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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Time's Arrow

This post is part of a series, Nonsense and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The previous post is entitled The Second Law, Microscopic Reversibility, and Small Systems. The previous post is essential to understanding this post.

Why does time move forward instead of backward? In the spatial dimensions, one can move left or right, up or down, backward, or forward.

Time, on the other hand, has a preferred direction. Why is that so? The underlying physics does not seem to have a preferred direction, but time does.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Second Law, Microscopic Reversibility, and Small Systems

This post is part of a series, Nonsense and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The previous post is entitled The Second Law, Radiative Transfer, and Global Warming.

On a small scale, individual physical events are reversible; yet on a macroscopic scale, it is not so.  I used to find that confusing.  I'd like to try to cut through some of the confusion.  In so doing, the underlying mechanism of the second law may become clearer.

Figure Source (Monopoly by Hasbro).