On Sat, May 06, 2006 at 10:24:05PM -0400, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
> Russell,
> my apologies for the "approximate" typing. I don't assign to your "not
> following my comments" to that awful new keyboard I tried to use (light grey
> letters on a slightly less light grey base - not visible and I am not a good
> 'blind'typist) with the YAHOO-mail spellchecker that garbles up the
> letters - I think your uncertainty stems from a different knowledge-base I
> use.

No doubt.

> Classical thermodynamics I learned in 1942 when I identified it as "the
> science which tells us how things would go wouldn't they go the way they do
> go"
> meaning the game of isotherm and reversible equational craze in closed
> systems.
> Then later Prigogine et al improved upon it, but I still hold the field
> within the limited model of our epistemic - ever changing, enriching -
> interpretation of the (obsolete) historical bases from very primitive
> knowledge level times and accordingly primitive measurements by
> unsophisticated instrumentation, subject to an all ingenious explanation on
> THAT level. (Think about the dozen+ (and still counting) changing views
> about the 'entropy' conceptS).

Indeed - you are thinking of the difference between equilibrium
thermodynamics (which is "classical" in the sense of being a mature
topic, but of extremely limited validity), and nonequilibrium
thermodynamics which applies to much of the rest of reality, but which
is very much an ongoing research topic. I have always eschewed
equilibrium physics in favour of the more exciting nonequlibrium

Nevertheless, the concept of closed system applies in both equilibrium
and nonequlibrium cases.

> *
> Singularity in my view is a "no-system" because there is no way we can
> extract any information about it - unless we give up the definition. This is
> how I view a 'closed' system, (not lawyerish: "well, you can look at it as
> semi-closed, or even open, if you like,...") If it is closed, it is closed.
> Singularity is nice to speak about, I hold: there is no such thing only in
> sci-fi. We get usded to many sci-fi marvels and in the 15th step it looks
> like real.

Singularities are one of the features of General Relativity, but are
contradictory in the sense that GR is expected to break down (in the
sense of failing to describe reality) near them. So perhaps
singularities do or do not exist. In fact we really don't know much
about how they should behave assuming they do exist.

The business of event horizons (which would cloak singularities, as
well as other high density regions of space - collectively known as
black holes) and information flow is certainly a case in
point. Unitarity is tied up with information conservation, and some
studies indicate black holes violate unitarity. I'm personally
sceptical that unitarity is ever violated, except as a process of
observation (the creation of information).

But I have no plans to work in this area.

> Russell, when I said good bye to my polymer science (1987) and started to
> think I tried to throw out things to be 'believed' (axioms, paradoxes,
> emergence, chaos).  I retired with limited movablity and allowed myself to
> get away from conventional reductionism.  You are in the profession, books
> projects, responsibility for what you said yesterday: I don't want to
> persuade you to think differently, especially since I am fully aware of the
> embryonic level of the 'new ways' I still try to find. I have questions,
> very few answers and I doubt them.
> John

I'm well aware that you are following a "deconstruction" approach. A
little of this is healthy of course, but too much leads to one getting

Is it not better to understand the language of science, to debate the
topics using understood terms of science, and occasionally lob in the
hand grenade that causes a radical change in understanding.

A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 8308 3119 (mobile)
Mathematics                                    0425 253119 (")
UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]             
Australia                                http://parallel.hpc.unsw.edu.au/rks
            International prefix  +612, Interstate prefix 02

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