Convection Cells

from "Hexagonal convection patterns in atomistically simulated fluids", PRL 2006

At the nearest Starbucks they make the coffee way too hot.  One way to verify this is to burn yourself with it.  A second way is to drop some cream or soy in and see the convection cells form.  From the standpoint of physics this is very counter-intuitive, since temperature is usually associated with increases in entropy.  High temperature means molecules are colliding in more or less random ways, with no clear discernible trends.  However a hexagonal patter of Raleigh-Benard convection cells forms.   We see an equilibrium with some order.

Had I been a caveman I would have thought the same about the world.  A world full of people who speak no particular language randomly colliding into each other.  Only chaos could result.  Two people meet, fight, have a baby.  I have no idea how this makes the world simpler.  However today we have nations and countries and banks.


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