Tag Archives: Education

Learning is a lifelong endeavor. Let’s learn about the world around us.

BRIC-US

What do Brazil, Russian, India, China, and the United States have in common? We all have capital cities that are geographically isolated from the populace by sheer size.

BRIC-US account for five of the seven largest countries in the world by area.

Brasília, capital of Brazil. Brasília’s population of 4.3 million is just 2.1% of Brazil. Distance to other major population centers: 16 hours to Rio de Janeiro / São Paulo, 30 hours to Salvador, 28 hours to the mouth of the Amazon River, more than 30 hours to Recife, Natal, or Fortaleza.

Moscow, capital of Russia. Moscow’s population of 12.5 million is 8.5% of Russia. Distance to other major population centers: 8 hours to St. Petersburg, 45 hours to Novosibirsk. Notable quiz question: how many cities in Russia are there with population over 2 million? Just two: Moscow and St. Petersburg. Wow.

New Delhi, capital of India. New Delhi’s population of 26.5 million is just 2.0% of India. Distance to other major population centers: 24 hours to Mumbai, 36 hours to Bangalore, 28 hours to Kolkata.

Beijing, capital of China. Beijing’s population of 21.5 million is just 1.5% of China’s population. Distance to other major population centers: 12 hours to Shanghai, 22 hours to Guanzhou, 28 hours to Xinjiang.

Washington DC, capital of the US. DC’s population of 6.2 million is 1.9% of the US population. Distance to other major population centers: 7 hours to Boston, 10 hours to Atlanta, 11 hours to Chicago, 21 hours to Houston, 39 hours to Los Angeles.

Social Programs

What happens if you administer education out of Brasília? Favelas. Brasília does not care.

How is Beijing on human rights? Xinjiang, what do you think? Concentration camps. Reeducation. Dystopia. Beijing does not care.

What are the chances of a fair election against Putin? Alexei Navalny, would you say Moscow meddled in your election? Dictatorship. Moscow does not care.

How is Washington DC doing on health? Multi-generational obesity epidemic feeding a bloated, confusing wealth care system that even the nurses don’t respect. We have a disease management system that profits from chronic illness and lobbies DC to continue poisoning Americans with high-fructose corn syrup, GMOs, sedentary lifestyles, and television advertisements for unnecessary pills whose side effects require more pills. Washington DC does not care.

Political Science

Want to give me a dissertation on why some large isolated capitals are okay and not others? Want to lecture me on why Washington DC is actually just fine? I am not a poli-sci major because I studied when I was in college and stuck with a real degree. Poli-sci graduates, your four years education is a bunch of details that cloud your common sense.

Common sense: sending tax money directly and automatically to a capital isolated from more than 90% of the population by more than an 8-hour drive is a horrible idea.

Follow the Money

What happens if I send my tax money along with millions of other people to a city completely separated from the population it “represents,” specifically designed to distribute tax money? Corruption. Cesspool. Swamp. Career politician = dictator.

In the US, people got frustrated and elected a reptile to fight a swamp full of reptiles. The professional thieves in DC have now ejected the foreign reptile and they think their swamp is safe to continue misrepresenting Americans and selling out to corporations.

BRIC-EU?

Hell no. Europeans from Dublin to Madrid to Berlin to Athens are not stupid enough to send 20-30% of their income directly and automatically to Brussels. They are paying attention. We need to.

Drain the Swamp

Sounds like I support the storming of the capitol, doesn’t it? Sounds like I support Trump maybe?

Absolutely not. Debacles both of them.

There is one fundamental aspect about America that feeds the corruption. The professional politicians in the swamp of Washington DC know it. Direct income taxation. Americans’ income gets siphoned directly from our paycheck before we even see it to get mad about paying it. The professional bureaucrat thieves from DC set it up that way purposely. Even state sales taxes do not have such an insidious arrangement – we see the price we pay and then the state sales tax gets added and we notice it and bitch about it. Even foreigners visiting the US complain about sales taxes.

