Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Entropy rules

Entropy is often (loosely) defined as the amount of disorder in a system, and the second law of thrmodynamics tells us that:

The entropy of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium.

So basically, science tells us that, left to their own devices, things tend to move towards disorder - or confusion. And while its a bit of stretch, its interesting to see how often this seems to apply to real life.

Stop clearing your desk and it it will only get messier - never cleaner. Stop exercising and you get out of shape, never better; stop paying attention and you will only get lost, rarely will you arrive at your destination by pure chance.

(There is a flaw in the above examples - the desk only gets messy because we interact with it in some way, or because it is exposed to the environment; a truly isolated desk held in perfect vacuum may well never change at all. But this can be resolved by considering the typical users of the desk as part of the isolated system - besides, this is just an analogy)

The world appears to be designed in a way that requires some type of action to make things better.

Nature prefers action it seems.

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