Science Excuses

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So, science is cool - we all know that. It lets us explain why the universe has the properties it does. Everything from why the sky is blue to how to use semiconductors to build the computer on which you're reading this. It also provides us with some fun excuses to supply to our parents:p

Why is your room so untidy?

It's the classic complaint: the clothes are on the floor, and the desk hosts a pile of papers, books, and other random stuff. So someone asks why your room is so messy? Surely it's your fault? Well, not entirely.

The answer? Entropy.

Entropy can be thought of as the number of ways in which a system could be arranged, how disordered that system is, or how evenly distributed the energy within that system is. So a messy room has higher entropy than a tidy one because its contents are more evenly distributed. An alternative statistical approach would be to consider randomly arranging the contents of the room. A few of the configurations would be considered tidy, however most would be messy.

The observation that a messy room has higher entropy than a tidy room is important. The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of a closed system can never decrease. A consequence of this is that a closed system tends towards higher entropy. By the statistical approach, events that alter the state of a system without being directed to change its entropy (such as to achieve a decrease) will tend to increase it.

Why do you stay in bed so late?

The circadian rhythm, or body clock, governs when you feel tired, and when you feel like getting up. In most people, this cycle runs a little longer than 24 hours, and is only reset to be kept at 24 hours by the day/night cycle. In effect, the average person is permanently get-lagged by about 11 minutes. To make the problem worse, artificial lighting significantly delays the onset of night. Teenagers are especially prone to this problem, as they naturally get up and go to bed later than the average person. In short, we are simply naturally predisposed to getting up that little bit later - particularly if you're a teenager.

Why must you keep fidgeting?

It's good for you! No, really, it is. It has been shown that in school, children who are allowed to fidget learn better than those who are forced to sit still. Fidgeting and moving their hands allows children to gesture in a way that aids their thought process and memory. It's also good for losing weight, as it uses energy that would otherwise be stored as fat.