Conservation Laws and Magical and Psychic Energy

This is a snippet of a conversation from Reddit: I wrote: Gaffluence wrote: Does the first law of Thermodynamics apply to magical energies too? The law being that, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed (simplified version).   The answer is no. Conservation of energy is due a temporal translation invariance as described in Noether’s theorem and the Lagrangian. Energy conservation is a consequence of invariance under time translations. Something more abstract than time would not be beholden to that invariance and thus would not be conserved. Basically, if it is not physical, it would not be temporal, and Read More

Stochastic Supertasks

Supertasks allow you to accomplish an infinite number of tasks in a finite amount of time. Find out how these paradoxical feats get even stranger once randomness is introduced. What happens when you try to empty an urn full of infinite balls? It turns out that whether the vase is empty or full at the end of an infinite amount of time depends on what order you try to empty it in.

Making Probability Mathematical

Throughout much of human history, people consciously and intentionally produced randomness. They frequently used dice – or dice-shaped animal bones and other random objects – to gamble, for entertainment, predict the future and communicate with deities. Despite all this engagement with controlled random processes, people didn’t really think of probability in mathematical terms prior to 1600.

Reversing Entropy with Maxwell’s Demon

Ultimately, entropy is a measure of the availability of free energy – of energy that isn’t hopelessly mixed in thermal equilibrium. Pump energy into a small system and complexity can thrive..

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