The law of entropy (AKA Change takes Work)

I saw mention this week of the law of entropy, and realized I didn’t know what it meant. That ever happen to you? So being the intrepid Googler that I am, I looked it up. Since it’s all about physics, and I’m no Sheldon Cooper, I didn’t get the majority of it.

But one part of the definition caught my eye:
The second law of thermodynamics states that in general the total entropy of any system will not decrease other than by increasing the entropy of some other system. Hence, in a system isolated from its environment, the entropy of that system will tend not to decrease. It follows that heat will not flow from a colder body to a hotter body without the application of work (the imposition of order) to the colder body. (from Wiki)

They gave a great example of a iced drink, and how the drink changes. Being the dedicated coffee drinker that I am, I applied that to my coffee. My fellow coffee drinkers (and tea drinkers, too, can’t forget you) know all about entropy. We sit our piping hot cup of coffee by our side and proceed to get distracted by the shiny. Next sip we take, our coffee is cold. Epic Fail.


Now if I were one of those fancy folks who had a cup warmer on my desk, it wouldn’t be such an issue. But heaven help me if I put one more thing on my poor desk. It’s grumpy with me as it is due to the massive pile of books I’m using for research.

There’s also a lot of talk about order, disorder, and even chaos with this whole law of entropy business. Oh, I know all about chaos! Chaos and I are friends. We go way back. I’ve been trying to tame chaos, but it goes back to that definition above, especially the part that says “without the application of work”.

Who knew? Life is work. Writing is work.

I love those times in my life when I become a master of the obvious.

So now I’m thinking of creating a new law, and changing the face of physics as I know it. The Law of Poppy states that in order to make things happen, you have to work for it.

No one will hand me the shiny gold medal just for being so darn nice? What? That doesn’t seem fair! But as my mother loves to tell me “Life’s not fair.” She’s full of those little bits of wisdom. She also loves to tell me to “Get over it.” But that’s another blog post.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to treat writing like a career in 2012. The great thing about it? My job is fun! I get to write, which is what I love, but I also get to play on Facebook, interact with other people who have the same interests I do, and even take trips! (Albuquerque better watch out!)

It’s definitely a new way of thinking, but the law of entropy (and my now-cold cup of coffee) tells me that if I add a little heat, do a little work, I can do it. Well, either that or I just need to drink my coffee faster. I’m still figuring that part out.

It’s a learning process, that’s for sure. So what do you need the law of entropy for?

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