587: Crime Scene
Title text: I think I see a Mandelbrot set! No, that's just blood spatters. Golly.
Mathnet was a segment on the children's television show "Square One Television", where police mathematicians solved crimes and other mysteries by math. This comic plays on that by implying that Mathnet was a real department of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and, when the show was cancelled, the department was shut down, forcing the mathematicians to become regular detectives.
Here, George Frankly, one of the two lead detectives on the show, tries to glean some sort of mathematical meaning out of the murders, saying that the number of bodies, two, is the third Fibonacci number, a set of numbers where the first two numbers in the Fibonacci sequence are 0 and 1 and then each number is the sum of the previous two; looking like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8... (Sometimes the sequence is considered to start with 1 and 1, or 0 is considered the zeroth term in the sequence; both of which would explain why Frankly calls 2 the third number rather than the fourth.)
The title text goes on to extrapolate, saying that George saw a Mandelbrot set in the blood spatters, a formula used to create certain kinds of fractals that look somewhat like blood spatters.
- [A crime scene is surrounded in tape. A large black pool is on the ground, with splashes around it, and some sort of tool. Two people are standing outside the tape.]
- Policeman: Looks like a murder-suicide.
- George: Any interesting mathematical patterns?
- Policeman: No, George, just two dead bodies and a lot of blood.
- George: Two... that's the third Fibonacci number!
- Policeman: Not now, George.
- When Mathnet shut down, the officers had trouble reintegrating into the regular L.A.P.D.