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I think that Nightblood acts sort of like a black hole/infinite-charge object. When it is introduced to Investiture, it consumes said Investiture beyond the hope of getting it back; in return, it releases vast amounts of energy. Like a black hole, or an object with infinite charge, I think Nightblood produces a field that allows for extremely high potential energies. The Investiture introduced to it then falls through the field, releasing kinetic or Investic energy while it falls, finally reaching an unsee-able ground state. However, the field can be cancelled out by aluminum, like a Faraday cage blocks an electromagnetic field (this is an intentional misinterpretation of what Faraday cages are; bear with me here). Because of this, I think Nightblood is like a charged object--it can only use Investiture up until a certain point, at which there is enough captured Investiture such that its field is cancelled out. The charge-theory also means that Nightblood should lose effectiveness as it gains more and more Investiture, until it doesn't produce a field anymore. However, Nightblood is extremely heavily Invested, and has still not reached that point. I think that Nightblood's limit for capturing Investiture and releasing energy is about the limit of a Shard. With that amount of power, Nightblood could probably reconstruct itself to be able to accept more Investiture, but for right now it's not going to become a new Adonalsium. TL;DR--Poorly worded psuedoscience to explain that Nightblood can eventually stop working and not absorb Investiture out of everything it touches.
Confused posted a topic in Cosmere DiscussionBrandon says the cosmere follows its own rules of thermodynamics. This post explores how those rules might apply to magic systems and planets. Here are cosmere thermodynamics’ four “laws”: 1. The sum of the cosmere’s matter, energy, and Investiture is constant. These substances change form and convert into one another. 2. As a closed system, the cosmere’s entropy never decreases but moves towards equilibrium. 3. The third thermodynamic law states there’s no entropy in a perfect crystal at absolute zero (Kelvin). Is this how perfect gems hold the Unmade in total stasis without an entropy cost (even if not absolute zero)? 4. Brandon says there’s a fourth cosmere law that has to do with Adonalsium. ASIDE: While not relevant to this post, I speculate the fourth law is an exception to the first law: every substance is inter-convertible EXCEPT substances cannot convert back into the cosmere’s original substance, the “powers of creation.” I believe these powers are the remnants of Adonalsium’s soul; and Shards and magic users pull these powers from his Spiritual Realm corpse. If other substances could convert back into these powers, the cosmere IMO would be a perpetual motion machine that decreases entropy and violates thermodynamics’ second law. If I’m right about this fourth law, the cosmere will instead eventually wind down. Magic System Thermodynamics In this WoB, Brandon explains how Spiritual Realm Investiture ensures thermodynamic compliance even with “end neutral” Feruchemy: This makes sense. Imagine you have ten units of strength you wish to store as Investiture in your metal mind. When you reconvert that Investiture into strength, you get the full ten units back. The thermodynamic problem Brandon addresses is the energy cost of each conversion. Conversions are not free, just like thawing water costs energy. External Spiritual Realm Investiture supplies “the power…facilitating that transfer.” The alternative would be loss of attributes upon reconversion or cannibalization of the Feruchemical gene. IOW, either some of the metal mind’s stored Investiture or the Feruchemical gene’s Investiture would be used to “facilitate the transfer.” We know that doesn’t happen, and Brandon’s WoB explains why. A contrary view claims the cost of Feruchemical conversion is itself a storable attribute. Maybe I don’t understand this view, but it seems to violate thermodynamics’ second law (entropy). Either conversion costs energy, or it doesn’t. Brandon says it does, and external power pays that cost. Otherwise, the Feruchemist would have to pay it. IOW, conversion in BOTH directions costs energy – you can’t store and recover that cost in and from a metal mind because it’s already been spent. Brandon elsewhere acknowledges Spiritual Realm Investiture’s role in the “net positive” magic systems’ thermodynamics. He says the “energy [that] passes through…from another place…is my get-out for the laws of thermodynamics.” This WoB is five years older than the first one, which I believe supersedes this older WoB’s comments about Feruchemy. Planetary Thermodynamics I believe every planet needs Spiritual Realm energy to grow, and every planet returns energy to the Spiritual Realm when the planet tips into decline. This follows from thermodynamics’ first law that the cosmere’s Investiture, matter, and energy is constant. Let’s look at Roshar as an example. When Roshar was young, the planet supported fewer lifeforms than it does now. It takes time to populate a continent, especially one that rises from the oceans after the planet’s formation. Growing that continent and its lifeforms into matter takes energy and/or Investiture. Thermodynamics’ first law means the conversion of energy and Investiture into matter reduces the amount of Roshar’s energy and Investiture. If Roshar were a closed system, at some point Roshar would cease to grow. It would have insufficient energy and Investiture to support its lifeforms. The lifeforms die (reducing Rosharan matter) and return Investiture and energy back to the system. It’s theoretically possible Roshar never reaches this tipping point because Stormlight is plentiful and may prove enough to support the planet. But we know planets are not closed systems. They are connected through both the Spiritual and Cognitive Realms. Commerce between planets by itself shifts matter, energy, and Investiture from one to the next In some ways, the Spiritual Realm acts like a central bank. Planets borrow Investiture from it during their growth phases and return that Investiture when they wane. IOW, the thermodynamic laws apply to the whole cosmere, which is a closed system, and not to individual planets, which IMO are not closed systems. Conclusion Maybe it’s just me, but I think this stuff is important. Every magic system IMO must obey thermodynamics. Allomancers and Sand Masters, for example, use their internal body heat to “burn” metals and water (dehydrate). That action kick-starts the magical process. I find “follow the energy flows” is a good mantra for magic system analysis.