[linux-elitists] git and a sysadmin book
Karsten M. Self
Mon Jan 12 12:58:55 PST 2009
on Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 10:23:15AM -0600, Jeremy Hankins (email@example.com) wrote:
> "Karsten M. Self" <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> > "Complexity is the enemy" is one of my buzzwords. Another is "Large,
> > low-entropy pools are inherently dangerous". They're the same side of
> > the same coin, and investigating the second in depth leads to some
> > provocative discussions.
> > What's a "low-entropy pool"? Anything with potential. Jerry-cans of
> > gasoline, 110 story skyscrapers (or two sited next to one-another), CCC
> > centers (command, control, & communications), server farms, active
> > earthquake faults, fanatical fundamentalist religio-political
> > ideologies, spaghetti code, ...
> A nit: I don't think you're using the word entropy properly; you seem to
> want to refer to high potential energy rather than low entropy.
High potential energy *is* low entropy. Entropy is a measure of the
randomness, or unordered state, of a system. A low-entropic system is
then: non-random, highly-ordered, with high potential.
> Perhaps the notion is that something with high potential energy can be
> identified by the fact that it depends on low entropy for its
> preservation (i.e., introduce a bit of entropy to your gasoline and no
> more gasoline). But a large stationary block of ice is quite low
> entropy as well.
Not if it's embedded within a larger block of ice.
Now a system comprising of a large block of ice next to a body at a much
higher temperature, is a low-entropic system, as a net. The temperature
gradient, however, is the source of the potential, not the ice itself,
and the energy to be obtained is extracted from the higher-temperature
body. The ice itself is a sink.
> Low entropy is, all else being equal, desirable.
Low entropy is, all else being equal, a source of potentially useful
potential. Also potentially harmful. The useful/harmful dichotomy
depends very much on how the potential is managed and regulated.
> But you are quite correct to point out that a system that can survive
> high entropy conditions is even more desirable, and you're more likely
> to find such systems in conditions of high entropy.
Um, sorry, that's not entirely clear, typo? Is the last phrase supposed
to be "high entropy" or "low entropy"?
Karsten M. Self <email@example.com> http://linuxmafia.com/~karsten
Ceterum censeo, Caldera delenda est.
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