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Re: Butterfly effect

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on December 29, 2004

In Reply to: Butterfly effect posted by Fred on December 29, 2004

: S. Winchester writes: 'Given these cascades of disasters past and present [such as an earthquake in Bam followed by an earthquake off Sumatra] one can only wonder: might there be some kind of butterfly effect, latent and deadly, lying out in the seismic world?'
: Please give me some help with the phrase 'butterfly effect.' Thanks.

"The Butterfly Effect" can also be called "The Domino Effect", but the former is more closely associated with natural elements and chaos theory, while the latter may be politically charged.

For a learned discussion of the Butterfly Effect, try this: http://www.cmp.caltech.edu/~mcc/chaos_new/Lorenz.html

A sample:

The "Butterfly Effect" is often ascribed to [Dr. Edward N.] Lorenz. In a paper in 1963 given to the New York Academy of Sciences he remarks:

One meteorologist remarked that if the theory were correct, one flap of a seagull's wings would be enough to alter the course of the weather forever.
By the time of his talk at the December 1972 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. the sea gull had evolved into the more poetic butterfly - the title of his talk was* :
"Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas?"