Insanity Crash: Cabling - The pre-rant epiphany, the theory of entropy.

“It is a measure of the randomness of molecules in a system. Entropy is central to the second law of thermodynamics and the combined law of thermodynamics, which deal with physical processes and whether they occur spontaneously. Spontaneous changes, in isolated systems, occur with an increase in entropy.”

Entropy is the reason why things go wrong, or get lost. It is all about an ordered system, and natures method of disordering these systems to increase entropy. The following brainwave came to me during my time reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, and answers all the questions I had previously had about cables, a subject of a few aborted rants previously.

I hate cables. I hate the wires that link my telly to the various input devices. I hate the wires from my headphones to the MP3 player or laptop. I hate the power cords from my laptop to my plug. They do a job, but also have a massive flaw – they get tangled.

This ha been the bane of my life ever since I changed from ring-headphones to in-ear headphones, the like of which I have now. But with the knowledge of entropy I now know why it happens, and also, that I am now powerless to stop it. You see, there are a few arrows that occur nature, two of which we perceive all the time. The arrow of time, for us, is going “forwards” but in fairness, could it not go backwards? The reason we don’t remember the future is that this goes forwards – we can’t go backwards in time by just turinging around on this dimension, in the way we can turn around on any of the other three dimensions we inhabit.

The second arrow is that of entropy, one that goes from an ordered state to a disordered state. This is at odds with the expansion of the universe, but Stephen deals with that slightly better than I can here. My point is this; our entropy arrow goes from ordered to disorder, an increase in entropy. This is our cabling scenario – it goes from the wound, un tangled, ordered system, to the disordered, tangled, messy system with an increase in entropy. The engery needed to input to the system to reorganise it balances the laws of energy conservation out.

This brings the point up that what would happen if the system was left to just disorder forever? Would it become so disordered it would reorder itself? I don’t know for sure, but the cables behind my telly are on the way to finding that out.