A remedial public service announcement about the second law of thermodynamics.

So it appears that some people in the mathematical community have some trouble with the second law of thermodynamics since they do not believe in science. They instead believe in perpetual motion machines, the world is flat (or a torus, or a projective sphere), and that computers, refrigerators, TV’s, cars, and airplanes are powered by demons rather than gasoline and electricity. Let me therefore give you a few experiments that you can do at home on the second law of thermodynamics.

WARNING: All of these experiments are AT YOUR OWN RISK. I cannot be held responsible for any electric shocks, burns, other injuries, dumb patents, or any other damages as a result of these experiments.

A scientific experiment on perpetual motion machines

So let me give you a do-it-yourself experiment that you can do that will hopefully convince you that perpetual motion machines do not exist.

Step 1: Find an extension cord. Extension cords can typically be found attached to electrical outlets or around equipment that requires electricity such as televisions or computers. If you cannot find an extension cord, then you may be able to buy one at Wal-Mart or Staples.
Extension cord

Step 2: Plug the extension cord into itself.

Extension cord plugged into itself

Step 3: Turn the extension cord on and then plug other things into the extension cord.

Step 4: Does the light on the extension cord turn on and do the things plugged into the extension cord turn on and/or power up? If the light on the extension cord turns on and your appliances receive power, then, congratulations, you have created perpetual energy. Go and patent your invention and make trillions of dollars. If the light does not turn on, then perpetual energy does not exist, and the second law of thermodynamics is true.

An experiment on the second law of thermodynamics

Step 1: Make a cup of some hot coffee. Do not drink the coffee.

Coffee

Step 2: Measure the temperature of the coffee with a thermometer and the temperature of the room which the coffee is in. If you do not have a thermometer, then you may find one at Wal-Mart or some other store. The temperature of the coffee should be much hotter than the temperature of the room. Please make sure that you have a thermometer and not a moisture meter.

Thermometer

Step 3: Wait 24 hours. Do not move the coffee. Store the coffee in a regular cup. Do not store the coffee in a thermos. Make sure that your mother does not heat up your coffee again since that will ruin this experiment.

Mother

Step 4: Measure the temperature of the coffee and the temperature of the room which you have left the coffee in.

Step 5: If the temperature of the coffee is equal to the temperature of the room, then the second law of thermodynamics is correct.
If you find that the temperature of the coffee is still near a boiling temperature, then you may have been using a moisture meter instead of a thermometer. In this case, you should (at your own risk of course) stick your finger into the coffee. If you do not get burned, then the second law of thermodynamics is correct after all. If you do get burned, then you need to ask your mother if she heat up the coffee again. If she denies heating up your coffee again, then the second law of thermodynamics is false. You should therefore publish your results in the top physics journal. If they reject you, then they are persecuting you.

A computer experiment on the second law of thermodynamics

Here is another remedial experiment which you can perform to convince you that not only does the second law of thermodynamics apply to our physical universe, but the second law also applies to any time reversible universe.

Step 1: Click here

Step 2: Draw an image in the field. You may draw any image that you like.

image in cellular automata

Step 3: Select a rule or input a rule yourself. You may use any rule that you like. After you select a rule, then you should run the rule for at least 100,000 generations.

Step 4:

If the resulting image looks something like this,
image
then try running your cellular automaton under a different rule and repeat steps 1-4 a few times. If the image still looks orderly every time, the perhaps the second law of thermodynamics does not hold for all universes.

On the other hand, if the resulting image looks like this,

Image

then the second law of thermodynamics works not just in our physical universe but also in any hypothetical or simulated universe such as a cellular automaton as long as that universe is time reversible.

An experiment on the second law of thermodynamics

With this experiment, you will be able to tell whether the universe will spontaneously violate the second law of thermodynamics and make all of the oxygen molecules migrate to the other side of the room while the nitrogen molecules stay on your side of the room.

Step 1: Gather the materials. For this experiment, you will need an oxygen mask and a full tank of oxygen. Please make sure you know how to use the oxygen mask before starting this experiment. You should also bring a fidget spinner to entertain yourself since this experiment may take a long time to complete and you may get bored. Oh. And make sure to pack some lunch and dinner since this experiment may take a while.

Fidget spinner

oxygen

Step 2: Once you have the required materials, go to a room and lock the door. Please prepare to stay in that room for up to 10 hours since it may take a while for the second law of thermodynamics to be violated.

Step 3: If you feel like you cannot breathe, then all of the oxygen molecules have migrated to the other side of the room in violation of the second law of thermodynamics. In this scenario, immediately put on your oxygen mask since it may take a while for the violation of the second law of thermodynamics to wear off. If the second law of thermodynamics is still being violated as your oxygen tank is about to be depleted, then please leave the room and get some fresh air. At this point, you should probably determine whether this phenomenon is a true violation of the second law of thermodynamics or whether your house is haunted. In order to tell if your house is haunted, please get it inspected. Any good home inspector will be able to tell whether evil spirits live in your home or not. If you paid 40,000 dollars for a house that normally costs 500,000 dollars, then your house is probably haunted; I mean, why would anyone sell a non-haunted house for 1/10th of its worth?

Step 4: If nothing happens and you do not have to put your oxygen mask on after 10 hours, then the second law of thermodynamics is probably correct.

Satire notice: This post is satire. I wrote this post in order to address the anti-scientific beliefs which I have found among the mathematical community, namely the denial of Landauer’s principle.

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