Thursday, 28 January 2010

Entropy Abides


The chemical processes that fuel life are continually breaking down the long hydrocarbon molecules and creating them again. Creatures consume food from microbes right up to whales, breaking them down into more simple chemicals and then converting *those* chemicals into movement, heat, fat and lots of other things. All things die and decay as they are changed by the bacteria they carried around with them all that time, forming soil.

Rocks corrode leaching their mineral contents to enrich that soil that feeds the plants that grow high in summer and die back as autumn comes. Rock is created by the compacting of sand and other, small rocks and mud that are put under heat and pressure, then these rocks are altered by energy and chemical processes that transform them into quartz, marble and all other types of metamorphic rock. Other rocks are spat from the fiery heart of the earth as the ground is torn asunder and remade from volcanoes and other magmatic events.

The tectonic plates that underly the ground on which you walk on are forever crashing into each other, subducting, melting, deforming, reforming. Oceans open and close in the blink of a cosmic eye while mountain ranges punch into the heavens to be worn down by water and time till they become gentle hills, then back under the sea again. Continents collide and fall away, slowly dancing across the surface of the planet.

The planets wobble round the sun, gently slowing down like giant spinning tops while the rubble of failed planets and icy comets crash around, and sometimes into them. Even the sun is slowly changing, a slave to entropy it cools until in a few billion years all that will be left is a small brown dwarf surrounded by some cold dead rocks. Then a neutron star. Then if it's lucky a black hole, or maybe nothing but a thin film of cold matter.

Galaxies fly apart from each other travelling at fractions of the speed of light, uncounted teeming billions of them. They tumble out into the dark as they themselves expand and lose cohesion, spreading out to fill the universe as they fly towards the omega point.

There isn't one thing in this universe, with the possible exception of light, that is immutable and unchanging.

Entropy abides, everything changes.

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