Posts Tagged ‘fractal’

Sierpinski Cookies

June 25, 2008

Last week I was inspired by the folk at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories to make some Sierpinski Cookies. I was pretty sure that they wouldn’t look as good as those (and they didn’t), but they were fun to make.

Naturally, Godzilla did most of the work. He’s good that way.

At the suggestion of EMSL above, he used the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated (posted at instructables, where they use it to make pixel cookies). You know you can trust the folk at Cook’s Illustrated because they’re the ones who revealed (to me, anyway) that the secret ingredient in pie crust is vodka. Seriously — using a mixture of vodka and water lets you use more liquid, and the vodka boils off and the crust stays tender.

Here’s Godzilla mixing the ingredients.

Godzilla likes to take breaks while cooking to watch Chef Gordon Ramsay.

Actually, Godzilla spent so much time watching Hell’s Kitchen and trying to imitate GR yelling, “It’s RAW!” that he forgot to pose for photographs of the next part. He made another batch of chocolate dough (again, following the instructions at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories (and the chocolate dough is amazing. Plus, no raw eggs, for those who worry about such things when eating raw cookie dough)). Then he formed the dough into long square strips, put them together with a chocolate strip in the middle, chopped them up, and put them together again (with a bigger chocolate piece in the middle) and Lo, Sierpinski cookies!

See? Not nearly as neat as the originators, but he still thought they tasted mighty fine.

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Two dimensions and beyond (or at least between)

April 24, 2008

I fear that this will be a shaggy dog post. One of my students posed an interesting question the other day, and I found myself surprised by the answer. So here’s the quick version of today’s post: What’s the dimension of a tetrix? A tetrix is also known as a Sierpinski tetrahedron, and indeed it is like a three-dimensional version of the Sierpinski triangle, except that, being a fractal, its dimension is less than three. There’s a picture below (which I think of as upside-down), and also a cool java applet version here which you can spin around. Click for cool pictures of a tetrix and other fractals, as well as an explanation for what fractal dimension means.