$3.9 Trillion

$3.9 TRILLION per year quietly, voluntarily, automatically gets directed from Americans to far away Washington DC to fund the embarrassing circus of corruption that we show the world. It needs to end.

To put $3.9 trillion in perspective, which is just the income tax revenue of the US government in Washington DC:

$3.9 trillion would rank fourth in the world as a country’s GDP behind only the US (of course), China, and Japan. That means $3.9 trillion is more than the entire GDP of Germany. $3.9 trillion is more than the entire GDP of the UK. $3.9 trillion is more than the entire GDP of any individual European country. $3.9 trillion is more than the entire GDP of India.

$3.9 trillion sent to one city causes corruption: Washington DC really is a swamp.

The Solution

There is only one way to fix Washington DC. The bad news is it is difficult. The good news is it is straightforward and effective. We must repeal the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Do this and America survives. Do it not and we continue to directly fund the DC swamp.

Defund DC. Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment.

The money does not disappear. DC does not disappear. The money gets directed to local and state governments where real people are paying attention. The taxes get managed by people who are not separated from their constituents by a continent that allows them to thieve at will. The taxes get managed locally by mildly shady local politicians who have to consider what their neighbors think. Local politicians are shady but get the job done. Career politicians are criminals.

Republicans, you want to drain the swamp? Do it. For real.

Democrats, you want representative socialism? Do it – but pay attention. Administer it from Boston Massachusetts, Austin Texas, Saint Paul Minnesota, Columbus Ohio.

Bernie followers, you want free universities? The systems are already in place. California public universities are already free. In-state tuition is already low in most states. Make it lower, but do it from that list of capital cities that are within a morning’s drive from all of their people who pay for it and benefit from it.

The US Versus BRIC and MORE Government

What separates the US from the BRIC countries? One thing has historically made the US the world leader and not among a list of huge countries that remain in the third world (BRIC). The one thing is our public schools. Our public schools are locally-funded and give the vast majority of Americans at least a chance at college prep. Our public schools are effective local government.

You want to tell me the US is becoming a third world country? I know. That’s the point. This is why and this is how to fix it.

You want to complain about the US and compare us to Brazil, Russia, India, or China? Sign up your 7-year-old for an exchange program to swap with a kid in any of those countries. Millions of 7-year-olds around the world would be signed up for the exchange. The exchange 7-year-olds would show up ready to wear the most restrictive uniform you could find, no cell phone, and starve his / her way through school for a chance to be educated in America. Their parents would put their 7-year-old on a plane tomorrow not to be seen until they are 18 if their kid had the chance.

Local funding works. Fund local social programs. Organize locally.

Replace DC.

Counter-Examples

Canada is probably the best example (besides the US so far) of a successful large country with a geographically isolated capital.

Australia finishes out the global top seven and might be a good counter-example but most of the population is on the east coast together with the capital. The Aussies have to stay united or they risk becoming a province of China.

Look down the rest of the list beyond India. Of BRIC-US, except for India, each is more than 3x the size of Argentina, the eighth largest country in the world. BRIC-US countries are huge. Our scales do not compare to any other countries in the world.

Argentina is the largest country in South America besides Brazil. Buenos Aires contains 34.7% of the Argentine population. If you include Córdoba and Santa Fe provinces, you already account for 49% of the Argentine population. Easily more than half of Argentines live within 8 hours of Buenos Aires. The rest of Argentina is Patagonia.

Kingdom of Denmark is high on the list only because of Greenland.

France is the largest country in Europe by area besides Ukraine. Paris contains 18.8% of the French population. Paris is not in the geographic center, and still the furthest major city is Nice at the southeastern extreme of the country, only 9 hours away. The European portion of France is the 48th largest country in the world by area. India is 6x the size of European France and Brazil is 15x the size of European France.

