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Entropy production delusion

It is common in knowledgeable circles to talk about the development of civilization in terms of entropy discussion. The term 'entropy...

Friday, March 3, 2017

Principles governing the operation of all materialistic systems


Natural laws and forces have always determined and always will determine what happens in the duality of cyclic operation and directional development of all materialistic systems here on Earth[1]. Constructive and destructive forces act in conjunction during the development stages of growth, maturity, senescence then, often, demise.[2]  These are irrevocable fundamental physical principles even though they are not widely recognised by people. And they are not properly taken into account in the decisions about the operation of industrialized civilization.[3]
Time scales of these processes vary tremendously from seconds for developments in some organisms to millions of years in geological developments and to centuries in development of the infrastructure of civilizations.  Consideration of the materialistic operation of the current industrialized civilization needs to take into account both the temporal and spatial scope of all issues. As a consequence of this operation of natural forces, a degree of self-organisation and self-regulation of natural operations and system developments has evolved over aeons. Industrialized civilization has embraced the duality of operations and developments in partial emulation of the natural process. However, they have only an ad hoc degree of organization and regulation defined by human decisions[4].
Social scientists have attempted to emulate these natural operations and sustainable evolution by introducing rapid development of technical infrastructure with operations governed by physical constraints[5], financial considerations, laws and regulations which limit the decisions made by people[6]. The introduction of novel materials [7] conveys the false impression that technology[8] will always advance the vast infrastructure that society has become dependent on.
This hubris is the fundamental predicament to be tackled by all levels of society in the coming decades. Often these decisions have been made without understanding the unintended consequences, such as climate change, irreversible[9] consumption of natural resources, irrevocable aging of the infrastructure society has become dependent on and irreparable damage to the environment, including  ocean acidification, pollution and warming.[10] So, there is an unrealistic, egregious belief in an intangible economic growth that is not possibly sustainable because of the irrevocable loss of tangible natural environmental and crustal material wealth.[11]
On the other hand physical scientists and engineers have gradually gained limited understanding of some of these fundamental materialistic principles.[12]  The limited ability of mathematics[13] to represent some aspects of operations has led to them to using idealizations of many processes while often not understanding the limitations. Mathematics deals with the deterministic or probabilistic relations between numerical variables which sometimes do not accurately represent the physical reality. Fuzzy logic is sometimes used to deal with circumstances where conventional mathematics is unrealistic.  Mathematical descriptions of pendulum oscillations do not take use the fact that friction will always ensure that the oscillations will gradually die down. Topology[14] provides a picture of pendulum oscillations at various potential plus kinetic energy levels but does not take into account the conversion of some of that energy to heat energy due to the friction that ensures that the pendulum will eventually stop swinging. [15]
The fact that the result of a coin tossing is unpredictable illustrates a fundamental limitation of mathematics.[16] The use of wind tunnels to measure the lift and drag forces on bodies is because of the limitations of mathematics for assessing viscous, compressible flows. The Navier-Stokes Equations are deemed  to describe laminar and turbulent incompressible and compressible  flows but they have been solved for only very limited cases. Measurements have established the Reynolds Number at which transition from laminar to turbulence occurs in such practical cases as the flow over wings. These issues are amongst the recognised existence and smooth problems. The Clay Mathematics Institute has called this one of the seven most important open problems in mathematics without recognizing the fundamental limitations of mathematics. Understanding of the mathematics when chaos and fractals can occur provides insight into some natural operations[17] but often this mathematics is unrealistically regarded as representing all natural physical operations.  The so called ‘butterfly effect’ is often quoted by people who do not understand that it is only referring  to the impact of the accuracy of numbers defining the initial conditions  to the differential equations of motion: they are hardly describing a complex natural process which can only be represented roughly by mathematical models.[18]

