On Friday, June 15, 2012 12:10:23 PM UTC-4, John K Clark wrote:

>  > if entropy is to mean anything objectively, then how it looks and acts 
>> on one level compared to another can't matter since the difference between 
>> micro-states and the macro 'end result' is a matter of subjective 
>> perception, not physical law.
> It's true that as I've described it using nothing but English it does 
> sound a little subjective and vague about where exactly the transition 
> between micro and macro states occurs, however if you use mathematics you 
> can become much more rigorous and show that  for some things, like a bucket 
> of water, changes at smaller and smaller scales produce exponentially 
> smaller changes at larger and larger scales;
while for other things, like a perfect diamond, that effect is much less 
> pronounced.

Less pronounced to whom though? Without some subject to establish a scale, 
you can't say that there is any difference between the small changes and 
what you interpret as their consequences. Objectively, there are simply 
changes and that is all. There is no production of anything without a sense 
of what constitutes a whole or a part of the event.

>   So we can say (using the language of mathematics not English) with 
> objectivity and precision that the bucket of water has a lot of entropy and 
> the diamond much less.      

Precision, yes, but objectivity, it depends what you mean. If a seed falls 
in a bucket of water, the water becomes part of an entropy reducing plant. 
If you look at the water over 10,000 years, you might see many low entropy 
forms, clouds, ice, etc while the diamond has comparatively high average 

>> > Entropy and information here are figures of speech though. There is no 
>> actual physical property you are talking about
> If that's true then I don't understand why soot or charcoal is different 
> from diamonds, physically they are made of exactly the same thing, carbon 
> atoms. Assuming you weigh 200 pounds I don't understand why you are 
> different from 36 pounds of charcoal, 3 pounds of calcium, 2 pounds of 
> phosphorous, and tanks filled with 130 pounds of oxygen gas, 20 pounds of 
> hydrogen, 6 pounds of nitrogen, and about 3 ponds of a powder made of 
> potassium sulfur sodium and magnesium.
> The physical property of something can not just be the parts it's made out 
> of, the physical property depends on how those parts are put together. In 
> other words it depends on information, 

No, it depends on sense and participation. Information is a second order 
sense of a primary sense, derived through measurement, memory, inference, 

> I can't imagine how anyone could hope to make sense of the world without 
> understanding this, yes there is no other word for it, information. 

Information is a good word to use for computation, because you want to 
shrink the subject of your computation to the least difficult 
representation that you can work with. When you turn that on yourself 
however, you disappear. When you take it literally as a worldview, then the 
world disappears.

>> > I have a glass of ice (low physical entropy). I make a movie of the ice 
>> melting so that it takes one hour to melt completely. Then I keep the 
>> camera rolling for another hour at the glass of water. I compress them as 
>> mpegs 
> Bad example, MPEG and JPEG files deliberately loose information that, due 
> to the particular nature of the human visual system, make a only a small 
> contribution, considering their large size, to the look of the final movie 
> or picture. A Martian who's eyes work differently might throw away 
> different information. We should use lossless compression algorithms like 
> GIF or ZIP in examples like this.  

No, that's exactly why it's a good example. It shows how information is 
subjective. A Martian microscope might work differently might see movie 
stars pictures inside of molecules that ours miss.

> > and boom, the warm water has very little Shannon entropy and I wind up 
>> with a small file output. 
> Warm water has more entropy than ice not less, and the compressed water 
> file might be smaller than the uncompressed water file but it would still 
> be larger than the compressed ice file. 

Warm water has more physical entropy than ice, but a movie of ice melting 
has more information entropy than a movie of water, if you use any sort of 
compression. That was my whole point.

> I said "might" because as entropy increases the less difference lossless 
> compression makes, that's why with a file with maximum entropy, such as a 
> movie of white noise, a lossless program would be useless, the "compressed" 
> and regular file would be the same size. But you could still use lossy 
> compression, like MPEG, because human eyes can not easily tell one variety 
> of white noise from another, it's all just a bunch of hash, although 
> Martians might see things differently.  
The point is, that no scheme of compression or treatment of information has 
anything to do with the physical entropy of an actual substance. You can't 
compress the substance, because it is not information. Information is a 
subjective (or intersubjective) measurement, nothing more and nothing less. 
Matter is also only subjective or intersubjective, but it is a sense 
experience (which can be measured and abstracted through other layers or 
castes of sensemaking) from which the extraction of 'information' is 
neither necessary nor sufficient to reproduce. This is why blue cannot be 
seen by the blind, no matter how convincingly we describe it to them or how 
precise our formulas lead to producing technologies that produce blue 
experiences for those who can see them.

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