|Written by Todd Paton|
|Wednesday, 11 April 2012 13:54|
Like taxes and the price of gasoline, entropy is on the rise, at least within a closed system. Perhaps you are not familiar with the word. If not, let me define it for you with a word picture—entropy is the difference in the tidiness of your home/apartment before and after you had children. Children are, by their very nature, little entropy factories, busily churning out entropy to satisfy the unquenchable entropy thirst of the Cosmos. While entropy can be measured in various ways depending on the scientific discipline, entropy is, in its simplest form, disorder—the relentless change from a more-ordered to a less-ordered state. Many of our To-Do lists are sponsored by entropy—the windows get dirtier, never cleaner; the paint on the porch gets duller, never shinier; the laundry gets more wrinkled, not less wrinkled. In a word—Entropy.
Entropy is the one-way highway for time, and its sign post to boot. Entropy is how we tell yesterday from today, how we tell the beginning from the end. For example, pour a little milk into your coffee in the morning and watch it start to disperse. Now imagine a friend has filmed this activity with the video feature on his smart phone. You watch the video one way; then you reverse the video and watch it run backwards. How do you know which way is backwards—entropy.
“But can entropy be cheated?”, you might ask. “What about those entropy-tricking devices like refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners?” “Don’t they by their very nature reverse entropy, removing heat from one space and adding it to another?” Alas, these machines are like clever magicians, creating merely the appearance of entropy-interruptus. For you see, in addition to the heat they expel, they create additional heat as they work to perform their task, actually increasing entropy in the rooms they occupy. The increase in that entropy is best observed when you get your power bill—the seeming allusion of entropy reversal keeps the shareholders of your utility smiling, for like the magician’s assistant, they recognize the ruse and profit from it. (A Carnot engine in reverse can accomplish the same feat while neither lessoning nor increasing entropy, but that’s a story for another time.)
“So what’s this got to do with tourism?” you wonder. Well, water runs downhill because it is the easiest path for it to take. There are far fewer possible ordered states than disordered states of existence, so entropy is the easiest state for a system to be in. And unless an action from the outside of the system reverses the process, entropy will continue to increase until it has reached its maximum state. (In the case of the Cosmos, think heat death.)
Like the Cosmos, we have an insatiable affinity for entropy—relationship entropy, career entropy, fitness entropy—the list goes on ad infinitum. My point is this: make the effort to reverse as much entropy in life as you can. And in regards to travel, when you take a vacation with your family, practice being “in the moment” and make the most out of every moment together. Don’t just spend time with your family, invest it. Make some great family memories this summer and rob Old Man Entropy every time you can.
And when you think of taking a great family vacation, keep Vermont in mind. Hiking, biking, camping, fishing, boating, touring attractions and historic sites, zip-lining over gorgeous scenery, shopping, dining—Vermont offers something great for every member of your family. But wherever you go on vacation or whether you camp out in your own backyard, make it count!