# Entropy in everyday life

The number of the card is how many spots are on it. So, pretty much higher numbers = more ink.
That's the hypothesis. I'm asking about facts. Do the measurements actually support that hypothesis?

But clearly it is a live point for debate
Why is it a point of debate? Why should it be?

If two tangently related phenomena can be explained by a single equation does that not confirm that both phenomena use the same fundamental principle in becoming explicated?

Why debate the issue? It just reduces the number of necessary equations to explain fundamental universal functions.

Is that not a good thing?

Last edited:
That's the hypothesis. I'm asking about facts. Do the measurements actually support that hypothesis?
I had provided a link to a discussion wherein one guy actually measured and compared the weights of various cards.
If it's not satisfactory, we can always continue it in a new thread on information entropy.

I had provided a link to a discussion wherein one guy actually measured and compared the weights of various cards.
I didn't see anything in that link that approached a scientific investigation. What was the sample size? What variables, besides the number of spots on the cards, were eliminated? What as the error bar?

I didn't see anything in that link that approached a scientific investigation. What was the sample size? What variables, besides the number of spots on the cards, were eliminated? What as the error bar?
That was not what was requested, nor what I claimed to provide. But if you wanted more, certainly there are more rigorous tests that could be done.

Question to you: despite there being only a smattering of data, it does suggest that the hypothesis plausibly holds some water. Do you have some reason to suspect that further study will not bear it out? What logic have you?

If you'd like to, we can take it up in another thread.

Last edited:
"The question of the link between information entropy and thermodynamic entropy is a debated topic.
And here is a great article on the difference, using as its example the very deck of cards I brought up:
http://entropysite.oxy.edu/shuffled_cards.html

"... simply changing the location of everyday macro objects from an arrangement that we commonly judge as orderly (relatively singular) to one that appears disorderly (relatively probable) is a "zero change" in the thermodynamic entropy of the objects because the number of accessible energetic microstates in any of them has not been changed. "

In other words - as we've all come to agree: my example of shuffled cards is not an example of thermodynamic entropy, rather an example of information entropy. More so:

"... texts and teachers often enumerate the many ways a few symbolic molecules can be distributed on lines representing energy levels, or in similar cells or boxes, or with combinations of playing cards. Of course these are good analogs for depicting an energetic microsystem. However, even if there are warnings by the instructor, the use of playing cards as a model is probably intellectually hazardous; these objects are so familiar that the student can too easily warp this macro analog of a microsystem into an example of actual entropic change in the cards."

Indeed, this is exactly the oversimplification I encouraged by invoking the card deck metaphor.

That was not what was requested.
I asked, "does that weight correlate directly to the number of the card?" I thought that was pretty clear that I wasn't just asking about generic weight differences.
Question to you: despite there being only a smattering of data, it does suggest that the hypothesis plausibly holds some water.
It may be plausible but you seem to treat it as a done deal.
Do you have some reason to suspect that further study will not bear it out?
I have no particular reason to think that the number of spots on a card can be deduced from its weight. There are too many variables.
What logic have you?
For one thing, the density of the card stock itself might vary enough to make the weight of ink insignificant.
If you'd like to, we can take it up in another thread.
I don't know if there's enough there to make a whole topic.

That was not what was requested, nor what I claimed to provide. But if you wanted more, certainly there are more rigorous tests that could be done.

Question to you: despite there being only a smattering of data, it does suggest that the hypothesis plausibly holds some water. Do you have some reason to suspect that further study will not bear it out? What logic have you?

If you'd like to, we can take it up in another thread.
OK, this may resolve the issue.
Several years ago, I posted this on a different magic board. It's been edited slightly for clarity, but not by much.

Being in the Air Force and stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, I have access to an electronic scale that is used to measure components going onboard satellites and other space and/or aircraft. This particular scale is accurate to 1/100,000th of a gram. Tonight while I was in the room where they keep it, I did what any self-respecting cardman would do if given the chance, I weighed my cards.

