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The FlickrBrot - Happy Birthday, Mandelbrot! Today is the birthday of Benoit Mandelbrot. About 30 years ago he pulled a bit of mathematical beauty out of his head that would make him father of what is called fractal geometry. Today, at 84, he's a retired Sterling Professor from Yale but is still getting awards thrown his way and even planets named after him. I thought I'd make something to mark his birthday since I've been playing a bit with fractals and JavaScript lately and because he's just damn cool. If you haven't already, check out the minimized sub-128 bytes Mandelbrot as well as the prettier and fancier Canvas fractal renderer to see the previous Mandelbrot related posts.

If you want to read more about the Mandelbrot set and fractals in general, I suggest you hit up Wikipedia (lots of juicy math!). What it comes down to, though, is that very simple formulas can produce the most fascinating, infinitely complex structures which in turn can be made into pretty pictures on a computer.

So, what I've spent my morning doing is hacking together my fractal renderer with some of the Flickr stuff I've also been doing. Instead of drawing colored pixels, it now pulls in a (limited) number of Flickr images and uses those to paint a visualization of the Mandelbrot set.

You can add a parameter to the url to search for a specific query at Flickr, ie. ".../flickrbrot/?puppies", although the images are painted so small it's pretty hard to discern what they really are. Searching for a specific color can sometimes produce a nicer looking result, ie. "?orange" or "?purple".

Only Firefox, Opera and Webkit nightly!

Check it out here.

Suggested listening: Jonathan Coulton - Mandelbrot Set

⇓ 3 comments Anonymous

great idea!
I also found this site an inspiration or just nice to look:

November 20, 2008 at 3:35 PM

/flickrbrot/?fractal ;)

November 20, 2008 at 10:34 PM
Jacob Seidelin

@Stefan: Yes, Paul Bourke has made some great stuff!

@anon: Hehe. Or even /flickrbrot/?mandelbrot. A mandelbrot of mandelbrots.

November 21, 2008 at 3:23 AM
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