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  • Entropy is taking over.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on February 27th, 2015 (All posts by )

    Another excellent post from The Belmont Club, Which I read every day.

    The barbarians of ISIS destroy ancient artifacts, in an outrage like those committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    The Taliban’s rejection this month of international appeals to halt the destruction of much of Afghanistan’s pre-Islamic heritage — their leader Mullah Mohammed Omar termed them idols — indicates that those most determined to impose their vision of a perfect Islamic state are firmly in control.

    That article was from the period before the US invasion. Many artifacts were repaired but that will stop and the destruction will resume after we leave.

    The Mosul destruction is to be expected everywhere the Takfiri tide rises enough to control an entity.

    A professor at the Archaeology College in Mosul confirmed to the Associated Press that the two sites depicted in the video are the city museum and Nirgal Gate, one of several gates to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire.

    “I’m totally shocked,” Amir al-Jumaili told the AP “It’s a catastrophe. With the destruction of these artefacts, we can no longer be proud of Mosul’s civilisation.”

    Isis took control of Mosul last summer in a lightning advance that led to the eviction of thousands of Christians and other minorities from their ancestral homelands in the Nineveh plains, amid reports of forced conversions.

    Fernandez make an excellent point; this is what entropy looks like.

    The idea of “irreversibility” is central to the understanding of entropy. Everyone has an intuitive understanding of irreversibility (a dissipative process) – if one watches a movie of everyday life running forward and in reverse, it is easy to distinguish between the two. The movie running in reverse shows impossible things happening – water jumping out of a glass into a pitcher above it, smoke going down a chimney, water “unmelting” to form ice in a warm room, crashed cars reassembling themselves, and so on. The intuitive meaning of expressions such as “you can’t unscramble an egg”, “don’t cry over spilled milk” or “you can’t take the cream out of the coffee” is that these are irreversible processes. There is a direction in time by which spilled milk does not go back into the glass.

    This is also called “The Arrow of Time,” which runs only one way.

    You are watching entropy at work, witnessing the destruction of information and seeing disorder take over the world.

    To understand this more clearly, open the case of your computer and consider the arrangement of the jumper wires (assuming you still have jumper wires). There are only a few ways the jumper wires can be correctly connected but millions of ways they can be wrongly attached. Order (in the sense of a functioning arrangement) is that small percentage of outcomes that work. Entropy is all the ways it won’t work. Order is statistically hard to achieve. Disorder is relatively easy to create.

    It took an ancient craftsman years to produce those statues preserved in the Mosul Museum. It took one thug only a few minutes to pound it into rubble and dust.

    We will see more of this as the jihadis take over more of the cradle of civilization.

    It will come as a mystery, a total mystery. The reason for our befuddlement is because while ISIS’s destruction of Mosul’s artifacts is serious, it does not spread entropy as drastically as the Western cultural elite. Their powers of demolition are far greater because modern technical civilization depends on what economists call rational ignorance.

    Unlike pastoral societies when a man might know all the things that mattered, most of us moderns know very little outside of our narrow fields of competence. We compensate by trusting others to know things about which we choose remain substantively ignorant for lack of time. This opens up a tremendous opportunity for Western charlatans to spread entropy for their own narrow, sectarian reasons.

    Michael Crichton described it slightly differently:

    “Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

    That is the same thing, although many people, especially intelligent people who should know better, don’t realize it.

    We are seeing evidence of this in our own society. Some of this is seen with social rules. They are changing very quickly.

    People who wonder how marriage went from an institution involving men and women to almost any combination conceivable in the blink of an eye, wonder at record winters in an age of ”Global Warming”, who ask themselves why their “Affordable Care” is so expensive and why the “free and open internet” has 300 pages of secret regulations; who puzzle over the identity of the masked attackers who attack centers of population every day are basically watching the effects of industrial scale entropy. They are watching knowledge — indeed common sense — being erased or obfuscated; destroyed at a rate that would defy the understanding of few guys wielding hammers.

    “The Great Society” has destroyed much of what traditional society once thought obvious.

    The Department of Justice has decided that antidiscrimination laws apply to the transgendered. So it appears that someone with a penis has a federal right to use a women’s bathroom via a declaration that he feels like a she. What could go wrong?

