The Bottomless Well

6th January 2022

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy by Peter W Huber, Mark P. Mills.  This book is considered a classic on energy, lauded by everyone from Bill Gates to, well, the best economist we know in energy studies, Gabriel Calzada.  And we can see why.  Huber and Mills put it best:

“Energy thus consumes itself at every stage of its own production and conversion, from the grassland on the Serengeti to the gazelle to the black-maned lion of Ngorongoro crater, from strip mine and derrick to the power plant and car engine, and from the direct current (DC) power supply to the central processing unit (CPU). Not just a bit of energy, here and there, but most of it. Over two-thirds of all the fuel we consume gets run through thermal engines—and well over half of it never emerges as shaft power at the other end. Just over half of all the shaft power we produce is used to generate electricity—but another 10 percent of that power doesn’t make it out the far end of the generator. A rapidly growing share of our electricity is now used to transform ordinary grid electricity into computer-grade power—with another 10 to 20 percent overhead in this stage of conversion.

“Some small but growing fraction of high-grade electric power is used to produce laser light—and another 60 to 90 percent, or more, of the electric power dispatched to the laser never makes it into the blinding beam of light. These losses compound from end to end: overall, only 1 to 5 percent (at best) of the thermal energy locked up in the fossil fuel or the enriched uranium ever emerges at the other end of the pipeline, as a laser beam, or a stream of cool air from an air conditioner, or as 200 pounds of 40 mph mom-and-kids; all the rest goes into purifying, conditioning, and tailoring the power.”

This book will change your thinking about energy, which, no matter how you slice it, is crucial for survival and economic growth.

Meet Barb & Fellow Classmates – Introducing Face-to-Face Video Messaging on HiHo

We’re excited to announce that Learning How to Learn has launched video discussion forums on an experimental new platform called HiHo. Come introduce yourself to fellow MOOCmates, share your success stories, give and receive learning advice, and most importantly – make connections with one another!

 Download HiHo (iOS only for now) to get started, and join the Learning How to Learn channel to participate in the 7 conversations happening right now!

Cohort for Uncommon Sense Teaching on Class Central!

As a reminder, Barb will be running Class Central’s new Cohort on the MOOC Uncommon Sense Teaching.  In Class Central’s wonderful Cohort approach, students support each other as they go through the Uncommon Sense Teaching MOOC—and they meet weekly with Barb to discuss their insights and questions.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have personal time with an instructor who normally teaches to millions. 

An excellent list of online courses about teaching and learning 

Doctoral candidate Felix Mynarek of the European University of Applied Sciences has organized a wonderful listing of courses on teaching and learning that he’s taken.  Working through this list of coursework would keep you up-to-date on some of the latest approaches to teaching and learning.


We’ve heard some good things about a math enhancement/tutoring program called CueMath.  If you’d like to check it out and report your feedback on it, here’s a special discussion forum link. (Or just go to the general discussion forum.)

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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