Tag Archives: stability

Earth’s Paradox: Greater complexity, more stability

The third law of thermodynamics states (in effect) that “entropy in the universe is always increasing”.

Entropy is the degree of randomness in any system. It’s a concept in favor of simplicity. Everything in the universe is moving from complex to simple situations. For example, within a star, Hydrogen atoms collide to form Helium in a process called nuclear fusion and gives off energy. Helium is a more stable atom than Hydrogen, hence this situation is considered as one moving towards greater entropy.

This is the law of the universe. Yet, on Earth, we see something that is in direct contrast to this law. It is an accepted fact in ecological circles that greater diversity in nature leads to greater stability. It’s the reason scientists everywhere are so concerned about extinction of species. Loss of biodiversity is a cause of concern because as this diversity decreases, that chances of ecological failure drastically increases.

One the one hand, the third law states that everything moves towards greater entropy, more simplicity. That’s the stable situation. On the other hand, ecologically, simplicity is a big problem. We need more diversity and complexity to survive. Why does this paradox exist? Continue reading Earth’s Paradox: Greater complexity, more stability


Slope stability

Construction of buildings in itself is a big, big project. It’s something that sets human beings apart as a species. And we have broken so many barriers when it comes to choosing a site to construct anything. When you look at construction projects being taken up under the sea floor, or hundreds of feet below ground, the remarkability of constructions on a slope diminishes. Nevertheless, this is one of the basic challenges a civil engineer faces and plays an important role in preventing damages through disasters like earthquakes and landslides.

An important factor taken into consideration in such situations is the slope stability analysis.  Continue reading Slope stability