The Israeli election, consciousness-raising, a potential Nobel Peace Prize winner, the college admissions scandal, the U.S. constitution, and mostly a Sierpinskitasch — all in one post

Six topics in a single blog post? How can that be?

Well, it’s all because those are six of the topics discussed in a single blog post in Scott Aaronson’s interesting blog, Shtetl-Optimized — all being examples of things that make him happy in contrast to the recent election in Israel. See the connection?

Yes, I suppose it’s a little iffy.

Anyhow, you really ought to read Aaronson’s entire post, which isn’t very long. But mostly I wanted to point out the magnificent fractal Sierpinskitasch that appears at the end of the post. Baked by one of his CS grad students, Jess Sorrell, it was actually designed by a fellow student of hers, Debs Gardner, so the full line of credit goes Gardner → Sorrell → Aaronson → Davidson, which isn’t a fractal at all but who’s counting? After Aaronson’s post, read Gardner’s full post on this subject, where she explains that she isn’t a mathemataschen, although…

I’ve been more and more inspired by math lately (details in a moment). I learned some basic facts about the Sierpinski triangle as i went. First of all, when rotated to any side, it looks the same; I couldn’t even tell where I’d started it. Also, as the triangles get smaller, notice a pattern in the quantity of each size: 1, 3, 9, 27…. I’m sure it would go on if I could make really really tiny hamantaschen, but I don’t have that much power. Also, technically this triangle has no area, so maybe all the sugar doesn’t count? But careful with that logic: it has infinite perimeter, and that dough for the perimeter is full of not-healthy ingredients like flour and sugar and oil.


Categories: Life, Math, Teaching & Learning