10/10/2005

Daily Kos: The Increase of Entropy

The Increase of Entropy
by ek hornbeck
Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 06:55:45 AM PDT

Many things change, even as you look at them. It is magical thinking, but sometimes true, that on a quantum karmic level your observation of of events has somehow effected them (events that is). Usually things change for the worse, and while it might be your fault it is more likely that it's just the Second Law of Thermodynamics kicking in. (more below)

* ek hornbeck's diary :: ::
*

Have you been rooting for a team during the playoffs? Welcome to the world of magical thinking. And it soo doesn't bother me if you don't change your socks or you wear your tinfoil hat inside out. I remember a fall day in 1986 when I, like Daniel, was in the den of the lion and then something miraculous happened.

On a personal level it's very important to believe in progress, that every day in every way things keep getting better and better. Physics says different (apropos of nothing, these are Laws not mere Theories).
Unlike most other laws of physics, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is statistical in nature, and its reliability arises from the huge number of particles present in macroscopic systems. It is not impossible, in principle, for all [10 to the 23rd] atoms in a gas to spontaneously migrate to one half of container; it is only fantastically unlikely -- so unlikely that no macroscopic violation of the Second Law has ever been observed.

This little demon does not help you, it only increases information entropy.

Don't Panic. Conventional Wisdom says that you will not experience the heat death of the universe until long after you are, well, dead.

Even in small but complex systems one can observe the increase of disorder. What is the moral judgement in a relative manner without reference to absolutes?

Is it all about you? I know it's all about me. Even though I'm shifty and squished my compass still points Southwest. My lightspeed watch still works too, despite the difference in velocity. I have no trouble telling who's an invisible thief, they are the ones standing in the corner jumping up and down yelling "Look at me!".

In isolated systems it is possible to decrease the local entropy, for a time. Is this ultimately productive? Science says no.
The law that entropy always increases - the Second Law of Thermodynamics - holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of physics. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these experimentalists do bungle things from time to time. But if your theory is found to be against the Second Law of Thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.- Sir Arthur Eddington

By obeying the rules I am only contributing to the general disorganization of the universe, but I can't help but dust since my grandmother was such a neat freak...

Daily Kos: The Increase of Entropy

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