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Universe Has 100x More Entropy Than We Thought

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the clean-up-your-room-that'll-help dept.

Space 304

eldavojohn writes "Previous estimates are now thought to skimp on the entropy of the observable universe. The researchers contend that super-massive black holes are the largest contributor of entropy. Since they contribute two orders of magnitude more than previously thought, the total of all the observable universe is correspondingly higher. The paper highlights (in gruesome detail) new issues that arise with these new calculations — like estimating us a little bit closer to heat death (moving entropy totals from 10^102 to 10^104 out of a maximum of 10^122)."

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Excellent! (3, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 5 years ago | (#29659537)

I can finally move forward with the plans for my Entropy Cannon.

Re:Excellent! (2, Informative)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 5 years ago | (#29659569)

Construction of the cannon ain't helping the situation any!

Re:Excellent! (4, Funny)

Afforess (1310263) | about 5 years ago | (#29659679)

It self-destructs, correct?

Re:Excellent! (5, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | about 5 years ago | (#29660115)

No, it merely reaches a state of equilibrium, so it never fires.

Heat Death (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29659565)

Here's a link [wikipedia.org] for anyone curious about the Heat Death of the Universe concept

Re:Heat Death (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 5 years ago | (#29660023)

It's interesting to note that even with the new estimate being 100X greater than the old, the new data is still only a billionth of a billionth of the maximum value. What, if anything, does that mean for the past and future of the universe? Reminds me of the Stephen Baxter book Manifold: Time, where the age of stars and galaxies is thought of in the same way we think of the instant right after the big bang.

Re:Heat Death (5, Insightful)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | about 5 years ago | (#29660343)

Coincidentally, the Ask Slashdot regarding SciFi works for students lead me to Isaac Asimov's cool short story "The Last Question" (http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html [multivax.com] which has an interesting perspective on this...

Re:Heat Death (1)

DarkMage0707077 (1284674) | about 5 years ago | (#29660727)

So we had the Big Freeze and the Big Crunch...now we have "the Big Burn"?

Now all we need is one that's Wind related and all the Natural elements will be represented.

MC Hawking on Entropy (2, Funny)

tylersoze (789256) | about 5 years ago | (#29659597)

Re:MC Hawking on Entropy (4, Funny)

vivin (671928) | about 5 years ago | (#29660245)

The researchers contend that super-massive black holes are the largest contributor of entropy.

I have also heard that "glaciers melting in the dead of night" contribute to entropy quite a bit.

You down with entropy? (0, Redundant)

megamerican (1073936) | about 5 years ago | (#29659609)

Entropy, how can I explain it? I'll take it frame by frame it,
to have you all jumping, shouting saying it.
Let's just say that it's a measure of disorder,
in a system that is closed, like with a border.
It's sorta, like a, well a measurement of randomness,
proposed in 1850 by a German, but wait I digress.
"What the fuck is entropy?", I here the people still exclaiming,
it seems I gotta start the explaining.

You ever drop an egg and on the floor you see it break?
You go and get a mop so you can clean up your mistake.
But did you ever stop to ponder why we know it's true,
if you drop a broken egg you will not get an egg that's new.

That's entropy or E-N-T-R-O to the P to the Y,
the reason why the sun will one day all burn out and die.
Order from disorder is a scientific rarity,
allow me to explain it with a little bit more clarity.
Did I say rarity? I meant impossibility,
at least in a closed system there will always be more entropy.
That's entropy and I hope that you're all down with it,
if you are here's your membership.

Chorus
You down with entropy?
Yeah, you know me! (x3)
Who's down with entropy?
Every last homey!

Verse 2
Defining entropy as disorder's not complete,
'cause disorder as a definition doesn't cover heat.
So my first definition I would now like to withdraw,
and offer one that fits thermodynamics second law.
First we need to understand that entropy is energy,
energy that can't be used to state it more specifically.
In a closed system entropy always goes up,
that's the second law, now you know what's up.