Who’s Who of Electrical Engineering, and Physics, and Science

1564-1642: Galileo Galilei, Italian, father of observational astronomy, phases of Venus, Jupiter’s satellites, observed Saturn’s rings

1596-1650: René Decartes, French, philosopher, logical method

1623-1662: Blaise Pascal, French, fluid dynamics

1629-1695: Christiaan Huygens, Dutch, Saturn’s rings, pendulum clock

1642-1727: Isaac Newton, published Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687

1646-1716: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, French, differential and integral calculus, especially modern conventional notation

1700-1782: Daniel Bernoulli, Swiss, fluid mechanics, probability, statistics

1745 – 1827: Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta, Italian, the battery

1766-1844: John Dalton, English, chemist, physicist, meteorologist, atomic theory of chemistry

1775 – 1836: André-Marie Ampère, solenoid & electrical telegraph

1776-1856: Amedeo Avogadro, Italian, equal volumes of gases under equal pressure and temperature contain equal numbers of molecules

1777 – 1851: Hans Christian Ørsted, Danish, electromagnetism

1789 – 1854: Georg Ohm, German, direct relationship between voltage and current

1791 – 1867: Michael Faraday, English, various, electric motor

1824-1907: William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, thermodynamics, measurement of absolute zero temperature.

1831 – 1879: James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish, electromagnetic radiation

1846 – 1914: George Westinghouse, American, AC electric power

1847 – 1931: Thomas Edison, American, light bulb, various, DC electric power

1856 – 1943: Nikola Tesla, Serbian-American, AC electric power

1879-1955: Albert Einstein, physicist. Born in Germany. 1895 moved to Switzerland. 1896-1901 stateless. 1901 obtained Swiss citizenship. 1905 wrote the Annus Mirabilis papers. 1907-1915 developed general relativity. 1933 cancelled trip to Germany forever and renounced his citizenship at German consulate in Antwerp. 1939 sent the Einstein-Szilárd letter to FDR. 1940 settled in the US and became a US citizen.

The Case for Portuguese

Portuguese language is a must to operate in Brazil. Brazil is awesome. If you want to live in Brazil, that is reason enough. Here are some other reasons to learn Portuguese:

  1. Portuguese is the most common language in South America. Brazil is only one country, while most of the other countries speak Spanish, but South America is really split in two equal parts by population and land mass. The Portuguese half is one large diverse country, while the Spanish half is split into many different countries.
  2. Portuguese is rare for Americans. After almost 4 years of going to Brazil now, I have met only 3 other non-Brazilian Americans who speak Portuguese. I have met maybe 5-10 who went to Portuguese language training by the US government for specific jobs, but they are on government career paths and do not seem likely to remain in Brazil once their assignment is complete. If there appears to be no demand, I would argue that zero supply prevents companies from seeking it because of the extreme rarity.
  3. You get a two-fer. Spanish comes along with it. This is true. Portuguese and Spanish are indeed similar. I recently attended a history lecture in Rio where the French lecturer did not speak Portuguese and he assumed everybody would understand Spanish. I understood his Spanish better than the Portuguese from Lisbon! Expose yourself to some Spanish along the way and you will see what I mean. After I visited Colombia for 3 weeks, I had to buy a Portuguese-Spanish dictionary to separate the languages in my head.
  4. Learn it “all the way.” You have to live at least 6 months in the country immersed in the language. Commit. Until you do this, the language is not really useful.
  5. Portuguese is easier than Spanish. I really believe this. People say Portuguese pronunciation is more difficult. I disagree. Portuguese has maybe two sounds we don’t have in English, the nasal -ã and -ão. They do not roll their ‘R’s. The Portuguese grammar is closer to English also in my opinion. Not so many ‘lo’ and ‘la’ and ‘le’ for no reason like in Spanish, less use of reflexive verbs, and overall fewer syllables.
  6. São Paulo. São Paulo is the business capital of Brazil, and by far the largest city this side of the Atlantic. São Paulo speaks Portuguese.
  7. Don’t forget Portugal! I have heard it’s nice! I have never been, but Brazil and Portugal are not the only Portuguese speaking countries. See the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.
  8. Learn a language, any language! Once you really learn a language as an adult, your next one will come so much easier. It becomes less of a magical impossibility and more of a travel task of a few weeks or months to get practically conversational.

