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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics
There are in fact bacteria which live and function perfectly well at
temperatures just a degree or so above 0 C. Such bacteria are found
in the deep ocean -- no surprise -- but their discovery was complicated
by the fact that most of them cannot tolerate higher temperatures,
even by as little as 5 or 10 C, for more than a few minutes. Until
somebody thought to look for them with sampling procedures that kept
the samples "on ice" (possibly literally) all the way back to the lab,
they remained undetected.
I believe the thermodynamic basis for life forms around the deep-sea
thermal vents is indeed chemical energy in the vented material, though
of course, if the bacteria that use that energy were not adapted to
the temperatures that prevail, they wouldn't be there.
-- Jay Freeman