Sunday, June 08, 2008

Butterfly effect causes fire in Mexico

You might have heard about the "butterfly effect" ... the popular version of the Chaos Theory, stating that the tiny air disturbance from the flapping of a butterfly's wings in China ultimately can lead to a hurricane in Florida.

The butterfly effect is a phrase that encapsulates the more technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory. According to it "small variations of the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system."

[If you are impatient, skip the long paragraph below and go straight to the video below :)]

The Whackypedia enlightens us further by explaining: "The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in a certain location. The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different. Of course the butterfly cannot literally cause a tornado. The kinetic energy in a tornado is enormously larger than the energy in the turbulence of a butterfly. The kinetic energy of a tornado is ultimately provided by the sun and the butterfly can only influence certain details of weather events in a chaotic manner."

Well... I don't know if it's true that the flapping of a butterfly in China can create a hurricane in Florida, US of A, but it surely can create a fire in Mexico!!.

Whatch this poor lady at her 15th birthday party... (*)

I couldn't stop laughing for half an hour after seeing this one...

Watch out for butterflies!!


(*) Note for readers in other cultures: I don't know if 15th birthdays for girls are a big thing elsewhere, but for us latins (the video is from Mexico, but it's the same down here as well) it's a big formal celebration, marking a girl's passage into adulthood. That explains the cake, the big attendance, etc. Down here the parent often wears a suit and tie, etc.

1 comment:

Fernando Cassia said...

Just realized that what we have down here as "fiesta de 15" is the "sweet sixteen" up there.

You learn something every day...