I’ve been playing with a compass and straight edge again, in order to generate these Islamic tile patterns. Why is it that medieval Islam got so good at mathematics and science, and then abandoned it? What happened?
Ordinary craftspeople produced mosaics based on all these elaborate geometrical rules, and many of them (unlike this one) were fundamentally non-repeating. How did we go from these elaborate patterns to blowing up buildings and shooting people in the streets?
I spoke with a fellow at afterchill last night who turned out to be from Delhi, and we had a brief conversation about the Mumbai attacks over Thanksgiving, and his parents’ unequivocal reaction that it must have been Pakistanis in league with the government of Pakistan. His own reaction was more muted. He was sad and angry, but he thought it more likely the work of Al-Qaeda operatives interested in starting a war to get the Pakistani army off its back in the federally-controlled tribal areas.