I just posted a new deviantID for my deviantART profile. It has a pretty interesting story behind it, so you might want to check it out. Here's the description:
I just looked it up, and "metastability" is an actual word. So I'm using it. :) According to Wikipedia, it is "the ability of a non-equilibrium state to persist for some period of time." Wow, that's perfect for this picture! You'll see why later.
See, this is a picture I took of this tower of rocks I built by a river bed. I made it to draw attention to the cool sculpted rock that serves as the base. That's one rock, smoothed and shaped by the river. So people would see the tower, and think "hey, that's a cool rock there."
The nifty thing about the tower is that for every rock I placed, I attempted to enhance the stability of the tower, instead of making it more tippy. So each rock has its own unique shape and balance, and there's kind of one spot where if you press down on it, it locks into place as the force gets distributed down. It's a lot like Aikido. So I tried to build the tower up so that each rock's weight pushes down on just the right spot on the one below, so it becomes more stable. If you press on the top rock the tower just settles into place better. Of course that big base rock helped a lot, since it acted kind of as an anchor for the other rocks to lean against. The rocks above were not so stable, of course. But the idea is still there.
So that's where the "stability" part comes in.
Then I thought it would make a good portrait or ID, since yes, that's my shadow there, and it's all kind of self-referential and "meta" and all that. I mean, I never really see myself except from the inside, so why should you? Here you see me by my influence, by my little piece of order on the entropy of the stream bed, and by my shadow. You can tell a lot about my personality from this situation.
And this really is a metastable situation, this tower. The equilibrium state would be for all the rocks to be in an even layer on the ground. It's the state of greater entropy. But the way I've set this up, the system will not just fall into that state right away. To move any one rock would take more energy, because you would be moving it up and off its center. But once you knock it over, that gravitational potential energy, that tension is reduced, and the system is in equilibrium. Metastability.
Deep, huh? :p