[linux-elitists] git and a sysadmin book

Jeremy Hankins nowan@nowan.org
Thu Jan 15 13:59:56 PST 2009

"Karsten M. Self" <karsten@linuxmafia.com> writes:

> OK, I think I've somewhat failed in my mission.

For what it's worth, I don't think I disagreed with your original claim.
I intentionally indicated that my response was simply picking a nit, and
not a genuine disagreement.  Purely as a matter of presentation, using
the term "entropy" as you were was begging for confusion; and I think
the ensuing thread bears me out.  For the sake of conceptual clarity
(and definitely not for the sake of adherence to some ossified system of
definitions) it's worth distinguishing between order/entropy and
(potential) energy or stasis.  These are closely related concepts, but
that makes it all the more important to distinguish them from each other

> The Universe is very much like Catbert:  it looks cute but doesn't car
> if you live or die.  So, in a strict physics sense, entropy (high or
> low), entropy doens't have goodness or badness.

As someone with a philosophy background these kinds of statements make
me twitch.  The first for its pop-philosophical appeal and complete lack
of intelligibility outside of some to-be-specified context, and the
second because it is apparently supposed to follow from the first in
some obscure way and is highly dubious to boot.  Do a web search on
criticisms of the fact-value distinction, for starters.  Cliff-notes
version: many philosophers would argue that there is no "strict physics
sense" without value concepts, despite the intuitive appeal of such a
notion.  But since what you say in these sentences doesn't appear to
support your overall point anyway, I wont say anything more on the

I'm not going to comment on the rest of your explanation since I don't
think I really disagree.  Nor am I taking issue with the fact that you
move between social, informational, and physical systems in what you're
saying.  Even if others have issues with that, that's not my point.  My
only suggestion is that you should pay attention to distinguishing order
and entropy from energy and potential energy.

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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