I’ve been wondering–and so have you, haven’t you–what it looks like if you build a matrix of numbers, and determine for each of these numbers if its digits are in ascending or descending order (or neither). That is to say, a number like 13689 has its digits ordered from low to high (ascending), and a number like 86652 ordered from high to low (descending).

Is your stomach burning with curiosity? Do you want to know what it looks like? Well, I did. First, I put the numbers from 1 to 10,000 in a 500x 500 pixel grid in Processing (where each number is a 5×5 square), and looped through them to determine the sort order of each of these numbers’ digits. Here’s the first result (resized; click to see full-size):


This actually triggered my curiosity and so… I did the same thing, but with the numbers from 1 to 500,000, in a 1000 x 500 pixel grid. Don’t ask why. Well, if you insist, I was simply curious about what patterns would emerge from something silly like the order of a number’s digits. It took my laptop (2GB, 1.8GHz) 135 minutes to complete the task, and the patterns one can see in the result below just don’t live up to the expectations of the exuberant amount of cpu cycles this diagram usurped:

Each pixel is a number. Each row contains 1,000 pixels. There are 500 rows.

Before I ventured on this plan born out of boredom and unhindered curiosity, I made a lot of progress on another Processing project: Perceived Discourse. Although I am happy with the results so far, it’s not quite good enough to either share with the world, or explain what I’m doing.

Just to remind myself that I also have a life: I went out for beers and dinner last Saturday with Diana, and we sort of agreed to go to Madrid for a weekend somewhere later this year. We also drank a few Irish Coffees after dinner, and beers at various locations around Leiden and her place. I biked home at two in the morning in the still warm air and the surprisingly quiet city.

Also, coming Saturday Carolien is throwing her birthday party, and yesterday I ordered both an infrared remote control and a cable release for my camera, so that I can take better pictures at night and of myself (although, admittedly, pressing the timer-button, running to your position, waiting for that delightful click of the shutter release, then walking back to see the result and repeat steps 1 through 4 if the result is not as desired, may in fact be a lot of fun sometimes!). They arrive tomorrow, so I have ample time to get to know these accessories before I go to the Lake District. Only a week away!