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There’s a lot of advice I lovingly label “good, but useless”. One of my favorites is so common it’s basically a joke: let go. It comes up around romantic relationships, missed opportunities, or perceived failures. While “let go of this railing” is a do-able request, “let go of your ex” is not. Letting go of things mentally or emotionally is not as simple as the physical metaphor makes it seem. At the same time, plenty of people seem to be able to let go of emotional things, as they’re happy to point out at every opportunity. Why is it possible…


Why would you simulate this?

Elon Musk famously stated that he thinks the chances are 1 in billions that we aren’t in a simulation. He is not the first to think or talk about this, but he is a famous person these days, so I’m going with him. The argument boils down to this:

  1. Compute power is growing exponentially.
  2. We are very interested in simulations for both entertainment and technical reasons.
  3. With both of these holding true, eventually, we’ll be able to construct arbitrarily-perfect simulations of entire universes.
  4. If you’re in a good-enough simulated universe, nothing is stopping you from simulating “one deeper”
  5. If all…


I read Melik Manukyan’s piece yesterday, and thought it was important to add a few things. Melik uses TCP/IP and ethernet as analogies to how the Lightning network aims to decrease load on the blockchain. It’s so intuitively easy… this is how I originally thought about it as well, but a few important details have come up in further research.

Before we get too deeply into this: I am not deep in the bowels of the lightning or BTC project. I am putting together my best guess as to how things really are based on reading and talking to people…


We’ve hard about “to da moon”, what about beyond?

The Red Planet, public domain image by JPL/NASA

My favorite question for bitcoin supremacy is: “how will Mars colonists send Bitcoin home to their families?” It’s a great thought experiment, because nobody on Mars could run a Full Node, no matter how small the blocks are: the 8–40 light-minute round-trip makes it physically impossible to transact between Earth and Mars at all. You could shim SPV to work, but trying to be a real participant in the network? No way!

I like this fantasy because it’s totally impossible to imagine without some really groundbreaking changes. It’s also just a hard-mode version of the problems that face us now…


Turing completeness ain’t all it’s cracked up to be

Mandatory image of the Joker burning vast amounts of money…

Alan Turing was a genius and a hero and suffered immeasurably for who he was. He is known for many things, one of which is the concept of a Turing Machine. This hypothetical invention was the simplest computer you can possibly imagine: space to store information, and something that could read it, write to it, and perform operations based on what it’s there. It is the simplified model of every computer we have now.

Ethereum is often described as being “Turing complete”. This a powerful property… it lets you do “anything”. Power, meet responsibility.

Turing completeness on its own is…


I started diving into Bitcoin recently, and I’ve been drinking from a firehose ever since. I’ve learned more than I expected — I thought I understood things when I first heard about it in late 2009 (no, I did not buy any… I think it’s a good thing, because it’s been nice having work to do since then). A lot has surprised me about Bitcoin, and a lot of that surprise has come from what I would describe as “under-reported” truths about BTC. …


Bitcoin isn’t the transformational technology you may have been led to believe.

Bitcoin’s breakthrough wasn’t in technology, it was in game theory. The technology underlying BTC, the blockchain, is really just a fancy term for “a shared list of transactions”. Yes, really. What was truly revolutionary about bitcoin was aligning the incentives of miners, users, and developers financially. Everybody does the right thing, because it is in their financial self-interest to do so.

Key to understanding any discussion is figuring out what concrete changes are being proposed, and then comparing those realities with whatever the claimed reality will be. What would the actual effects of those concrete changes be? What would the…


Vue Logo

I struggled with fairly frequent “surprise” around the way React behaves for a while when I first started learning it. On the bright side, I had the good fortune of stumbling on and learning a similar framework, Vue, a few months ago. It’s the best kind of library: you can casually fix things without reading much documentation, and major refactoring operations are easy because of the straightforward and consistent syntax. Spending a month with it was the best thing I could have ever done to learn React. Let me explain.

The React API surface is the topic of much debate…


My first programming language, 20 years ago or so, was C. I got the Borland C compiler, and the book ‘C for Dummies’ when I was 10. My mom is a geophysicist, who worked with FORTRAN at the time (don’t worry, she’s using Python now). She figured that it would be a good place to start. There really weren’t a lot of well-known choices at the time — if you didn’t know what to look for or know someone who did, it didn’t exist. In any case, I struggled hard — C is a tough language for a 10 year…


I’ve been writing software professionally for the last decade, with perhaps another decade before that in personal projects mixed with a few side-hustle gigs. It feels like I’ve been learning at an absolute breakneck speed for the whole time — this is a huge part of why I still love what I do. A few things have shaken out, which I find myself having to explain over and over again to people whom I mentor and work with. I figured, better to finally write ’em down!

Everything Is Garbage, But It’s Better Than It Has Ever Been

It is tempting, as you write code, to think about how awful the tools…

Daniel Staudigel

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