in the matter of gated communities, avocado's #, and maxwell's demon

Les Schaffer schaffer at
Wed Jul 16 16:06:08 MDT 2003

Jurriaan et al:

i blew my allotment of socially acceptable leisure time bringing
myself up to speed on depleted uranium issues yesterday and today. and
now the bosses are screaming loudly over my shoulder, i will disappear
until tmw or friday.


  0.) models vs. theories: Jurriaan brought this issue up. i have this
  little toy model (similar in structure to the gatekeeper thing) i
  play with from time to time, based on statistical mechanical ideas,
  of how in a capitalist free open yada yada yada society, the gated
  class holds power. most marxists might find it too mechanical and
  reductionist, but it sits fine with me. it has a modicum of
  explanatory power i can use when talking politics with people. but
  its not a theory in the sense of being able to calculate/predict
  something quantitatively. on the other hand, it gives qualitative
  results via analogy.

  1.) maxwell's demon: an argument made during the beginnings of
  Boltzmann's statistical mechanics against the idea that entropy
  always increases, via a clever use of a demon controlling a gate
  between two-halves of a partitioned volume containing hot gas (some
  would argue similar to our discussions). when the demon sees high
  speed molecules coming from the right hand half, it lets it pass
  thru into the left hand side. low speed, it says get out of
  town. and vice versa coming from the left, it keeps hots in and lets
  cools out. after a while, the demon has been able to lower the
  entropy in the entire volume by segregating these two "classes".

  2.) all the stuff about the gatekeeper and what are their real
  capabilities are related to this: the physicist Szilard and others
  showed that maxwell's demon needed to be understood on a material
  basis. once that happened, the paradox of entropy decrease
  vanishes. hence my little silly analogue in second paragraph about
  the functioning of the gatekeeper.

  Szilard by the way was responsible for suggesting chain reaction
  scheme for atomic uhhhh energy.  google on "szilard maxwell's demon"
  is all you need.

  3.) avogagro's number: is a mis-spelling of avogadro's number, which
  is a BIG number. note that the 'd' and the 'g' are misplaced by only
  one key on the keyboard. by the way, didyasee how its used in that
  calculation of depleted uranium effects in deitz's page?

  4.) consistent and completeness (3rd paragraph) is a play on Godel's
  theorem's and our discussions on logic. in essence, Soros can say
  something stupid like free markets brings open society, because a
  small piece of it sounds logical given the axioms (consistent), but
  fails under serious scrutiny -- real existence of class means not
  all results of the system are provable from the given axioms

  i'm convinced now that the business with non-binary logics as a
  scheme for dialectics is too limited. i like comrade melvin's take
  on letting things arise dialectically as opposed to defining things,
  but we DO have the capacity to analsyse and discuss explcitly as

  5.) non-locality and transport effects: this is a technical term
  from physics, indicating that effects locally (for example inside
  the gated community) are due either to changes within the gate
  structure or causes "transported through the gate" via other
  schemes. for example, you can generate heat inside a volume by a
  chemical reaction, or you can transport heat to that volume via heat
  transfer from hotter regions through the surrounding walls and

  the allusion was to the "capabilities" of the gatekeeper: not only
  could he control access (transport) locally via saying no or not
  pressing the open button, he could also threaten to call in the
  Mounted Police. i.e. social relations have a kind of non-local

  6.) i live near an area where a number of these gated communities
  are arising. i see these stupid gatehouses at the entrance and have
  been thinking about the whole thing for a while. i think Mark Jones
  said once that you'll now when the revolution is about to start when
  you see gates w/ heavily armed guards go up around the upper class
  homes. or something like that.

les schaffer

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