Not Paul’s Blog, but his entry

Here’s a conversation with Paul.


Just some random thoughts. If I had a blog, this would be an entry in it 🙂

So I was just reading Nagel’s classic (but imo not especially good)
paper ‘what is it like to be a bat?’ (The assertion
marked with a link to footnote #2 is just bare-faced question
begging which pretty much undermines anything else that he says) and
from there I got to thinking about how weird typhoons are. Or
rather, how improbable they are. I mean, if I was designing a
gaseous (or liquid?) planetary atmosphere from scratch, then I just
wouldn’t expect phenomena like typhoons to spontaneously emerge. What
I’d expect is for them to *start* to form — eg when coriolis
forces, convection currents, random zephyrs drifting about all
combined to somehow get into synch — and then promptly
dissipate. But they don’t — instead they somehow manage to suck
more energy in and grow bigger! Naturally, I see this as an example
of emergent behavior (or something like it) instead of intelligent
design, but if I were God and had in fact managed to design a system
like this, then hey I’d be pretty pleased with myself! That’s quite
a phenomenon — and you dont even have to invoke weird high energy
physics or relativistic effects or anything! Just good old fashioned
air molecules!

(And the same applies to the N Atlantic conveyor. How weird is that!)

On another digression — it’s also curious how the problem only
really emerges when you look at typhoons on a planetary scale. I
mean, if you were just on the ground — if that constituted your
world — then days of fine weather followed by days of rain, followed
by a few hours of really intense heavy wind and rain would just seem
like a perfectly understandable continuum. But when you look at
what’s happening from a satellite’s POV, you see this great
spiralling *thing* and it’s like, wow! where the heck did that come from!?

Time for a spot of lunch. I hope 7-11 is open!

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