It snowed quite a lot in Portland, yesterday and overnight. About a foot altogether, which for this town is if not historic at least very rare; a typical Portland winter sees no snow at all, or some brief flurries of fat flakes that don’t survive contact with the wet-from-recent-rain ground. Every two or three years we’ll get a nice blanket of 2 or 3 inches and the city will shut down for a day or two while everyone panics.
This isn’t the first snow we’ve had this winter, so it’s been a weird one on that front already; last time we got some decent coverage, I scraped a Sierpinski Carpet in the driveway with a chunk of scrap 1×6 we had sitting around:
But this was something else, and so it demanded something else: increased dimensionality.
And so after my wife and I had finished some utilitarian shoveling of sidewalk and driveway, I started building up a good sized cube on front lawn. Wife helped out for a while too, as we packed snow on sides and top and turned a heap into a squarish heap.
And then it was just a lot of packing and squaring, and then some hollowing out. The hollowing went comparatively quickly, and there were no disaster collapses which was a relief.
And so: a snow Menger sponge. A snowmeng. In the meadow we can build one, etc.
It’s not the cleanest iteration I’ve done, geometrically or literally. The squares aren’t terribly square and the bottom hole has a bit of snow left in it because it was very difficult to trowel out cleanly (you have to be tall to even catch me cheating, there, but I know I did). Beyond that, I got clumps of grass and dirt mixed in because I built the thing out of snow I’d already been shoveling off the sidewalk, with all the bits of grass and moss and soil in the cracks.
But also: we went for a walk in the morning to get some exercise and see how the neighborhood was taking the snow. Which: everything was white and snowy! A lot of branches had come down under the weight of it, “widowmakers” the word I picked up for those (and their not-fallen-yet cousins) at some point in my youth, probably from Montana family.
But there were also some stuff that had a found-fractal feel:
These chain link accumulations, with the lattice of half-filled triangles, reminded me of some very simple 1D cellular automata patterns. That’s a whole blog post on it’s own, but for now also:
The accumulation of snow unevenly and seemingly randomly on the hexy trypophobateria that is this TriMet bus stop shelter remind me likewise of some of the complex seeming-randomness of a particular famous 1D cellular automata, the Rule 90 pattern.
Finally, I liked the way the accumulated snow on this tree (and many others) brings out the branching patterns of the, uh, branches — the snow creates a contrast and blocks the view in a way that makes this feel like a cutout diagram of the tree. All of which feels like a nice echo of a randomized Lindenmayer System model, which is appropriate enough as L-Systems were apparently designed originally to model organic/botanical growth patterns.