# Entropy wins, in the end

posted: July 21, 2018

tl;dr: We’re all doomed in the very long run, but we can maintain order for a while 😉...

Entropy: a function of thermodynamic variables, as temperature, pressure, or composition, that is a measure of the energy that is not available for work during a thermodynamic process. A closed system evolves towards a state of maximum entropy. (From dictionary.com)

Second Law of Thermodynamics: In a natural thermodynamic process, the sum of the entropies of the interacting thermodynamic systems increases. (From wikipedia.org)

Entropy, which can be thought of as the disorderliness of a system, is a somewhat theoretical concept when you study it in chemistry class. It makes some sense when you think about the canonical example: separating air molecules so that all the fast ones are on one side of a box and all the slow ones are on the other. Without a further expenditure of energy, the air molecules will naturally mix and the order will be lost.

In the real world, the truth of the above statements about entropy becomes painfully evident when you take one or both of these actions:

2. Have kids

Yet may people, myself included, don’t always appreciate the inevitable triumph of entropy.

Las Vegas, according to Blade Runner 2049, if no energy is expended to maintain order

For twelve years my neighbor had parked a pickup truck with a camper in the back of his property adjacent to mine. I would watch it slowly rusting over the years and wonder what he would eventually do with it, aside from use it as a storage shed. I never saw it move. Finally, after turning eighty, he gave up and sold it for a pittance to two men who showed up with a full bed tow truck. They winched it onto the bed and drove it away. I watched with a wary eye, hoping that the camper would not collapse into a heap and spill onto my property. I silently cheered when the tow truck drove clear of my property boundary.

My neighbor was quite wistful while we observed the towing process. He recounted that the last time he used the camper was on an aborted trip to Alaska. He said he kept the camper so that he could some day resume that trip and make it to Alaska, but now that he had turned eighty he had decided he was too old. He spoke of the camper as though he could jump right into it, stock the larder with food, and drive it to the literal end of the road in the Alaskan frontier.