- mail some cards.
- make some cookies.
- stop chasing this computer-generated-terrain bugaboo for the next 24 hours
I've decided to limit myself to as little as 4 batches of cookies this season. I might not make them all today, in fact probably not. But I'll get started on them, and that will be good. The recipies that came out on top this year were: Chocolate Crinkles, Snickerdoodles, Sugar Cookies, and (of course) Brune Kaker. I have no idea how widespread the Brune Kaker recipe is; I've only ever seen them made in my family. But they're a vanilla cookie (although perhaps not in in both senses of the term described here). And the recipe calls for golden syrup and Vanillin Sucker, both of which I have this year.
During that process, I'll get the cards out of the way, and then perhaps let my mind return to 'fractal forgeries of brownian landscapes'. I've once again picked up Mandelbrot's book, "The Fractal Geometry of Nature", and it's got pretty pictures and a lot of math in it. I find myself wanting to flip through the book, stop when I see a pretty picture, and then read the nearby pages, but the math builds on itself (in that way that math does) to an extent that to really comprehend what Mandelbrot is saying about the creaseless generation of terrain features, I need to back up pretty much to the beginning of the book to learn the language that he's using.
But! The good news is that I believe that I'm pretty close to a scheme that I'm happy with for a first pass of the generation of terrain on spheres (or, if I wanted to, donuts, or candycanes...). Erosion comes after that, and I just this morning had an insight that much of the process of eroion is influenced by temperature (e.g. both 'thermal erosion', which involves breaking bits off of rocks to simulate what happens when bits of rock are heated and cooled, as well as that other kind of erosion, which is where water picks up bits of rock and holds it in solution or suspension as the water goes down the mountain). And temperature partially correlates to altitude. And that, my friend, is one piece of explaining why lowland valleys are smooth and mountaintops are pointy.
One last thought. I had a dream last night. I was taking a tour of Penn (of Penn & Teller) Gillette's house. Just me and the big guy, walking around. And in my dream, it was even more ridiculously huge than it actually is. (Not that I've been on a tour, but TiVo keeps recording entertainment specials where somebody who's never seen a P&T show visits Penn's house and gets creeped out.) Anyway, I ask Penn for a job, cause hey, he's a geek and might be an interesting boss. I was seriously thinking of sending Penn a resume at a much earlier point in my life. Penn shoots me down, and gave me a few thoughts, one of which was essentially: "When the goat falls in the squid tank, you don't worry about the squid."