What I found startled me. Now hear this: The Ace of Spades is NOT the heaviest ace...by a long shot! We magicians have been spreading disinformation all of these years now to an unsuspecting public!

The weighings came out as follows:
AH: 1.48756g
AC: 1.52354g
AS: 1.51208g

A full deck w/o Jokers weighed in at 78.28521g.

By the way, the above scale provides hours of fun as we weigh things like signatures and fingerprints. That's right...you can weigh your fingerprints with this scale! If you let the scale sit in the open air, it will even measure the effect of someone walking past it. (It is normally kept and used in a sealed container to prevent air currents from registering and skewing the results.) For anyone who cares, my signature in Sharpie ink weighed in at 0.00167g.

The above card weighings were performed using a blue-backed Bicycle deck of poker cards. The pips were normal sized. (Heck, even I can tell the difference in weight between normal and jumbo index!) The deck in question was brand new. I have no data on whether blue cards are heavier than red. Your mileage may vary. I expect that everyone's patter will be updated to reflect this startling new data by close of business on Friday.

From now on the Ace of Clubs will be the leader ace, the last ace to twist, and the last ace to be cut to. Don't bother trying to explain this sudden reversal to your audiences, just show them the printout of my post...the results speak for themselves.

PS: I know it sounds funny, but I really did the above weighings, in case someone thinks this whole thing was a put-on.

Jason

PPS: The scale used was real, but unfortunately no-longer resides at Vandenberg

Is there anyone on earth who could tell the differences in weight among those four cards and establish it's value thereby, without using a military grade scale?

I asked, "does that weight correlate directly to the number of the card?" I thought that was pretty clear that I wasn't just asking about generic weight differences.
Did you look at his numbers and samples?

It may be plausible but you seem to treat it as a done deal.
Not at all. This was a side-topic of a side-topic. In a thread of unlimited length with contributors of unlimited time and patience, I could have justified ad infinitum. But practically, I left it as enough to make the point. It was definitely not my intent to make it as fait accompli.

I have no particular reason to think that the number of spots on a card can be deduced from its weight. There are too many variables.
That takes it farther than I claimed.

My claim was that, in a long enough free fall, the differences in weights could roughly sort them by weight with a non-zero probability.

For one thing, the density of the card stock itself might vary enough to make the weight of ink insignificant.
Couple of things:

1] Remember this was a thought experiment. It served no other purpose than to show a form of shuffling the preferentially favoured sorting by weight.
2] Since it's my thought experiment, I get to declare that the cards are essentially perfect.
3] And practically speaking, that's not a preposterous supposition. Professional cards, such as those used in mechanical shufflers in Vegas must have a low tolerance for error, since that would affect the randomness of the shuffle.

I don't know if there's enough there to make a whole topic.
Posts seems to indicate otherwise.

But we could wrap it up if you simply granted everything I say. [/QUOTE]

OK, this may resolve the issue.
Not really. That article goes into the differences between suits, not numbers.
I have no doubt that the spade on an ace of spades weighs as much as the club on an ace of clubs.

Again, this is a side discussion of a side discussion about and idealized thought experiment. It isn't actually relevant to the primary topic whether it is practically true.

Could someone go and tap wegs on the shoulder? She's over there staring at the sunset, waiting for us to remember this is her thread.

Did you look at his numbers and samples?
Yes. Was there more than a single data set?
My claim was that, in a long enough free fall, the differences in weights could roughly sort them by weight with a non-zero probability.
And that's wrong. The major factor would be air resistance, wouldn't it? The cards on the outside would be freed from the deck first and would have more "flutter time" and - I hypothesize - would take longer to reach the ground.
2] Since it's my thought experiment, I get to declare that the cards are essentially perfect.
3] And practically speaking, that's not a preposterous supposition. Professional cards, such as those used in mechanical shufflers in Vegas must have a low tolerance for error, since that would affect the randomness of the shuffle.
You're shooting yourself in the foot. Your claim was that the cards were different. Now you're saying they're not.