 Physics quantifies physical energy and what happens as this energy irreversibly flows. This treatment of physical energy in isolation gives rise to misunderstanding of what always happens in natural operations and in the operation of technical systems.[19] Focusing here just on the technical systems that carry out so many operations that provide society with infrastructure, goods and services helps to clarify the situation. However, the fundamental principles also apply to natural operations such as the growth of plants, the eruption of volcanos and the generation over time of mineral deposits.[20]
Natural and technical systems develop a degree of order through the input of tangible physical resources (material and associated energy) . They are dynamical systems whose development is initiated by the input of information in their seeds.[21] This development is an aspect of the constructive force in operation[22]. One recognised scientific issue is that entropy thermodynamically increases (order to disorder) in the subsequent operation of these systems as the irreversible energy flow can do positive work as it seeks equilibrium. This operation, however, is always accompanied by friction doing negative work in the operations that transform material to waste (order to disorder) as the system irrevocably develops and so ages. This dissipation is the destructive force operating.[23]
The irreversible capital energy flow (from fossil fuels or uranium) powering most technical systems is a property of the associated materials that are transformed into waste during the process.[24] These materialistic systems irrevocably age due to friction acting during the development, so have limited lifetimes, despite the use of energy income or capital[25] and material capital[26] for their operation and maintenance.[27]
This operation and development of technical systems contrasts to the continuing energy income  which powers the operation of all natural systems and now some technical systems, misleadingly called renewable energy systems.[28] Natural systems often recycle the material they use in operation and development. Flora and fauna often work in conjunction to recycle materials, such as nutrients.  It is only feasible for technical systems to recycle some materials at an ecological cost[29] that is worthwhile.[30]  The weakness of this energy income limits its usefulness as an alternative to the strength of the energy capital.[31]
As a consequence of these fundamental principles, the operation of the materialistic infrastructure of industrialized civilization is unsustainable. This means that the global population cannot continue to grow as sufficient fundamental needs[32] will not be available. Understanding of this reality will assist many people to make the decisions needed for coping with the inevitable powering down. The delusion[33] about the power of the virtual world just hinders that understanding, therefore coping ability.
Some additional principles are presented here to aid in the making of sounder future decisions about usage of the remaining natural resources, coping with the loss of many of the services currently provided by the ageing infrastructure, while dealing, as much as is possible, with the devastation of the environment  and species extinctions that have occurred.[34]


