Featured Post

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 22, 2013


The use of drugs to enhance the ability of sports persons is grabbing the headlines. These drugs influence the ability of sports people to win. Lance Armstrong grabbed the headlines for a while but many addictions, including alcohol, have embraced by those who could afford the legal and illegal bolsters to their capabilities.

These drugs are substances that affect bodily and mental operations of the consumer in a way that is generally understood. Most people accept that they can be useful with moderation. Ironically, most people have views on these drugs while they ignore drugs that do much more harm.

The infatuation with the drug that is money is a very common affliction that is spreading rapidly to the emerging middle class in developing countries. It entails the consumption of natural resources without paying the ecological cost, the divestment of natural material wealth. It invariably results in the production of material wastes that pollute land, sea, air and organisms, including us. Society hold the rich in high esteem even they are the ones that have the greatest leverage of money to devastate the environment which is our life support system.

The global financial crisis has reduced the savings of many people and the withdrawal symptoms are hitting hard.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Black Swan event

Nassim Taleb coined the term 'Back Swan event' to describe events that are unexpected by people. This definition needs to be qualified as to who finds the event to be unexpected. The earthquake that hit Japan a couple of years ago was not expected by the residents. It was a 'Black Swan' event as far as they were concerned. But it was not to the scientists who were aware of the fault lines in the region. They could not predict when an earthquake would occur but they knew one was likely.

Many well off people lost money in the GFC (global financial crisis) of 2008. It was a Black Swan event as far as they were concerned. But it was not to bankers and investors who understood that the boom in the financial market was likely to bust. They made money!

Society, particularly those in government and industry, believe in economic growth. They do not understand that all the technological systems that provide the goods and services society is addicted to using irreversibly use up the limited natural material capital. That view is a characteristic of Myopia. What is actually happening is the characteristic of the Real world. Climate change and the depletion of natural resources is a Real symptom of what Myopia has done wrong. Unfortunately, society will have cope with what they consider to be a Black Swan event because they have been educated to believe that Homo sapiens make sound decisions.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Ten Laws of Ecolodynamics

The Ten Laws of Ecolodynamics

I assert that
The operations of materialistic civilization entail the irreversible consumption of limited irreplaceable natural material resource capital, an unsustainable bio-geo-chemical-physical process
sums up what is happening to the infrastructure of our civilization, Tityas, and its life-support eco systems in Gaia. It is a novel assertion although it is based on sound scientific principles backed by irrefutable arguments and experiential evidence. It is not yet a theorem (established principle) but this is because of lack of understanding of how natural physical forces always control what happens in operations involving materials. It is not even widely recognized in scientific circles. In fact there are a number of seemingly authoritative people who attempt to repudiate it. The purpose of this essay is to provide reasoned argument, for consideration by skeptics, backing this and the other assertions . This one can be regarded as the First Law of Ecolodynamics as it relates to the dynamics of the operation of complex technological and ecological systems.

1. Consumption of natural material capital

The well-known Laws of Thermodynamics embrace some aspects of what happens in natural and industrial materialistic (physical) processes.  They originally covered only energy flows (fluxes) but their applicability has been expanded in some scientific considerations to cover the tendency of systems and organisms to go from order to disorder as the processes seek equilibrium with the surroundings during development. The prior operation leading to order and the consequent potential (to subsequently go to disorder) is not embraced by the Second Law of Thermodynamics even though there are many well-known examples of that up and down process. The growth, maturity and then senescence of the human body is an example.This definition would clarify the circumstances where the term ‘negentropy’ is used by some authorities. The tendency for a system made of materials to increase in order, through the input of materials, some of which supply energy, from the surroundings, should be regarded according to Georgescu-Roegen as the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics. It would be more appropriate to call it the Second  Law of Mass dynamics where the First Law is the well known conservation of mass.

