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“Mmmmmm, swirly pretty things. What did you say they meant again?”
A Julia Set is the mathematical representation of the electropsychotropomorphological mind waves of someone who has done too much LSD, mushrooms or other psychotropic substance. Julia Sets are created by hooking a mind wave detector to an acid freak's head via electrotoads, and channelling the mind feed into a mathsy-type graphics generator machine. The resultant images are, quite frankly, some of the prettiest sciencey pictures known to man, though their meaning is still unclear, and quite possibly nonexistent.
edit History and discovery
Julia Sets rose to prominence in the 1960s, when noted mind scientists of the era Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Aristotle published a transcript of a conversation they had one night at Albert's crib with some particularly wild mescaline. Einstein had also sneaked off to the bathroom for a big line of ketamine, because he didn't think the stuff was kicking in fast enough. It was Newton's first time on psychedelics. A section of this is reproduced below, and is often cited as the exact moment at which Julia Sets were invented.
- Albert Einstein: Doooooot doot doot doooooo. Ooot doooooot doot doot doooooooot...
- Aristotle: Man I'm seeing some fucking crazy shit. Haven't tripped this hard in, like, proper ages.
- Isaac Newton: Mate, seriously, I'm proper freaked here. Can you see any of this stuff? I swear there are things trying to come through that wall. Can you see this? Over there, there, that wall. Can you see? Jesus fuck, man, this isn't cool.
- A: It's like, colours, but all swirled and complicated and stuff, I think I might be having one of the eureka things, you know?
- IN: I'm fucking serious here man, I'm seeing some proper crazy shit and I don't even know if it's cos I'm tripping or cos there's something actually gone wrong somewhere. And I'm sweating, man, shit, are you sweating? It's like I'm swimming here, I'm fucking soaked. But no wonder man, with these things trying to get in the wall.
- AE: JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP jooooooooooop joop joopy joo joo joo joo joopsssssssss heheheh.
- A: Yeah, I don't know about that man, but the more I see these swirly patterns the more I think this must mean something man, I mean they just look so sciencey you know? Like all those diagrams and pictures of space and shit, like, you know it must mean something, but I'm fucked if I know what. You know what I mean?
- IN: I've got to get out man, I can't fucking stay here, it's just too intense, and these things are going to come in through that wall any minute now, I've got to go. Fuck fuck fuck, this isn't good, this isn't good, this is bad, this is seriously seriously seriously fucking fucked up in here man, I mean it now.
- AE: Joople. Jooo-hoopley oople. Joooly ooly ooly oopley joople doopley. Hee hee hee hee hee hee heeheheheehehe. Jooly ooly ooly.
- A: Mate, I promise, this isn't just me tripping balls here, this shit I'm seeing is something proper serious man, I've got to show you this shit, we need to work out what it means. It's like, something to do with maths, but with colours, and all patterned and shit. Albert, have you got that mind reader thing? You know, the thing, that fucking thing you showed us that does those mind wave things? Have you still got that shit?
- IN: For fuck's sake man we don't have time for any of this shit. We have to get out, now. Leave him, man, he's gone, they've got him already.
- AE: Joool...ool...JULIA! JULIA! Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheehee. Joooo-oooooooolyahhhh! Julia. Julia-a-a-a-a-ahh.
- A: Haha, no man, he's fine, chill the fuck out, he's in a special place with some special thoughts. I'm gonna hook up to this fucking machine man, you have to see some of this shit, I swear, this is going to piss all over that relativity thing.
Over the next six hours Aristotle managed to produce over two hundred images channelled directly from his tripped out fucking brain into Einstein's mind wave detection device, and then into a primitive computer. The conclusion of the story is often disputed, with each of the three scientists offering vastly different explanations. The general idea is that as they came down from their trips they had a lengthy discussion of what the images (which Einstein insisted they call Julia Sets) could be. Unfortunately, these were all complete bollocks.
edit Analysis of the Sets
The scientific community is divided as to whether Aristotle, on that day, broke through the barriers of human perception and discovered an underlying pattern to reality; perhaps a visual representation of a theory that would unite the forces of nature and provide us with a quantum gravitational explanation for, mass, matter, dimensionality and the nature of existence, or whether he was just tripping his fucking nuts off. What is beyond argument is that in the intervening years, some tripped-out motherfuckers have produced some seriously cool-looking Julia Sets with nothing more than a mind wave detector, a few mates and some high-quality controlled substances.