You can't win, you can't break even, you can't leave the game,
'cause entropy will take it all 'though it seems a shame.
The second law, as we now know, is quite clear to state,
that entropy must increase and not dissipate.

Creationists always try to use the second law,
to disprove evolution, but their theory has a flaw.
The second law is quite precise about where it applies,
only in a closed system must the entropy count rise.
The earth's not a closed system' it's powered by the sun,
so fuck the damn creationists, Doomsday get my gun!
That, in a nutshell, is what entropy's about,
you're now down with a discount.

Chorus

Trash Talk
Hit it!
Doomsday, kick it in!

-MC Hawking

Re:You down with entropy? (1)

Robotbeat (461248) | about 5 years ago | (#29660241)

Creationists always try to use the second law,
to disprove evolution, but their theory has a flaw.
The second law is quite precise about where it applies,
only in a closed system must the entropy count rise.
The earth's not a closed system' it's powered by the sun,
so fuck the damn creationists, Doomsday get my gun!

I believe firmly in evolution and the Big Bang and all that, but in order for the universe to have been created at some point, it's first generally necessary to prove that it has a finite age. The Second Law basically proves that quite nicely. So the Second Law isn't all that useless to the arsenal of Creationists.

Re:You down with entropy? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 5 years ago | (#29660779)

I believe firmly in evolution and the Big Bang and all that, but in order for the universe to have been created at some point, it's first generally necessary to prove that it has a finite age. The Second Law basically proves that quite nicely. So the Second Law isn't all that useless to the arsenal of Creationists.

Except, of course, it doesn't. The "heat death" of the universe does not prove the universe has a finite age, in fact quite the opposite, it would imply the universe will continue indefinitely. It's just that, for the vast majority of that infinite time, it will be in a very uninteresting state. It tells us what the "end state" of the universe will be, but reaching the end state of the universe is not the end of the universe, the universe goes on forever in its final state.

Re:You down with entropy? (1)

ari_j (90255) | about 5 years ago | (#29660313)

I prefer MC Escher [youtube.com] .

Re:You down with entropy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660609)

I prefer MC pee pants. [youtube.com]

Re:You down with entropy? (4, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29660485)

Wow, Vogons posting on slashdot!

Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | about 5 years ago | (#29659627)

And I was under the impression that all that black holes were good for, was for sucking stuff in that never can get out ? Oh well, guess I should have payed more attention in class as a kid...

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 5 years ago | (#29659697)

Information doesn't come out. But information != entropy. Black holes are the ultimate rand() it seems.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#29659951)

Information doesn't come out

But V'Ger does....

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | about 5 years ago | (#29659955)

Information doesn't come out. But information != entropy. Black holes are the ultimate rand() it seems.

Still think it's weird (call me a dummy, you will, anyway :) How can it generate entropy when nothing can escape it ? Or is it ultimately random about *what* it sucks in ?

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (4, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 5 years ago | (#29660061)

Everything that comes into a black hole comes back out eventually via Hawking Radiation [wikipedia.org] . It goes in as a star or a chicken or a pistachio and comes out as random energy, which is a pretty clear increase in entropy.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

kalirion (728907) | about 5 years ago | (#29660175)

Could this Hawking Radiation be harnessed? That is, can it be considered as free energy as opposed to entropy?

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | about 5 years ago | (#29660669)

Three very separate questions

Could this Hawking Radiation be harnessed?

Sure, although there are some minor engineering challenges.

That is, can it be considered as free energy

Not "free energy" because you're converting mass into energy.

as opposed to entropy?

On an entire system wide basis, entropy times temperature equals energy, so "as opposed to" is a weird phrase to use. Lots of energy emitted, at a low enough temperature, means the entropy must be high.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy [wikipedia.org]

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | about 5 years ago | (#29660275)

Everything that comes into a black hole comes back out eventually via Hawking Radiation.

