At 5:37 PM 01/20/2015, Malcom Dean wrote:


Entropy is a mathematical variable which balances equations, but cannot 
possibly describe the conditions and actual processes which lead to work, 
enable its completion, or detail its purpose. 


   May I add some qualifications? Entropy must be a nice item to talk about  if 
the issue is on the whole bookkeeping on a long time scale. Instead, if one is 
interested in the nitty-gritty of concrete events and processes in 
thermodynamics, what may be observed there must be the principle of first come, 
first served. That is the participation of the rate-dependent processes. 
Thermodynamics allows at least two distinct classes of rate process. One is 
quasi static as riding on the slowly moving equilibrium, and one more is 
adiabatic as responding very rapidly to the changes occurring in the 
neighborhood. If we are interested in the concrete processes on a short time 
scale, the dominance of the adiabatic processes may explicitly be visible 
there. There would be no hurricanes nor typhoons in the tropical ocean if the 
adiabatic processes are dismissed. Of course, the entropy business could 
eventually enter in the long run if we do not care much about the difference 
making a difference in between. 






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