X-Message-Number: 28637
From: "Chris Manning" <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: declining likelihood of death
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 12:59:33 +1100

----- Original Message ----- 


> Message #28621
> From: 
> Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2006 10:19:54 EST
> Subject: Re: CryoNet #28616 - #28620
> Chris Manning wrote in part:
>>I suppose what this [declining likelihood of death in a given time  frame]
> means in practice >is that you would have to be
>>continually making your life safer and eliminating anything that might
>>threaten it, by getting better at predicting earthquakes, deflecting
>>bolides, maybe growing your own food, etc.
> Mainly it means other things, including
>>>Also, we could eventually be individually distributed  over
>>> large volumes.

I wasn't sure what you meant, and as a result I also wasn't sure how it 
related to the 'declining likelihood of death' issue.

Did you mean, 'we' as in the human race, i.e. the human race could be 
eventually distributed over large volumes (e.g. colonies on Mars, etc.)? Or 
did you mean that an individual consciousness might be widely distributed?

> Now,
>>>Also, the Second Law does not guarantee  eventual oblivion,
>>> for reasons I won't detail here unless requested.
>>I  hereby request you to detail them!
> OK, the Second Law refers to probabilities. In classical physics, in a
> closed system, entropy (roughly disorder) TENDS toward a maximum, which is 
> often
> interpreted to mean eventual "heat death." BUT
> (1) we don't know if the universe or cosmos is closed, and many 
> cosmologists
> currently think not.
> (2)  Order and disorder do not always have agreed definitions, and  many
> natural processes tend toward what most would call order. For example, 
> the
> formation of galaxies and stars and planets and life, and the formation of 
> mineral
> deposits in the earth, and many other processes, would from our point of 
> view
> represent increasing order.
> (3) When in some closed system maximum entropy is achieved, the only
> possible change after that is a decrease of entropy or an increase in 
> order, and
> subsequently there will be fluctuations with entropy increasing for a 
> while and
> then decreasing for a while, with rare random spurts of very low entropy.

Blowflies are particularly annoying. They fly around everywhere, seemingly 
at random. (I suppose it's not really random but it seems that way to me.) I 
try to avoid using fly spray. Instead, I open the window and wait until the 
blowfly 'randomly' flies out, then I close the window again.

It occurred to me recently that this procedure might have some implications 
for the Second Law and related issues.

> (4) Consider a person deliberately creating order, say by organizing a 
> room.
> Is there any countervailing chsnge that would imply overall decrease in
> order? Not that I can see. Metabolic processes in the person might result 
> in his
> increase in entropy, but that does not seem related to the particular 
> activity
> he is engaged in.

The person is not a closed system. During the time you spend organising your 
room, hasn't the sun's entropy increased by many times more than the 
decrease in entropy of your room? (I'm assuming we could come up with a 
suitable definition of the word 'entropy' that could be applied to the 
contents of your room.) And you would not be in a position to organise your 
room if the sun's entropy were not increasing.

Correct me if I am wrong, as it is many years since I studied physics. 

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