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bigfield

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I'm looking for a name for a phenomenon.

Whenever systems are first made/set up, they often start off working well and then slowly settle into a state of decay.

e.g.
- an office space that starts off clean, tidy and organised but gradually becomes dusty, cluttered and disorganised.
- a car that starts off shiny and smooth-running slowly succumbs to weather and engine wear.
- a business or government department starts off energetic and productive but develops redundant bureaucracy, resource shortages or poor service delivery.

It kinda looks like entropy, and like entropy, its effects can be reversed when people put in energy to restore order, cleanliness, purpose etc.

I would like a name for this phenomenon so I can point it out whenever people incorrectly assume that these systems should keep working without ongoing rejuvenation.

Any ideas? Does this concept even make sense?
 

DolphinDynasty

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Lack of proper care and attention?

Bad or lack of maintenance? If you have good maintenance on a car or road or office it shows cuz even when it starts to age you barely notice until it just begins to collapse cuz its finally given up.


Bad maintenance. That's what I'm gonna go with.
 

rousseau

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It's the second law of thermodynamics, but haven't come across any every-day usage of it.
 

skepticalbip

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Call it "bigfield's law" - any system that does not undergo constant attention to keep it in original condition will inevitably deteriorate toward uselessness.


Although the phenomenon is well known, I have never seen anyone formally identify it. So you would have the honor of naming it since you are the first.
 
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skepticalbip

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Call it "bigfield's law" - any system that does not undergo constant attention to keep it in original condition will inevitably deteriorate toward uselessness.

The problem with that is that bigfield's law will, inevitably, become less and less applicable over time...
Only if bigfield does not constantly monitor all use of the law and sternly correct any misuse of it.
 

bigfield

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Bigfield's Law already has a definition:

Any chocolate left in the fridge at the conclusion of Easter Sunday automatically becomes communal chocolate.
 

WAB

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I'm looking for a name for a phenomenon.

Whenever systems are first made/set up, they often start off working well and then slowly settle into a state of decay.

e.g.
- an office space that starts off clean, tidy and organised but gradually becomes dusty, cluttered and disorganised.
- a car that starts off shiny and smooth-running slowly succumbs to weather and engine wear.
- a business or government department starts off energetic and productive but develops redundant bureaucracy, resource shortages or poor service delivery.

It kinda looks like entropy, and like entropy, its effects can be reversed when people put in energy to restore order, cleanliness, purpose etc.

I would like a name for this phenomenon so I can point it out whenever people incorrectly assume that these systems should keep working without ongoing rejuvenation.

Any ideas? Does this concept even make sense?

Well, how about atrophy:

at·ro·phy
ˈatrəfē/
verb
verb: atrophy; 3rd person present: atrophies; past tense: atrophied; past participle: atrophied; gerund or present participle: atrophying

1.
(of body tissue or an organ) waste away, typically due to the degeneration of cells, or become vestigial during evolution.
"without exercise, the muscles will atrophy"
synonyms: waste away, become emaciated, wither, shrivel (up), shrink; More
decay, decline, deteriorate, degenerate, weaken
"muscles atrophy in microgravity"
antonyms: strengthen, flourish
2.
gradually decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse or neglect.
"her artistic skills atrophied from lack of use"

noun
noun: atrophy

1.
the process of atrophying or state of having atrophied.
"gastric atrophy"
synonyms: wasting, emaciation, withering, shriveling, shrinking...

Please don't tell me none of y'all ever heard that word before...
 

Underseer

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What's wrong with the second law of thermo?

The amount of energy available to do work decreases over time. That more or less discusses what you were talking about. Are you trying to remember a specific phrase you once heard?
 

WAB

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What's wrong with the second law of thermo?

The amount of energy available to do work decreases over time. That more or less discusses what you were talking about. Are you trying to remember a specific phrase you once heard?

It looks to me that bigfield (and please correct me if I'm wrong, bigfield) is looking for a word to refer to the decay of things in general; IOW, he's not looking for a scientific word? Or are you, bigfield?

