Victor MacGill DragonStirs Mandelbrot Set
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June 2010

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Welcome

manhattanThings have been very busy since the last newsletter, when Sonja and I travelled to USA and Canada for just over a month. We had one day in Los Angeles when we went on a tour past movie star's homes and then on to Universal Studios. The next day we flew to New York , where we stayed in the Theosophical Society guest rooms and I gave a talk to them.

NiagaraWe ticked off all the usual touris spots: Empire State building (although the queue took four hours), Statue of Libery (they closed the gate to go inside the statue itself just as we arrived), the Rockerfeller Center, horse ride through Central Park, Ground Zero, shopping (Macy's etc), watched the Mary Poppins Broadway show, Time Square, used the subway (it was really great), Brooklyn, Staten Island, 4th of July Macy's fireworks, Grand
washingtonCentral Station, watched the New York Mets play baseball against the Cinncinatti Reds (the Reds won), United Nations, MoMA, Guggemheim, Museum of Natural History, the Met, the Chrysler building, a helicopter ride over the city, a boat tour, Battery Park, a bus tour. I'm sure I mjst have forgotten something.

Next was an Intrepid Tour that took us to Boston, Harvard University (Where I dropped in at the New England Complex Systems Institute and met Yaneer Bar Yam), Albany, Niagara (Where Sonja and I got engaged!!), Gettysburg, Washington DC, Baltimore (Where we met up with Mike Taylor, who took us for a meal), Philadelphia and back to New York. We got caught in a three hour trafffic jam in New Jersey getting back to New York and were extremey lucky to get on a flight arriving at the airport just over 30 minutes before the departure.(We took off 30 minutes or more behind time)

aeroplane flightArriving in Toronto, we ascended the CN tower (The tallest in the world: 147 stories up) before catching a Greyhound bus to Waterloo for the conference of the International Society for Systems Science, where I was lucky enough to get to present two papers and met the most amazing people from all around the world and met some old friends again, such as Mary.

Following the conference we flew to Calgary and went to the Heritage Park and then hired a car to drive through the rockies (driving on the right hand side of the road), which included horse riding and a flight on a Cessna around the mountains with Sonja actually piloting the plane for a while.

orcaWe dropped off our vehicle in Vancouver and explored the downtown area before catching the Ferry to spend two days in Victoria on Vancouver Island. We stayed with an old friend, Derek and his partner Carolyn having an anazing time. We braved the waters to go on a whale watch, seeing seals, a Grey while and a number of orca.

Next was a ferry to Seattle. In one day we went on a Duck Tour (an amphibious vehicle dating back to WW II), had a meal up the needle, visited Pike Market and did some shopping. Then it was back to Vancouver. It should have been by bus, but it was held up for three hours at the Canadian border coming to Seattle and we were transferred to the train.

totem poleBack in Vancouver we went to the market at North Vancouver (We were headed for Grousse Mountain, but ran out of time). As we left Vancouver the previous time, we noticed the Cirque du Solleil tent and luckily found a performance we could fit in on our final day before going to the airport for the flight home.

Now I have to get everything in order, such as reading over the information form the conference and sorting all the photos and video we took. I am also hoping to get my book published this year and have plenty on my plate with the theosophical Society.

Interesting Websites

At the conference in Toronto I met Javier Livas, who told me about his video programme available on YouTube using Cybernetics and Chaos Theory to provide a paradigm for understanding our world. It is long having been broken down into over 20 videos. It can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ociyaR4zx4c


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Books Victor is reading

I did not get as much reading done as I though I might on the planes, busses and aeroplanes.

Bursts

Bursts

Albert Laszlo Barabasi  has followed his book, Linked, with "Bursts". "Linked" was all about networking and  our understandinhgs from it using the science of complexity. This book looks at power Law distributions, which are an integral part of complex systems, but focusses on power laws expressed through time. Barabasi looks at how we do not generally behave randomly, but in bursts of activity. We will send a number of emails in a burst while we are at our computer, then leave it for some time, before returning for another burst. The intervals between sending emails, fits the maths of power law distributions.

He covers this topic by interweaving a number of stories together. I found it took a while before the various fragments of stories fitted together and a thread through them all was discernable. There seemed to be a lot of story, without that much holding it together. It was good to recognise how power laws do manifest as temporal sequences.

How things Work

making things workYaneer Bar Yam, the director of the New England Comples Systems Institute for the last ten years or so, has written this book about complex systems . I received an autographed copy when I visited him. I have not yet read enough to make any real comments, but I like how he started out with the basics of human behaviour in pattern recognition.

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