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The “thinginess” is an issue – I think best dealt with by emphasising the re-imagining / redescription – so separating out the physical description from the “how much energy” calculation.

“What we’re doing here is calculating how much – but as we cannot yet od the calculations  –  to help you think about how much I’m going to show you something to help you picture this – and it’s a very useful picture”. Actually I suppose its a functional analogy (= model!) for the calculations we do, rather than a representational picture of the thing in itself.

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