Ah, so my initial pre-conception that *nothing* can come out of a black hole is outdated or simply dead wrong: 'Hawking Radiation' comes out of a black hole, being the source of the entropy. Thank you very much for clearing that up for me, I would mod you up if I had mod points left.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about 5 years ago | (#29660475)

It goes in as a star or a chicken or a pistachio and comes out as random energy, which is a pretty clear increase in entropy.

Maybe it is an increase in entropy. But it is not a clear increase. The matter is homogenized. Isn't this a loss of entropy? Suppose you have a bag which is filled with a mixture of salt and sugar -> high entropy. Now you turn magically the sugar and the salt into a diamond. One type of matter, highly ordered -> less entropy. Isn't this the same a black hole does? You give in all kind of matter, you get out one type of radiation. I am sure this view is not correct, but where is the flaw?

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (2, Funny)

ArcCoyote (634356) | about 5 years ago | (#29660679)

It goes in as a star or a chicken or a pistachio and comes out as random energy

I want something that does the opposite. When I push a button. Without the billions of years it normally takes.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 5 years ago | (#29660013)

urand()
Blackholes don't block.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about 5 years ago | (#29660027)

Actually like the parent I am a bit confused, too. I roughly associate entropy with disorder. So I'd expect that black holes destroy entropy. They suck stuff in and destroy it totally or at least homogenize it totally -> less disorder. Like you have a very messy room. When you take out everything and throw it in a garbage bin, the room is empty and clean -> less entropy. Question is, where is the flaw in this view?

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (4, Informative)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 5 years ago | (#29660317)

"Order" and "disorder" are human perceptions, not states of matter and energy. Sometimes we perceive more order when there are clear differences in energy states, sometimes we perceive less

To you, which is more ordered: a bowl of cherries next to a glass of water, or a completely smooth blend of all of them? The latter is more entropic. In the case of the room, replace the garbage bin with an incinerator, and the "empty" room (plus the stuff that used to be in it) is now in a more entropic state. The fact that you personally find it tidier isn't relevant. Assuming that you might have actually needed some of the stuff that we just burned, too, you might find it a rather poor solution to the problem of a messy room.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660347)

The room is all there is. So you take garbage, put it in a bag and it just sits there, radiating a stank you just can't get out of your clothes or hair.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

zehaeva (1136559) | about 5 years ago | (#29660391)

it would be more apt to say that a black hole sucking stuff in is more akin to taking everything in a very messy room and giving it all to the "Will it Blend?" guy, having him whip up a "messy room" shake and compacting that into a very tiny ball.

while your room is indeed clean, everything that was in your room is now in a small ball of disorganized matter where as it used to form nice neat polymer chains and crystalline structures and other such organized molecular structures. now its all just a large amount of goo which is defiantly less organized than a bed room set, sheets, clothes, your favorite plushies and whatever other junk there was there.

~zeh

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (3, Interesting)

amliebsch (724858) | about 5 years ago | (#29660421)

The flaw is that entropy is not exactly synonymous with disorder. Sometimes it is, if a disordered state has a lower energy potential than a higher ordered states. But in many cases, such as falling to the bottom of a gravity well, the "ordered" - actually just more compact - state is the lower energy state. Entropy is just the degree to which a system has moved from a higher energy potential to a lower energy potential. If we had more potential energy after falling into a gravity well than before it, then we'd need rockets to blast ourselves from space back to Earth, rather than the other way around.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

Thornburg (264444) | about 5 years ago | (#29660659)

Actually like the parent I am a bit confused, too. I roughly associate entropy with disorder. So I'd expect that black holes destroy entropy. They suck stuff in and destroy it totally or at least homogenize it totally -> less disorder. Like you have a very messy room. When you take out everything and throw it in a garbage bin, the room is empty and clean -> less entropy.

Question is, where is the flaw in this view?

