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what entropy isn't

jumperjumper Posts: 1,397Member
Every now and then here there are questions about efficiency.
http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/8514/title/What-Entropy-Is--and-Is-Not/
explains why we should take care when invoking thermodynamics.

This elegant quantity is a precisely defined construct of physics; it can be rigorously measured for equilibrium systems and can be given meaning for near-to-equilibrium considerations.

The second law, when formulated in terms of entropy, gives powerful insights into a wide variety of problems. It seems a shame to take such a beautiful and exact idea and blur its meaning by indiscriminately applying it to all sorts of areas that have nothing to do with equilibrium thermodynamics.

Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 12,132Member
    On the other hand, one does need to differentiate from the thermodynamic construct called entropy -- which is indeed very beautiful and very powerful -- and some sort of vague notion of order and disorder, analogous in loose sort of way to entropy, which is where Mr. Rifkin takes off.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,213Member
    It would seem that two different meanings are being used, but the difference between them isn't necessarily noted or understood. To illustrate in vulgar terms: "Nothing is better than beer. Lite beer is better than nothing. Therefore, lite beer is better than beer." Patently false (lite beer is swill unfit for human consumption, whereas a good Stout is a gift from Heaven), but the similarities can fool the inattentive.

    If only...

  • CanuckerCanucker Posts: 583Member
    ratio said:

    : "Nothing is better than beer. Lite beer is better than nothing. Therefore, lite beer is better than beer." Patently false (lite beer is swill unfit for human consumption, whereas a good Stout is a gift from Heaven), but the similarities can fool the inattentive.

    If only...

    This seems to me, to be an excellent example of reductive reasoning. And I'm going to take issue with stouts, as well. In my opinion they are better suited to sealing cracks in asphalt. lol
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,397Member

    I have before me a letter from Jeremy Rifkin, author of Entropy: A New World View. His communication states that "entropy helps explain why we have runaway inflation, soaring unemployment, bloated bureaucracies, a widely escalating energy crisis, and worsening pollution."

    I happen to believe Mr. Rifkin is right on the money. I couldn't care less that Mr. Morowitz believes that his precious term is being summarily violated in some way and that he has an obligation to save it.

    Making up your own meaning for a word is not clear writing or clear thinking.
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Posts: 1,677Member
    en·tro·py
    [ˈentrəpē]
    NOUN

    1. physics
    a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.
    2. lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder:
    "a marketplace where entropy reigns supreme"
    synonyms: deterioration · degeneration · crumbling · decline · [more]
    3. (in information theory) a logarithmic measure of the rate of transfer of information in a particular message or language.

    Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press ·

    Hello: It seems entropy has multiple meanings, so everybody is correct! o:)

    Yours, Larry
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,481Member
    Race to the bottom......entropy......
  • BobCBobC Posts: 5,071Member
    All together now -

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,397Member
    2. lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder:
    "a marketplace where entropy reigns supreme"
    synonyms: deterioration · degeneration · crumbling · decline · [more]


    How does "a marketplace where entropy reigns supreme" increase?
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,500Member
    Wow.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
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