Monday, May 19, 2003

More on Windmills

There were some comments on BoingBoing on the last post. I thought I'd restate. Any self-correcting system can be in homeostasis, or use a cybernetic control. IBM autonomic systems are homeostatic, so is the canonical example of a thermostat-controlled room.

That's not the point. A windmill is homeostatic without recourse to an external monitor. We might call it isohomeostatic, as opposed to the IBM or thermostat metahomeostatic. Of course, those are terrible words and I wouldn't really use them in polite company.

I will point out, however, that evolution is an isohomeostat: the force of change (death of the unfit) is exactly the thing that imparts the change (change in the gene frequency of the surviving population).