The major factor would be air resistance, wouldn't it?
Air resistance is indeed my very point. So, no, not wrong.

The 2 and the 10 have the same surface area, but the 10 weighs more, so will (presumably) fall faster. (Akin to a steel hammer and a hammer-shaped piece of styrofoam.)

The cards on the outside would be freed from the deck first and would have more "flutter time" and - I hypothesize - would take longer to reach the ground.
After all your talk about controlled experimentation, would you be so sloppy as to allow such a bias to sneak in?? What kind of sciencing is that?

You're shooting yourself in the foot. Your claim was that the cards were different. Now you're saying they're not.
Oh for Pete's sake. You claimed there was likely variance in the stock. Well-constructed cards will use good stock with low tolerance for error, as evidenced by the fact that they must all pass through the wheels of a professional card sorter without fault.

Whether or not practical considerations will confound the experimentation, the principle remains. Science is about eliminating those confounding factors and finding the underlying principle.

And again: this is a thought experiment, doing nothing more than shuffling and then sorting ideal cards by weight.

Tell me: if we were instead talking about the diffusion of an ideal gas in an ideal room, would you be complaining about the possible variances in the drywalling?

Last edited:
Not really. That article goes into the differences between suits, not numbers.
I have no doubt that the spade on an ace of spades weighs as much as the club on an ace of clubs.

Again, this is a side discussion of a side discussion about and idealized thought experiment. It isn't actually relevant to the primary topic whether it is practically true.

Could someone go and tap wegs on the shoulder? She's over there staring at the sunset, waiting for us to remember this is her thread.

The greater the disorder, the higher the entropy.

Due to the disorder of this thread, I think we may be pushing maximum entropy.

The 2 and the 10 have the same surface area, but the ten weighs more, so will fall faster.
I thought we were talking about dropping a deck of cards. Are you proposing to drop them individually?
After all your talk about controlled experimentation, would you be so sloppy as to allow such a bias to sneak in?? What kind of sciencing is that?
I'm not the one making the claims. I'm just questioning your claims.
Whether or not practical considerations will confound the experimentation, the principle remains. Science is about eliminating those confounding factors and finding the underlying principle.
And you haven't done that. You've concluded that the weight of the cards is the most significant factor without giving due consideration to the other factors.

The greater the disorder, the higher the entropy.

Due to the disorder of this thread, I think we may be pushing maximum entropy.

Indeed. That's why I'm so frustrated with W4U, and now SSB.
D: "You could look at the properties of diffusing a gas in a room."
SSB: "You can't do that. The room will have drywall screws that will affect your results!"
W4U: "But The Gas Crisis will be the end of civilization!"

D: "You could look at the properties of diffusing a gas in a room."
SSB: "You can't do that. The room will have drywall screws that will affect your results!"
The real SSB: You could certainly do that - but you can't just wish away reality using the excuse of a "thought experiment". A thought experiment is only as useful as its correlation to reality.

I thought we were talking about dropping a deck of cards.
Then maybe not so quick with the misguided refutations?

Are you proposing to drop them individually?
I'm proposing the forest. You are looking the bark of one tree.

I'm not the one making the claims. I'm just questioning your claims.

And you haven't done that. You've concluded that the weight of the cards is the most significant factor without giving due consideration to the other factors.
Forest. Bark.

You have lost track of the thread. It is not about whether a card deck will be sorted as it falls, or even if there are practical challenges to it. It is simply an expedient fanciful example of how an ordered shuffling of items could, in principle, end up in a pattern that is not based on the numerical sequential order printed them, but instead sorted by some other property.

If you wish to discuss it further, I'm going to have to insist that you reread from post |89. I've explained this way too many times.

Last edited:
A thought experiment is only as useful as its correlation to reality.
Yes.
Of two cards with the same surface area, the one that is 3% heavier has a statistically more likely probability of landing first.
One could, in theory, construct a shuffler that, to a degree better than chance, would sort a number of cards by weight.

Then maybe not so quick with the misguided refutations?
So, are you suggesting dropping the cards one at a time?