The Power of Things

Recently I have been preoccupied with pretty much only one thing, and I think it is genuinely the challenge of our times: energy and the environment. In engaging with this issue, you have to think about how we harness energy (energy isn’t created, but is instead converted to different forms), how we use power, and how we affect the environment. I’ve done a lot of calculations of humanity’s energy use, and how we might make renewable energy technologies that can meet that challenge, but it’s a fairly impersonal analysis.

To make it more immediate, I set about understanding my own power consumption. All of it. It turns out that this is a tremendously difficult project, even if you have a rather ...

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