I scored “Advanced Low” on the ACTFL Speaking. I think “Intermediate High” in a language would be good enough to get started working in a foreign country. At my level, I can easily communicate, network, and socialize, but I should still improve to continue here. I scored Intermediate High on the ACTFL Writing.

Global Carbon Transfer, and Evidence for Global Warming

Global Carbon Transfer

I have said before that we should call this concept we are all familiar with Global Carbon Transfer. That is what it is and always has been.

Global Carbon Transfer is directly measurable.

The term “Global Carbon Transfer” is completely accurate to what we are actually doing. We know that we are transferring carbon.

The name “Global Carbon Transfer” allows for consideration of other unknown effects that we have yet to identify that nobody even talks about.

We are transferring a lot of carbon from the ground to the atmosphere. This is an indisputable fact.

Simple Man’s Evidence for Global Warming

I personally believe that global carbon transfer is causing significant man-made global warming. Here is a list of the evidence that shapes my concept of the world, my personal observations that lead to my belief:

  • I learned in Physics class in high school in ~2001 that carbon dioxide reflects infrared light / heat more than the other more highly-abundant components of the atmosphere. This makes sense to me. It would be difficult to fake this, easy to confirm or refute. I put this under the heading of scientific fact.
  • We learned what the greenhouse effect is, and I have personally been inside both a hot car in the sun, and an actual greenhouse. Fact.
  • I have personally seen an equilibrium exhibit a large change based on a small increase in a catalyst. For example:
    • Milk goes sour if you drink from the carton.
    • I saw chemicals abruptly change color in chemistry class after just drops of liquid entering.
    • If I had drunk two beers this morning instead of two cups of coffee, my blood would have changed by less than one percent, but I would absolutely not have written this post.
    • Small change can yield big change.
    • Catalysts exist.
  • I have seen man affect the environment, both for good and bad. Some of these I didn’t personally see of course, but they happened:
    • Water quality in Columbus, Ohio versus Rio de Janeiro.
    • Chemical disaster in Bhopal, India 1984.
    • Smog in LA.
    • Scale of the Piper Alpha explosion in 1988.
    • Personal accounts of the reduction in litter in the United States following anti-litter campaigns in the 1970s.
    • Chernobyl of course, but that’s nuclear not chemical, a whole ‘nother level.
    • Urban sewage management, cities now versus 200 years ago.
    • Forests versus fields.
  • I see carbon entering the atmosphere that used to be in the ground from sources that are less than a century old. Sound ridiculous? It’s everywhere. Everywhere. Try not seeing it! We could not transfer more carbon if we started a campaign to transfer more. Everything we do contributes to carbon transfer, and is mostly new!
  • The earth is really really old. There has been a lot of time for plants live, absorb carbon dioxide, respire oxygen, die, and be buried in the ground. Let me repeat, really really old, and a lot a lot a lot a lot of time. A lot. There has been so much time in fact that I no longer view the air I breath as coming from “the earth in general,” but as being the breathed out breath of plants. Call me a tree-hugger, but it is an accurate concept, much more accurate than the “general earth air” idea that comes easy. The atmosphere is and always has been a product of life and vice versa. It is a two-way street.
Some more carbon numbers, click here.

What to Watch 24: Energy of an Industrialized Society – How Many Joules 3

How Many Joules?

  • 2,000 food Calories = 8.4 million joules = approximate energy usage of the human body in one day
  • One Tesla Model S battery charge ~ 36x this amount
  • One 2017 Honda Civic gas tank ~ 177x this amount
  • Typical furnace (100,000 BTU / hr rating) operating for 1 hour ~ 12x this amount
  • US energy usage per day (referenced in my post here) ~ 33.5 billion x this amount, or ~ 102x the US population*
  • Global energy usage per day (referenced in my post here) ~ 129 billion x this amount, or ~ 17x the global population*

*Relating the energy consumption of the modern world per person to the energy consumption of just the human body by itself is ambiguous, I realize. However, it puts in context the massive numbers that are constantly thrown around in the media on this subject, and consolidates the hype and various units into one unit.

https://nathanruffing.com/nates-numbers-hub-january-2017/ 

Start at How Many Joules 1

https://www.unitjuggler.com/energy-conversion.html

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

Picking your Friends in Computer Software

1. Why the club:

Click here for the CATC About page.

