Grist List

Earth’s most beautiful fractal patterns have to be seen to be believed

Computer science professor Paul Bourke has an exhaustive amount of information about fractals on his website, but for my money the coolest part is his collection of naturally occurring fractal images from Google Earth. If I hadn’t looked them up, I’d suspect some of these were computer-generated — but no, they’re real rivers, lakes, and mountain ranges branching into mathematically and aesthetically beautiful patterns, like a freaking Piers Anthony novel or something. (Fractal Mode? Anyone else? No? It’s pretty bad.) Bourke has way more fractals on his site, along with data files so you can find them on Google Earth. …

Astronauts fixed the space station with a toothbrush

Most of us postpone tossing our old toothbrushes in the landfill by putting them to work as cleaning tools. But very few of us postpone tossing our old toothbrushes in the landfill by putting them to work as cleaning tools on the International Space Station. Astronauts Sunita Williams and Akihiko Hoshide did that yesterday, though, when they used an old toothbrush to help install two problem bolts.

Frustrated Russians get rid of potholes by stuffing them into politicians’ mouths

The writers for Russian blog URA.RU got fed up with unfixed potholes in the city of Yekaterinburg, so they decided to force-feed them to politicians. Or, anyway, giant cartoons of politicians’ heads. They enlisted ad agency Voskhod to draw cartoons of local pols around potholes and other road imperfections, in order to draw attention to the blight. And it worked.

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