THE SECOND DERIVATIVE (Technical background information. Not part of the novel.) To understand the second derivative, it is helpful to know what a vector is in physics. A vector is a quantity with direction and magnitude (both of which could have a zero value). Remembering Newton’s laws of motion, a force must be applied to change direction or magnitude. Real World Application A particle moving through space travels a finite distance during a finite period of time. Speed is the value we give to the term magnitude in the description of a vector above. If there is a constant rate of change to distance traveled over time, the slope of the line in the first derivative will stay the same. If speed is not constant, the second derivative identifies the rate of change in speed. If speed is increasing, we call this acceleration. In the real world, constant speed is rare. Objects in motion are typically accelerating or decelerating continuously. 

Predicting Cause And Effect If the image of a particle moving through space is replaced with the concept of an event occurring at a location and during a period of time, that event has the potential to influence subsequent events. Calculating the second derivative (rate of change) is necessary to determine how events interweave over time. Depending on when and where an event occurs, much like a vector, every event has an information cone of influence projecting through time that defines which subsequent events it can influence. 