August 2020 Newsletter


Wrote about the basics of what fusion is.

Published an article using notes from Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy by Freidberg.


The Indispensable Truth
Talks about the need for fusion energy and dives into magnetic confinement, stellerators, tokamaks, and details a brief history of major fusion developments.

The Physics of Energy by Jaffe and Taylor
Really good resource if you want to learn physics in the context of energy.

Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy by Freidberg
Difficult read but provides an in-depth explanation of Fusion Power Energy Density,Mean Free Path, and other plasma physics concepts.

Dennis Whyte - Titans of Nuclear
Head of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT talks about his journey and various projects he has worked on at MIT

Bob Mumgaard - Titans of Nuclear
CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems talks about superconductors and the technology underlying CFS’s work

Janelle Wharry - Titans of Nuclear
PhD at Purdue, talks about her research in using radiation to strengthen materials. I found this episode and her work to be particularly fascinating

Andrew Sherry - Titans of Nuclear
Chief Scientist National Nuclear Laboratory, talks about how fusion engineers need open mindset to using new technology in reactors


Multivariable Calculus Lectures by Professor Leonard
He explains Multivariable Calculus concepts so simply you could probably be sleeping and get the concepts.

Vector Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Forms: A Unified Approach by Hubbard
Detailed introduction to Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus

Less Wrong

Eight Short Studies on Excuses

By accepting an excuse, a rule-maker allows themselves to accept all equally good excuses.

  • Interesting way to quantify whether something is useful for you: Put it in terms of utility. i.e. Reading this book = +100 utility but takes up time =-25 utility, helping someone +50 utility for them but takes up 2 min of my time -5 utility for me.
  • Your personal morals may come in to play and can change how you weigh certain excuses (scenarios that don’t fit the general population. e.g. someone’s mom has cancer and wants you to be at the funeral =-5000 utility for you (time,feeling depressed afterwards) but for them, +1000 utility because you’re a close friend. Society would say that going to the funeral would be the right thing to do despite the amount of negative utility it provides you. So do you be selfless or selfish?
  • When a rule maker decides to make exceptions to a rule, they then need to ensure that they don’t need to make such exception for future rules. e.g. Saying “If you allow me to do x this time, I’ll never do x again and if I do you can put heavy consequences”

Schelling Fences on Slippery Slopes

Avoid slippery slopes by making a Schelling Fence or rule.

Slippery Slopes can be avoided by using a schelling fence, a rule or line that says that something can’t be crossed no matter what. E.g. Holocaust denial in Europe is banned. Going to bed at 12:00 and not 12:05 so that you don’t say 5 more minutes every time.

Intellectual Hipsters and Meta Contrarianism

Intellectual Hipsters are contrarian to be contrarian, don’t be one.

  • When you’re being meta contrarian, be careful to analyze your views.
  • Hipster: people who deviate from normal on purpose. Not because it actually makes sense.
  • If you’re being contrarian, don’t do it for signalling. Think about what you say and whether you genuinely believe it.

Cardiologists and Chinese Robbers

Don’t use a sample size of one to make an argument.

  • Media can highlight stories of a group which can unconsciously bias your view of that entire group. e.g. Cardiologists are all rapists/engage in sexual harassment. If you compared the number of men who sexually harass women in tech vs cardiology vs all other fields, you may find that in every field, there’s around the same number of men who sexually harass women. So its not the group’s characteristics, but it can easily be shown that way to convince you that it is.
  • If you generalize a group after seeing a couple of examples of something, you’re making a conclusion with sample size of 100, out of the millions of people in that group. You’re overfitting.

All Debates Are Bravery Debates

People’s opinions are constructed from their individual experiences.

  • A lot of times, many views are valid when looked at it from their lens.
  • The thing you can do is be more open of their views, try to understand it given their experiences
  • Interesting thought: Imagine we lived in a world where we could experience a short movie that portrayed that person’s life (required perspective)…

The Virtue of Silence

Sometimes, silence is the best choice.

  • It’s better to be silent on some things then to talk about them at all. e.g. Writing about medical confidentiality on the New York Times (infinite loop here)

Proving Too Much

Arguments can prove fake conclusions, making them invalid.

An argument that also proves fake conclusions. e.g. You can’t be an atheist, because it’s impossible to disprove the existence of God”, you can answer “That argument proves too much. If we accept it, we must also accept that you can’t disbelieve in Bigfoot, since it’s impossible to disprove his existence as well.”-


Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
Lolita allows you to empathize with a pedophile.

James Clear: The Marshmellow Test and Delayed Gratification
Delayed gratification is essential to accomplishing ambitious goals in life - it can be trained.

The Anthropology of Children
Great summary on the biological factors influencing how children in traditional and modern cultures are raised.

Steven Kivelson - Superconductivity and Quantum Mechanics at the Macro-Scale - (Stanford)
Fascinating lecture on the physics behind superconductors and their properties.