topics broad, the mood inquisitive.

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Published by: Mackenzie Hawkins on May 22, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/15/2011

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 We the Curious
 vol.1 No.15
Leather sleeves &chaos theory
 
Comedian Demetri Martin: “I saw a guy at a partywearing a leather jacket and I thought, ‘That is cool.’ But then I saw another guy wearing a leather vest and I
thought, ‘That is not cool’. Then I fgured it out: ‘Cool’ is
all about leather sleeves.” When Mitchell Feignenbaum arrived at Los AlamosNational Laboratory in 1974, he was a particle physicist,a scientist trained in the most fundamental principlesof matter. He knew the extreme power of reductionistthinking, but even so he wasn’t blind to its limitations.He studied cloud formations from the widows of 
airplanes -- until he had scientifc travel privileges
suspended on grounds of overuse. Feignenbaum wouldgo on to discover a universal structure that underlayseemingly chaotic systems. “It’s a general description,” he explains, “of what happens in a large variety of systems when things work on themselves again andagain.” Over a decade after founding the new science of chaos,Feignenbaum could point to a bubbling stream and say, “If you look at this stuff, or you see clouds with all theirpuffs on top of puffs, or you stand at a sea wall in astorm, you know that you really don’t know anything.”  “Somehow the wondrous promise of the earth isthat there are things beautiful in it, things wondrous
 
by Mackenzie HawkinsREFERENCESwww.demetrimartin.comChaos: Making a New Science by James Gleickand alluring, and by virtue of your trade you want tounderstand them.”  “I truly do want to know how to describe clouds. But tosay there’s a piece over here with that much density,and next to it is a piece with this much density -- toaccumulate that much detailed information, I think iswrong.” At the end of his act, Demetri Martin pulls out a sign. Itsays, “I own leather sleeves.” 

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