The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy

by: Peter W. Huber & Mark P. Mills, read in 2010
183 "The theoreticians have at least one more great conundrum to solve in this area. A mathematical equivalence has been established between statistical "order," at the atomic scale of things, and conventional heat and temperature, at the macroscopic scale. This mathematical construct, however, cannot distinguish between (say) a strand of DNA gibberish and a strand of DNA capable of defining a living organism, which is capable of using power to replicate itself. Yet a strand of DNA that defines functional life is, self-evidently, a form of local order (local to this particular planet) that is fundamentally different from a strand of DNA gibberish. The bridge between conventional entropy, on the one hand, and statistical "order," on the other, will probably come down to how order in fact exists in the material world, not as a mathematical or statistical construct, but as material structures. The logical arrangement of material structures will always be dissipative, in that it must always overcome the irreducible uncertainty (and thus disorder) inherent in moving and positioning individual atoms. An increase in order lowers entropy (locally) only when power orders atoms in ways that are capable of harnessing more power to create more (local) order."
186 "The Greatest cosmic truth challenged by Maxwell's thought-experiment and reaffirmed in proving it wrong was that design, intelligence, logic -- something of that sort -- can impose order on the ambient chaos, so long as it isn't quite chaos,"
187 "In the end, one must understand the demon, and the second law against which he does endless battle, to understand everything else."
189 ""The general idea of classical physics is, we progress toward the running down of the universe ... What we see here on Earth is just the opposite...Instead of going to heat death, we see successive diversification. And so, in spite of the fact that the second law is probably satisfied, we are not going toward equilibrium, because this stream of energy comes to us finally from the stars, the galaxy, and so on. It ultimately originated in the big bang or whatever -- the original presence in the universe. -- Ilya Prigogine (1983)"

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