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Re: Philosophy and fractals
> In a message dated 98-02-26 04:19:27 EST, email@example.com writes:
> << I'm sure there is a fractal equation about a mile long that could
> describe the shape of the planet quite well. Just don't ask me to
> work out what it is :) >>
> There might be. But it might have to be a few zillion light-years long. On the
> scale of atoms, the earth's shape is nothing like constant, and this would
> have to be accounted for.
It depends one how you define "quite well". If the aim of the project
was to develop a global elevation model then an accuracy of around
50 metres may be acceptable. Coastlines can be modeled "quite well"
with fractal equations, with the desired accuracy acheived by limiting
the number of iterations of the formula. I suspect modelling the
earth to within 50 metres with a single formula would require more
computational power than is currently available, but given the state of
computing these days I'll just wait ten years or so before labeling
the task as impossible.
Relevance to dinosaurs: Well, many naturally occuring structures
seem to follow fractal geometric principles (the curve of ammonite
shells may be an example). I'm sure there is an application to
dinosaurian palaeontology just waiting to be found.