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Mapping the Gnarl

I found an interesting page that creates a free map of a webpage, such as this blog page, on the fly. The applet was made by an energetic Stanford grad student named Marcel Salathé. Here’s a shot of one version of the map of Those “flowers” at the top left are the individual posts on the top page of my blog which is, I think, the main page that is being mapped. That dandelion of yellow dots is, I think, for the comments boxes.

I got curious about website maps this morning because a 78-year old lady from the Pacific Northwest sent me a link to her sprawling website called “Hello Out There”, which documents some of her notions and illuminations regarding synchronicity. She also maintains a blog called “Me, On This Planet”.

Focusing on the “Hello Out There” site, I kept finding new links among her rather interesting observations and anecdotes, and I was curious if I could find an app to make an on-the-fly diagram of a website. When I put the page into Salathé’s mapper, the process went on and on, in a visually interesting but not all that useful way.

Be that as it may, the webmapper is cool, and so is “Hello Out There.”

Speaking of synchronicity, I found a piece of eucalyptus bark shaped like a Zhabotinsky scroll on my back deck the other day! Longtime readers of mine will know of my love for this ubiquitous and naturally occurring shape.

In fact my memoir, due out in 2011, is scheduled to be called Nested Scrolls.

The Zhabo scrolls graphic above was made with the CAPOW software that I wrote with my SJSU computer science students with a grant from EPRI, the software is still available as a free download online, and features a nice screensaver mode.

CAPOW works with Windows platforms up through XP, and I plan to check it out on Windows 7 soon—I’m scheduled for some upgrades to my hardware, software and wetware in the coming weeks. Wish me luck.

6 Responses to “Mapping the Gnarl”

  1. emilio Says:

    I wonder if it is time to update CAPOW to be a cloud app? Not that I know what that would mean, but it might be fun to give it a 21century flavor.

  2. Rudy Says:

    Thanks, Emilio, for buying the art book.

    My hacker friend Mark Powell says he might port CAPOW to an iPhone app, I think he got part way done.

    CAPOW could be a cloud program written in Java, but I don’t feel like reimplementing it.

    Seven years ago, I taught a graduate course on CAs and Wolfram’s NKS at San Jose State and my students wrote some Java applets along these lines that you can find at

    Some of these apps are nice, although at that time it didn’t seem feasible for anyone to nail the 2D continuous valued CAs that you see in CAPOW.

  3. Alex Says:

    I ran the webmapper on “Hello Out There.” It’s spectacular!
    (both the graph and the site)
    Thanks for that.

    I also ran it on another eccentric site, with a lot of links.
    A lot of legal nonsense on that site, but also some interesting items as well.

    I wonder what webpage has the most links on it?

  4. Belf of Moldavia Says:

    this is gnarly post….

  5. Antti Says:

    I ran

    wget -r -np

    This downloaded 101 HTML-files, in total 3,803,672 bytes.
    It takes some time to grok all that.

    Sam Sloan’s site ( ) is interesting.
    It seems that people involved with chess have a lot’s of potential
    for some very original and combative thinking (cf. Fischer).

  6. The Necromancer Says:

    This little applet is way awesome. A funky good time.

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