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Old 03-03-2006, 09:38 AM   #4
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The butterfly effect isd a real scientific term that comes from Chaos theory. It is, however, quite useless because all it is saying is that when you have a system that is very sensitive to it's initial condition then even tiny changes in that condition (such as the displacement of air molecvules by a butterfly) can lead to enormous changes in the long term as the system develops. This is why it's hard to predict the wqeather over long periods of time. I recall reading an article a while back that said something to the effect that this is not as true as it seems because there are some subtle long term effects of strange attractors that partially suppress the extreme dependence on initial conditions. It's slightly disingenuous to say that a butterfly flapping its wings "causes" a hurricane. It could just as easily prevent one from opccuring.

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