IANAP(hysicist), but here's my thought:

The problem with this view is twofold, one is that of using "is a similar concept to" as if it were a mathematical "=". Entropy is similar to disorder and one type of disorder might be a messy room. This does not mean that a messy room has a higher entropy than a clean room.

The second is thinking that homogeny is the opposite of entropy, when, in fact, it is the ultimate form of entropy. If every single atom in the universe were the same (and stable, such as a Noble gas), then it would be very difficult to make anything happen. No useful energy is available. OTOH, if you have lots of different kinds of atoms, you can mix some of them together to make new things or generate different forms of energy (such as heat, light, or kinetic energy).

To get back to the messy room analogy--if everything in your room were thrown into a giant blender, and made into a sea of sand, it would have reached maximum entropy. However, in the messy room, there might be just as much potential energy as the clean room, possibly even more. Therefore is difficult to distinguish which has greater entropy.

And, finally, to get back to black holes: Assuming that Hawking Radiation really exists and functions as speculated, black holes take useful energy (light & matter) and turn it into less useful energy (hawking radiation), thus increasing entropy.

As I said, IANAP, so if someone wants to correct me, feel free, but please explain why, so that I can learn something.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

evilbessie (873633) | about 5 years ago | (#29660035)

That _was_ the theory, Hawking messed that up with Hawking Radiation though, sorry.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | about 5 years ago | (#29660599)

That _was_ the theory, Hawking messed that up with Hawking Radiation though, sorry.

Thanks for pointing that out, like one of the other posters. Apparently, my pre-conception of black holes was outdated or simply dead wrong.

Re:Black holes contribute to entropy ? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 5 years ago | (#29660811)

Black holes have mass too, but that doesn't mean that mass comes out of them. It is a characteristic of the hole not something the hole emits.

Re:Black ho's? (1)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | about 5 years ago | (#29660899)

And I was under the impression that all that black ho's were good for, was for sucking stuff in that never can get out?

Well... that's what SOME people believe...

Any astrophysics geeks out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29659659)

What would happen if we found the smallest black hole and started propelling celestial bodies, i.e. planets, into it. Could we dump planets into the black hole indefinitely? Will the black hole just continue to gain mass and radius?

TIA

Re:Any astrophysics geeks out there (-1, Flamebait)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#29659977)

You probably don't realize this, but the form of your question is kind of insulting. You're basically asking someone to take the time out of their lives in order to give you the answer to a question, when you haven't put any effort into finding the answer. A simple search on wikipedia will give you this, which goes a long way to answering your question [wikipedia.org] . Look especially closely at the section on supermassive black holes, which explains many of the changes that occur to black holes when they start to get large.

Please try to at least to begin to inform yourself before asking others to put their own effort in to explain things to you. Your effort will make the resulting conversation both more interesting for you, and for the person you are asking.

Re:Any astrophysics geeks out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660621)

By those criteria you must consider ALL questions insulting. Try not to be so sensitive.

Re:Any astrophysics geeks out there (5, Funny)

ArcCoyote (634356) | about 5 years ago | (#29660625)

being haughty to AC is like shouting at a tree because a squirrel annoyed you.

Re:Any astrophysics geeks out there (3, Insightful)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 5 years ago | (#29660657)

I don't see anything wrong with the intent of the question. Maybe he read it and found it too complex. Maybe he didn't understand it at all. Maybe he didn't read it and thought Slashdotters could give the best answer - in any case, no one's forcing you to answer his question.

Re:Any astrophysics geeks out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29659989)

Wait till the LHC runs at full power. I am guessing around Dec 2012.

Re:Any astrophysics geeks out there (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 years ago | (#29660311)

I guess that the smaller the black hole, the more problems you would have when trying to squeeze a planet into it.

I blame Obama (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29659667)

Desegregation, breaking glass ceilings => more entropy

Fourth Law (5, Funny)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 5 years ago | (#29659675)

I propose a Fourth Law of Thermodynamics [wikipedia.org] : There's more entropy than you think there is.

