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  • In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive
    dependence on initial conditions, where a small
    change at one place in a nonlinear system can
    result in large differences to a later state.
    The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz,
    is derived from the theoretical example of a
    hurricane's formation being contingent on
    whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped
    its wings several weeks before.


    Here’s an item: Thursday night
    there was a solar flare. Paper says
    the “resulting energy particles
    got here in a hurry – 93 million miles
    in just a few hours.” How about that?

    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
    Mt. St. Helen’s shot steam
    and secondary ash 15,000 feet
    into the sky. In Westmoreland,
    California, a 6.7 earthquake
    “caused extensive damage.”

    Here in Colorado, the Northern Lights
    put on quite a show. Saw it myself.

    Let us pause to consider the
    interconnectedness of things.
    Nothing in this universe of ours
    happens in isolation. Not solar flares,
    not earthquakes, not kisses, not poems.

    (Excerpt from a poem cycle, "Voices from the Good Earth," circa 1980)

    (Photograph by Alex at Mt.St. Helen's in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
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