Hardwired Brain Fractals

Laugh it up, furball.

Who knew this was a documentary?

[Image seen here.]

It’s been a rather heavy week in science.

An international scientific team in Italy claims to have recorded sub-atomic particles traveling faster than the speed of light. And just when you were finally getting comfortable with the fabric of the universe. Rip up that old model — because, according to Reuters:

If confirmed, the discovery would undermine Albert Einstein’s 1905 theory of special relativity, which says that the speed of light is a "cosmic constant" and that nothing in the universe can travel faster.

That assertion, which has withstood over a century of testing, is one of the key elements of the so-called Standard Model of physics, which attempts to describe the way the universe and everything in it works.

Uh-oh. Somebody better call the Mending Apparatus from E. M. Forster’s The Machine Stops.

Einstein's advice for fractal artists: "Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater."  

But hyper-accelerated quantum shape-shifting particles exceeding the cosmic speed limit was (unbelievably) not the weirdest and most jaw-dropping geek achievement this week.

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), scientists at Berkeley have successfully decoded the brain signals of three individuals and transformed those signals into watchable movies. Wearing those 3-D glasses is now more than just retro. You obviously need the latest flat screen feature: Telepathy.

Move the antenna.  Steve Martin is breaking up. 

The left clip is a segment of a Hollywood movie trailed that the subject viewed while in the magnet. The right clip shows the reconstruction of this segment from brain activity measured using fMRI.

To my eyes, some of these internally reconstructed images look muddy but still somehow recursive. Those elephants and birds appear neurally re-mapped into blotchy fractal landscapes. I think fractal tracking shots might be physiologically hardwired into our brains:


Naturally, I could be wrong. This post, like everything I write on OT, is only my opinion. You might see something else in these images of what could be considered the ultimate in cinema verite. You might instead think these skull screenings more closely resemble the tone of the surrealist, murderous, crawl-through-the-flat-screen film in The Ring.

All I know is that I signed up for the Berkely Brain Movies Low Residency Program*. And now, every time I surf over to deviantART, over to its Fractalbook Swamp of Mass Ornamentation, my brain consistently records the same reoccurring movie. This:


Yeah. I admit it. I pretty much identify with Ricky. I must like to picture myself in his place — pitting my hard skills against the soft skills of the Bad Hair Hulk wannabe better-off-as-sausage Fractalbookers. But hey. A man’s gotta dream. And, of course, record it.

*Fictional. For the sarcastically challenged.


In an unrelated matter, here’s a glimpse of Beyond Infinity, a massive installation by Serge Salat placed inside a mall in Shanghai. I was struck by the inherent correspondences to mandelbox forms in Salat’s piece. Imagine being able to reflectively stroll through such fractalscapes instead of the often less satisfying quick fly-bys and loopy deep zooms. How wondrous would that be: