On Fri, Jun 15, 2012 Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> 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?

Less pronounced for anyone using the lens of mathematics. As the scale of
changes becomes smaller the result of those changes becomes smaller at
larger scales, and they do so in a way that can be precisely calculated
with statistical methods.  Depending on how many of these small scale
changes exist that lead to small changes at larger scales is how we
determine if something has high or low entropy.

>  If a seed falls in a bucket of water, the water becomes part of an
> entropy reducing plant.

A plant may reduce entropy locally but it can't do so globally, nothing can
do that, entropy stays the same or increases, it never decreases.

> 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.

No idea what you're talking about.

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

So a 100 carat diamond must be exactly the same thing as a charcoal
briquette of the same weight because they are both made of nothing but
carbon atoms and neither the diamond nor the charcoal can sense anything.
Or are you a fan of solipsism and think that nothing exists until you look
at it, if so then you must believe that information is even more important
than I do because the ONLY thing that you or I or anybody can understand is
information, so if only what you understand exists then only information

> >> 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.

The quality of information is subjective but it's quantity is not. It is
objectively true that there is more information in a bucket of water than
in the DNA of your body, but most human beings would consider it's quality
to be much much less because they don't care what a particular water
molecule in that bucket is doing.

> A Martian microscope might work differently might see movie stars
> pictures inside of molecules that ours miss.

If the Martian is mathematically literate he could tell how much
information was in the image he was studying and we Earth people would
agree with him on that figure, although we might disagree about what parts
of the image are important and what parts are not. And a Martian would know
the difference between a lossless compression program and a lossy one and
he would know that if he used the lossy one there would not be enough
information to exactly  reproduce the original picture or movie or sound or
martian klogknee or whatever the information is encoded for.

Neither science nor mathematics can take sides in matters of taste, physics
can tell you how to build a bridge that won't fall down but it can't tell
you if building a bridge is something worth doing.

> 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.

You're whole point was that a movie of something is more objective and in
your opinion more important than the real thing?

> blue cannot be seen by the blind, no matter how convincingly we describe
> it to them

You don't know that, nobody can know that. You can see blue without light
in a jet black room just by putting pressure on your eyeball, perhaps the
blind see blue all the time but they just don't know it's the same thing we
mean when we say "blue".

> The point is, that no scheme of compression or treatment of information
> has anything to do with the physical entropy of an actual substance.

I'd say mathematical and physical entropy have one hell of a lot to do with
each other! Mathematical compression programs work by getting rid of
redundancy in files, the more redundancy they have, that is to say the less
entropy in them, the better they work; they don't work at all on white
noise. A physical crystal with its atoms all lined up in a regular lattice
has a lot of redundancy and thus little entropy, a bucket of water with its
molecules bumping around chaotically has much less redundancy and much more

> You can't compress the substance, because it is not information.
> Information is a subjective (or intersubjective) measurement, nothing more
> and nothing less.

If information is just subjective then when you've had a few too many
drinks and a charcoal briquette starts to look like a diamond to you then
it really is a diamond because the only difference between the two is the
information on how the carbon atoms are arranged. If your above statement
is true then it is also objectively true that you Craig Weinberg can turn
charcoal into diamond with nothing but the power of your mind. Sounds like
a comic book superhero.

  John K Clark

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