Slaying systems disorders

Early on in the inquiry, I introduced the energy concept specifically as an entailment of considering physical phenomena in systems terms. In the course of doing that, I gave a brief introduction to basic systems ideas, and outlined what is entailed in considering any situation in such terms. We’re now at a point where some further background in systems will be particularly useful, as we start to look at the energy costs of our energy use under the broad theme of efficiency. In providing the earlier general introduction to thinking with systems as a basis for then introducing energy from the very outset explicitly as a property of physical systems, I drew on a set of ideas that could be considered foundational for the broad and heterogeneous field of systems thinking and practice, or simply systems.Note 1 The way in which I introduced those ideas is more-or-less entirely consistent with the ways that systems concepts are used in the physical sciences and engineering disciplines that deal directly with energy, especially the various branches of thermodynamics. In other words, in relation to those introductory systems ideas as set out here at Beyond this Brief Anomaly, the fields of systems and thermodynamics are in close agreement. Continue reading

Accounting for a most dynamic world—Part 3

In last week’s post, we finished up by learning of Sadi Carnot’s eventual recognition that the phenomenon of heat relates to the smallest-scale motions of matter. I’ll start the last stage in our historical overview by introducing the term energy itself for the first time.Note 1 Up until early in the nineteenth century, the name ‘living force’ prevailed in relation to the quantity mv2, the product of a body’s mass and the square of its speed. Then in 1807, in A Course of Lectures in Natural Philosophy and the Mechanical Arts, Thomas Young (1773-1829) proposed the term ‘energy’ as an alternative to ‘living force’.Note 2 It’s noteworthy that in doing so, Young was not interested in whether this energy had some sort of metaphysical significance i.e. whether it had some sort of inherent existence. Rather, he was interested in the observation that in many physical situations, characteristic effects are proportional to this quantity, that it arises as an invariant feature of certain physical situations.[2] Continue reading