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The Morning GIF: Pair o’ fractals

Making mathematics attractive for a century.


Lorraine Murphy

Internet Culture

Posted on Apr 15, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 6:35 pm CDT

Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

Fractals are the show ponies of mathematics, their infinitely recursive, Rococo swoops and daggers a favorite among druggies and fans of those ’90s-era 3-D pictures with, say, a dolphin swimming into the sunset hidden inside their trippy curves. 

The famously funky artform is really simply another way to express the mathematical concept, albeit much more attractive to the civilian than an austere equation. The Mandelbrot set, for instance, can be expressed like this:

Image via David Dewey

Or it can be expressed like this: Z = Z2 + C.

Which do you think most Gödel, Escher, Bach-reading freshmen would prefer on their walls?

This literally moving illustration of a different fractal was created by REDNOR and originally uploaded March 16 of last year, when it earned 7,122 notes. Reuploaded at Adulthood Is Okay I Guess, it’s garnered another 1,871 notes. It’s now having another micro-renaissance. Fractal GIF note lists are apparently not unlike fractal sets: they keep going infinitely, getting smaller and smaller. We anticipate tuning in six months from now and finding it yet again, this time with six notes…

GIF by REDNOR/Tumblr

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*First Published: Apr 15, 2013, 8:30 am CDT