[LMB] How demons work: what happened to the heat energy?

Lois McMaster Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Thu Aug 4 18:03:56 BST 2016


[LMB] How demons work: what happened to the heat energy?
Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 4 16:26:40 BST 2016


From: markus baur <baur at chello.at>

  Snips of a brilliant formula.....

so the energy release of the rusting dagger is sufficient to change the
temperature of 393000 grams of water (about 393 liter) by
one degree celsisus - 1644 / 4.186 = 392.74
or change the temperature of 80kg of water (one human adult's worth) by
about 4.9?C - and THAT change would be very noticable as it would raise
the body temperature into lethal ranges, if you could distribute it evenly
or it would boil about 4 to 6 liters of water (depending on the starting
temperature of the water) - again very noticeable
but nothing like these effects were reported
so we have to ask where all that energy goes ..

Gwynne:
Well, the castle caught fire and burned reasonably catastrophically.....


LMB:  Remember, all the demon has to supply is the kick-off energy * for 
any exothermic reaction; after that, it runs on its own.  Downhill magic.

*  -- Which has a name, which I don't remember this morning because that 
chemistry class was 45 years ago.  Speaking of entropy.

Have fun, but I would caution against getting too skiffy-minded about 
this; it is, after all _magic_.  And thus has, as it were, moral and 
theological components, not just physical ones. Especially when it comes 
to taking life, even so humble a scrap of life as a flea.  This has 
interesting consequences and quirks that I'm still thinking through.

That said, Penric was doubtless aided in his exothermic problems (and 
vice versa) on his first spectacular venture into destructive or 
hyper-entropic magic by doing it, in part, from a freezing water bath.  
Russilin was right in thinking that if Penric didn't drown promptly, the 
hypothermia should have done for him shortly, certainly before he could 
swim two miles.

Ta, L.




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