Cantor's Dust is a famous fractal, a basic pattern that repeats itself over and over. It's a pretty pattern, but it didn't seem very useful at the time it was invented. Years later, it was invoked again at the dawn of chaos theory to explain an odd phenomenon in broadcasting.

#### The Cantor Set

The Cantor Set is the result of a complicated-looking drawing that describes a very basic function. It was invented by Henry John Stephen Smith, and put forward by Gregori Cantor in the mid-1800s. (In accordance with ironic science tradition, no idea cannot bear the name of the scientist who actually discovered it, which is why it's not called the Smith Set.)

The way to construct the Cantor Set is simple. Draw a line segment. (For practicality's sake, make it quite long.) Then go slightly down the page, and redraw the thing, but take out the middle third. You now have two equal-length line segments slightly apart from each other. Go slightly down the page, redraw both of them, removing their middle thirds. Just keep going.

In theory, this could go on and on forever. As you hack up the line segments into smaller and smaller parts, you get what's called Cantor Dust. There are infinitely many little points (after many iterations), and all of them have a length of zero. At least that's the idea.