The usual discussion of the role of physical energy in the operations of industrialized civilization does not take into account the fact that the various relevant forms of energy  (heat, chemical, mechanical, nuclear, kinetic, gravitational potential, electrical) are invariably a property of the associated materials involved in the process: for example, the chemical energy in oil.[35]  Energy capital in the fossil fuels is radiant energy income from the Sun that has been stored as chemical energy[36] in regions of the Earth’s crust by natural forces acting slowly for aeons. Natural forces have also created useful deposits of a wide range of other minerals[37] that are being irreversibly used up by industrialized civilization.[38] These are examples of the constructive forces of nature that have created a degree of order in the deposits which is subsequently transformed to disorder in the usage of the refined materials in the operation of industrialized civilization. The mining, processing and using  of these materials in the production of systems is the constructive contribution of industries to the creation of order in the system but at the cost of the increase in disorder (entropy increase) in the environment.[39]
The technical systems of our industrialized civilization rapidly use this stored energy capital to generate electricity, provide the liquid fuels used by land, sea and air transportation vehicles and for other useful, in the opinion of people, purposes. They also produce waste material with such deleterious consequences as pollution of land, sea, air and organisms, including people, together with irreversible rapid climate disruption and ocean acidification and warming.[40] Energy capital in uranium is another crustal store of energy that technical systems (nuclear power stations) use to generate electrical energy (and bombs) while creating irreparable radioactive waste. Storage of that radioactive waste is just one of the predicaments being faced.[41]
The radiant energy income from the Sun continues to power many natural operations (from the hydrological cycle to plant growth) and is now powering a range of falsely called “renewable  energy” technical systems, including those based on solar panels and wind turbines.  These technical systems only intermittently supply some electrical energy: they cannot possibly supply the liquid fuel for internal combustion engines in land transport[42], jet fuel for the gas turbines in aircraft[43] or the fuel oil for the massive engines in ships. [44]These transportation systems also have limited lifetimes due to the action of various forms of friction even though energy and materials are used  by skilled personnel for their operation and maintenance.
The usual considerations of the operation of technical systems include taking into account how the Second Law of Thermodynamics describe the invariable entropy increase in physical energy flows in isolated systems.[45] The First Law says that energy can be neither created nor destroyed.[46]Physical energy flows are always irreversible, just like time. My research provided understanding that Laws of Massdynamics should also be recognised as they play an important part in what invariably happens in physical operations and system development.  The conservation of mass is already recognised in physics but the common transformation of material to waste in process operation and in system development is not covered by a recognised law.  This Transformation plays a major role in what always happens in the technical systems as well as in natural systems.[47] The term “mentropy” could be used to describe the transformation of material in conjunction with using “entropy” to describe what happens in energy flow. [48]
 The operation of a system, technical or natural, entails the input of material with associated energy and the output of the resultant mix of energy and material. This process underpins the associated , irreversible development of the system. The operation and development of a human body is but one example of the duality of the irreversible operation of systems through the input and output of gaseous, liquid and solid material and the associated forms of chemical energy. Another example is a coal-fired power station. An eco-costly system combined with human expertise mines the coal and supplies it, together with cooling water, to the power station where furnaces, turbines and generators  transform some of the energy in the coal into electricity while exhausting water vapour and greenhouse gases. Energy and materials are used to maintain the power station, its machinery, associated transmission lines and transformers as they age due to forms of friction.[49]
 The life story of a tree is no different in principle other than the fact that its wastes serve a useful purpose while most wastes from technical systems do not.[50] In fact, many of the wastes from technical systems are toxic so pollute land, sea, air and organisms, including people, as well as fostering the environmental disruptions such as climate change, ocean acidification and warming together with species extinctions. The life story of buildings, cars, airliners, ships and goods, including the popular electronic items, is also no different in principle, other than the fact that they will invariably end up on the scrap heap with little material recycling after using vast amounts of irreplaceable liquid fuels or other natural resources.[51]
Clearly, there is a profound difference between the operation of natural and technical systems. Natural systems have always been characterised by recycling of materials in conjunction with reproduction. The hydrological cycle is one example of recycling (of water) that most people are familiar with but there are many others.[52] However, technical systems do not inherently recycle material as they irrevocably age, while the energy they use cannot possibly recycle. Industry does worthwhile recycling of some materials by using a separate recycling system. However, even some materials cannot possibly be recycled. The hydrocarbons in oil and gas are prime examples.[53] The proposal here of the Laws of Massdynamics covers that aspect. The First Law is the conservation of mass. The Second Law covers the irreversible transformation of material in operations and system development to waste: order leading to disorder. This occurs in both the operational process and in what happens to the system as it ages. The engine in a car is a familiar example. The exhaust as it operates is making a contribution to global warming with its greenhouse gases while the engine ages due to friction.  It is order transforming to disorder in a manner analogous to entropy increase in energy flow but it is applying to material flow of liquid to gaseous in the exhaust case. Natural forces operating over eons have created the order in natural resources, such as iron ore and oil. A range of technical systems use energy and material to transform iron ore into steel is increasing the order while  later the operation of technical systems, such as cars, reduces the order in steel to disordered waste. Ironically, most people do not consider this natural process of the development of order followed by the transformation to disorder. Yet that is what has happened to their bodies as they grew up, reached maturity and then they have to cope with the disorder that comes with aging. Constructive forces overrule the destructive forces in the early stages but eventually the latter take over. This is a pervasive natural law even though it has not received the recognition of the Laws of Thermodynamics
The work done in an energy flow is a term in common use in engineering. The reality is that energy flow does positive work while the associated operation of friction always does negative work in transforming material to waste. Engineers are used to allowing for the effect of friction even though positive and negative work is not common terminology. However, they generally only consider what happens in one stage, say the operation of a jet engine, although the entire irreversible flow of resources from source to sink always happens, even when the materials and energy  was in store for aeons, as, for example the chemical energy in oil. Some of the energy income from the sunshine source goes in the production of the food that gives people the energy to operate their metabolism as well as conduct activities, such as their physical or intellectual work. However, energy capital now plays the dominant role in most food production in view of its impact on such operations as soil preparation and produce reaping, transportation, storage and cooking.[54]
The idealisation of considering the nature of the process without consideration of what is irrevocably happening to the containing system leads to misunderstanding of the consequences. The nature of the process changes as the system ages. [55]


Consideration of only some of the processes involved in physical operations leads to misunderstanding of the invariable consequences of the operations and the associated development of the systems. What happens in the process and what happens to the system should always be taken in conjunction. Both the Laws of Thermodynamics and the Laws of Massdynamics are applicable in the operation  and development of natural and technical systems. However the natural law embracing the combined impact of constructive and destructive forces over time is the fundamental governing principle. Understanding of that operation of natural forces will lead to sounder decisions about the implementation and operation of technological systems as they irrevocably age. Technical systems irreversibly use up limited natural material resources, including those resources supplying energy capital, while irrevocably producing waste, much of it toxic. They are also damaging the environment during their limited life times. [56]
Society will inevitably have to try to cope with this materialistic reality predicament[57] as well as over population, influence of the growing divergence of the rich from the poor, deterioration of the vast infrastructure, degradation of biodiversity together with declining  food production, transportation and communication capabilities.  Global trade will be devastated as the availability of fuel oil for container vessels drops off. So will business and tourist airline travel as jet fuel supplies die  off. However, the loss of online communications and basic living services (water and food supply, sewerage , heating, cooling, lighting) will quite likely be the hardest predicaments to live with, especially in those regions hardest hit by climate change and associated predicaments such as sea level rise and more storms, floods, droughts and wild fires.


