Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Subtleties of Energy Input Effectiveness

Not just any input of energy will lead to a system to organize itself. It must come in a form that is useful, and at a rate that is not too fast or too slow. If I put my computer in the oven, I give it a lot of energy, but only to disorganize it. Instead, the computer requires a steady electric current in a particular range of voltages, just as the sun sends light at the right frequency for stimulating organic chemical reactions. Also, the heat/energy must be able to leave, as the biosphere regulates the Earth’s heat loss to the cold of space… (p153)

Lee Smolin, The Life of the Cosmos, 1997, Oxford

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