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Complex Numbers

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.

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September 9, 2019 at 12:12am
September 9, 2019 at 12:12am
PROMPT September 9th

Prompt today is straight outta the War Chest courtesy of Waltz in the Lonesome October !

What is your favorite storytelling medium, and why? Face-to-face? Movies? Novels? Audiobooks, audioplays? Stage productions? Comics? TV shows? Tweetstorms? Concept albums? Something else?

Well. I guess I have no excuse to skip this one, do I?

Full disclosure: I remember posting that prompt in an "add to the War Chest" round of a previous 30DBC. You'd think after 12 years or so of being a judge at "The Writer's Cramp [13+], I'd be better at creating prompts, but I'm not. When I come up with a really good one, I keep it to myself, because then I want to use it. I only post the ones I wouldn't care to respond to, myself. So that came back and bit me on the ass. Fortunately, this one was the result of a promptstorming session I had with PuppyTales , so it's not... entirely mine. Okay, it's mostly hers. Okay, it's like 98% hers. I think I added "tweetstorms" to be funny, because that's what I do.

My answer is different depending on whether I'm writing or reading. Obviously, I'm a big fan of books; I mean, why else would I be here? I started reading at an early age, and never stopped. Books, or at least printed-word stories, are what I write. Both writing and reading them exercise the imagination.

But when it comes to consuming media, probably my favorite story type is the TV show.

That wasn't always the case. For a long time, I didn't watch TV at all. I mean that as in, I didn't even own a TV. It wasn't until streaming became a thing that I got back into that particular medium. Sturgeon's Law applies, as always: 90% of it is utter crap. But now, being able to watch shows without being interrupted by commercials (which I hate with the nuclear fire of a thousand suns), I see the artistry in it.

There was a massive shift in TV writing that occurred about the time I stopped watching. One of the last things I saw on TV before I gave it up was Babylon 5 (and I didn't finish it at the time). It introduced what would become a mainstay of 21st century TV writing: the story arc. I think Straczynski stole the idea from comic books - that while each episode can be self-contained, there would be an overarching plot that stretched through an entire season (that's series for you Brits), ideally resolved at the end. This was done with varying levels of success, of course.

That simply wasn't the case when I was younger. A single show might refer to an older one, sure; or there might be a "To Be Continued" multi-episode story; and shows like Doctor Who (back then) were serialized in 4-6 episode chunks, but the idea of a season-long story arc was pretty much unheard of before the early 90s. I should note that a single season of Doctor Who, back in the seventies, experimented with this, but it didn't catch on until much later. And the "arc" elements in that one stayed mostly in the background. (If you're wondering I'm referring to The Key To Time, Fourth Doctor, Season 16.)

What you end up with is a televised novel with a series of chapters, or something very like it. Opinions may vary, of course, but that method of storytelling holds my interest better than a bunch of disconnected episodes, even those with a common theme.

Meanwhile, you have time for character development, time that's lacking in such things as movies or short stories. You can do it in comics, too, of course, and I used to be a big-time comics fan also. As I said, the story arc concept was basically invented for comics and only later migrated to TV.

So, in short - writing: traditional short stories and novels, because I lack the skills to do more than just write. Consuming: episodic television, because of the opportunity to tell much longer stories and present intriguing character development.

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