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Maxwell's Demon Constant (information-energy equivalence)

I was reading:

Demonic device converts information to energy : Experiment inspired by a paradox tempts a bead uphill.

Its good to see conservation of energy is violated. :)

I want to know more about it. What other resources are available (that doesn't involve too much math). Especially, I want to see that beed experiment. Are there any demonstrations available on net?

EDIT: I did learn more about maxwell's daemon from this: alt text

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marked as duplicate by mbq, Tobias Kienzler, Pratik Deoghare, Sklivvz, David Z Nov 22 '10 at 7:14

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

This is a duplicate so I still hope it will be closed, but +1 for the cartoon. –  mbq Nov 18 '10 at 20:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I'm sorry to crush your joy, but conservation of energy is not violated. However, Scientific American does rape science, that I can assure you.

Just ask yourself: how did they get the information in the first place? Didn't that require energy? How much? You'll see that the answer to these questions rules out any violation of the laws of thermodynamics.

Saying that energy conservation is violated in this case is about as deep as saying that it is violated in the extraction of energy from petroleum.

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Indeed. The only thing that happened in that article is that Scientific American showed how little it actually knows about even the fundamentals of science, like "what is information". –  Cem Nov 18 '10 at 11:52
Also, even if you could buy Maxwell's daemon in a cage, he wouldn't violate conservation of energy, only the second law of thermodynamics (not that that wouldn't be useful, since he could make energy off the cosmic microwave background, presumably). –  Thomas Themel Nov 18 '10 at 12:24
Just to stick up for Scientific American, it's not at all that bad! It may have been worse some time ago, but most things I read a few years ago were pretty accurate. It's the best of the popular science magazines really. (If you want dodgy science, try New Scientist.) –  Noldorin Nov 18 '10 at 14:58
True, New Scientist is even worse. But just read the report for this article on Nature's website, and you'll see that even they are screwing up... so there... –  Raskolnikov Nov 18 '10 at 16:50

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