Re:Fourth Law (2, Informative)

salahx (100975) | about 5 years ago | (#29659861)

Fourth Law of Thermdynamics [wikipedia.org] : There's always more entropy then you think there is, even when you take into account the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics.

I still wouldn't worry about the heat death of the universe [wikia.com] , though, unlike those in the aforementioned link.

Re:Fourth Law (4, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | about 5 years ago | (#29660185)

Fourth Law of Thermdynamics [wikipedia.org] : There's always more entropy then you think there is, even when you take into account the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics.

I still wouldn't worry about the heat death of the universe [wikia.com] , though, unlike those in the aforementioned link.

You forgot to recursively account for the fourth law, you fool! The death of the universe will now be exponentially sooner every moment that passes!

Re:Fourth Law (1)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | about 5 years ago | (#29660055)

There already are four laws of thermodynamics.

Re:Fourth Law (1)

PakProtector (115173) | about 5 years ago | (#29660747)

There already are four laws of thermodynamics.

Just because there are four of something does not necessitate that one of them is the fourth.

There are four laws of Thermodynamics. One of them is the 0th.

Re:Fourth Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660817)

They start at zero though.

Re:Fourth Law (1)

anorlunda (311253) | about 5 years ago | (#29660089)

Good one T.E.D. I'll remember that one and use it some day.

Re:Fourth Law - Murphy's Law (1)

kakrofoon (1406043) | about 5 years ago | (#29660383)

Wouldn't that be Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics?

Re:Fourth Law (1)

navyjeff (900138) | about 5 years ago | (#29660885)

The Fourth Law of Thermodynamics exists and states:

If the heat is on someone else, it's not on you.

It's useful for staying out of trouble.

gosh (2, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#29659687)

Things are just falling apart all over!

Re:gosh (2, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | about 5 years ago | (#29660309)

Things are just falling apart all over!

On the contrary; things are falling together.

discovery (5, Funny)

unjedai (966274) | about 5 years ago | (#29659769)

Universe Has 100x More Entropy Than We Thought

Scientists must have discovered my daughters room.

Re:discovery (5, Funny)

royallthefourth (1564389) | about 5 years ago | (#29659859)

Universe Has 100x More Entropy Than We Thought

Scientists must have discovered my daughters room.

No, but the football team sure has!

Re:discovery (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 5 years ago | (#29660941)

She's eight, you insensitive clod!

Re:discovery (1)

macraig (621737) | about 5 years ago | (#29660783)

Was it attacked by a blender?

Omelet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29659833)

An omelet might be higher in entropy than an egg, but they both come out my ass as a perfectly formed, low-entropy turd.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29659843)

Then why does nagios keep telling me the entropy on my server is out?

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (2, Funny)

abbynormal brain (1637419) | about 5 years ago | (#29659855)

So, it looks like we are closer to the novel than previously thought? And rather than witnessing the "end of the univers" (with dinner and wine) we are observing the cleaning crew (black holes) picking up the ... er ... mess?

People of the universe, please attend carefully. (0, Offtopic)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | about 5 years ago | (#29659863)

The message that follows is of vital importance to you all...

MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Re:People of the universe, please attend carefully (1)

whovian (107062) | about 5 years ago | (#29660749)

Well-played. Clearly you are The Master.

Second Law of Thermodynamics (0, Offtopic)

royallthefourth (1564389) | about 5 years ago | (#29659893)

Since entropy is far more prevalent than we once thought, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is even more important than before.

This means, of course, that evolution is impossible qed

Re:Second Law of Thermodynamics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29659943)

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is: You can't win. What has that to do with evolution?

Re:Second Law of Thermodynamics (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about 5 years ago | (#29660329)

No, "you can't win" is the first law of thermodynamics. The second law is: you can't break even. The third law is: you can't quit the game.

