Daily Entropy: vice dispersion

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refracting wave (refraction isn’t dispersion, but it’s easier to see and shows the elements of dispersion)

Vices like drugs, gambling and prostitution spread through society by dispersion in waves where every citizen is a provider, conduit and consumer of intoxication, risk and sex.  Everyone is subject, verb and object simultaneously, which makes  grammatical constructions difficult.  Pollution and corruption also spread through dispersion, through physical entropy, and regulations to stop them tend to fail because the regulators, whether lawmakers or police, assume that these things move like water through a pipe, where you can shut off the valves and stop the flow.  Dispersion waves don’t have a source, conduit and discharge, so like entropy in general, they can’t be turned off or destroyed.  A violent response to a wave will just increase its power.  You can’t fight vice, but you can address the desperation of the producers and the consumers to dissipate the tension in the system.  Without compression and tension, the waves dissipate.  All waves dissipate through entropy, so whatever wave you’re currently looking will probably die away naturally before you can respond to it.

The genius of digital technology is to make information, which spreads by dispersion and suffers from entropy, look like a bowling ball that you can sit on a rack and then fling down the alley when you need to make a point.  Never mind that this isn’t an accurate representation of reality, it isn’t even an accurate representation of the information in the computer, which has enough electrons working together to make their local average seem stable and not wavelike at all.  These bowling balls of information are great for comparing local averages across time: how many criminals did we arrest this year versus last year?  Which is great for finding trends that have nothing to do with the cause or resolution of crime.
Bowling ball-like information makes grammatical constructions much easier, but doesn’t help with wave-like problems.  The central nervous system evolved to find food and eat it, not to understand the true nature of food, which is one reason why science could put a man on the moon but not solve poverty: poverty like a wave and a rocket is like a bowling ball.  Getting behind a bowling ball is much easier.
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