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Recent updates to gwern.net (2014-2015)

21 gwern 02 November 2015 12:06AM

Previously: 2011; 2012-2013; 2013-2014

“Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. / For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”

Sorted by topic:

Darknet market related:

Statistics & decision theory:

QS related:


  • “Effective Use of arbtt”: My window tracker/time-logger of choice is arbtt which records X window info for later classification and analysis; but one of the challenges is you don’t know how to set up arbtt or improve your environment or write classifications rules. So I wrote a tutorial.
  • Time-lock crypto: wrote a Bash implementation of serial hashing time-lock crypto, link to all known implementations of hash time-lock crypto; discuss recent major theoretical breakthroughs involving Bitcoin



  • switched to Patreon for donations
  • continued sending out my newsletter; up to 24 issues now
  • rewrote gwern.net CSS to be mobile-friendly; should now be readable in an iPhone 6 browser
  • optimized website loading (removed Custom Search Engine, A/B testing, non-validating XML, outbound link-tracking; simplified Disqus; minified JS, and fully async/deferred JS loading)
  • A/B testing:

Recent updates to gwern.net (2013-2014)

26 gwern 08 July 2014 01:44AM

Previous: 2011, 2012-2013

“It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. / It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, nor the sapphire. / The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for vessels of fine gold. / No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.”

Another 477 days are past, so what have I been up to? In roughly topical & chronological order, here are some major additions to gwern.net:









  • I began A/B testing my site design to try to improve readability:

    • no difference between 4 fonts
    • no difference between lineheights
    • no difference between the null hypothesis & the null hypothesis
    • a pure black/white foreground/background performed better than mixes of off-colors
    • font size 100-120%: default of 100% was best
    • blockquote formatting: Readability-style bad, zebra-stripes good
    • header capitalization: best result was to upcase title & all section headers
    • tested font size & number size & table of contents background: status quo of all was best
    • BeeLine Reader: no color variant performed better than no-highlighting
  • anonymous feedback analysis (feedback turned out to be useful)
  • deleted Flattr, trying out Gittip for donations; Gittip turns out to work much better
  • I began a newsletter/mailing-list; the back-issues are online:

Recent updates to gwern.net (2012-2013)

63 gwern 18 March 2013 07:54PM

Previous: Recent updates to gwern.net (2011)

“But where shall wisdom be found? / And where is the place of understanding? / Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living…for the price of wisdom is above rubies.”

As before, here is material I’ve worked on in the 477 days since my last update which LWers may find interesting. In roughly chronological & topical order, here are the major additions to gwern.net:

Transcribed or translated:

More technical:


Coffee: When it helps, when it hurts

44 JustinShovelain 10 March 2010 06:14AM
Many people take caffeine always, or never. But the evidence is clear: for some tasks, drink coffee -- for others, don't.
Use  caffeine for short-term performance on a focused task (such as an exam).
Avoid  caffeine for tasks that require broad creativity and long-term learning.
(Disclaimer: The greater altertness, larger short-term memory capacity, and eased recall might make the memories you do make of higher quality.)
At least, this is my take. But the issue is convoluted enough that I'm unsure. What do you think?

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