Isaac Asimov’s short story “The Last Question” has an ostensibly arcane subject: entropy, that strange and dark force that will eventually destroy civilization and the universe with it. The titular question from “The Last Question” is how exactly to prevent this from happening – can we reverse the flow of entropy? I don’t want toContinue reading “The Last Question, Entropy, and the Direction of Time”
Science is very good at understanding the largest and smallest things in our universe. We understand to amazing precision how planets move around stars, to the point where we can shoot space probes and satellites millions of miles through space. We understand how electrons and other fundamental particles behave so well that we have confirmedContinue reading “Emergent Behavior, Wetness, and the Power of Statistics”
Let’s start with a quick riddle: (Riddle A) I flip two coins. If the first gives heads, what is the chance that one of the two coins gives tails? This one’s pretty simple. The answer is 1 in 2, of course. Another riddle, very similar to the first: (Riddle B) I flip two coins. IfContinue reading “Coin Tricks, Distinguishability, and Why Molecules Exist”
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