    That is actually relatively minor in its threat to society. Worse is this:

    The EPA has been seized by hard greens who are determined to remake the US electrical system – which is “an engineering marvel, arguably the single largest and most complex machine in the world” — despite their total lack of qualifications for this task. The effort relies upon “facts” about climate change that are highly uncertain, and upon a legal interpretation that should be a joke. (Indeed, EPA’s entire set of rules on CO2 rests on a Supreme Court opinion that was an embarrassment to that institution.) But EPA knows that it will take years for the courts to declare their legal view erroneous, and in the meantime the utilities have little choice except to follow the proposed rules, so by the time the law moves, the revamping will be a fait accompli. The utilities seem to care little as long as they can pass the costs on to the customers, and the potential for disaster is immense.

    An enemy, like Iran or North Korea, could solve the dilemma by using an EMP, or electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear weapon.

    [A]n electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is the most significant threat” to the U.S. and our allies in the world. He’s right. Our food and water supplies, communications, banking, hospitals, law enforcement, etc., all depend on the electric grid. Yet until recently little attention has been paid to the ease of generating EMPs by detonating a nuclear weapon in orbit above the U.S., and thus bringing our civilization to a cold, dark halt.

    That would be entropy on a grand scale.

     

    19 Responses to “Entropy is taking over.”

    1. Robert Schwartz Says:

      I am less aggravated by the antiquities business. I think it is good that they will dig the stuff up and sell it,. Academic archeologists love to claim that they alone should be allowed to dig up and posses antiquities. My view is that antiquities are like minerals and other stuff in the ground. Allowing people to dig them up and sell them gets them into stronger hands faster.

    2. Anonymous Says:

      precious relics should not be left in the hands of barbarians. They belong in a museum in London or Paris, Berlin was good until it got bombed.

    3. TMLutas Says:

      Rational ignorance is a variable, not a constant. You only remain rationally ignorant of what takes too long to understand. If the speed of understanding increases, fewer things become subject to rational ignorance.

    4. David Foster Says:

      Prior to Obama coming on the scene, the King of Entropy was The Cat in the Hat.

      But the Cat had a magical machine to clean up the mess.

      Where do we get our entropy-reversing machine?

    5. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      We may be witnessing the slow and possibly accelerating collapse of muslim civilization. What’s rising in its place is brutal anarchy. The violence is funded by Saudi and Iranian oil money. One method of approach western civilization might take is to refuse to purchase their oil. One might label that economic containment. That would only work if we could get the Asian countries on board, primarily China.

    6. vxxc2014 Says:

      Don’t forget Ebola. Never go full panic-monger without Ebola..

      Now our American problems are here in America, and no laundry list of squirrels abroad – now Barbarians because I guess Godwin at saturation point – no such list of woes of other men will obscure that America’s problem is here at home.

      People know this, those who don’t articulate it know it best, for they have stopped talking. There is of course no point.

      Men have work to do, once it finally begins less said the better.

    7. TMLutas Says:

      Vxxc2014 – Domestically, you have to scope the problem. You can’t scope it without a list of governments, without a list of improper laws, without a list of the compromised and the corrupt. Forum talk may be useless in certain circumstances but a lack of discussion could be deadly to the enterprise.

    8. Mike K Says:

      “Now our American problems are here in America, and no laundry list of squirrels abroad”

      So, you don’t think the electricity grid is a local problem ?

      The post was about the entropy both here and abroad. Fortress America is no more. That is why I am not a “Big L” libertarian.

      The antagonism to energy production is not an Israeli problem.

    9. Grurray Says:

      John Robb was talking about this subject a couple weeks ago, but he had a different take on it, that what actually is happening is the Saudis are exporting entropy which causes the surrounding region to break apart.

      The theory of dissipative structures says that a system becomes self organizing as long as it remains open, takes advantage of positive feedback loops, and generates negentropy . That way it gets around the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

      The great, classic book by Prigogine on self organizing thermodynamics was ‘Order Out of Chaos”

    10. vxxc2014 Says:

      @Mr. Lutas,

      “Domestically, you have to scope the problem. You can’t scope it without a list of governments, without a list of improper laws, without a list of the compromised and the corrupt.”

      Well. What you ask for in the way you demand it would tax the powers of Lucifer never mind mortal man.

      I shall summarize the problem and the scope. [Really Sir the Internet itself even with IPv6 addresses would prove insufficient to meet your requirements].

      The problem may be found on the axis of Imperial power running from DC to NYC, the ACELA corridor is a good geographical reference. That is a geographical location and suggests a course of action.

