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Entropy and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

 

Thermodynamics is the study of energy systems and how energy moves within the system. Hold on, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand Thermodynamics.

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Energy can only be transformed from one form to another.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that any closed system has the tendency to move to a more random state, that is, to a higher level of entropy.

Entropy is a measure of disorder, chaos or randomness. We shouldn't perceive chaos as something negative, but as a positive quality.

Nature does not plant orderly rows of palm trees or corn. We know what happens if we were to plant a lovely flower bed of marigolds, impatiens and dusty millers and leave it unattended. Come back a few years later and nature would have seeded a few more plants around, along with all the unwanted weeds.

Nature wants to move to a higher level of entropy, more randomness, disorder and chaos.

Humans have this nasty trait of wanting to control the environment. We want to put things in order. We build houses, subdivisions and roadways in nice straight lines and orderly rows. We are constantly fighting a battle against nature's natural tendency to be more random.

Humans are creative and ingenious. We build towers that reach towards the sky, bridges across rivers and dams to hold back the water. We till and fertilize the soil, invent new materials and chemicals and modify our food to gain higher productivity.

Humans are very clever but not too smart. Nature will out-smart us in the long run. While we can be very clever, we need to look to nature and learn how nature does things.

Bio-mimicry is the old and new way of doing things the way nature intends. We must allow nature to take its natural course.

 

2010.08.25



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