Friday, April 27, 2018

Thermodynamics: Earth Energy Budget

Thanks to recent meet-ups with Terry Bristol, I've been diving more deeply into the history behind thermodynamics than ever before. He's steeped in the stuff way more than I'll ever be though, as he's been combing the Carnots, Maupertuis , for the beginnings of quantum mechanics.  The link is through the Principle of Least Action.

The concept of "waste energy" or "energy no longer available to do work" is what gets us some focus. When did this idea arise and how does it relate to "entropy" in grammatical English, equation-free?

The picture of the Earth energy budget I'm getting, from many sources superimposed, is of higher food-like frequencies coming directly from fusion (the uphill battle to heavier elements), and lower elimination-like frequencies boiling off, evaporating back into space (metaphorically speaking).

Earth can't afford to impound wattage at a significantly higher rate than it discharges.  This would mean a growing disequilibrium and stresses beyond what we measure, climate change notwithstanding. In some grand calculus, well-illustrated using Markov diagrams, the total in equals the total out.

You probably see how these core concepts all relate.  There's a sense in which Earthian "muscle mass" is increasing in the form of humans and their cities.  Leaving aside any judgement on what specifically constitutes healthy growth, there's an energy price to pay for everything physical.  So if the "muscle mass" is growing, is this reflective of some net income?

Information theory enters in, as a human organism is nothing more than rearranged atoms mostly already present in the ecosystem.  Some new material falls in from space every day, just as ionized particles leak away.  Very slow changes in total mass, spin rate, surface temperature, gas makeup, are the focus of many astronomers today, with respect to the other planets.

I think an average human, such as myself, will relate to the personal organism's experience of eating food, but not getting food value from waste products.  Working hard on a project and finding it returns no value, has the feeling of "wasted work" as in "this was my time down the drain".  But that's also what we call a learning experience, given the scientific mindset that feedback is always valuable.

These comforting reminders don't erase the fact that we're sensitive to "waste" as a form of energy we may produce and have too much of.  Engineers ask themselves how to optimize their time, meaning maximize useful output.

The personal credit wheels model I developed for GST consists of two pie charts, the diameter of which may be adjusted.  The charts segment ones source's of energy income versus one's investments in the future, another way of "putting it in the bank".  Walking to the grocery store to get more food is an investment of calories.  It takes work to do work, even if that work is playing games.