Orderly Disorder

Humans have been rated as the most anti-entropic agent known. Perhaps ants could give them a run for their money. But humans have really excelled at filtering, separating, cleaning, sorting and re-arranging so as to bring a large amount of order to planet Earth. Or at least order according to the view of humans.

For example, humans, especially chemists, have figured out how to make marvellous structures. The Burj Khalifa is a prime example of an exacting mix of molecules and compounds so as to enable a structure for humans to live, thrive and profit. At an estimated cost of $1.5Billion, ever wonder how long it will continue providing the expected functions to humans? This is a solid example of humans using energy to create an ordered arrangement, i.e. negentropy.

Another example is Pont Morandi. This structure, at €3.8Billion, enabled over 25.5 million transits a year. Opened in 1967, this structure might be a case study in hubris as apparently, humans didn’t  precisely define adequate composition and shape of materials. Thus, after being called a failure in engineering due to high maintenance costs, the structure self-collapsed in 2018. Causing the death of 43 people. In result, humans used a tonne of explosives to blow up the remains of Pont Morandi. This is energy to design, build, maintain and then destroy this entropic arrangement. Do you wonder if the net energy worth of this structure is positive or negative? And, would the net entropy be positive for this bridge? Or, in the end, is it an example of humans pushing the overall surface state of the earth faster to a higher entropy?

Humans continue to create and construct. Yet few structures have stood the test of time as the pyramids of Khufu. Should we continue building structures based solely upon short term financial gain? Or, is there value in considering the endeavour’s net energy consumption and its effect on the Earth’s surface entropy; its slide to disorder? Will humans ever be sufficiently circumspect?

Water Lily
Water Lily