State Functions, Entropy, Path Dependence, and Energy Conservation in Thermodynamic Systems

State Functions vs Path Dependent Functions

In thermodynamics, scientists distinguish between what are called state functions vs path functions. State functions are properties of a system whose values do not depend on how they were arrived at from a prior state of the system. They depend only on the starting and ending states of the system. On the other hand, path functions can take on very different values depending on the path by which the system arrived at a state from its previous state. (more…)

By Credible Hulk, ago
Science Communication

Admin Reflections (July 2018)

Since I started doing science blogging and skeptical outreach, I’ve noticed that my most popular posts usually involve topics that are considered controversial by the general public, even if they aren’t considered as controversial by actual experts: i.e. genetically engineered foods, anthropogenic climate change, the safety and efficacy of municipal water fluoridation, the importance of vaccines, and anti-science conspiracy speculationism. (more…)

By Credible Hulk, ago
General Skepticism

The Streisand Threshold

The Streisand Threshold: Choosing one’s battles

There is a tremendous amount of pseudoscience and other misinformation that circulates-- seemingly unimpeded-- on the internet. Consequently, it can be a daunting task for those of us who fight against it to know which targets are an effective use of our time and effort. There are various considerations that might inform one’s decision about where (or toward whom) to direct one’s science advocacy or skeptical outreach: (more…)

By Credible Hulk, ago