The Information Content of a Tornado

Continuing the discussion from Gpuccio: Functional Information Methodology:

By focusing on the water molecules in a storm, @art nicely relies upon the fact that information content increases with the number of components in a system. This, however, does not demonstrate we will never observe natural objects with high information content. In fact, we see astronomically high FI in a commonly observed feature of the world.

I believe that point was driven home in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy using a ‘nice cup of hot tea’…


The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 Sub-Meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) were well understood. It is said, by the Guide, that such generators were often used to break the ice at parties by making all the molecules in the hostess’s undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance with the theory of indeterminacy.

Many respectable physicists said that they weren’t going to stand for this, partly because it was a debasement of science, but mostly because they didn’t get invited to those sorts of parties.

The physicists encountered repeated failures while trying to construct a machine which could generate the infinite improbability field needed to flip a spaceship across the mind-paralyzing distances between the farthest stars. They eventually announced that such a machine was virtually impossible.

Then, one day, a student who had been left to sweep up after a particularly unsuccessful party found himself reasoning in this way: If he thought to himself, such a machine is a virtual impossibility, it must have finite improbability. So all I have to do in order to make one is to work out how exactly improbable it is, feed that figure into the finite improbability generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot tea… and turn it on!

He did this and managed to create the long sought after golden Infinite Improbability generator out of thin air. Unfortunately, after he was awarded the Galactic Institute’s Prize for Extreme Cleverness he was lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who couldn’t stand him being “a smart arse.”

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