1.       Frith, D. A.  “What is irrevocably happening to our civilization
3.        Clugston, C . “Scarcity – Humanity’s Final Chapter”


[1] Consideration of the operation of the current industrialized civilization needs to take into account  both the temporal and spatial issues as natural systems evolve very slowly  compared to the rapid development of industrialization
[2] This collaboration between operation and development is recognised as a natural law in the Postulate.
[3] These decisions are often based on the intangible financial cost  without regard to the tangible ecological cost.
[4] The decisions made by people are often based on biased understanding due to manipulation of terminology. Advertising is a major example that fosters unreasonable consumption of, often, irreplaceable materials.
[5] Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, an economist, noted in publications decades ago that Earth’s mineral resources will eventually be exhausted. He is quoted as saying “matter matters, too”. His dose of realism did little to cure society of its delusion about fostering economic growth without paying the ecological cost. This is still a rampant disease of society.
[6] While the irreversible dissipative flow of tangible, physical energy governs what happens in physical operations, intangible intellectual energy of people grows due to research, education and experience. Of course, all organisms have intellectual energy that governs their behaviour to a large extent and has since long before the industrial revolution! Yet society wonders at how minke whales know to travel vast distances from the Antarctic waters with their calves to take advantage of what the Great Barrier Reef has to offer. The organisation of vast colonies of ants is another example of the vast number of natural operations that are beyond the ken of humans.
[7] graphene and molybdenum disulfide  are the latest additions to the list of approaching one hundred materials, led by oil, being irreversibly used up by doomed technical systems after temporarily providing society with living, communication and transportation systems  they have become dependent on. There may be a role for advanced materials but using them in productive devices requires the use of material resources and the devices will still age.
[8] Which is never creative and always comes at an ecological cost
[9] The irreversible passage of time is common knowledge while the irreversible flow of physical energy is one of the basic principles of science but the irreversible transformation of many materials to wastes during industrial operations and during usage is not being sufficiently taken into account due to lack of understanding.
[10] The proposals to mobilize technology to overcome some of the emerging predicaments do not take into account that technical systems are not creative. They just make use of natural resources and use some of the natural forces while they irrevocably age and produce material waste while causing ecological damage as they temporarily provide systems, goods and services. On the other hand, many innovative chemical reactions make use of natural materials in technical systems to produce novelsubstances, such as pharmaceuticals, that are often, but not always, beneficial while often generating toxic wastes. Plastics in the oceans is one of these unintended but irreversible consequences. But even the beneficial products come at an irreparable ecological cost.
[11] Ironically, some commentators focus on the failing ability of the carrying capacity of natural replenishing resources to meet the needs of the growing population. They do not take into account how technical systems are irreversibly using up many irreplaceable natural resources, such as oil, coal, iron ore, from the crustal stores.
[12] The Club of Rome published in “The Limits to Growth” in 1972 the results of a mathematical model that indicated that the operations of technological civilization would decrease in the future as the availability of natural resources declined. Whilst this dose of realism has had little impact on the following of money in the vain pursuit of continual economic growth, recent assessments of these early predictions have shown that they were reasonable and the consequences are coming in to play now..
[13] .Analytical solutions to linear differential equations conveyed a false impression of many processes for decades. Solution by numerical methods of the more realistic, non-linear differential equations overcame that problem in some circumstances.  However, lack of understanding of the circumstances where non-linear differential equations describe natural operations has led to the ridiculous comment about the butterfly effect. Einstein’s relativity theories are based on mathematics that are applicable in cosmology because of the absence of the effect of friction out in space. Newton’s laws of motion are applicable here because the speeds involved are very low compared to the speed of light. But the forces involved include the drag due to friction. It is common knowledge that a ball dropped in a liquid will fall more slowly than when it is dropped in air. Yet this invariant influence of friction in operations is often not taken into account in mathematics. Hamiltonian mathematics is a game played by mathematicians while non-Hamiltonian mathematics is a tool for realists. .
[14] Topologists define objects according to certain unchanging properties, such as the number of holes something might have. Topology is a mathematical concept that has applicability to only a limited number of physical operations.
[15] Carnot efficiency is an idealization of the operation of a heat engine. The lesser actual efficiency can be estimated by taking into account real effects such as that of friction by taking measurements rather than by using mathematics.
[16] Theoretical distributions only give rough estimates of the outcome of a series of tossings. The outcome of a single tossing is always unpredictable even if a mathematical model provides information of what happens during the spinning and the dropping to the ground. The unknowable initial impetus means the model is useless.
[17] Ian Stewart in “Does God play Dice: The new mathematics of chaos” provides details of many cases where mathematics provides insight into what happens. But it is very selective. The view that there are ‘equations for everything’ is, to say the least, very misleading.
[18] Climatologists have employed appreciable skills to provide a number of models of how the climate changes as the result of greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels. They have been validated to a high degree against measurements and by comparison of the results of models devised by different groups around the globe.
[19] Appreciable financial, intellectual and natural resources are being ploughed into ITER in the attempt to provide a system (made of materials) to emulate the nuclear fusion in the Sun in providing energy. Surprisingly, the scientists involved say they hope to create energy, contrary to the First Law of Thermodynamics. What nuclear fusion does in theory is transform material to energy as described by e=m.c squared. The Sun has done this naturally for aeons .ITER does this artificially for microseconds with a low efficiency! 
[20] Appreciable understanding and skill has been used and continues to be used to find out where there are crustal stores of a wide range of minerals that can be mined and processed for useful purposes. However, how and why these deposits were created is one of the multitude of issues beyond our understanding. Why are there ninety six chemical elements? We have learned a lot of the roles of elements and how they can combine in reactions
[21] Medical science has provided insight into deoxyribonucleic acid, a self-replicating material which is present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of the genetic information that governs most of the development of the organism. Botanists understand the influence of the information in seeds in the subsequent development of the vast variety of plants.
[22] Trees grow through the input of carbon dioxide in air, of water and of nutrients. Skyscrapers rise up through the use by skilled workers and machinery of energy and materials to transform steel, concrete, glass etc. into the structure.
[23] The trees senescence then die as the result of this process if they are not cut down for use by society. The skyscrapers have a similar destiny even though this fact is not widely recognised yet even though many past edifices are now ruins because natural resources were not irrevocably used to maintain them. The Taj Mahal is an aged ionic Indian structure that was falling down until the government decided centuries ago to allocate the financial, skilled personnel and materials for its maintenance as it was, and is, such a tourist attraction as well as having religious significance
[24] The combustion of coal in a power station produces exhausts containing a mix of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and water vapour that depends on the quality of the coal. This emission of carbon dioxide is disrupting the natural photosynthesis, respiration carbon cycle.
[25] The differentiation between physical energy income and physical energy capital is used to emphasise the difference between the strength if the irreplaceable capital compared to the weakness of the ongoing income in sunshine.
