Disorderly genius: How chaos drives the brain - life - 29 June 2009 - New Scientist
"Systems on the edge of chaos are said to be in a state of "self-organised criticality". These systems are right on the boundary between stable, orderly behaviour - such as a swinging pendulum - and the unpredictable world of chaos, as exemplified by turbulence... Brain scans used to map the connections between regions of the human brain discovered that they form a "small-world network" - exactly the right architecture to support self-organised criticality. Small-world networks lie somewhere between regular networks, where each node is connected to its nearest neighbours, and random networks, which have no regular structure but many long-distance connections between nodes at opposite sides of the network. Small-world networks take the most useful aspects of both systems. In places, the nodes have many connections with their neighbours, but the network also contains random and often long links between nodes that are very far away from one another. It's the perfect compromise."
Do ideas sometimes pop into your head from, it seems, nowhere? Yes, and it’s because your brain actually operates on the edge of chaos. In fact, your brain is like a pile of sand, but don't worry: that's why it has such remarkable powersYouTube - Broadcast Yourself.
"Chaos theory has a bad name, conjuring up images of unpredictable weather, economic crashes and science gone wrong. But there is a fascinating and hidden side to Chaos, one that scientists are only now beginning to understand. It turns out that chaos theory answers a question that mankind has asked for millennia - how did we get here? In this documentary, Professor Jim Al-Khalili sets out to uncover one of the great mysteries of science - how does a universe that starts off as dust end up with intelligent life? How does order emerge from disorder? It's a mindbending, counterintuitive and for many people a deeply troubling idea. But Professor Al-Khalili reveals the science behind much of beauty and structure in the natural world and discovers that far from it being magic or an act of God, it is in fact an intrinsic part of the laws of physics. Amazingly, it turns out that the mathematics of chaos can explain how and why the universe creates exquisite order and pattern. The natural worlBBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | The brilliance of creative chaos
essay by Clive James
Are we able to think clearly when surrounded by mess because chaos is inherent in all our minds, even those of the great writers and thinkers?Does Nature Break the Second Law of Thermodynamics?: Scientific American
From the November 2008 Scientific American Magazine | 62 comments Does Nature Break the Second Law of Thermodynamics? In seeming defiance of the second law of thermodynamics, nature is filled with examples of order emerging from chaos. A new theoretical framework resolves the apparent paradox By J. Miguel Rubí
Scientific American: In seeming defiance of the second law of thermodynamics, nature is filled with examples of order emerging from chaos. A new theoretical framework resolves the apparent paradox
discussion topic, allow students to discuss key points of article, provide them with selected passages. This is a good way to see if they understand as they will have to discuss how nature does and doesn't obey the laws of thermodynamics.