      The problem is our government and elites at the Federal and national level are hopelessly corrupted, compromised, bankrupt and leveraged to a truly fantastic degree- the derivatives were at $691T as of 6/14 [bis.org/derivatives] and our last dollar estimate of actual Federal obligations $205T as of 2013. This is just the leverage that reflects the corruption, utter loss of control of what is now an only loosely organized crime syndicate, and also reflective on the matter of Finance of their basic malice, insanity and evil.
      >The last sentence also suggests a course of action.

      Scope: Our Elites and Ruling Class at the National level are as a body insane, evil and motivated by malice towards those who should be considered their own people – or rather the squatters on what they see as their property. >That we are squatters suggests a course of action they carry out even now by opening our borders and over time that will succeed in ridding them of us.
      >That they have decided to both elect a new people and rid themselves of the Squatter one suggests existential choices face both parties, so far only one party has chosen and it is our Rulers.

      Scope of Improper Laws: As you should know our Laws are beyond counting, however we may consider the entire Federal Register Unconstitutional and throw it all out.

      A list of the Corrupt and Compromised: now here I really must protest. If you are part of corrupt enterprise your personal virtues are irrelevant, like innocence in war.

      I must also protest your attempt to apparently break the Internet with such a list, that is the function of the FCC and Commissioner Kim Kardashian.

      Now as far as the clear and only remaining course of action other than laying down and dying meekly – which does have the advantages of being legal, being educated, being polite, being Christian, and seeming easier – other than that the remaining course of action can only be…to refer you to History Herself.

    11. vxxc2014 Says:

      The source of the exported entropy that concerns us is Washington.*

      Including the aforementioned Saudi entropy. Saudi would collapse without us or be consumed by any number of local powers, it seems that local power may be ISIS, Mr. Robb’s preferred solution.

      However you should know that in the case of Washington’s long exported entropy of anarcho-tyranny it has America beyond the Hudson-Potomac line as it’s primary object, and it’s accelerating. For instance The battle for Plenary Police Powers that ceased for a time after 2 NYPD cops were assassinated will resume again soon when it’s nice, warm marching, robbing, killing weather.

      *Mr. Robb being essentially a disillusioned Progressive unto a degree that’s he’s written an updated Anarchists Cookbook cannot bring himself to face that it’s his beloved Progress that is to blame.

    12. Mike K Says:

      There is a lot of paranoia in that Robb thread. One characteristic of biology is that an organism expels entropy and another uses the products to generate its own energy. We see this all over. Increasingly, some biologists are seeing that bacteria, and similar organisms like Archea, are the most common inhabitants of the planet and humans are merely the most highly organized.

      It’s a little bit like those small glass terrariums that are self contained. The earth may be a a Biosphere which is just a big terrarium. As we find living organisms in more hostile and novel environments, we begin to see that life is self organizing but the more highly organized creatures like humans are in danger of losing the organization. That doesn’t mean that smaller ones cannot make use of the products of disorganization.

      Saudi Arabia is a very dysfunctional society and only the presence of oil make them a matter of concern to us. The political left’s war on US energy production makes it more and more like a suicide pact. I think there is a thread of self hatred on the left and maybe suicide is an underlying motive.

    13. vxxc2014 Says:

      “The political left’s war on US energy production makes it more and more like a suicide pact. I think there is a thread of self hatred on the left and maybe suicide is an underlying motive.”

      Yes well it’s less their suicide and more of America’s assisted suicide, with The Left as attending physician.

      Yes Robb may wish to be an architect but he attracts arsonists.

    14. ErisGuy Says:

      “No one knows the shape of the future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.”

      What’s a thread without a scifi reference? By all accounts, we live now in fantastic future: hand-held computers; world-spanning machines; wealth beyond imagining. And more to come of everything.

    15. ErisGuy Says:

      The barbarians of ISIS aren’t doing anything not done in a studies department somewhere in America every day. As long as the classics of Western civilization are to be interrogated for their racism, sexism, and homophobia, then a world with fewer Assyrian bulls matters little.

    16. TMLutas Says:

      Vxxc2014 – Apologies if you were simply engaging in hyperbole but the entire task can be handled by 1 IP address. It would probably be inconvenient to do it that way but certainly possible. More likely would be one IP address per government, an address space somewhere between the 80 odd thousand the Census thinks we have and the 50 variant definitions the states use that would add on to that.

      It can get a bit weird. For instance, the state of Indiana believes that my local county has 76 governments (as listed by the DLGF, the Department of Local Government Finance) while the Census counts 71 governments for the Feds. If you measure governments by being on both lists, there are only 58 governments. If your criteria is either or both lists, there are 89 governments.

