Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Low Entropy Boat Building

Entropy has generally had a lot of bad press.  Entropy is seen as something undesirable, as a general increase of disorder in the universe.  But, as people like Nobel Prize winner Ilya Prigogine have been pointing out, order in the universe is created by burning energy and creating entropy.  You get a local decrease in entropy or increase in order and organization by a larger net increase in entropy.
So things like culture and technology arise from the burning of energy and the creation of entropy. So if more entropy also means more order and organization, why should we opt for low entropy boat building? That is, why should we do things like build skin boats instead of plastic roto-molded boats?  Interesting question, I think.  While hi-tech (high entropy) boat building produces some fabulous boats, lo-tech (low entropy) boat building is a hedge against energy scarcity.  That is, sometimes it is interesting to design boats for low energy scenarios, for environments where energy is scarce, or for some reason or other, you just don't want to use a lot of energy for esthetic reasons like you don't like the noise that high entropy machinery makes.


steve said...

Hi Wolfgang, I have found out that you have an excellent article on Aleut paddles published in Seakayaker magazine in 2006. Is it possible to get a copy as I am interested in making one for myself. thanks
Steve Gordon

Wolfgang Brinck said...

go to the Sea kayaker website, they sell back issues of magazines while they have them in stock. If they are out, they will sell you a copy of a specific article.
Hope that helps.

steve said...

Thank you, its already been ordered.