Category Archives: WTW2 Current Science and Tech

I was an Electrical Engineering major in college. Stay up with the biggest science and tech current events in our ever-developing world.

What to Watch 22: The Lithium-Ion Battery – How Many Joules 1

Intro to 18650 Li-ion Cells, by LDSreliance

How Many Joules?

  • 1 Food Calorie (the one on nutrition labels) = 4,180 joules
    • Note: 1 food Calorie defined as amount of energy to raise the temperature of 1Kg of water 1°C at sea level
  • Typical smartphone battery charge: 41,760 joules
  • One 18650 Li-ion cell: 43,074 joules
  • 1 kBTU = 1.06 million joules
    • Note: 1 BTU is defined as the energy required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water 1°F. 1 kBTU = 1,000 BTU.
    • The rating system on appliances that we are familiar with that is shortened to “BTU” is actually BTU or kBTU per hour.
  • 1 Kilowatt-hour = 3.6 million joules
  • 2,000 food Calories = 8.4 million joules
  • 1 gallon of gas equivalent = 120 million joules
Go to How Many Joules 2

What to Watch 13: Cryptocurrency 2, the Blockchain in Society and Pop Culture, 22 Minutes

The Blockchain in Society, We’ve Stopped Trusting Institutions and Started Trusting Strangers, Rachel Botsman on TED, June 2016

Blockchain in Pop Culture, Lovesong for Satoshi Nakamoto Whitepaper by “Bitcoin Girl” Naomi Brockwell, November 2015

Of Note

My Personal Conclusion on Cryptocurrency (For Now)

The idea behind Bitcoin is that you do not have to trust banking institutions. The transactions are verified by the technology / other users. I researched signing up for Bitcoin, and decided not to. The problem I found was in order to access the blockchain and “own” Bitcoin, you need a computer program to do it. The computer program is written by a coder and I am not going to take the time to understand the code. Therefore, instead of trusting an institution, I am trusting the coder who is the middleman who wrote the code. I actually trust both the banks and the coders (with a little research), but I do not have a reason to switch. The only advantage I see is that there is no tax trail, but I am not paying taxes on these transactions anyway. I don’t need a brand new currency in my life. Sticking with PayPal, Venmo, TransferWise, and dollars, for now!

What to Watch 12: More Drones, History and Future of Drones, 29 Minutes

The videos in this post (click here) best explain the entropy concept.
For more posts related to entropy, select the entropy tag.


As you see this technology progress, it is natural to think, “Oh, we are so smart now, we know how to make tiny drones fly.” Alternatively, consider our (humanity’s) success within the concept of entropy. The law of entropy (Second Law of Thermodynamics) states that all systems tend toward disorder, and that energy is required for complexity to develop. Applying this broadly, improved drone flight is complexity. In order for drones to improve, energy must be applied in the form of human thought, manufacture, etcetera. Also, at the drone level, the drone must have energy on board both to fly and to power the tiny computers to control itself. Controlled flight is complex! Put this way, it is not that we are so smart to make these drones, or that the drones are so smart to control themselves. We have the excess energy to dedicate to engineers and academics to think about this complex stuff, and the drones have great modern batteries to deliver energy to efficient tiny computers to fly in totally cool complex ways!

1970s: The CIA’s Insectothopter, The CIA’s Own Channel on YouTube

Notice that battery life (lack of energy) was a major limiting factor.

2014: In What to Watch 2, I Recommended this Drone TED Talk

Notice that some of the flight control computing was being done on computers in the room, not on board the drones themselves. Energy is a factor here as much as or more than the size and weight of the processors. Computing all of the complex control on-board the drones would consume more power. The battery would be larger and heavier, and/or drain faster. Energy!

~2016?: Drone Swarm Dropped from F-18s

There is not a whole lot to see in the video, but it looks real to me.

2018: 8 January, Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas by Intel, posted by LV Sun

This was the best drone show video I could find. How appropriate that it’s in Vegas. US’s gambling capital => $$$ => energy => spectacularly complex drone show!

The lights in Vegas have always impressed me. Walk through any normal US city with a normal number of lights, and at any given time, you can find some lights that are burned out within sight. Now try that walking around Vegas with 100s of times as many lights as a normal city and you will go hours without finding a single burned out light. The energy being expended in Vegas is spectacular. (Do they have an ordinance or something? If so, expensive to maintain.)

20__, Future (…?): Dramatization of the Potential of Weapon Drones

This video is a dramatization, but it’s not that we don’t know how, we’re smart enough, … we just need a better battery.

What to Watch 6: Science on the Formation of our World, 32 Minutes, Entropy Explained

The History of our World in 18 Minutes, David Christian TED Talk

What is so Special about the Human Brain? Suzana Herculano-Houzel TED Talk has great videos, that’s why I recommend them. Click here for TED’s website.

For more on entropy, click here.

All Nate TV episodes, click here.

What to Watch 5: Cryptocurrency / Bitcoin, 39 Minutes

Bitcoin 101 by The Wall Street Journal, Dec 2017

The History of Paper Money Part II by Extra Credits History

The History of Paper Money Part VI, The Gold Standard by Extra Credits History

 Fiat Money, Explained by Paddy Hirsch

How Bitcoin Works in 5 Minutes by Curious Inventor, Apr 2014

Life Inside a Secret Chinese Bitcoin Mine by Motherboard, Feb 2015
All Nate TV Posts

What to Watch 2: Drones and Guitars, 23 Minutes

Drones TED Talk, The Astounding Athletic Power of Quadcopters, Raffaello D’Andrea

Rodrigo y Gabriela – Tamacun, Awesome

Rodrigo y Gabriela on TED

Check out more TED Talks at