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Mathematics of the Deadlift

By 2015 I was tired of endurance sports and shifted my athletic focus to weight lifting. I targeted the deadlift, for a single goal to optimize. It works most of your body and is the strongest lift, so you get big, satisfying numbers. My first training program was just: go to the gym and do…

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What’s Interesting about Bitcoin

One of my friends did some napkin math and calculated that it’s not worthwhile to pick a penny off the ground. He concluded that we should deprecate pennies and price goods in 5 cent increments. That’s like saying “taking 1 painkiller doesn’t suppress my chronic pain anymore, so I’m upping the dose to 5.” You…

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Optimal Closet Organization

Computer science can clean up your closet. Closet organization software in the movie “Clueless”. No, not using software—using an algorithm. The algorithm is called “Move to Front”. It is so simple, that you can “compute” it yourself. (In fact, the first “computers” were people.) Here is how it works: When you dress, take the clothes…

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A Better Back Button for the Web

How often has this happened: you’re reading Wikipedia, click another article (or two), then forget where you came from? Human short-term memory is bad at keeping track of browsing history. (We need help.) Web browsers are perfectly good at tracking history, and they do. The problem is: they don’t show it. Browsers just show you…

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How big of a square fits in a circle?

Contrary to the joke, it is possible to fit a square peg into a round hole (and a round peg into a square hole). In fact, they fit with mathematical elegance. Square inscribed in circle inscribed in square. This problem is relevant when building software GUIs such as web pages. I had a circular button to…

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The Mathematics of User Experience

Ever used an app that made you want to throw your phone? Why did it trigger that emotion? Pain. That’s why. Bad user experiences aren’t just bad, they’re painful. MEASURING PAIN Whether you call something “bad” or “painful”, those are just words — what’s the difference? The difference is this: “bad” is subjective; “pain” is measurable. How…

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