The Science of Disorder: Understanding the Complexity, Uncertainty, and Pollution in Our World (英語) ハードカバー – 2002/5/15
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Jack Hokikian received his Ph.D. in experimental nuclear physics from the University of Southern California. In the 1970s, he worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was involved in orbit determination of spacecrafts. He has taught computer science courses at the University of Southern California and at the California State University at Northridge. He has conducted seminars in database design for management and technical audiences. He currently works for a health organization as a data architect.
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This beautiful book, in clear everyday language, spells out exactly why we see such increasing chaos and disorder around us and how we got to this point and how, once we understand this, we can slow down and perhaps even reverse this frightening process.
The author, Dr. Hokikian is no wild-eyed "mad scientist" nor is he a fanatical "tree-hugger". He is a University Physics Professor, a successful professional engineer and a highly-respected Database Systems designer.
I fully recommend this book to all who want to understand our world better. Practising scientists and engineers as well as laypersons with genuinely "inquiring minds" will gain tremendous insight and knowledge from this book while being entertained by Dr. Hokikian's lucid and elegant, non-patronizing writing style.
It is sobering to learn that the immutable laws of physics that underlie our existence make it virtually impossible for technology to solve our problems on this crowded planet. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the entropy or disorder of the universe tends to increase. Hokikian points out that while we do not use the term entropy much outside of physics, synonyms in the everyday lexicon include "waste, complexity, externalities, side effects, collateral effects, hidden costs, and unintended consequences."
In a chapter entitled "Economics, the Environment, and the Laws of Thermodynamics", Hokikian discusses the economics of computers and technology. Rapid obsolescence reigns, creating high entropy. There are obvious and hidden costs to buying and maintaining the technology. The consequences are degradation rather than improvement in the quality of life, with pollution from the manufacture and disposal of the equipment, and the dissipation of capital and knowledge. (Well, there are exceptions, like Amazon.com!)
But the book leaves us with the hope by learning about the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, we can improve our lives and slow the deterioration of our planet.
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