"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Depressed About the Hopelessness of the Debt Ceiling Situation?

If you are, then you might be cheered up by this:
Here’s how things seem to stand. Entropy is increasing. London Bridge is falling down. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is a picture of the fall, and time is its measure. Gravity (and its evil twin, inertia) runs the clock. Particles without mass, such as photons, can’t be made into clocks (that is, structures that measure the passage of time) all by themselves, and as more and more material transforms into such massless particles, the material world degrades to low-level energy in fits and starts, fizzles and pops.

All matter eventually becomes heat lugged outward in the form of force-carrying particles such as photons and, maybe, gravitons. Outward to where? To nowhere.

It’s a picture of the universe as one flaming arrow shot into the dark. The arrow hits no target because there is no target out there.

The expanding pressure is inexorable. The cosmological constant does not allow the universe to contract again. All the black holes evaporate. The coarse-grain irregularities of nature even out. Those force-carrying particles the bosons are all that remain and they spread until they are so far apart they can no longer cause any change in another portion of existence. Their world lines intersect nothing ahead. Without matter and causation, you can’t build a clock.

The clocks don’t stop, they simply cease to exist.

The universe dies.

Or lives on in an ineffectual forever, depending on how you want to look at it.
But maybe there's hope! Read Gravity’s Punch: The Heat Death of the Universe Got You Down? Fight Back with Science!

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