by Robert Waltz
Not for the faint of art.
A complex number is expressed in the standard form a + bi, where a and b are real numbers and i is defined by i^2 = -1 (that is, i is the square root of -1). For example, 3 + 2i is a complex number.
The bi term is often referred to as an imaginary number (though this may be misleading, as it is no more "imaginary" than the symbolic abstractions we know as the "real" numbers). Thus, every complex number has a real part, a, and an imaginary part, bi.
Complex numbers are often represented on a graph known as the "complex plane," where the horizontal axis represents the infinity of real numbers, and the vertical axis represents the infinity of imaginary numbers. Thus, each complex number has a unique representation on the complex plane: some closer to real; others, more imaginary. If a = b, the number is equal parts real and imaginary.
Very simple transformations applied to numbers in the complex plane can lead to fractal structures of enormous intricacy and astonishing beauty.
PROMPT January 16th
In your entry today, write about something you overheard while eavesdropping on a conversation you were not a part of. As part of “Creation Saturday,” you choose whether the conversation you write about is real or fake! Encourage discussion in your comments section - do your readers think your story is real or not?
Truth? I hate eavesdropping. If it looks like I might be in a situation where I might overhear something not meant for me, I nope on out of there. None of my business, even if they're talking about me. Especially if they're talking about me. I don't consider it a guilty pleasure; I consider it highly unethical, because in general, my ethical compass points to "if I don't like it when someone does it to me, I reject doing it to them." And I hate being eavesdropped upon.
That said, you don't live very long before you find yourself in such situations, beyond your control. Since I find it unethical, though, my mind revises such conversations so I can pretend they never happened. Consequently, though I know I've accidentally eavesdropped before, I can only remember one specific instance of it, and even there, I can't remember the exact words spoken.
It was late, and I don't think the boss knew I was still at the office, because I stayed in the back and mostly just concentrated on my work. I went to get a drink or use the restroom or something, and I overheard the boss and the senior engineer, in the boss's office, discussing my performance and whether to give me a raise or not. I immediately noped away, quietly, even though admittedly there was a part of me that wanted to hear what they really thought about me.
That part got quashed.
Look, I'm no saint and you know it. But mostly the things that I do that are un-saint-like affect only me. When other people are involved, my internal rules change. Like... I have no moral constraints against getting drunk, but I won't drive under the influence because someone else might get hurt. That sort of thing. And in this case, the bigger part of me would rather have remained in ignorance that the conversation ever happened (though they certainly had every right to discuss my work performance in private). It's not so much because I didn't want to know what they thought about my work; like I said, I really did. It's more because knowing would have forever changed my relationship to both of them. Hell, if I didn't like what I heard, I might have had to go looking for another job.
As it turned out, that probably would have been for the best in the long run, but that's another story unrelated to the eavesdropping. As it was, I stuck around at that company for ten more years... and yes, a couple months after the conversation I had a performance review and ended up with a raise. That boss had his issues, but as far as I know he was always honest with me -- except for one big thing that, ten years later, caused me to jump ship and go work for the same former senior engineer who was in the conversation. But that's also another story for another time, nothing to do with the topic at hand.
That said, eavesdropping and the fallout thereof makes for interesting drama in fiction, much as murder makes a good mystery even though it's wrong. And yet, whenever I see it happening, either reading about it or on a screen, it still makes me cringe.
Now, I'm supposed to encourage discussion in the comments. Sure, you can decide for yourself whether that situation was real or fake, but let's make it more interesting with a
Merit Badge Mini-Contest!
Since a lot of you reading this have already done, or are preparing to do, your own entry on this topic as part of the 30DBC, I'm going to turn things around for the contest. In the comments, tell me, not about a conversation that you overheard... but about a conversation that you participated in that was eavesdropped upon, that you wish hadn't been.
As with the prompt, I don't care if it's truth or fiction, as long as it's interesting, and the one I find most interesting and/or amusing will earn the commenter a Merit Badge.
Per usual, you have until midnight tonight, the end of Saturday, WDC time... though I can't guarantee I'll do my usual post just after midnight as I plan to drink tomorrow evening. But at some point tomorrow, someone will get a Merit Badge (assuming, of course, that there's at least one relevant comment below).