[26] The presence of concentrations of a vast range of minerals in Earth’s crust has provided the materialistic input into the existing technical systems. These ore bodies are irreplaceable capital because they have a degree of order due to geological forces over aeons. Mining and processing these ores increases the order but subsequent use increases the disorder. This is an example of the holistic role of constructive and destructive forces in industrial operations over time. Natural operations are at a much slower pace  in many circumstances with the constructive forces being dominant. 
[27] Maintaining the lengthy power lines from the hydro power station down to Montreal is not an easy task in the Canadian winter but the destructive nature of winds and low temperatures combined with the aging of the system have to be overcome as long as possible by using helicopters and snow mobiles.
[28] ‘renewable energy’ is short hand for systems that use physical energy income. Unfortunately, many in society (and in government) do not understand the physics of irreversible physical energy flow. Solar systems inefficiently use a little of the sunshine when it is out. Wind farms inefficiently harness a little of the winds when they are blowing. Providing some electricity intermittently does not solve many problems. In fact, it generates base load problems. Using batteries for storage can overcome that problem to a limited extent but is eco costly and the batteries have limited lives and are made of irreplaceable materials.
[29] The quote:  this efficiency progression could help to lower carbon emissions by lowering the price of base-load electricity from renewable energy.” is a common view. It is an example of looking at only one side of the non-renewable natural resources (NNR) balance sheet.
[30] Sewerage systems make a major contribution to the irreversible transportation of nutrients in soil to create dead zones in rivers and oceans.
[31] It cannot provide the liquid fuels required for the operation of land, sea and air vehicles. Electric cars will only fill a niche role but will require a major infrastructure transformation with battery recharging replacing filling fuel tanks in many service stations.
[32] Food, potable water, shelter, sanitation, health and carer services particularly for the increasing proportion of the aged in the population.
[33] Most of society is addicted to the variety of virtual services temporarily provided by the wide range of electronic devices from huge computers to personal smart phones.
[34] Many environmentalists warn that what is happening is nature’s way of warning of the harm industrialized civilization is doing. This is an anthropocentric view that does not help people to understand the reality.
[35] The internal energy of water is only relevant when considering the situation where electrolysis is to be used to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen.  On the other hand, the gravitational potential energy of water is relevant to consideration of hydro power schemes. The thermal energy in the ocean is considered by marine scientists, oceanographers and climatologists  but only by engineers in those few circumstances  where systems are installed to extract a little of that energy to supply electricity to remote island communities.
[36]Internal energy in the hydrocarbons of oil and gas and in the carbon of coal
[37] Including uranium which provides radioactive energy in power stations (and bombs)
[38] There is about ninety minerals that are being irreversibly used up by the operation of the technical systems. Many of them, including the fossil fuels and iron ore deposits, are being used up to mine others in the list.
[39] Society appreciates this noticeable increase in order of the services provided by industries while only slowly understanding the unintended increase in some aspects of natural disorder.
[40] Dealing with climate change is receiving some attention while the bigger problem of what is happening in the oceans due to the great amount of heating and acidification is being ignored by all except the knowledgeable specialists. The associated devastation of the marine environment and the consequential impact on the provision of the proteins in fish to the diets of numerous people is another of the predicaments to be faced.
[41] Numerous proposals for long term underground storage of radioactive wastes in desert regions have been discussed in a number of countries for years. Governments weigh up the economic advantages of taking on this activity against the ecological, including the seismic risks as best they can. This is only one of the predicaments that society will have to try to deal with as the available services decline.
[42] EV cars are becoming quite popular by using electric motors with batteries supplying the energy. However, the installation of recharging stations to replace the multitude of refuelling stations will continue to limit their use. The demise of the many millions of internal combustion cars and trucks in the near future is certain.
[43] Research over a number of decades has not come up with a viable alternative to oil as a source of the fuel for jet engines. Bio fuel can only fill a niche role as they depend on a weak source of energy, sunshine. The Airlander airship being developed in England, with the support of the U.S. Department of Defense, is an indication that some experts are developing alternative aviation to meet some of the demand as the conventional aviation inevitably declines.
[44] The many thousands of cargo vessels consume a high proportion of the production from oil fields. This unsustainable operation will have a profound deleterious impact on world trade as no reasonable alternative has been proposed. Using LNG (liquefied natural gas) to power some ships will do no more that ease this predicament slightly. The return of the use of sailing vessels to carry cargo between Boston and New York just show that some people have insight into what lies ahead for shipping but this initiative will not ease the inevitable loss of global trade predicament.
[45] It is common in engineering to idealize by considering the energy flow alone. Society at large, however, views energy as a commodity even though, personally, they have to live with the reality that physical energy and materials controls how their bodies operate and what they are able to do.
[46] That law does not take into account thermonuclear reactions that transform material into energy: the way the Sun produces the radiant energy that drives so many operations here on Earth.
[47] Ironically, the economist, Georgescu-Roegen said, decades ago, that “Matter matters too”. But that understanding has been ignored as society continues to pursue progress without meeting the ecological cost.
[48] The term “exergy” is often used by engineers to describe the capability of energy to do useful work in a flow process because it contributes to understanding of the consequences. The implied energy (and material) costs in supplying the exergy is not taken into account in using that term.
[49] These are inputs to the constructive process offsetting the destructive effect of the various forms of friction such as winds on the power lines and friction in the turbine and generator mountings as well as the electrical losses.
[50] The thousands of wrecked ships on the ocean floor is but one example of the waste of the product of the iron ore supplied by nature.
[51] Essentially slave labour in undeveloped countries is used for some recycling of selected materials but that will continue only so long as the collection and transportation of the wastes can continue.
[52] Bears and salmon combine to recycle nutrients from the ocean for use by the rivers in west Canada. This is but one example of the effectiveness of the natural self-organization and self-regulation that has evolved. Humans, however, are not so clever, as their sewerage systems flush nutrients into rivers and oceans in a one way flow that has deleterious consequences at both the start and end of the process, until the sewerage systems inevitably fail.
[53] Carbohydrates cycle naturally in plant production but hydrocarbons do not. Proposals to store hydrocarbon emissions underground are not ecologically sound even though they may be financially sound in the views of the proponents.
[54] Studies have established that about 30 calories of energy are used in providing 1 calorie in food in developed communities. Clearly that is but one of the unsustainable processes.
[55] For example, sports people have to deal with that reality when their performance drops off due to the aging of their bodies. Governments and corporations generally discuss the financial backing for system development with the presumption that the necessary skilled work people and natural resources will continue to be available. They do not assume any responsibility for the inevitable aging and demise of the system. That is for others to deal with when the time comes. Historians have provided details of the collapse of a number of civilizations due to this failure of understanding.
[56] The many waste land- fills outside cities are just one of the growing intractable environmental problems, especially where they pollute ground water. Plastics in the oceans are probably even more irrevocably devastating.
[57] Clugston provides authoritative assessments of eighty nine natural materials resources that are being irrevocably used up by the operations of industrialized civilization.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Operations and developments of organisms.


