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In the 1980s and early '90s, Japan seemed poised to overtake the United States. I remember "Japan-bashing", and concern there was too much Japan-bashing. But by and large, there was the sense Japan deserved its success. Their education system was better, it was thought; their people worked harder; we Americans had been caught lazy and short of discipline. One remedy was karate class for your kids.

Whether any of that was true is almost irrelevant. Discipline is a virtue, and karate practice hasn't ruined too many children.

Today we face a similar situation with China, and there is plenty of China-bashing. But I see little concern about the China-bashing and no reflection on why China has been able to do so well.

Instead, we say China is evil. Their government isn't a "democracy", in whatever watery sense of the word. Our own government is supposedly led by a fascist who was elected by a minority of voters, but at least it's democratic. We're told human rights are violated on an industrial scale in

clumma /
Last active Nov 21, 2020
Returns to Scale vs Experience

Returns to Scale vs Experience

How many wristwatches are cheaper than Big Ben?


Big machines are sometimes more efficient. But they cost more, so fewer can be produced with a finite budget. Small machines are cheaper and may benefit from improvement over time, driven by experience in building more units. When does this experience lead to greater overall efficiency? We derive an approximation which, given a learning rate, tells how much smaller a machine must be to overcome an initial efficiency disadvantage.



Ages of Growth

Notable 'golden eras' may be caused by contact with steep energy gradients that are eventually depleted.[1] The Dutch golden age, which gave us Huygens, Sweelinck, and Vermeer, was powered by wind and peat. The Victorian era, which gave us Bosanquet among many others, coal.[2] Postwar business cycles are closely associated with changes in the price of oil.[3]

The average YoY growth rate of world oil production 1974-2013 was 1%. Minimum 1961-1973 was 5% (average was 7%).[4]


View cerebellum.txt
d4 0.11
d5 Nc3
c6 e3 Nbd7 Qc2 Bd6 Bd3 O-O O-O dxc4 Bxc4 a6 Rd1 b5 Bd3 | 0.11 Semi-Slav
Bb4 cxd5 exd5 Bg5 h6 Bh4 Bf5 | 0.14 Ragozin

Starting today, I'm going to send a series of e-mails about the Apollo project. Each e-mail will include some interesting facts and maybe a question. So watch out for questions marks. I want to read your answers!

Basic Info

The Apollo project ran from 1961 to 1972. I was born in 1977.

The Saturn V rocket is the most famous vehicle made during the Apollo project. It flew just one mission after Apollo was cancelled – it launched Skylab in 1973

Kensington El Cerrito Los Gatos
Square miles 1 4 11
People 5,000 25,000 30,000
clumma /
Last active Jan 17, 2018
Calculating the pH of a solution

Hydrochloric acid

What the heck is "20° Baume muriatic acid"? Google to the rescue

It means that 100g of solution contains 31.45g HCl

Your HCl is very near to 10 mol/l or 36.5g/100ml

Strong acids dissociate completely, so pH is just the -log of the concentration (in moles/liter, called the molarity or M)

clumma /
Last active Mar 13, 2018
Tree of Life
  • Prokaryotes (no nucleus, unicellular)
    • Archaea (often extremophiles)
    • Bacteria
      • Cyanobacteria (have chlorophyll, e.g. spirulina)
      • Spirochetes (cause syphilis & Lyme disease)
  • Eukaryotes
    • Protozoa/Protists (unicellular)
      • Alveolates (phylum; cause malaria, toxoplasmosis)
        • Paramecium (cilia-bearing genus)
        • Giardia, Cryptosporidium (diarrhea-causing genera)
clumma /
Last active Feb 26, 2017
Fission startups
name city nation
reactor size (MWe)
reactor type gee-whiz
Oklo Sunnyvale, CA USA 2 SFR * heat pipes
Dunedin Energy Systems ? Canada 6 LWR cermet fuel
Gen4 Energy Denver, CO USA 25 LFR *
Seaborg Copenhagen DK 25 MSR
StarCore Nuclear Montreal, QC Canada 30 HTGR
NuScale Power (Fluor) Portland, OR USA 50 LWR
X-energy Greenbelt, MD USA 50 HTGR
Kairos Power Oakland, CA USA 100 FHR natgas