Archives for: October 2010

Heat Death

posted by ben on 10.10.30 at 06:37, null, null, 4 comments Permalink

I just read Pink Noise by Leonid Korogodski. In it, I'm sure all my old friends will be thrilled to hear, he discusses heat death and validates some of my old concerns. He also talks about far from equilibrium systems, particularly as an explanation for what we see in cosmology (vs dark matter) and how large scale thermodynamics gives rise to smaller scale complex systems -- life.

This all fits remarkably well with El-Erian's When Markets Collide. El-Erian talks about "stable disequalibrium," to explain properties of globalization. The processes here seem to be exactly the ones Korogodski describes.

There's something very interesting here, but I can't figure out how to express it.

Comment from: Leonid Korogodski [Visitor] ·
Thanks. On the evolutionary approach to economics, I highly recommend Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics by Eric D. Beinhocker.
Permalink 10/31/10 @ 23:34
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
Thanks for note! I actually already ordered the Beinhocker book. After finishing Pink Noise I went through and probably picked up 3/4 of the books in the bibliography. Looking forward to reading them...
Permalink 11/01/10 @ 07:20
Comment from: Leonid Korogodski [Visitor] ·
I'm happy that you have enjoyed the book. I wonder about the old concerns of yours that you mentioned in your post.
Permalink 11/01/10 @ 20:55
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
My little heat death argument goes something like this: imagine the universe trillions of years from now. The stars have all died. Matter has dispersed to a state of maximum entropy. Everything is gone -- all that man or anything else might have created has disappeared.

From the perspective of a historically naive hypothetical observer at this point it is impossible to determine whether anything of interest (humanity, art, whatever the meaning of life is) ever existed because the universe now sits at the same state it would have if nothing had ever existed.

Given this inevitable outcome, and the insistence of thermodynamics that it will come to pass, then life can have no meaning.

Some might argue that only reinforces the transitory precious nature of life, but such an argument willfully ignores the final, dreadful outcome.

From a purely rational standpoint, given what I understand about how the universe works, it makes no difference if I live a long, useful life or die pointlessly this instant.

Of course, there are ways out:
(1) Maybe the universe isn't closed (then, in the words of MCJB3, we wouldn't all be hosed).
(2) Maybe there are lots of universes and they interact and we can pass information between them, thereby giving some longer, hopefully perpetual, meaning to our lives
(3) Some other option neglected due to my poor understanding of physics
(4) Maybe there is something supernatural, some sort of afterlife, metaphysical force or something that can be used to give meaning to an otherwise bleak existence.

I still remember having this conversation while staring at a starry sky, imagining the lights going out. That led to another issue

I am also nervous that some piece of enormously dense matter will come wandering through the solar system, causing the earth to go careening off its typical orbit into interstellar space. That would make a much more frightening movie than all those asteroid apocalypse ones.
Permalink 11/30/10 @ 15:27

Why there is a mid/back office CEP market

posted by ben on 10.10.30 at 06:08, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

...a typical plumbing problem: The pipes are simply unable to handle the flow of new and old transactions. This is true at the level of the individual firm, where the willingness of the portfolio managers to use new strategies is yet to be accompanied by the ability of the middle and back offices to adequately process and maintain them.

-Mohamed El-Erian, When Markets Collide, pg 16