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John D. Cook Sign Up Information

Last Updated:
8/1/2019 1
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Thank you for subscribing to my monthly newsletter. Each month I highlight the posts that have been most popular on my blog, and sometimes I say a little about what I've been up to.


Two of the most popular posts this month have been related to encryption. One was encryption that is provably as hard to break as large the products of large primes are to factor. RSA encryption depends on factoring being difficult, but it's possible that breaking RSA is strictly easier than factoring. But being able to break Rabin's variation on RSA would provide an efficient factoring algorithm for factoring. However, it is not used in practice.

The other encryption-related post that has gotten traffic this month is Proving that a choice was made in good faith. It's hard if not logically impossible to prove that a decision was not deliberate. But you can prove that a choice was deliberate by a different criterion.


We often compare expressiveness and ease of learning. But this post argues we should also consider ease of realearning. Not only do you have to learn a technology before you can use it, you might have to learn it several times, depending on how well it sticks in your head.

Math and statistics

This post makes the simple observation that if two lines are nearly parallel to a third line, they're nearly parallel to each other. That statement is made more precise and applied to statistics. Correlation is not transitive, but high correlation is.

I enjoyed writing this post resolving an apparent contradiction uniform approximation. It wasn't especially popular, probably because it requires more math background to understand than most posts, but it's a post I wish I had read in college.

Sculpting a business

Progress in business is usually described with additive metaphors like expanding and growing, but I've been thinking about subtractive metaphors like sculpting and pruning. I've been looking for ways to make room for growth by cutting things out, such as being more selective in the projects I agree to take on.
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21175 Tomball Parkway #707
Attn: John Cook
Houston, TX 77070

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