NEWS MEDIA APPARENTLY UNAWARE OF LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS:
SAY SHIP OF GHOULS TO MAKE LANDFALL IN BRITAIN OR IRELAND
Okay, actually it’s not ghouls … it’s only CANNIBAL RATS
TOP IMAGE: News media have had a field day with speculation about a derelict Russian passenger ship, the Lyubov Orlova, crossing the Atlantic from Canada (where it was last berthed) and crashing into Ireland or Britain, spilling disease-ridden, inbred, cannibal rats on their shores.
ROWS 2 and 3: Photos from UK news sources: rats with teeth, rats on a ship ||| ROW 4: Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot, the first to publish something like the second law of thermodynamics || Raymond Lindeman (1915-1942), author of “The trophic-dynamic aspect of ecology.”
BOTTOM IMAGE: Trophic Pyramid
From “Why there probably isn’t a ghost ship full of cannibal rats headed for the British Isles by Greg Mayer” @ Why Evolution is True
[It is an almost law-like principle of biology that] primary producers must be at the base of every food web, and that energy is lost at every step in the food chain.
[These principles] derive directly from the laws of thermodynamics: energy must be put into a system to avoid entropy increase (so we must have producers to capture energy) and no energy transfer is 100% efficient (so there’s less energy available further up the food chain than at the bottom).
[As] ecological principles [this is] often expressed in terms of a “trophic pyramid“, a visual representation of the fact that primary producers (usually green plants that capture energy by photosynthesis, but also photosynthetic and chemosynthetic bacteria) outnumber herbivores (primary consumers), who outnumber carnivores (secondary consumers), who outnumber top carnivores (tertiary consumers; there are rarely more than four or five levels in a food chain).
… As a rough guideline, efficiency of transfer between levels is often estimated at about 10%; the efficiency of capture of solar radiation is much lower.
Although rodents will resort to cannibalism when food supplies run low, … an ecosystem based on cannibalism cannot persist, because there is no energy input to the system, and there cannot be a 100% efficient transfer, so the rat-level in the “food chain” will continually decrease in number and biomass.
Since the Lyubov Orlova was being towed for salvage, it seems unlikely that it was loaded with enough (if any) consumables to support the rats.