One of the courses I teach is climatology, and I try to emphasise both the observations and the maths and theory. In climatology there are a lot of simple balances. For example (to simplify): in the north Atlantic the wind pushes the water up into a wide bump centred on the Azores and the ocean currents flow clockwise around this bump producing Coriolis forces inwards that balance the pressure-gradient forces outwards. This produces a simple circular pattern (in geostrophic balance). I think this illustrates an interesting point: systems, like the ocean, jiggle around randomly, until one day, by chance, they find a balance, and it is the nature of balances, once set up, to remain, since they are stable. By the time we get around to observing it, and for most of the time, this simple balance is what we see. I guess this also applies to the rest of physics and is behind the simplicity and predictability of what we see in the world, but the crazy underlying randomness is always there, ready to return.
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