Gem from GK Chesterton

"A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it."

From The Everlasting Man

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thermodynamics Test for Financial Investments

As a service to the readers of The Secret of Newton, I'd like to offer some financial advice, at no charge!*  Call it the "Thermodynamics Test for Financial Investments".  Let's say you come across what you consider to be an outstanding business or investment opportunity (such as the free offer in a Craig's List classified below). But you're just not sure if it is the right fit for you.   Here's the ad, quoted verbatim: 


Motivation and potential - free...

We've all seen those overnight success money making schemes online. Well, I have a couple in mind that I truly believe in, but I need a partner to help me to get it off the ground. I am not opposed to spending a little money as long as I am relatively sure of a good return for us both. I want to learn, but don't want to have to slog through all the stuff necessary to learn how to build websites, set up search engine stuff, etc. Can you tell that I don't know what I'm doing? So, what do you say? Is there some kind of IT techie kind of guy or gal out there who wants to work with me to make some serious money online? Email me and let's get started asap.


Now let's take a look and see if this offer passes the Thermodynamics Test of Financial Investments. 

If two thermodynamic systems are each in thermal equilibrium with a third, then they are in thermal equilibrium with each other.

OK, there are two systems presented in this financial opportunity.  These systems are "overnight success money making schemes online" that the ad author has "in mind".  Unfortunately his statement "Can you tell that I don't know what I'm doing?" tells us that his mind is not in equilibrium (thermal or otherwise) with the third system which is "reality".  

Analysis: Fails the Zeroth Law.

In any process, the total energy of the universe remains the same.

Or, more commonly, "energy cannot be created nor destroyed".  When applied to financial investing, think of the first law as "no such thing as a free lunch" or: can't create sumpin' from nuthin'.  In this case, the ad author claims to be offering free motivation and free potential.   Turns out, however, that the motivation and potential really aren't free.  He wants you to do some computer programming for him to help get the two "overnight success money making schemes" he "has in mind" off the ground.  In this case, he is working within the bounds of the First Law of Thermodynamics and knows that nobody will be his  IT Techie for nothing, so he's open to spending "a little money".  

Analysis: Passes the First Law of Thermodynamics.

The entropy of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium.
If we consider "entropy" to be the amount of disorder in a system, then we can be certain that our entrepreneur above will increase your entropy over time if you team up with him.  Imagine: you've decided that you want to grab this golden ring and shoot for a "relatively good return" and make "serious money online".  So with your IT Techie know-how you meet with him and get the scheme up and running.  Then comes the late night phone call from your new business partner asking you to "shut it down immediately!!!!" and "shred everything now!!!".  Followed soon after by the knock on the door from the SEC and the visit from the FBI men in black  investigating interstate fraud.  Oh yes, my friend, the amount of entropy in your life will certainly increase over time.  You will also likely end up in an "isolated system" such as.... umm... a prison cell.  

Analysis: Passes the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

As temperature approaches absolute zero, the entropy of a system approaches a constant minimum.
You are assured a "constant minimum" amount of entropy (disorder) if you put your eggs into this investment basket, most likely when the (legal) revenue from this scheme approaches absolute zero.  

Analysis: Passes the Third Law.

Conclusion:  This investment opportunity is consistent with the First, Second, and Third Laws of Thermodynamics.  Were it not for the violation of the Zeroth Law, I would say this is a terrific financial investment.  However, the "Thermodynamic Test for Financial Investments" requires that you forgo any opportunity that isn't consistent with all laws.  So, regretfully, I must advise you to pass on this "Free Motivation and Potential"  offer.

Also filed under: Free Comedy Gold from Craig's List.

Image credit: A Cool Friday.

The Fine Print
*Oops, I'm violating the First Law of Thermodynamics here.  Corn!


  1. The fact that this nonsense passed 3/4 of the laws argues your system is flawed.

    Just sayin'.

    The smell test I use is cheaper and more reliable.

  2. Oh come on Stephanie! Lots of major league baseball players hit 250. It's well above the Mendoza line. Besides I hit for power, not average.

    I'm looking for some key endorsements on this TD Finances Test because it is just the tip of the iceberg in a huge product line. Others include:

    Thermodynamics Test for Driver's License
    TD Test for College Entrance Exams
    TD Test for Blood Alcohol Levels
    TD Lie Detector Test

    Just think of the possibilities. Thermodynamics are way under-valued as a marketing commodity. I'm on to something here. And now's your chance to jump on the bandwagon early.

    I'm just sayin'.

  3. You should market it as the Super Thermodynamics Test. I am sure "STD" on all your products will gain you fame and fortune!

  4. Right you are! I could also probably get funding from the federal gov't!

    Cheers, Megan.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.