Thursday, June 17, 2004

Endless cycle can have a beginning

Yesterday in a TV drama, a kid asked the adult relatives, "What is life?" Most responded without any answer until an aunt expresses her feeling by the illustration of the life cycle of water, rain from the sky ends up in the sea, sea water evaporates up to become clouds in the sky, clouds turn in to rain and falls on to the earth, and the cycle went on. From this natural phenomenon, I would like to mention two points.

For those who study ecology, the idea of cycle is very clear. A balance or harmonious cycle is very important. Now, most countries have strict custom control on the import of living creatures into their countries. However, this idea has not been formally brought to the other fields, especially in the manufacturing and invention field. When a new invention is being developed or a new product is being designed, the inventor and designer should include the consideration of keeping harmony. Is the raw materials used being threatened or a feasible way is proposed to maintain the amount of such raw materials? Is the by products or the item after its life time able to return to the nature properly. Sad to say, for so many years, especially in the recent century where technology advances greatly, almost all the products created are without the above considerations.

Such seemingly endless cycles might still stop when the harmony could not be maintained or when there is too great a disturbance. Thus, although it is possible for endless cycles to exist, the possibility for it to stop also exists. By similar reasoning, we could not say for sure that there isn't a starting point for such cycles. An example, the CPU fetch-execute cycle in computers. If the power supply can be eternal, then this cycle might also be endless. However, we know that there is a point at some earlier time this cycle started.

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