# Understanding the Sierpinsky triangle

I still don't understand it, obviously, but "the sierpinski triangle page to end most sierpinski triangle pages" has some sweet fractals on it! The one above clearly depicts the optimal pattern of berms and defenses to be constructed around the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in New Mexico, lest future generations wander too close to its irradiant embrace. [Oftenpaper]

## Notable Replies

1. (This is unrelated to fractals; but you mentioned the waste isolation signage problem: How are we going to convince future generations that a site loaded with the stuff that every dynasty and empire of the 20th and 21st centuries aspired to have, for the immense power it would afford them, is something they should stay away from? Is there a single fantasy/sci-fi series where the 'poorly understood Superweapon Of The Ancients' doesn't get dug up, generally in order to precipitate the total clusterfuck that the plot then has to unravel?)

2. knappa says:

Also, the design proposal at the KSU link looks far too cool. I'd visit that even knowing that it was a radioactive dump.

3. This is a bit off topic too, but I thought you all might be interested that there is a new use for Pascal's Triangle.

I came up with the question, please scroll down five messages to see how this relates to Pascal's Triangle:

Combination lock

You have a combination padlock with four dials on it. Each dial has the numbers 0 through 4 on them. The lock can have as many 0s as dials, and is set to 0000 by default. The lock does not allow you to use any number between 1 and 4 two or more times in the combination. The following combinations are valid: 0123 1234 0103 0010 4031. The following combinations are invalid: 0113 4014 0202 4444. How many possible combinations are there?

4. SamSam says:

Yeah, staying on this off-topic (sorry) there was an interesting article I read a few years ago, about a panel convened to think about how they could clearly communicate to future generations that "this nuclear waste site is bad, and we really mean it!"

The panel roughly defined the intended message with the following:

This place is a message... and part of a system of messages... pay attention to it! Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

This place is not a place of honor...no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here... nothing valued is here.

What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.

etc., and then creating the visual cues that would communicate that message.

My thinking was: that's a laudable goal to be sure. But have such messages ever stopped modern archeologists?

Cursed be those who disturb the rest of a Pharaoh. They that shall break the seal of this tomb shall meet death by a disease that no doctor can diagnose.*

Sounds just as believable...

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