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March 31, 2009


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Great post ... once again, your writing style motivated me to read the entire post (not a trivial thing in this day and age); so, I am now going to have to pick up a copy of 'Sand'. After reading, I'll make sure to put together a review blog post.

This is fascinating stuff ... as a sed geologist, me and my cohorts have had countless conversations about the origin of this phenomenon while out in the field.

Regarding power laws, I guess I would say that these relationships are *described* by a power law rather than *driven* by them ... I just don't think we have a good handle yet on why the power-law relationship (when it is truly there) pops up again and again. I recommend Mark Buchanan's book 'Ubiquity' for a popular treatment of the subject.

Thanks for the comment and reading time devoted! You're absolutely right about power laws - they show up everywhere and yet we really don't know why (I was just watching a program that showed how the distribution of resonance frequencies of a glass sphere when struck by a steel ball parallels the distribution of prime numbers - these things are all so wondrously mysterious). So yes, "described" would be better - I guess I just had driving in my mind as I was writing. I've read the Ubiquity book - good stuff - I would highly recommend Per Bak's "How nature Works" in the same vein.

And a review of my book would be greatly appreciated!

Wow--for many years I've wondered if gravel road washboard had anything in common with ripples in flowing water, and sure enough, at http://perso.ens-lyon.fr/nicolas.taberlet/washboard/, I see the Froude equation, which is exactly the same relationship that describes ripple and dune formation in riverbeds. Thanks.

Steve - I'm pleased this was of interest and that the Froude equation (which at some remote earlier stage of my life I knew more intimately than I seem to do today) continues to demonstrate its versatility!

I followed up and went to your website - the stream tables are great and I found myself totally absorbed with the videos.

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