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February 16th Fact-of-the-Day

A fractal is a shape that contains an infinite amount of self-similar fine detail. Consider white noise, for example. White noise is a random mixture of frequencies extending from zero frequency to infinite frequency, although the term is commonly misused to refer to narrower bands of frequencies that exist in practical systems. If true white noise was examined with an imaginary oscilloscope that could display frequencies from zero to infinity, no matter how much the horizontal time-base of the plot was expanded or compressed, similar waveforms with similar amounts of fine detail would be seen. True white noise therefore is a true fractal. However, just as the term white-noise is commonly misapplied to bandwidths that are not truly infinite, the term fractal is commonly misapplied to shapes that contain large, but not infinite, amounts of self-similar fine detail. ©2005 Martek, International. All rights reserved.

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