Questions on African Fractals ch 3-4


1)     pp. 39-40 Why would it make sense to explain the difference between the fractal geometry of African settlements and the Euclidean geometry of European settlements by looking at differences in social structure? Why doesn’t that explanation work?

2)     pp. 40 What attributes show that the southwestern Native American settlement architectures are not fractal? P. 41 What about an over-head view of the step pyramids of Mexico?

3)     pp. 42 What is the most prominent Native American design theme?  Provide examples of the relationship between this geometry and its cultural semiotics.

4)     pp. 43,45,46 Compare African and Native American models of nature.

5)     p. 45-46 What about the nonlinear spirals we see in Native American designs? Don’t those come from an effort to produce nonlinear scaling?

6)     pp. 47 What is the origin of scaling shapes in Asian and South Pacific societies?

7)     pp. 47-48 What about Indian and European designs? What conclusions can we draw about African fractals?

8)     pp. 49-50 In what way is urban sprawl an “unintentional fractal?” How does that compare to African settlement fractals?

9)     pp. 50-51 Why not assume that Africans use fractals because nature uses fractals and Africans are closer to nature?

10)pp. 51 Where should we locate mimicry of nature in the spectrum between unintentional and intentional designs?

11)pp. 51 If Europeans have been mimicking nature in their designs, why didn’t they invent fractal geometry before Mandelbrot’s book in 1977?

12)pp. 52-53 What is the difference between mimicry and modeling? Explain using the examples of African models for patterns in nature.

13)P. 53 What are the implications of this discussion on intentionality, nature, and culture for African Fractals?

14)pp. 53-54What is meant by “esthetic fractals?” What is their significance for a Popperian test of the hypothesis that African fractals are mathematics?

15)pp. 55 In what ways does the quincunx show that not all African fractals have their significance in their fractal attributes?

16)pp. 55-56 How does the fractal aesthetic show up in household objects? How is this positive presence of scaling geometry primitivized as a “lack” in some anthropological descriptions?

17)pp. 56-57 Explain the spectrum of figure 4.6. What are the implications for our examination of fractal designs?