      There are amusing cases where the government maintains no list (Illinois is like that) and others where you have to show up in person to get the full list (California). In no case would it be impossible for a county level Tea Party group to handle their own county and perhaps the surrounding counties if any lacked their own group.

      I say if you don’t even have a listing of all governments, you can’t have a modern republican form of government. Ditto for government jurisdictions. The Census has about 2/3rds of them in its TigerLine project but they don’t bother with the special purpose governments. It would be a relatively simple matter to give them the mandate and the budget to get the other third. If you can’t get access to the laws and rules you are supposed to live by, the rule of law is a joke, fit only for a simpler time, which departed many decades ago.

      The problem is not the Acela corridor. The problem is human nature, which leads to corruption, over taxation, and over regulation in every geographical area where the people have slacked in their vigilance. Wherever the population has a higher density, the problem of oversight gets worse. Since the NE of the country is some of the most densely populated areas of the United States, it’s an easy assumption that the NE is the problem. But cities tend to be more problematic than suburbs because suburbs aren’t so densely populated, so large, that the complexity of the government oversight task overwhelms the residents. I have no love for federal corruption but have just as little for state and local corruption. I object to my pockets getting picked, not the identity of the thief.

      You say an obvious untruth, that our laws are beyond counting. If we mandate that they shall be counted, then they shall be counted, categorized, tagged, and made available as common data structures, the same with the regulatory code. Only one thing need be done, and that is to adopt an ethic that politicians who are opposed to this style of information sharing are simply enemies of the people who are enabling rational ignorance to a toxic level.

      There are two ways such an enterprise can go. The government can consent to bell itself, declaw itself, and retreat to its proper scope and role, or it will refuse seemingly very modest requests and expose the refusers as tyrants. Then they look like the dangerous lunatics (which they would be) and the chance of a successful revision in our current state of affairs goes significantly up.

    17. Mike K Says:

      Belmont Club has an interesting post today on the self hatred of the west.

      The Western elite is compulsively self-hating. If you thought there were any limits, there are none. Were Jihadi John to charge for the service of bleeding out infidels, the question taken up by the great and the good will be over whether we were paying him enough. After all, he stoops to stain his knife to cut our throat. Yet in justice, Jihadi John and his apologists are at least fighting their own side and are free to toot their own horn.

    18. vxxc2014 Says:

      Mr. Lutas,

      “The problem is not the Acela corridor. The problem is human nature.”

      Ah but Human’s of the worst natures are quite concentrated there, that is the Imperial Corridor of Power. They have made their choice and it’s time for us to make ours.

      I suppose we could have fought WW2 saying we shouldn’t bomb Berlin, and insisted on reform in Germany, and maintained we were not at war with Germany but with the German government and so on and so forth, but this tack is proving very impractical.

      If however we were to take the tack with the current offending real estate we took with Berlin I think we’d see our problems ease greatly.

      I have now answered your question.

    19. TMLutas Says:

      Vxxc2014 – If population density generates complex infrastructure which naturally enlarges the governments managing them, then focusing on the Acela corridor only fixes the present issues accidentally and with the underlying actual issue unaddressed, any victory would only prove temporary and illusory.

      By enlarging the governing oversight capacity of individuals and exposing the rot so it can be fixed and stay fixed, you would accomplish three things that are quite important:

      1. You would actually solve the problem
      2. You would avoid the massive and horrific waste of war
      3. The problem would stay fixed

      We have a problem that it is too hard to roll back government when the original cause for its enlargement has passed or the solution has turned out to be less than it was advertised to be. This may, eventually result in the end of the republic and war. It doesn’t have to be like that.

      About 1936, a reform of Germany, an exposure of the MEFO bill scam, would have put a stop to german rearmament and probably led to the fall of the Hitler government. At the time Hitler was still giving instructions to reverse military course if anyone, even a single western soldier showed up and said stop. At that point a team of forensic accountants could have ended WW II before it started. But we didn’t send the one fellow in uniform to the Rhineland, nor did we send accountants to sniff out the massive fraud at the heart of the Hitler’s economic miracle. Instead, we went to a desperate war five years later and at tremendous cost beat back fascism, nazism, and Imperial Japanese ambition.

      To choose the more desperate fight when a simpler route is less expensive, available right now, and would serve us well even if it fails to stop the rot in this round strikes me as irresponsible planning.