Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More Emergence

Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland is an example of a complex emergent structure created by natural processes. [Wikipedia: "Emergence"]


  1. Are you sure that was not built by an Oirish giant.....?

  2. There is also the Organ Pipes National Park near Melbourne in Australia. The formations there are different but made by the same process. At the end of the Wikipedia entry it says "See also: Giant's Causeway, a much smaller and similar formation in Northern Ireland". It sounds as though someone has a chip on his shoulder.

  3. But my point was that I'm beginning to understand this emergence thing. I think.

  4. @Adullamite - You're right of course. McCool, I think. Or the correct spelling, whichever. He was chasing out a Scottish cowardly giant, I believe. One of the stones he threw at the retreating Scot bounced off his back and created the Isle of Man. I am up on my Irish mythology, no?

    @A. - A chip indeed. :) I know you told me about basalt columns. Or I told you. But emergence is so much more. Shall we get into termite mounds and snowflake crystals? :) :)

    Incidentally, the old bones in the cannibal cave in arghshire are not examples of emergence. :)

    I wonder if the "bloom" on coffee when the hot water hits it in a french press coffeemaker is emergence? Or just wonderful?

  5. You are welcome to get into snowflakes any time you like. I will happily watch. And cheer at appropriate moments.

  6. I think it's of more a simple emergent structure, rather than a complex one, as it's just an area of vertically stacked hexagonal columns. Tesselate it with at least three other regular polygons, and it would be slightly less simple, but not particularly complex. As for emergent, it's eroding faster than it's emerging.
    I challenge your label.

  7. A. - Some say not all snowflakes are different. The envious ones say that. Those who have time to inspect them. I choose not to believe them because their evidence melts when you bring it out into the sunlight.

    Soubriquet - Eh?

    I don't think keeping up with erosion was one of the stipulations. Unexplainability of the thing that makes it do that is the issue.

    But I have forwarded your objection on to Wikipedia for processing.

  8. Wasn't it Tessalate who pissed off Eidson with AC electricity?

  9. Nicola Tesla. Sharp guy when it came to electricity. Better looking that Edison but not as merciless or business savvy.

  10. Where's the unexplainability of columnar basalt? It's simple enough.
    Exposed areas of this type of structure are not uncommon, globally.
    In many industries, and certainly in ceramics, controlled formulation, and crystallisation, of cooling substances is regularly used, to achieve predictable results. Did you never, as a kid, grow crystals in super-saturated solutions? Copper sulphate is particularly rewarding.

    I'd say any child who's ever learned even a little about crystallisation, and about molecular stacking, will have no difficulty in understanding the formation of the giant's causeway, We're overawed by the scale of it, but not the causation.
    Your 'emergence' seems to me not particularly relevant here, nor anywhere.
    It seems to me a theorem for the overwhelmed.



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