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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, February 28, 2014

A dose of reality every day

Every day:
  •  twenty four hours go by as time passes in the natural operational cycles, day/night, summer/autumn/winter/spring.
  •  more people are born than die in processes that happen naturally
  • all people, organisms and plants age due to irrevocable natural processes
  • the inanimate structures of civilization also irrevocably age due to irrevocable natural processes, forms of friction
  • so do cars, trucks, ships and airliners as they use up irreplaceable fuel for operation
  • water recycles naturally through evaporation and precipitation in the hydrological cycle
  • but systems of civilization use up aquifer water (such as the Great Artesian Basin) unsustainably 
  • carbohydrates are produced using carbon dioxide in the photosynthesis stage in plants of the natural carbon cycle
  • carbon dioxide is produced from carbohydrates in the respiration stage in animals in the natural carbon cycle 
  • the carbon cycle was roughly in balance for eons before technological systems started using fossil fuels so now the emission rate is  much greater than the absorption rate
  • hydrocarbons are converted in fossil fuel combustion in temporary systems made of irreplaceable materials to increase the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere sufficiently to change the climate and acidify and warm the ocean unnaturally
  • hydrocarbons in fossil fuels are produced naturally at high pressures at such a slow rate that this does not influence the operation of civilization 
  • the combustion of coal in aging power plants irreversibly emits gaseous, liquid and particular pollutants contributing to global warming, ocean acidification and harming organisms, including humans
  • many millions of barrels of oil out of the crustal store are destroyed in a variety of manners, many of which are not very useful
  • nitrogen cycles unnaturally in temporary plants to produce artificial fertilizers and naturally in biological  processes.
  • phosphorus is so necessary in food production that its declining availability will increase starvation
  • vast amounts of soil nutrients are flushed out from cities to contaminate waters
  • all energy flows end up as waste heat after doing useless or useful positive work in natural and technological processes
  • various forms of friction do negative work in transforming useful material to irrevocable waste during operations
  • but friction also enables birds and airplanes to fly
  • hearts pump blood against friction
  • unexpected climatic events such as floods, droughts, storms, heat waves, cold spells, wild fires, sea level rise are growing evidence of climate change
  • creation of fiat money increases the capability of people to continue their ravishing of the natural life support systems only so long as the value of the money is not irrevocably degraded by continuing inflation 
  • society is  beguiled with the temporary availability of all forms of electronic gadgets for business, computing, obtaining information, banking, online shopping, communication and socializing.
  • physical scientists continue using the latest technology to advance the frontiers of knowledge of how nature works, so illustrating how little was previously understood, while continuning to not take the impact of fundamentals into account
  • social scientists continue to speculate on the behavior of all levels of the human race without understanding the limitations imposed by physical reality
 These activities will continue tomorrow and every day as long as natural forces allow society and its technological infrastructure to get away with freely degrading the eco systems and divesting natural material wealth. Society is so entranced with the power of fiat money that they will continue to ignore physical reality until it is too late to power down comfortably.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What smart people, think, decide and do.

Smart people have left their positive implant on civilization over the ages and will continue to do so even during the senescence of our industrial civilization even though circumstances are not encouraging. They know their mortality will give them only a limited amount of time to strive to meet realistic goals. These goals generally depend on circumstances outside of their control. Africans, in the main, have to set their sights lower than most Americans or Australians. Those who are denied a good education through a range of possible factors can be smart by learning from other sources, including from the examples set by people successful in worthwhile fields. Females have to set their sights lower than males in those activities based on bodily strength but not necessarily on degree of smartness. It is not smart for talented musicians to strive for excellence in a sport for which their body is not suited.

Smart people do not just hope that their circumstance will improve. They will strive to make the decisions that will make the best use of their talents and skills to help family and friends to cope with reality. Smart people will not be conned by the media advertisements to buy goods they really do not need. They certainly will not be convinced by the rhetoric of politicians about about the merits of economic growth because they understand the ecological cost of the ravishing by the systems of civilization.

Smart people will strive to extract some wisdom from the vast amount of information produced by the digital revolution.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Profound Mystery

The technological systems of industrialized civilization are irreversibly using up limited natural material resources to provides society with goods and services together with the construction, operation and maintenance of the vast infrastructure. This operation entails appreciable disruption of  biodiversity and damage to the environment. It also outputs material wastes that promote such deleterious consequences as climate change and ocean acidification.

That is the stark reality of what is happening. But very few people understand the fundamental principles that underline the above hypothesis. The vast majority believe the conventional view that economic growth is the norm. They appreciate the role that energy has played in development.They are conditioned to believe that with know how and hard work they can enjoy a high material standard of living. They may have a cynical view of their political masters and bankers while lauding the celebrities in the financial circles, arts and sports. But they go along with the idea of business as usual because they have been conned by the education system, government and media, to expect that progress will continue to be conjured up out of thin air!

So, on one hand we have what is happening in the Real world while on the other, the common, Myopia view. The Myopia view does not take into account the divestment of natural material wealth in meeting the demands of technological civilization and its resident population.

The mystery is two fold. Firstly, why is society so blind to what civilization has done wrong and is still doing wrong despite the multitude of warning signs that nature throws up? Climate change is one symptom of this malfeasance of civilization.

Secondly, what will society do to cope with reality as the Real world gradually hits harder below the belt and civilization collapses? The 'leaders' of society will not lead the way as they are blinded by dollars. The bewildered masses will strive to power down as painlessly as possible as the infrastructure they are so dependent on disintegrates through lack of sustenance. Cars and airliners are endangered species through lack of fuel. The supply of food, water and electricity will decline as the concentrated energy from the crustal store runs out. Ironically, science will not provide guidance as it has been too concerned with innovative use of natural forces to provide understanding of the fundamental principles that limit the sustainability of technological systems. The only hope is that smart people will use their understanding of Real to make wise decisions that will ease the inevitable powering down of society.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Science's illusory role

Scientific investigations have the objective of providing people with understanding of what happens and how this comes about. They are an anthropocentric invention aimed at satisfying human curiosity. Physical scientists have discerned only some aspects of how natural forces have operated for eons, operate now even in industrialized civilization as well as the natural world and will continue to operate long after the collapse of this civilization.

Science has provided people with sufficient understanding of how some natural forces operate that they have been able to construct technological systems that use natural material resources (wisely and unwisely) to temporarily supply goods and services while having the unintended consequences of outputting intractable waste material and immutably damaging the environment. The technological systems that have stemmed from scientific findings have done no more than use natural forces to operate on natural resources in producing goods and services. Technology has never created anything, despite the hype that humans have about its utility.

Mother Nature slowly responds to the parasitic operations of civilization without being aware of the mutterings of the invasive human species. But the populace still believe that scientific findings will allow them to continue the malfeasance of civilization's operations. They do not understand that scientists have provided understanding of only some of Mother Nature's repertoire with the fundamental physical principle being beyond their ken. Technological systems are irreversibly using up natural material in tangible operations. So civilization irreversibly uses some of Mother Nature's bounty for temporary relief while society hopes that intangible money flow will continue to power the illusion of economic growth although it does not pay the eco cost.

So when will society realize that the benefits they have enjoyed as the result of scientific findings are only one side of the coin. That the claims that science is advancing the the frontiers of knowledge  are really pointing out how limited scientific knowledge of the operation of natural forces had been. The failure of science to warn of the damage to the ecosystems of using fossil fuel to provided energy is but one example of the failings of science. Yet the illusion still persists because the flow of fiat money still manages to provide society with the benefits provided by technology. Ironically it also it has a significant impact on the research carried by scientists and,in many cases, on their findings!