A corollary to the First Law is:
Technological systems introduced into civilization often bring into play physical and chemical forces in an innovative and irreversible manner that in many cases have had unintended deleterious and irreversible consequences.
This is deemed here to be the Second Law. The prime example of the application of the Second Law is the contribution of the emissions from fossil fuel combustion to the rapid climate change and ocean acidification. Seven others that are being seriously examined by environmentalists are the ozone layer, freshwater use, movement of nitrogen and phosphorus, land use for crops, aerosols (haze and particulates), chemical pollution
Another  corollary to the assertion (potential theorem) above is
The components and structures of materialistic civilization have limited lives as they are continually subject to natural destructive forces such as wind, rain and friction. Their existence constitutes a commitment to consume natural material capital for their operation and maintenance as long as that is possible. This also is an unsustainable physical process.
This can be considered to be the Third Law of Ecolodynamics. What will inevitably happen to the multitude of global cities and associated infrastructure is one issue impacted by the Third Law.
A Fourth Law is that:
Human beings have a natural capability to reproduce. This reproduction capability, as with all organisms, has evolved. However, in recent times human reproduction has become unsustainably parasitic because of the predatory usage of natural resources and associated devastation of the environment  coupled with a fallacious belief in the supremacy of the human race.
Population growth is causing concern in many quarters even as it is stimulated by economic growth and lack of understanding of the long-term consequences.
Another corollary (potential theorem) is
Natural laws have always determined  (and will continue to do so) what tangible materialistic operations in nature and in the systems of civilization are possible. Intangible information can only activate some of these potential tangible operations.
This, the Fifth Law, identifies the role played by information in activating operations. It is analogous to the brain sending messages to parts in the body. An extension of that Law is
The decisions made by humans about materialistic operations are constrained within the limits imposed by the tools and services provided by the systems and infrastructure of materialistic civilization. The achievements of the decision-making process will decline as the potential capabilities of materialistic civilization declines.
This can be considered to be the Sixth Law of Ecolodynamics. These decisions are largely based on financial market forces for now because the physical limitations have yet to strike home. The elite of society will probably find it harder to cope with the consequences of the Sixth Law than the disadvantaged global masses. The elite are currently able to take the goods and services provided by the infrastructure for granted. The First, Second and Third Laws will ensure that all and sundry, including the elite, will have to power down.
The Seventh Law of Ecolodynamics contributes to the list of laws governing the both the constructive and destructive operation of civilization.
The human race has been endowed through evolution with unique, decision-making  capabilities lacking in sound self-organizing and self-regulating attributes
There is nothing novel in that assertion but it needs to be taken into account in any holistic examination of what is happening and why. The Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Laws are on the other side of the balance sheet to the first four. They currently govern the operation of society as the first four laws are not yet common knowledge but that lack of understanding will diminish as impact of the stark, physical reality grows.
A corollary is:
Circumstances have enabled a proportion of society to be predators who prey on the masses as well as the eco systems.  Their operations are akin to a cancer in society and act as an ecological parasite.
This Eighth Law identifies one of the holistic factors having a major impact on what is happening and why. Past colonial powers have been usurped in recent times by military and financial hegemony but the degree of predation has not been markedly reduced. Treatment of this cancer requires the emergence of a degree of wisdom that appears to be foreign to human nurture.
This lack of wisdom is illustrated by the impact of the Ninth Law
Many of the activities initiated by humans have had unintended consequences due to lack of understanding of how some of the immutable natural laws influence materialistic operations
The use of fossil fuels to provide energy has had the unintended consequence of causing rapid climate change. That is but one example of the impact of the Ninth Law due to lack of knowledge. Another is the pollution of land, sea, air and all organisms be the material wastes produced by the operation of the systems of civilization
Finally, the Tenth Law states a simple physical reality that constrains what can happen
Continuing exponential growth is not possible
Governments, economists, media commentators espouse the virtues of growth, a process that is unsustainable for simple reasons that seem to be beyond their comprehension.  Continuing growth of the materialistic systems comprising Tityas is not possible for simple, physical reasons (First and Third Laws). Continuing population growth, despite reproduction, is also not possible for ecological and social reasons (Fourth Law). Continuing intangible monetary growth is possible but not the associated value of the money. Information growth will continue as the electronic devices profligate – for a while. But the wisdom content will not as society strives to cope with what has gone wrong.
The Laws cover the constructive and destructive influences on the operation of civilization. The changing balance of these forces represents a tug-o-war that the tangible destructive forces will eventually win. Materialistic civilization is entering its senescence while its inhabitants, human and others, are being forced to power down with the disadvantaged leading the way.

Denis Frith