It is interesting to consider the operation and development of an organism in mathematical terms. ERoEI (Energy Return/Energy Invested) is a mathematical expression that is in common use in discussions of such issues as the supply of oil. It is simplistic , so misleading, as it is dealing only with the rate of using energy embedded  in the system extracting and supplying the oil: the EI term together with the rate of energy supply: the ER term. It is an expression of the oil supply situation at some, unidentified stage. The numbers will change with developments. ERoEI was a very high value in many oilfields, including the Middle East. However, it is now so low where fracking is used that the process is hardly worthwhile.
ERoEI is a measure of the oil extraction process used by many commentators despite its unrealistic consideration of energy alone and the assumption that the energy input, the chemical energy in the oil is free. There for it is only a limited measure of the energy cost of the process as represented by EI compared to the energy output, ER. It does not take into account the materials irreversibly used in the process. In addition, it is only a measure of the operation of energy provision. The operation of industrialized civilization entails many other processes. The manufacture of an airliner is another operational process and this is subject to continual scrutiny by specialists in the company without reference to a simplistic mathematical expression such as ERoEI.
However, it is an aid to understanding of the operation and development of an organic or inorganic organism to formulate a mathematical expression that does represent what invariably happens. Materials (solids, liquids and/or gaseous) are input into the organism at a rate that varies over time.
Processes in the organism carry out a range of activities while transforming the rate of inputs that  then provide rates of (solid, gaseous and/or liquid) outputs. In mathematical terms, the activities can be represented as functions of the rates of the inputs. The rates of the outputs can be represented  as functions of the activities. These functions continually change over time. That is the development of the organism. The functions can be mathematical expressions that approximate what happens to a degree. Often what happens is fuzzy so the approximations are not very good.
However, the principles outlined here about the relation between the operation and associated development of organic and inorganic organisms are sound even though most people do not understand that they always apply in natural and technological physical operations.  Economists certainly do not because they believe money flow is the determining factor.  Medical people do understand many of the aspects of operation and development while all people have some knowledge of how their bodies behave over time. Engineers have understanding of the operation of machines and appreciate the development that these machines will wear out (due to friction). Biologists and botanists understand this coupling of processes in their fields without needing to use mathematical models. On the other hand, climatologists strive to produce mathematical models that mirror operations of the climate in the endeavour to predict developments under the input of greenhouse gases. Geologists aim to gain understanding of the vast forces acting underground that have over time affected developments such as mountain ranges. These are some examples of where specialists have understanding of operations and developments. But society at large, and the leaders in particular, do not take the holistic consequences of these principles into due account. Yet they do understand that they cannot be immortal.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

