What’s The Connection Between Fractals And Rainforests?

Written by Martha

Topics: Learn

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Mandelbrot Set (Fractal)When longtime RAN supporter Robert Wehle recommended to one of our staff that we watch the NOVA special FRACTALS: Hunting the Hidden Dimension that was the first question that popped into our heads. We were intrigued here at RAN, so we scheduled a lunch viewing of the special.

What we found out is that fractals are:

A. Very cool

B. Are becoming a valuable tool in measuring things that were once thought to be unmeasurable, such as the exact length of a coastline or the carbon stocks of a rainforest.

You can watch the entire episode on PBS’s website, but if you want to skip right to the part where it talks about rainforests it is near the end, starting around the 44 minute mark.

Sidenote: The episode was partially funded by ExxonMobil and and the David H. Koch Foundation, two organizations known for their funding of climate change denying organizations, yet this episode repeatedly refers to global warming as an accepted scientific fact. An interesting contradiction, don’t you think?

4 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Mike G says:

    That is really interesting, actually. So Exxon and the Kochs are spending money to try and clean up their (rightfully) sullied names, and in the process they’re funding programs at odds with all of their anti-climate spending. Delicious irony!!!

  2. Martha says:


  3. Jeremy says:

    Mike G and Martha, missing the point of the article and focusing perhaps on the propensity for human nature and human decision making to be wrought with contradictions. Unless of course you may be suggesting that this inconsistent behavior can be expained with the fractal model?

  4. Martha says:

    Considering I wrote the article, I don’t think I missed the point, which is that fractals are pretty cool and have unexpected uses.

    The sidenote was just a fact that I thought was worth pointing out, especially considering that RAN often focuses on corporate accountability in our campaigns.

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