April 2006 Archives

April 30, 2006

Magnus of Füssen: patron saint against caterpillars

Jen walked in last night with a gleam in her eye, and informed me that Magnus of Füssen is the Patron Saint against caterpillars.


We Episcopalians sometimes make light of Catholics, but you got to hand it to them - they think of everything.

This 7th century priest is also the saint "against hail; against hailstorms; against lightning; against snakes; against vermin; caterpillars; hail; hailstorms; lightning; protection of crops; snakes; and vermin."

Fractal food - romanesco!

This really quite remarkable. You must click over and take a look at romanesco. It's a type of vegetable - in same family as broccoli and cauliflower, but with with an extraordinary appearance.

What's so special is that it is fractal: the overall form of the food (a crown-like appearance) is reproduced at smaller and smaller scales. So when you look at one of the crowns closely, you see more crowns, which in turn have more crowns, and so forth.

The link above both has photos of increasing magnification and some explanation of fractal geometry which this food so wonderfully demonstrates. If you don't care for the math, make sure you skip to the end for the rest of the photos.

Mathematics are everywhere in nature, but in this case, this vegetable is so striking in that regard that it makes me think God assigned some junior grade math nut angel to design it. (No, I don't believe in intelligent design; evolution, please.)

I love it. Learning new things is such fun.