Monday, June 21, 2010


I cycle. My son turned me onto the sport back in 1992 and I've been on the road ever since as cycling is like Zen: Head moving through space being in the world but not of it while pedaling with intense effort traversing hills and dealing with headwinds. (The Zen archer comes to mind here.) Waxing poetic about cycling is cool but this piece isn't about riding but rather about the first law of thermodynamics, you know, the one stating energy can never be created or destroyed, only transformed.

In cycling, you feel this transformation process happening all the time; go up a hill, potential energy increases, going down the hill, potential coverts to kinetic, thus showing the rider first hand how energy works in the real world. When coupled with quantum, chaos and relativity, the power of the first law and how it drives reality becomes really interesting...

At a cocktail party, particularly big ones, the amount of noise generated by talking is astounding. It's a quantum sea of noise with bits of intelligible conversation periodically emerging like rogue waves in the ocean, able to be comprehended but never predicted though the probability of these bits of recognizable sounds popping up from time to time at any given cocktail party is an absolute certainty as defined by the rules of quantum mechanics and chaos theory.

If the ramifications of the first law are truly understood, then understanding how reality works, at least in part, becomes possible because transactions or, as John Wheeler so famously said, From It to Bit rules, something society should intuitively recognize in trying to move toward a viable future of sustainability and not consumption.

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