In order to create a festive holiday fractal, you don’t even need a computer. All you need are a few standard Christmas decorations: glass balls and lights. (Actually, you don’t even need Christmas lights, any light source will do.) It’s quite simple: put the balls in a small pile under the light, pressing up against one another. Voila:
If you manage to get 4 balls together in a tetrahedron (each ball touching every other ball) the fractal image in the middle is called a Wada basin. In this type of fractal, there are three basins of attraction–areas where the patterns tend to converge, but never quite meet. No matter how deep you look into the fractal (or zoom in, which is a bit difficult as you’re peering into a pile of balls) all three basins of attraction will be visible.
To read more about Wada basins, or to see more accurate representations than my humble photo, check out Paul Bourke’s page. His gallery includes this lovely image, created by Rasta Robert:
The regular Friday Fractal Feature will resume next Friday (hopefully on time, for a change)… in the meantime, have a happy holidays!