On Exploring the Driest

Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance. (Will Durant, historian)

You should not see the desert simply as some faraway place of little rain. There are many forms of thirst. (William Langewiesche, author)

No doubt about it – deserts are dry. Because all deserts are not created equal, where is the driest desert on our planet?

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Surely you didn’t guess the place in the image above, which is Death Valley in California. Besides, I’m confident the Atacama Desert quickly came to everyone’s mind.

Yes, the Atacama – a 600 mile (1,000 km) high plateau in Chile. The Atacama – sandwiched between the Andes Mountains to its east and the Pacific Ocean to its west. The Atacama – the land of stone, sand, and salt lakes. The Atacama – a land of unique flora and fauna that is sparsely populated by people.

Unlike previous posts in this series, today’s Explore provides two short looks at Atacama – an initial drive through the desert followed by the beauty of its night sky. Enjoy this journey to a land you may not have known until now.

On an Infinite Journey

Fractal – any of various extremely irregular curves or shapes for which any suitably chosen part is similar in shape to a given larger or smaller part when magnified or reduced to the same size (Merriam-Webster)

Fractal – a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems – the pictures of Chaos. (The Fractal Foundation)

All created forms are fractal, as is their purpose, use, and allotted time for existence. (Guy Finley, writer)

The universe is fractal. The closer you look at it, the more interesting it becomes. (John Lloyd, producer)

Fractal geometry is everywhere, even in lines drawn in the sand. It’s the cycle of life… You see fractals in plants, in flowers. Within the human lung are branches within branches. (Ron Eglash, scientist)

Enjoy this visual journey, but some may find the audio as distracting or annoying.

On Exploring a Natural Pattern

Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler. (Albert Einstein, physicist)

Paul Green, at Stanford, has argued persuasively that the Fibonacci series is just what one would expect as the simplest self-repeating pattern that can be generated by the particular growth processes in the growing tips of the tissues that form sunflowers, pine cones, and so forth. (Stuart A. Kauffman, MD)

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. (Albert Einstein, physicist)

Without mathematics there is no art. (Luca Pacioli, mathematician and collaborator with Leonardo da Vinci)

On Exploring Dimensions

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Life has its dimensions in the mysterious. (Jesse Jackson, activist)

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.. judge)

The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness. (Lao Tzu, philosopher)

I’ve always been thinking in three dimensions, ever since I started working with computer animation in the early ’80s. (John Lasseter, director)

In the final analysis, a drawing simply is no longer a drawing, no matter how self-sufficient its execution may be. It is a symbol, and the more profoundly the imaginary lines of projection meet higher dimensions, the better. (Paul Klee, artist)

On Exploring Ballooning

I pick projects according to how fascinating they are to me, and it has resulted in a broad reach. My records are actually in five different sports: balloons, airplanes, airships, gliders, and sailboats. (Steve Fossett, aviator)

The balloons only have one life and the only way of finding out whether they work is to attempt to fly around the world. (Richard Branson, businessman)

My dream date is a tall, dark, handsome, blue-eyed man with a bubble butt who will whisk me away to Paris in a hot air balloon to wine me, dine me and. (Karen McDougal, model)

My grandmother flew only once in her life, and that was the day she and her new husband ascended into the skies of Victorian London in the wicker basket of a hot-air balloon. They were soon to emigrate to Canada, and the aerial ride was meant to be a last view of their beloved England. (Alan Bradley, writer)

If there was the opportunity to climb a mountain, or to go ballooning, or some adventurous activity, I would always be keen to do it. I loved the countryside. (Roger Bannister, athlete)

On a Touch of Klee

Beauty is as relative as light and dark. Thus, there exists no beautiful woman, none at all, because you are never certain that a still far more beautiful woman will not appear and completely shame the supposed beauty of the first. (Paul Klee)

To emphasize only the beautiful seems to me to be like a mathematical system that only concerns itself with positive numbers. (Paul Klee)

The art of mastering life is the prerequisite for all further forms of expression, whether they are paintings, sculptures, tragedies, or musical compositions. (Paul Klee)

In the final analysis, a drawing simply is no longer a drawing, no matter how self-sufficient its execution may be. It is a symbol, and the more profoundly the imaginary lines of projection meet higher dimensions, the better. (Paul Klee)

Color possesses me. I don’t have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: Color and I are one. I am a painter. (Paul Klee)

Everything vanishes around me, and works are born as if out of the void. Ripe, graphic fruits fall off. My hand has become the obedient instrument of a remote will. (Paul Klee)

On a South American Wonder

Water is the driving force of all nature. (Leonardo da Vinci)

I love the sounds and the power of pounding water, whether it is the waves or a waterfall. (Mike May)

The point is that when I see a sunset or a waterfall or something, for a split second it’s so great, because for a little bit I’m out of my brain, and it’s got nothing to do with me. I’m not trying to figure it out, you know what I mean? And I wonder if I can somehow find a way to maintain that mind stillness. (Chris Evans)

There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says, if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you! (Mehmet Murat ildan)

Just as a waterfall grows slower and more lightly suspended as it plunges down, so the great man of action tends to act with greater calmness than his tempestuous desires prior to the deed would lead one to expect. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

One will never find in the waterfall of sights anything else than the Illusion of Life, which falls in torrents on the granite rocks of the souls. (Sorin Cerin)

Friends of ours just returned from an Argentina-to-Chile cruise. The day before boarding the ship, they took a tour of a place I didn’t know along the border of Argentina and Brazil. Once I saw this video, I knew this was a fitting post for us to explore … and the music is a perfect match for the scenery.

Have you heard of these? Have you been there? Which of the quotes stuck you?