Re:Second Law of Thermodynamics (2, Funny)

Jesus_666 (702802) | about 5 years ago | (#29660133)

Granted, Evolution isn't the nicest PIM software on the market but impossible? I think that's a bit harsh a verdict.

Re:Second Law of Thermodynamics (1)

Gotung (571984) | about 5 years ago | (#29660359)

You fail at understanding both the 2nd law and evolution.

The Earth is not an isolated system.

we're doomed anyway (5, Interesting)

prgrmr (568806) | about 5 years ago | (#29659933)

Because of Neutron decay [wikipedia.org] we've only 10^49 years anyway.

Re:we're doomed anyway (1)

joelholdsworth (1095165) | about 5 years ago | (#29660265)

Hey I drew that diagram! Small world.

Re:we're doomed anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660723)

Can't we just as easily make more Neutrons anyway, even at our pretty amateur level of quantum understanding?

Same goes for all the other particles.

OMG, We're all gonna die!!! (2, Insightful)

the_rajah (749499) | about 5 years ago | (#29659957)

Oh, wait... that's going to happen anyway.

What's the big deal? (1)

kalirion (728907) | about 5 years ago | (#29659963)

FTA: A black hole is the entropy champ because there are myriad ways for all the material that has fallen into it to be arranged microscopically while the black hole retains the same numerical values for its observable properties -- charge, mass and spin.

So a black hole's entropy = "we don't know by looking what's inside"? How exactly does that contribute to the heat death of the universe? If there was a million times more entropy in black holes, how would it effect existance outside of black holes? Is there a background process constantly checking the total amount of entropy, ready to reboot the universe when it reaches an arbitrary level?

Example: blood alcohol content.

Sure, a .5% BAC is lethal, but only if its in the blood that circulates through your body. Say you had a large organ you do not use with its own blood flow, and occasionally a tiny bit of blood from your main blood stream enters that organ and is never seen again. And now you find out that the blood inside the organ gets converted to 200 proof alcohol. This messes with your average BAC, but does it make you die any sooner? You will die of blood loss eventually, and no matter what the BAC inside the organ is, it will not speed things up!

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

kalirion (728907) | about 5 years ago | (#29660077)

Yeah, should've used "affect" instead of "effect" (preempting grammar nazis).

Sure there are other grammar errors tho.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

xednieht (1117791) | about 5 years ago | (#29660129)

Can you rephrase the example with pot? The 200 proof .5% BAC stuff confuses the hell out of me.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 5 years ago | (#29660231)

Should have used a car analogy.

It doesn't matter how much dirt is in the gas in the can in the back of the car if the gas in the car's tank is pure. Siphoning the car's gas into the gas can isn't going to make the car die, either.

Re:What's the big deal? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660405)

But that dirt in the back of the car has weight, just as the black hole.

in the car analogy it gets less total distance because of the extra weight, Same with the universe, If more matter is locked up in black holes, Obviously there is less matter outside of the black holes. Therefore sooner heat death.

We are but children... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660097)

in a cosmic playground. We have barely wandered outside our local nursery, but maintain an ego the size of a galaxy. May the future discoveries put a proper perspective on all of mankind.

Dark Energy (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 5 years ago | (#29660105)

With the "news" (circa 1998) that the rate of expansion of the universe is increasing, it seems to me that worries about the heat death of the universe should be put on hold. There's something (currently labeled "dark energy") about cosmology that we simply lack sufficient understanding of.

Re:Dark Energy (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | about 5 years ago | (#29660267)

With the "news" (circa 1998) that the rate of expansion of the universe is increasing, it seems to me that worries about the heat death of the universe should be put on hold. There's something (currently labeled "dark energy") about cosmology that we simply lack sufficient understanding of.

Yes, the president should select the "Astrophysics Center" and move the "heat death" slider to 0 and the "dark energy" slider to 100. We must find the chosen one to combat this "dark energy" threat!