fuzzy perspective

We often use numbers to convey information or to carry out specific operations. In many cases numbers are explicit statements, not open to misinterpretation. Your phone number is in that category, so long as someone else is not using it for some nefarious purpose without your knowledge! Your age is also deterministic, even if you give someone the wrong number to mislead them.

But numbers often are only rough indications of a quantity. If you tell someone your weight, the number could well be an approximation of what you saw when you last stood on some scales. The media provides numbers on the rate of economic growth or unemployment that you take with a grain (or more) of salt because you are aware of  how governments often provide misleading figures to suggest their policies are working.

Often numbers cause problems because they misrepresent the situation, as already noted. This can also occur in the operation of machinery. The Japanese devised a means of handling this problem by developing measures to process what they called 'fuzzy' data.

When you think about it, we have to try and make something out of a lot of fuzzy information. We know that often the meaning of information is biased by selective arguments or numbers. Smart people know that economic growth is illusionary because the ecological cost is not included. Goverments pursue economic growth because it tends to improve the materal standard of living as well as giving people employment. most people are taken in by this fuzzy views.

There are campaigns encouraging people to quit smoking because it can harm their health but there are no campaigns to encourge peolp to give up driving even though their cars are using up irreplaceable natural material wealth and doing irrevocable harm to the environment.this is but one example of the fuzzy perspective that people have.

But the most insidious fuzzy perspective is that money controls what happens in the operation of industrialized civilization.Money flow just governs the decisions (mainly fuzzy) but does little to grow understanding of the unsustainablity of industrialized civilization or of the damge being irreovcably done to flora and fauna as well as the environment.

