Thor Yottawatt

cryptographic engineer from California, living in Lisbon, read what I'm thinking about at


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People’s intuition is usually that Kelly bets are too aggressive, that betting half of everything you have a on 75%-25% bet is too wild. But the Kelly criterion is actually quite conservative in that it maximizes not the expected size of your bankroll but it’s expected logarithm


This is actually a misunderstanding of Kelly's criterion. Log(x) is monotonically increasing in x. The reason we use logarithms at all in the Kelly criterion derivation, is that it allows us to conveniently move the exponent. The Kelly criterion maximizes your return assuming you may play a number of rounds approaching infinity. If you're only playing fewer than infinity rounds, your expected value increases if you bet a larger percentage of your pot size.


The books section could be clarified, as to whether it's {still | no longer} possible to order books from 2019. I'd love to order some.

I attended a low tier university, after having left a higher tier university because of mental health issues. 

I consistently struggled to find peers who were interested in studying the things I was interested in, or simply learning for learning's sake. I was aware that my program of supplementary self education would have benefited from finding peers, though I never successfully found peers to study with.

There's one: the coordination problem of discovering peers. This seems broadly improved by the existence of an internet, examples in this forum, and in subcommunities like reddit, but I'm continually uncertain how to use those tools to meet people. So there's a second coordination problem: how to use the tools.

There was recently an episode of the Zero Knowledge Podcast with privacy activist Harry Halpin who discussed a lot of issues the folks at the frontier of privacy technology were running into. Scientists working on privacy tools like PGP, mixnets, and Tor weren't optimizing for User Experience, and accordingly, many of the communities that would have benefited most from these tools--activists under repressive regimes, for instance--used obviously inferior tools for organizing, because of the technological sophistication barrier to entry. With cryptocurrencies, however, there's been similarly great incentive to suffer poor UX for the sake of potential gain; as opposed to activists in repressive regimes, who were not exploring technology for the sake of gain, but often using sub-optimal non-private coordination solutions on semi-public platforms like facebook.

These might be useful case examples in particular for reinforcing your second point about UI: improving coordination.

Looking forward to the next post!

Bias: have been a regular Emacs user for 2+ years for org-mode and programming mostly in Rust and python, but not in js. Have used VsCode but not extensively.

VsCode looks extremely easy to get up and running in, but generally looks simultaneously heavier and lighter than I want out of my editor. If I wanted an elegant customizable standalone code editor, I'd use NeoVim. If I wanted a customizable organization layer on top of my operating system, I'd use emacs.  Eg, I see applications like Roam and Anki get mentioned reasonably often here. I use emacs packages for those tools, and so on.