To quote, from your OP:

bigfield: ...Whenever systems are first made/set up, they often start off working well and then slowly settle into a state of decay.

e.g.
- an office space that starts off clean, tidy and organised but gradually becomes dusty, cluttered and disorganised.
- a car that starts off shiny and smooth-running slowly succumbs to weather and engine wear.
- a business or government department starts off energetic and productive but develops redundant bureaucracy, resource shortages or poor service delivery.

Atrophy also refers to the natural decay of muscles, skin, organs, etc. As we all know. So why the need for a scientific term when a "folksy" term works?

Sorry if I am overstanding [the opposite of understanding, right?].










:rimshot:
 

skepticalbip

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Bigfield's Law already has a definition:

Any chocolate left in the fridge at the conclusion of Easter Sunday automatically becomes communal chocolate.

Aha, that is a great law. I think my little brother instinctively understood it.

Maybe you are looking for something like "Negligent Slovenliness" - the more and/or longer any system's maintenance is neglected the more slovenly it becomes.
 
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steve_bank

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The principle of entropy has been used to describe human activity. Humans form system with matter and energy moving around, the Laws Of Thermodynamics should apply directly. An office space is a system with energy and matter entering and leaving, and being stored and used inside.

As to a car, I'd call that wear and rare.
 

Kharakov

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What do you call it when you know you can get away with something?
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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"Aging" is a good one. But how about Entropic Cold Friction Decay? Or maybe Bigfield's Law, as has been suggested.

You're describing my body. I try to keep it energized and healthy but it just wants to go keep going slower and slower and slower.
 

WAB

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It's called atrophy, for the love of Pete. A slew of so-called educated people who don't know basic vocabulary. Sheeesh.

I bet you even Poppa Puffed-up Pooh-bear knows that word.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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It's called atrophy, for the love of Pete. A slew of so-called educated people who don't know basic vocabulary. Sheeesh.

I bet you even Poppa Puffed-up Pooh-bear knows that word.

But I think he's trying to incorporate the loss of enthusiasm, not just a bumper rusting away.
 

Alcoholic Actuary

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I think the act of dedicating vast amounts of energy toward returning something back to normal functionality is called 'parenting'.

aa
 

C_Mucius_Scaevola

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Yeah! Just look at our home! Our issue is lack of storage for stuff!

We will get there.

That sounds like some kind of relation to Parkinson's Law: "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion".

Or, in your case: "stuff expands so as to fill the space available for its storage". Boddington's Law?
 

bilby

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Yeah! Just look at our home! Our issue is lack of storage for stuff!

We will get there.

That sounds like some kind of relation to Parkinson's Law: "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion".

Or, in your case: "stuff expands so as to fill the space available for its storage". Boddington's Law?

"Stuff expands so as to exceed the space available for its storage".

:)
 

Underseer

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What's wrong with the second law of thermo?

The amount of energy available to do work decreases over time. That more or less discusses what you were talking about. Are you trying to remember a specific phrase you once heard?

It looks to me that bigfield (and please correct me if I'm wrong, bigfield) is looking for a word to refer to the decay of things in general; IOW, he's not looking for a scientific word? Or are you, bigfield?

To quote, from your OP:

bigfield: ...Whenever systems are first made/set up, they often start off working well and then slowly settle into a state of decay.

e.g.
- an office space that starts off clean, tidy and organised but gradually becomes dusty, cluttered and disorganised.
- a car that starts off shiny and smooth-running slowly succumbs to weather and engine wear.
- a business or government department starts off energetic and productive but develops redundant bureaucracy, resource shortages or poor service delivery.

Atrophy also refers to the natural decay of muscles, skin, organs, etc. As we all know. So why the need for a scientific term when a "folksy" term works?

Sorry if I am overstanding [the opposite of understanding, right?].










:rimshot:

Yes. That's already covered by the second law of thermodynamics. Over time (in a closed system) the amount of energy available to do work goes down, so the amount of work done decreases. Thus, any processes that make things more ordered will ultimately fail and things ultimately become an inert jumble.
 
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