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

markus baur baur at chello.at
Thu Aug 4 18:55:16 BST 2016

Am 04.08.2016 um 19:03 schrieb Lois McMaster Bujold:
> [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.

basically correct - if the iron would be available in finely powdered 
form or as a bunch of thin wires (you can burn steel wool easily) - you 
need a huge surface to volume ratio - but here the iron is a solid hunk, 
so you need a little something to push the reaction .. lets call it 
magic 8)

> *  -- 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.

clarkes third law: a sufficiently advanced technology is is 
indistinguishable for magic

bujold's corollary: or vice versa .. 8)

the fun is not to reduce magic to physical laws, the fun is figuring our 
the magic laws

> 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.

well - that surely helped .. the perfect heatsink 8)

> 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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markus baur                     SCA: markus von brixlegg
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a-1040 wien                     email: baur at chello.at
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