Re:Dark Energy (1)

DarkMage0707077 (1284674) | about 5 years ago | (#29660763)

I thought that Dark Energy was supposedly unknowable by design?

Re:Dark Energy (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 years ago | (#29660969)

nah. Karl Rove is very much knowable.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660113)

I'm no scientist, but this doesn't seem to bode well for the theory of evolution.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660315)

I'm no scientist, but this doesn't bode well for molecules.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | about 5 years ago | (#29660545)

I'm no scientist, but this doesn't seem to bode well for the theory of evolution.

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but there's a big energy source pumping low entropy energy into the earth. Its called the sun.

Is this really a problem? (3, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | about 5 years ago | (#29660177)

The universe is still expanding in all directions at the speed of light, then the entropy per unit volume will still stay low enough to be habitable, right? Or is the problem that the rate of increase in volume will not keep pace, since it takes longer and longer for the universe to double in volume at a constant rate of expansion?

Re:Is this really a problem? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660521)

The expansion of the Universe actually works against us. There is only so much energy in the Universe (i.e. matter and energy). As the Universe expands, the energy is spread over greater distances, making it harder to extract as much energy from a certain amount of space as you used to be able to do. When the energy is spread to thin to support life, it's called the cold death of the Universe.

Re:Is this really a problem? (1)

Irontail (1346011) | about 5 years ago | (#29660613)

I don't think volume really factors into the heat death situation. As long as there's a finite and fixed amount of energy in the universe, a fixed amount of entropy is required to cause heat death. Now, I haven't read that much on heat death, so I could be quite wrong. I hope someone will correct me if so.

Death by Entropy, the Movie (1)

LitelySalted (1348425) | about 5 years ago | (#29660263)

This is going to be the next mass destruction movie that Hollywood makes (they seem to be out of Natural disasters). Quick! We must fight entropy! Arrange the crayons in your box alphabetically and color.

It would be right up there with Speed 3, Glacier of Doom.

Entropy source (2, Funny)

argent (18001) | about 5 years ago | (#29660299)

So if I connected my server's entropy generator to a black hole I'd never have to type a page full of gibberish to generate my SSH key pair again!

What? (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | about 5 years ago | (#29660369)

So does this mean that the time it takes to evenly spread the matter / light which is not swallowed by the black holes is shorter than we thought previously?

I read through all the articles now, and I still don't have a clue.

What than, will the big black holes (without mass surrounding them) merge to a new gigantic super massive singularity effectively reseting the universe and causing the next big bang, and the next round?

I'm so confused..

Re:What? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 years ago | (#29660729)

No, it means that ultimately the Universe pales in comparison to government. Within any bureaucracy, super massive singularities can effectively stop time and reset the universe whenever they want.
I've said it again and again, if scientists were to just model a government organization end-to-end, they could then apply that model to the rest of the Universe with slightly smaller scale.

Some back ground on entropy of the universe: (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | about 5 years ago | (#29660527)

[This is my own original work, FWIW):

The Basic Implications Of E=Total[m(1 + D)]http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/180/122.page#3108 [the-scientist.com]
a recapitulation

A. Its essential statement
 
"Extrapolation of the expansion of the universe backwards in time to the early hot dense "Big Bang" phase, using general relativity, yields an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past. At age 10^-35 seconds the Universe begins with a cataclysm that generates space and time, as well as all the matter and energy the Universe will ever hold."
 
E = Energy content of the universe
m = mass content of the universe
D = distance, Total = in all spatial directions, from the point of Big-Bang, of singularity's energy-mass superposition
 
At D=0, E was = m and both E and m were, together, all the energy and matter the Universe will ever hold. Since the onset of the cataclysm, E remains constant and m diminishes as D increases.
The increase of D is the initial inflation, followed by the ongoing expansion, of what became the galactic clusters.
 
