Wed, Nov 28, 2007, 4:29pm Battle Against Entropy
Living
(Last updated: Thu, Nov 29, 2007, 10:06am)
B
asic thermodynamics doesn't generally give the average person enough conceptual tools to fight the enormous mess and upkeep of the place where you live. Your home isn't best modeled as a closed system. The part of my home that I want to keep clean is far from closed off from the rest of the world, and it's far from equilibrium. Entropy always seems to be winning, and one has to pour a lot of energy into this system to keep things clean. One has to take anti-entropic measures. Entropy is always playing the game. Dust bunnies are its minions.

Every day, I'm actively slowly stirring the place up, and actively contributing to the mess: shedding skin, hair, making food, dropping bits of food, stuff being sprayed, new stuff being bought, garbage accumulating. If it's nice out and I keep some windows open, then the outside is doing more than its part to contribute dirt, dust, bugs, rain, etc. Who knows what ecosystem of little animals is in motion in any home.

This reminds me of several books I've wanted to read roughly related to this. Buying books and reading about it will contribute a little to my problem, let alone the entropy chain of others. It would interesting to do a study of the entropy chain of events that happen through many places and people's local, unclosed systems. There are probably some kinds of small decisions that tear through thousands of small entropic systems like lightning bolts.

Back in just my own home, the fight is best fought on its own terms: constant little battles. Well, and perhaps big battles. But something, with a fairly low threshold, is better than no action. I don't care about the amount of total entropy of the system of me + home + food + and so on, I just care about the entropy of the home, with me and whatever tools I can find taken out of the equation.

Bounce, bounce, bounce… I really should vacuum.


The great image is from Will Bullas' figurines at Gallery One.


  • agitatedString/Number (Wed, June 25th, 2008, 1:40am UTC)
    The def of entropy I grew up with always seemed 180° the opposite of what I observed in the 'real-world'. Maybe my powers of observation are suspect. I mean, I do not see dust-bunnies randomly disbursing themselves into my neighbors property…. In fact, the more so called 'classic' entropy I see in my 'real-world' the MORE ORDER I think I see !? Maybe i took too much LSD :) ? If space is 'infinite' then does not entropy led to more order (as far as our miserable sensory organs are concerned) ?

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