 

2. Why this subject first:

  • Your computer software largely determines your experience with the computer.
  • I have helped people with their software to keep their computer working fast.
  • The people who make your software know what your experience looks like. It is those people and their motivations that determine your experience in the long run.

3. Vocabulary for Software

4. Discussion Structure

  • We are going to discuss software by its function first.
    • I want to offer a solution only if there is a problem.
    • Define the problem! (software often offers bells and whistles that do things we don’t really want to do).
    • This is a comprehensive list. A key to this idea is that all other software should be uninstalled and add-on software should be carefully selected.
  • We will categorize software by “open source vs. closed source” and “free vs. costs money.”
  • A dollar sign ($) by the software mean the software company is for profit. An ‘ad’ symbol (ad) means that mining and selling user data is a major revenue source for the company.
  • Last, we’ll meet the people and companies and discuss their motives.

5. Software Functions List

  • Operating System
  • Word processor (includes many office functions)
  • Web browser
  • E-mail / contacts / calendar
  • Internet search
  • Media player
  • Video chat [or use your phone]
  • PDF Reader
  • Printer and scanner
  • Video editing
  • Gaming

Operating System

Word Processor

Web Browser

E-Mail / Calendar / Contacts

Web Search

  • DuckDuckGo is a good search engine that maintains user privacy.

Media Player

Video Chat

 

PDF Reader

Printer and Scanner

  • How much does an ink cartridge cost?
    • Can a printer physically continue to print in black and white if the color runs out?
  • How much does a printer actually cost?

Video Editing

6. My Start Menu

7. Settings

  • When you set up a computer, your question should be, “what is this computer doing that I need it to stop doing?”

8. Bloatware

  • When I buy a computer, I don’t install software, I spend most of my time un-installing software.
  • Your computer manufacturer may include software pre-installed. You probably want to un-install it.
  • I include “anti-virus” software under bloatware.
  • Desktop weather display is another example.

Click here to see which software I use and recommend in each category.

I made this presentation for the Columbus Area Technology Club. Click the logo for the CATC website:

What to Watch 15: Fusion and the Cold War

The Tsar Bomba, Largest Man-Made Explosion Ever, October 1961, Discovery Channel

  • Hiroshima, Japan, WW2: 16,000 tons of TNT equivalent
  • Nagasaki, Japan, WW2: 22,000 tons of TNT equivalent
  • Tsar Bomba device: 50,000,000 tons of TNT equivalent: more than 2,000 times the explosive energy of each of the bombs that leveled 2 entire cities in Japan in 1945.

Cuban Missile Crisis 1 by Extra Credits History

Cuban Missile Crisis 2 by Extra Credits History

Cuban Missile Crisis 3 by Extra Credits History

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum Website, English
Click here for WTW 14 Fusion as an Energy Source.
Click here to search “fusion” on this site.

What to Watch 14: Fusion Energy, 16 Minutes

1. Fusion Explained in a Nutshell by Kurzgesagt

2. JET, Joint European Torus, largest magnetic confinement fusion reactor.

  • JET is the current record holder for controlled fusion energy production by most measures. The record was set in 1997. See video.
  • Located in Oxfordshire, UK.
  • Annual budget 2014-2018 = 145.6 million euros ~ $175 million per year. Source.
  • Video is from 2014.

3. National Ignition Facility, was the largest effort at inertial based fusion.

  • The fusion ignition effort ended in April 2014, but is still one HUGE laser. Do not point this laser at your eye.
  • Located in California, USA.
  • NIF total cost was ~$3.5 billion. Source.
  • Video is from 2009.

4. More References

 

Click here for the historical context of fusion, fusion in the Cold War.

Click here to search fusion on this site.