Tityas's health

Tityas, the vast organism that industrialized civilization has built largely in recent time using up limited natural crustal resources, is a complex mix of cities, roads, ports, airports, bridges, tunnels, houses, factories, skyscrapers, machinery, cars, ships, aircraft, electronics, TVs and numerous other items that provide goods and services people have become dependent on.

Tityas is totally dependent on obtaining material resources from Gaia, the natural system that has evolved here on Earth over eons and will continue to evolve long after the inevitable demise of Tityas ends the Anthropocene era.

The human survivors of this collapse of Tityas will be those who have adopted measures to cope with the inevitable powering down as Tityas enters its senescence. They will be those who have gained understanding of the unsustainability of operations of Tityas

Monday, September 5, 2016

Entropy production delusion

It is common in knowledgeable circles to talk about the development of civilization in terms of entropy discussion. The term 'entropy' was introduced to describe the natural law always governing the flow of energy from source to sink. Sunshine is radiant energy from our prime source, the Sun. We can regard it as income because we can rely on it to supply the energy to power some of our technological systems as well as all the natural systems. However, most of the concentrated energy that powers technological systems comes out of the fossil fuels and uranium in crustal store. So it is energy capital that is being irrelaceably dissipated as it does work in industrialized infrastructure for us. Replacing some of that use of energy capital by using energy income in solar and wind systems to intermittedly supply some electricity will only slightly ease the inevitable powering down.
Moreover, useful energy is always a property of materials.In many cases, these irreplaceable materials are transformed into waste by the action of friction with such unintended deleterious consequences as land, sea and air pollution, climate disruption and ocean acidification and warming. So society will have to adapt to an industrialised civilization running down.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Science failings

Greer in http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2016/07/scientific-education-as-cause-of.html provides sound insight into how decisions are made by all levels of society about the wide range of fields. In particular, he noted that physical science, in principle, is based on the gathering of evidence To improve understanding of what happens. He noted, however, that the contributions of scientists about issues in their fields are often biased by vested interests. He also points out that the findings of science often do not influence the decisions being made by various levels of society because of lack of understanding of the consequences of not taking the findings into account.
However, Greer does not take into account the failings of science to provide convincing arguments on how many aspects of natural forces always have and always will operate. Of course, sometimes exceptional scientists come up with understanding of specific issues that are gradually incorporated into the body of scientific understanding as a prelude to acceptance by society at large and influencing the decissiona being made. Albert Einstein is now renowned for his contributions on the theory of relativity but that renown only came decades after his orginal findings were made known to the scientfic community. Galileo Galilei made a major contribution to science five hundred years ago but his findings only slowly became widespread understanding of some fundamentals long after his death. This slow acceptance of novel scientific findings is inderstandable in view of the fact that there were also many proposals that were slowly proven to be unsound despite the arguments (and even demonstrations) by their proponents. Perpetual motion machines is by one example of the furphies that have been foisted on the community only for a while because convincing demonstration could not emerge despite attempts by scientists who did not underatsnd the fundamental physical principles that govern these operations. They did not take into account the fact that in operations, energy does positive work while friction does negative work. 
The proposition that the emissions from the combustion of coal and other fossil fuels were having a harmful impact on environmental operations was initially made by a scientist over a hundred years ago. Slowly sufficent evidence has been gathered by dedicated scientists in many countries to prove that proposition. These peer-reviewed findings have been sufficient to convince some prominent people to support moves to deal with climate change as much as is physically possible and to introduce measures to cope with the consequences, such as sea level rise and impact on farming. This failing of science at large to recognise the consequence of the combustion of the hydrocarbons (which natural forces took aeons to produce using energy from the Sun) to provide the energy to drive the technical systems while producing carbon dioxide and other emissions will continue to blight developments for a long time. It is not surprising that many people who do not understand even rudimentary physical principles are take in by how the operation of society is very largely governed by monetary decisions. The failing of physical science to educate society about the stark reality of the irreversible consumption of a vast range of limited natural resources, including the fossil fuels, together with the production of irrevocable material wastes, the irreversible aging of the vast infrastructure that provides the services society had become so dependent on and the degradation of the environment means that industrialized civilization is doomed without sociey understanding why. Climate disruption and ocean acidification and warming is just one emerging manifestation of nature's response to the bad decisions made by all levels of society partly because of the failure of science to foster understanding of fundamental physical operations.
These views are by a physical scientist who after a career in aeronautical research has gained understanding of the fundamental physical principles that govern all operations (including how friction allows birds and airplanes to get lift as they fly)