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2376More Fred on 2LT

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  • mike@usinter.net
    Dec 30, 2004
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      fred on another bb wrote:

      Indonesian Earthquake

      Richard Gross, a geophysicist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
      in California, theorised that a shift of mass towards the Earth's
      centre during the quake caused the planet to spin faster by three
      microseconds, or three millionths of a second, and to tilt about 2.5
      centimetres on its axis.

      He said that when one tectonic plate beneath the Indian Ocean was
      forced below the edge of another, "it had the effect of making the
      earth more compact and spinning faster" - like an ice-skater spinning
      faster by tucking in the arms.

      The north-west tip of Sumatra might have shifted to the south-west by
      as much as 36 metres, Mr Hudnut said. "That is a lot of slip. That
      earthquake has changed the map," he said.

      However, scientists will have to use handheld GPS (global positioning
      satellite) devices to establish the exact degree of shift. Some
      believe the land mass may have moved up or down, not sideways.

      However, the path of the Earth's poles normally varied by about 10
      metres, so the added 2.5-centimetre wobble was unlikely to cause long-
      term effects

      Sydney Morning Herald



      1. If the Earth has contracted in volume to its centre then it can
      only be as a result of a cooling interior and subsequent contraction.
      So much for Global Warming!

      2. Mind you, I doubt that the Earth is cooling to that degree. It is
      far more likely that the usual HEAT dissipation from an overheated
      interior is causing normal tectonic plate movements. Movements that
      have caused continents to drift over the eons. Sorry Dr. Gross! I
      don't believe we will be seeing the earth's rotation getting a few
      nanosecs faster. However as it is possible to measure the Earth's
      rotation to that degree of accuracy with satellite instrumentation,
      let's stay tuned and see if the ice age cometh.

      3. An interesting sideline to this dreadful human tragedy is that the
      mechanical and heat energy involved in this geophysical event has
      pumped trillions of joules of energy into a localised area of the
      earth's surface. By the laws of thermodynamics this is equivalent to
      trillions of bits of informational ordered states pumped into that
      environment. Over time this order or energy will dissipate throughout
      the entire biosphere to the benefit of all lifeforms. Lifeforms,
      including humans, that will be nourished by it.

      4. This is another example of momentum transfer occuring during a
      thermodynamic exchange adjacent to a land-sea interface. It ought to
      remind us all that we are a part of a living Earth where
      thermodynamic exchanges from solar and geothermal sources with the
      Earth's Biosphere enrich our lives albeit sometimes tumultuously. It
      teaches us that in order to survive, we must learn to understand our
      essential thermodynamic nature as opposed to our clumsy ego-centric
      ones. Then, we may be better able to mitigate those solar, geothermal
      and cosmological energy exchanges that we can control and learn
      strategies to cope with those we cannot.


      I responded:

      I disagree with Fred's assertion, for instance because the orders
      that stem from the tidal wave are only made by selections of those
      living things which survive it. If you go back in time to the first
      nucleotide sortings until now, certainly there has been an increase
      of order relative to the kinds of energy transiants that the earth
      experiences that you could catagorize as siesmic, I think that is
      where hydrates come in in terms of a modulating chemistry . . .

      A cloud sorting is a set of deaths as much as it is a set of
      surviving nucleotides, and the process itself moves nucleotides from
      the chemistry and conductivity of the oceans to the chemstry and
      conductivity of the clouds. This is where our own mortality as
      sexually producing animals stems--as there is evolutionary
      disavantage in mortality from the standpoint of modulating a living
      earth. So in that sense the truck example is true in that we must all
      die. We were not designed to live in our mortal coils forever. Our
      purpose, unto our human race, and to a living earth, drives on, but
      not our individual lifeforms.


      Fred replied:

      No disagreement whatsoever.

      See here re the nature of the Biosphere as a quasi-closed
      therrmodynamic system:

      1. The Thermodynamics of Complexity in Biology

      2. Macroscopic processes appear to be temporally "directed" in some
      sense. The spontaneous evolution of systems is always to a future but
      not past equilibrium state. The nature of this directedness concerns
      many deep questions at the foundations of philosophy and science.
      Thermodynamics is the science that describes much of the time-
      asymmetric behavior found in the world. This entry's first task,
      consequently, is to show how thermodynamics treats
      temporally `directed' behavior. It then concentrates on the following
      two questions. (1) What is the origin of the thermodynamic asymmetry
      in time? In a world possibly governed by time-symmetric laws, how
      should we understand the time-asymmetric laws of thermodynamics? (2)
      Does the thermodynamic time asymmetry explain the other temporal

      3. One possible image of this lies in Smolin's picture of operators
      in spinnor networks as graphs with "hands" on them, "grasping" other
      spinnor networks and operating on them to modify the latter. But
      the "hands" can appear on the modified spinnor network itself, which
      can then be an operator on still other pieces of the same or other
      One might hope that the "best operators" and "operand" spinnor
      networks - i.e. those that proliferate the most "rapidly" in the
      coevolution of operator and operand spinnor networks would "win"
      because by doing so they expand into the adjacent possible the
      fastest, yielding, via decoherence of under the winning subset of
      operators and operands, the present poised universe.
      Given the hints that an ecosystem of autonomous agents can, as if by
      an invisible hand acting locally on each Agent, tune its structure
      and behavior, perhaps these concepts may prove useful.