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There's a New Law in Physics and It Changes Everything - Forbes

Stashed in: Time, Science!, Change, Flow, Awesome, Meaning of Life, Everything, Singularity!, The Internet is my religion., Social Media, Fundamental Laws/Rules/Guidelines

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Holy smokes! Thanks for stashing this, Salim!!

How could there be a new law in physics that nobody outside of academia seems to know about? There must be something wrong with it, or else I would already know about it, right? But science is on a slower news cycle than technology and, as author William Gibson once joked, “The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed.” And so it is with the Constructal Law, already here but not evenly distributed.

Because Bejan has identified a basic Law of Physics that describes and predicts how design patterns emerge over time, he contends that one can construct a “constructal theory” about any system, animate, inanimate or technological (see more about this at Constructal Theory Web Portal). This last one of course got my attention and I have been peppering my posts with little constructal tidbits ever since. Anybody who has participated in the phenomenon of viral social media understands, intuitively, what Bejan is describing mathematically. There are characteristic ways that flows change their configuration over time to flow more (and more!).

In many parts of science, and in life, we have “black boxed” the processes through which things change. We put energy into a box called entropy and note that it dissipates. We are born and then we die—but in between something happens, we live. The Constructal Law is important because it not only describes the patterns of change in the world within and around us, but it allows us to predict how the configuration of those patterns will evolve over time.

This has consequences for... Everything!

Very interesting. I saw something about "flow" a year or so ago, making the same observation: all systems (physical, biological, psychological, social) tends towards optimizing flow.  I was impressed.  I don't know if it was the same guy, but perhaps now that it has a name it will catch on.

Update: one disturbing fact that makes me question his understanding of his own theory: the "Constructal Theory Web Portal" has truly horrendous flow:

Is flow in other systems like flow in Psychology?

Flow is a mental state of optimization where a person is fully immersed and focused on an activity or task.

I think so.  Flow is all about optimizing currents, and I'm pretty sure our emotional, informational, and cognitive currents (and our neurons for that matter) follow the same sort of "constructal" rules as everything else.

In fact, if you did a network analysis of the user interactions on the best-designed apps, I suspect you'd find the same sort of hierarchy they talk about.

See also:

So the key is to be like water -- flow over rocks and other things in the way.

Flow abhors friction.

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