At 10^-35 seconds, D was already a fraction of a second above zero. This is when gravity starts. This is what started gravity. At this instance starts the energetic space texture, starts the straining of the space texture, and starts the space-texture-memory, gravity, that most probably will eventually overcome expansion and initiate re-impansion back to singularity.

B. Some of its further essential implications beyond Einstein-Hubble and re classical-quantum physics
 
And again and again : "On The Origin Of Origins"
  http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/160/122.page#2753 [the-scientist.com]
 
1. It promotes commonsensical scientific critical thinking beyond Einstein-Hubble.
 
The universe is the archetype of quantum within classical physics, which is the fractal oneness of the universe.
 
Astronomically there are two physics. A classical Newtonian physics behaviour of and between galactic clusters, and a quantum physics behaviour WITHIN the galactic clusters.
 
The onset of big-bang's inflation, the cataclysmic resolution of the Original Superposition, started gravity, with formation - BY DISPERSION - of galactic clusters that behave as classical Newtonian bodies and continuously reconvert their original pre-inflation masses back to energy, thus fueling the galactic clusters expansion, and with endless quantum-within-classical intertwined evolutions WITHIN the clusters in attempt to delay-resist this reconversion.
 
2. There is no call, no need, for any dark energy. The energy of the universe is conserved. The mass of the universe is conserved in the form of energy, the energy fueling the clusters expansion. At the next universal singularity, at the next D = 0, there will again be E = m for a small fraction of a second...just wait and see...
 
Following Newton (1) gravity is decreased when mass is decreased and (2) acceleration of a body is given by dividing the force acting upon it by its mass. By plain common sense the combination of those two 'laws' may explain the accelerating cosmic expansion of galaxy clusters and the laws that drive it, based on the E/ m/ D relationship suggested above..
 
3. There is no call, no need, for a Higgs Particle.
 
The resolution of energy-mass superposition is reverted when D = 0. Shockingly sad, but must be soberingly faced rationally.

C. Its implications re the origin and nature of life beyond Darwin, re selection for survival
 
For Nature, Earth's biosphere is one of the many ways of temporarily constraining an amount of energy within a galaxy within a galactic cluster, for thus avoiding, as long as possible, spending this particularly constrained amount as part of the fuel that maintains the clusters expansion.
 
Genes are THE Earth's organisms and ALL other organisms are their temporary take-offs.
 
For Nature genes are genes are genes. None are more or less important than the others. Genes and their take-offs, all Earth organisms, are temporary energy packages and the more of them there are the more enhanced is the biosphere, Earth's life, Earth's temporary storage of constrained energy. This is the origin, the archetype, of selected modes of survival.
 
The early genes came into being by solar energy and lived a very long period solely on direct solar energy. Metabolic energy, the indirect exploitation of solar energy, evolved at a much later phase in the evolution of Earth's biosphere.

A couple of questions (1)

maroberts (15852) | about 5 years ago | (#29660553)

As black holes evaporate due to Hawking radiation, does that mean that they defeat the laws of thermodynamics in some way? Next question. Would quantum mechanics offer any explanation as to why we are less close to heat death than we think we should be?

No, wait! That can't be! (0, Troll)

WheelDweller (108946) | about 5 years ago | (#29660635)

This would mean that yesterday, SCIENCE WAS WRONG. I keep getting reminded how this can't happen, usually from people looking at fossil records of CO2 use to cool the Earth, then supporting things to remove CO2 from all industry.

Science can be wrong, huh? Are ya listening guys?

This is how science works. We guess, then we confirm it. THEN, AND ONLY THEN, is it considered fact.

Perhaps you've been fooled by the people with the "If the government pays, I'll give whatever results they want" model. :>

Actually it just increased 100X. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660697)

My divorce papers go through tomorrow.

A Briefer History of Black Holes and Entropy ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29660771)

Having read 'A Briefer History Of Time' (both editions) I think it might be about time for 'A Briefer History of Black Holes and Entropy'. So Hawkings, you reading Slashdot and care to write another epic book like that ?
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