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HierarchyPerspectives for Ecological Complexity$
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T. F. H. Allen and Thomas B. Starr

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226489544

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226489711.001.0001

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Introduction: The Nature of the Problem

Introduction: The Nature of the Problem

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: The Nature of the Problem
Source:
Hierarchy
Author(s):

T.F.H. Allen

Thomas B. Starr

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226489711.003.0001

The introduction starts developing narrative and prediction in science. It is explicit about Weinberg’s concept of medium number systems that come from an inept system specification. Large number systems are predictable with averages and representative numbers: e.g. gas laws. Small number systems can be modeled and predicted addressing one particle at a time: e.g. solar systems. Medium number systems have unstable constraints so any particle can dominate whole system behavior. There are too many particles to model each separately, but too few for stable averages: e.g. which bubble streams appear in champagne. An example of soil run-off and percolation is worked through. The first centimeter of soil is medium number.

Keywords:   level, medium number, narrative, percolation, prediction, run-off, scale, soil, specification

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