Arkisto: September 2015

Now, What was the Second Principle of Thermal Physics again?

21. Septemberta, 2015 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

I still remember when I sat in the physics class in upper elementary school. It rained and poured outside so hard that the metallic window-sill was causing noise. Our teacher, Anna-Liisa Eloranta was in the zone when we were discussing thermal physics. I can remember especially well the second law of Thermodynamics. It goes pretty much like this:

Everything drifts from order towards chaos.

Finally the young man was given an explanation for why his room resembles a ravaged beach property after a natural disaster. Whoa. A law of nature. Of course. Later on nowadays I have explained to myself that Murphy’s law probably means the same thing.

If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.

While working in software projects it is easy to notice how often things drift towards chaos. Sometimes the heaps of problems grow year after year and finally crash the entire game.

If you believe in entropy or Murphy, it becomes blatantly obvious that:

  1. Your project will crash horribly
  2. Your life will end in horrific tragedy and finally
  3. The world will be destroyed and all that remains is just darkness

Yet, this has not come to pass. Even to this day. Maybe there exists a cause, which works day and night against this disorder. You can test this out by heading to the forest. Do you see more things dead in there, or things growing?

Last week, I had the chance to dine with lovely Sami Söderblom. While munching on some ribs and salad, we also reminisced a bit about those elementary school days. A sudden wave of sophistication swept over us in a form of an epiphany.

Life is not a battle against the odds. It is a game from the odds.

An apple tree flourishes and bears fruit in a well tended garden. You can protect the trunk from a rabbit’s teeth. You can prevent bugs when necessary. You should pollard during the spring, so that the canopy gets denser. You bend the sprouts down a bit with weights, so that the harvest will become more bountiful. With good care, the chance of succeeding increases. Eventually, it will become inevitable.

Your software flourishes and bears fruit in a well tended project. The team’s work peace is protected. Bad ideas are discarded at once. Bugs are sought continuously and taken out one by one. The work itself does not fight against human nature. With good tending the chance of success increases. Eventually, it will become inevitable.

Don’t fight against disorder in vain. You are ultimately wasting your strength. Start guerrilla warfare instead. Explore the nature and figure out how to harness time and probability into your work.