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These were plotted using a Tektronix graphics computer[1] starting sometime after 1975 or so[2].

All of the designs are based on wide-interval samplings[3] of sine waves plotted in various different ways. This was a technique I discovered more or less by accident when I mistakenly had the trig functions set to "RAD" (radians) with a plotting program that was designed to work in degrees.

I wrote the plotting program in BASIC, because that's what was available (I think that was probably the first programming language I actually used successfully[4].) I wrote the program in the first place because I wanted to see what shapes you get when plotting various sine functions using polar coordinates. (Sine waves are fun. Polar coordinates are also fun.)


  1. Based on what's in Wikipedia, I'm pretty sure it was a model 4051 (see also Terminals wiki). It had an integrated QIC tape drive, and the screen was a bit smaller than the ones used on the original version of Battlestar Galactica.
  2. One of the plots is dated 1983; not sure if this is accurate.
  3. Feel free to ask me to explain what I mean by this.
  4. : I had tried to write in FOCAL-69 in 1972, second grade, but I misunderstood the line-numbering system and my programs all executed out of order... and it's difficult to create any output worth looking at when your output device is a teletype. (A VT52 was later added, for those occasions when you don't actually need a complete printed record of your entire debugging session.)