The Strange Attractor Theory of Turbulence

Sunshine has returned. After several days of heavy thunderstorms and frequent rain the summer shows its friendlier face. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about a Chinese phrase that wonderfully captures one of the typical phenomena in this city. The phrase is 凑热闹 (còu rè nào), and it means something like “gather around the turbulence”. That’s what many people here like to do: Wherever there’s something going on, they like to participate, wherever there are many people, they like to join. It’s kind of a natural emotion for the Big Market Place that China has now become, but it surely has more sinister applications as well. One can easily imagine how 凑热闹 has had its share in igniting the more violent events of the Cultural Revolution, how it still has got the potential to trigger uproar and riot. In such circumstance a more convenient translation for the phrase would be Frank Zappa’s wonderful line from 200 Motels: “adding even more misery to the troubles of the world”.