Things in orbit STAY in orbit unless they somehow lose all of their kinetic energy.
Nope, they have to have ENOUGH velocity (Kinetic energy is about the energy required to get it to a given speed) at the right angle in order to counteract the acceleration of the object towards the planet. If the velocity (a vector) isn't right then it will either move out of the orbit into a further orbit (or even escape) if it is too fast or it will fall towards the planet if too slow (as inner orbits require faster velocities). Things do not stay in orbit if they aren't moving fast enough. If an object was stationary (not geo-stationary) with respect to the earth then it would fall back to earth in the same way as a ball when thrown up comes back down.
If you through a ball hard enough STRAIGHT UP then it could escape the Earth's gravity well, if you through it at the right angle (lets say 45 degrees for arguements sake) and at the right speed then you could indeed put that ball into orbit.
Gravity is an acceleration towards.
Temperature gradients indicate the amount of energy in a given area and various pieces of physics talk about how things will shift from high to low energy areas over time, I assume that this is what they are getting at. I just understood the old stuff (while knowing it was clearly wrong), I don't understand the new stuff yet!