August 28, 2011 1:01 am at 1:01 am #598947
We all probably learnt in Yeshiva that when someone scratches their finger it can have effects across the world. I just saw this sentence buried in a post on the N.Y. times today:
In theory, a butterfly flapping its wings halfway across the world could have caused the eddies that gave birth to Hurricane Irene
Wow! The Ribono Shel Olam and his wonderful ways!August 28, 2011 2:09 am at 2:09 am #1030973
That’s an old saying, “A butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a tornado in the Great Plains”. I don’t know how true it actually is though.August 28, 2011 2:29 am at 2:29 am #1030974
everything is deeply intertwingled.
– Ted NelsonAugust 28, 2011 2:34 am at 2:34 am #1030975
It’s a major misunderstanding of a certain branch of mathematics made popular by a movie made in 1993.August 28, 2011 2:57 am at 2:57 am #1030976
The NY Times post from today that I quoted above in the OP, made the statement as a scientific fact.August 28, 2011 2:59 am at 2:59 am #1030977
What are “eddies”?August 28, 2011 3:09 am at 3:09 am #1030978
Noun: A movement of water, counter to a main current, causing a small whirlpool.
Verb: (of water, air, or smoke) Move in a circularAugust 28, 2011 4:43 am at 4:43 am #1030979
Thank you Tomche. Very thorough explanation!August 28, 2011 4:55 am at 4:55 am #1030980
Tomche: It’s nowhere near a scientific fact. I’m sorry that (gasp!) the NYT wrote something as true that wasn’t. It’s an old saying to show the importance of actions that became a blockbuster movie. It’s not true at all.August 28, 2011 4:59 am at 4:59 am #1030981
In 1961, Edward Lorenz was using a numerical computer model to rerun a weather prediction. As a shortcut on a number in the sequence, he entered the decimal .506 instead of entering the full .506127 the computer would hold. The result was a completely different weather scenario. Lorenz published his findings in a 1963 paper for the New York Academy of Sciences noting that “One meteorologist remarked that if the theory were correct, one flap of a seagull’s wings could change the course of weather forever.” Later speeches and papers by Lorenz used the more poetic butterfly. According to Lorenz, upon failing to provide a title for a talk he was to present at the 139th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1972, Philip Merilees concocted “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” as a title. Hence the popular term, “The Butterfly Effect.”
(found it on 5TJT.COM A DAF YOMI ARTICLE)August 28, 2011 5:35 am at 5:35 am #1030982
Luckily enough we have butterflies on the other side of the globe to counter act it.August 28, 2011 6:45 am at 6:45 am #1030983
It serves to remind us that every minor action on our part can have worldwide repercussions we may not even be aware of. For positive or for negative, depending on what we do.August 28, 2011 1:52 pm at 1:52 pm #1030984
Little things, big reactions. Amazing.August 28, 2011 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #1030985
Check the Wikipedia article “Butterfly effect”:
In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions; where a small change at one place in a nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. For example, the presence or absence of a butterfly flapping its wings could lead to creation or absence of a hurricane.
Although the butterfly effect may appear to be an esoteric and unusual behavior, it is exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position.
The term “butterfly effect” itself is related to the meteorological work of Edward Lorenz, who popularized the term.
The butterfly effect is most familiar in terms of weather; it can easily be demonstrated in standard weather prediction models…June 10, 2012 2:21 am at 2:21 am #1030986
Eddies in the space-time continuum, of course. ^_^September 5, 2014 5:43 pm at 5:43 pm #1030988
“It’s a major misunderstanding of a certain branch of mathematics made popular by a movie made in 1993.”
Chaos theory, I presume?September 5, 2014 6:53 pm at 6:53 pm #1030989
If butterflies can cause storms, imagine what an eagle can do. If not, well, eagles are pretty powerful anyway.
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