On Available Energy and Joules as the Currency

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I’ve learned a lot about energy fundamentals, and about the importance of observation and inference, simply by traveling with my family – both overseas and in the USA. Observing a water tower near a railway station in India, for example, became a lesson in available energy and supply side infrastructure. With my children, I estimated the number of users in the township, their likely daily consumption, and thus the volume of water needed to supply the town on a daily basis. Then, given the water’s density, we determined the potential energy represented by its stored water – by estimating the height of the water tower.