Jump to content


Member Since 20 Nov 2009
Offline Last Active May 08 2017 01:08 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: The Buffett Rule

07 May 2017 - 11:11 PM

We're talking past each other.


Objectively, all of our observations suggest that entropy in the observable universe is increasing.  From the Wikipedia article you linked:


Max Planck wrote that the phrase 'entropy of the universe' has no meaning because it admits of no accurate definition.


That was written in 1897, before quantum physics, radio telescopes, relativity, or the Hubble telescope were things.  There are other quotes in the 'Controversies' section that argue about semantics, mostly regarding how entropy is defined and measured, but nearly all modern physicists agree that time is asymmetrical, and the arrow of time dictates that future states will have higher entropy.  


A popular theory doesn't imply that it's right, but it does imply that it's something you should probably seriously consider given that Physicists spend their entire professional careers working on these sorts of phenomena.


There is no technological solution to this.  If the laws of thermodynamics hold true, it follows that there is an upper bound for economic growth.  The logic is clear if you use common or mathematical definitions for infinite, and have a decent understanding of the second law of thermodynamics.

In Topic: The Buffett Rule

07 May 2017 - 08:11 PM

I mistakenly think you know what you're talking about. I'm almost always disappointed.

Let me ask you a very simple question.

Where did you get this 10^103 number and have you accounted that within the next 10^103 - 1 years we might have slightly more technology to generate energy to harvest more matter in a universe vastly greater than we estimate now?



Again, 1 significant figure means the precision is ±50%.  There is effectively zero chance that it'd be accurate to 1 year.  We might not know the exact time frame, but there's nothing we're able to measure that contradicts the idea of declining entropy.   


Heat death implies that all matter in the universe loses all of its kinetic energy, which ends all natural processes.  The end of electromagnetism.  No more light, heat, or moving electrons/photons to power computers.  No activation energy to form new chemical bonds.  The end of biology.  Every radioactive isotope depleted into stable forms.  A dark universe frozen in time.


You can redirect energy, but you can't create or destroy it, so as stated previously, you'd need to believe in perpetual motion/free energy to believe that we'd be able to find a technical solution.


The concept was first laid out in a 1967 Astrophysics paper by Zoline entitled The Heat Death of the Universe.  Page calculated it to be 10100 years in 1976 based implications of Hawking radiation.  Terasawa and Sato were the first to calculate a timeframe based on empirical observations in the 1985 paper Nucleosynthesis in the Low-Entropy and Lepton-Degenerate Universe, which refined the figure to 10103 years.  


Obviously it's on the fringe of new knowledge, and could well turn out to be wrong, but it's peer reviewed science - not just conjecture.  It's the most likely outcome current science is able to describe.

In Topic: The Buffett Rule

07 May 2017 - 06:56 PM

See, this is the sort of post that makes this place a shitty place for discussion.  Instead of talking about negative mass, Alcubierre drives, and the potential impact this will have on economic growth, you focus ad hominems and semantics.  



I'm curious as to what number 10103 is.

Do we have a name for it or do we just call it a countably infinite number?

Because with a typical 95CI our estimate could be a few hundred trillion years wrong.


Countable infinities are treated as numbers for the purposes of arithmetic in Physics, though they're not considered to be a Real number.  Since you asked whether 10103 was a countable infinity, I mistakenly assumed you were interested in an answer.

In Topic: The Buffett Rule

07 May 2017 - 04:44 PM

Infinity is literally defined as a number greater than any assignable quantity or countable number.  If you can define it with a real number, by definition it can't be infinity (countable or uncountable), since you could simply add 1 to that number to make it bigger.  Some infinities are greater than others, but they're all bigger than 10103.


10103=10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (a one with 103 zeros after it)


The precision of the estimate is built into the number if you understand scientific notation.  It's only got one significant figure, meaning it could be out by up to 50%.  We have very strong evidence that we're not in thermodynamic equilibrium, but we rely on estimates for the exact figure because we're limited to data from the observable universe.

In Topic: War is brewing in Asia

07 May 2017 - 04:50 AM

Again, you're either misunderstanding, or misrepresenting my argument.  I'm not denying that the US provided aid to the Russians, or that their help didn't influence the outcome of the war.  All-out-war is a team effort, and withdrawing any component of it, from US supplies to Polish resistance, could have changed the outcome.


What I'm actually arguing is that the Soviets killed 3 out of every 4 Nazi soldiers that died during the war, and this had a greater influence on the outcome in Europe than the US sacrifices.  The Nazis might have won without US involvement, but it is pretty much certain that they would have taken over the West if Hitler hadn't betrayed Stalin, and invaded Russia in 1941.


That you can't seem to acknowledge this, and suggest it was due to weapons and supplies given to them by the US and UK, to me is revisionist bullshit motivated by faulty ideology.  The majority (70+%) of the weapons the Soviets used were built by the Soviets in Russia.  Their tanks by the end of the conflict were far superior to anything we were building, and were critical to our eventual victory.  They deserve credit for their sacrifices just as much as our ANZACs do.