WEEK 2 (CHAOS)

1) LIFE AND NONLINEAR DYNAMICS

Write a story of your own and post it as a linked page to your Home.html page. Specifically, take an instance from your life where a choice led eventually to a significant difference in your life. For your story to be apt to the context of this course, the train of events flowing from your choice has to be deterministic. Try to identify some of the nonlinearities in the "dynamics of your life" that helped cause your choice to initiate the chain of events it did.

To emphasize the magnitude of the effect of this small choice, construct a plausible "what-if" scenario of having made the alternative choice.

It is highly recommended that you write about something meaningful to you, but if not, a made up story is OK.

Important: Spell check your work!

For example:

"I could choose between staying home or attending the Bridge Program.

I decided to apply and was selected to come and then so and so happened to me...

If instead I had stayed home these 3 weeks I believe so and so would have happened...

I can imagine that the impact of my summer choice on my future is so and so..."



2) HUMAN FOLLIES

Do some research to find out what do the economists refer to by the "tulips' boom/bust" experience.

What do you think is the connection between market crashes and non-linear systems?


3) The Game of Life

a) Determine by hand the next generation of the Life configurations below

 a
             
             
             
             
             
 b
             
             
             
             
             
 c
             
             
             
             
             
 d
             
             
             
             
             

 

b) Determine by hand the next two generations of the Life configurations below

First Generations:

 a
             
             
             
             
             
 b
             
             
             
             
             
 c
             
             
             
             
             
 d
             
             
             
             
             

Second Generations:

 a
             
             
             
             
             
 b
             
             
             
             
             
 c
             
             
             
             
             
 d
             
             
             
             
             

 

c) Invent a pattern that shows some interesting properties.

Warning: Life is powerfully addictive! Use only when not faced with an impending deadline... :-)


4) Some deep philosophical questions:

1) "Human consciousness, free will, or feelings can never be understood in terms of physical laws."

2) "People are mechanistic entities whose behaviors emerge from the same principles that govern all forms of matter."

These are two opposite views of humanity.  Discuss the two statements with the members of your group.

Construct an argument that supports each position.

Which argument do you find more compelling?