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Occam’s Yuka

Yuka Yuka is an app my brother intro’d me to. It lets you scan food items when you’re shopping, and gives them a rating out of 100. Yuka also lists… Read More »Occam’s Yuka

Department of Attack

There have been “Departments of War” and “Ministers for War”, but I’ve never heard of a “Department of Attack”. It’s more palatable to have a Department of Defence. There are… Read More »Department of Attack

Is TikTok the next WMD?

The US house and senate voted overwhelmingly in favour of military action based on the perceived threat of “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Perhaps such case-specific (and certainly important) matters are… Read More »Is TikTok the next WMD?


An Irish-Indian chaatbot blending recipes and chaat. Try it out on:

What Makes a Great Language Model?

*Isn’t it surprising…?*

…that training a language model on the web’s data works? Isn’t there a lot of rubbish on the web? How does the model know what information to focus on?

“Correct” or “high quality” data has a tendency to repeat itself. There might be some data saying that the sun moves around the earth, but there is much more saying that the earth moves around the sun. This makes it possible for us to train language models on large datasets, even if they contain some, or even a lot, of weak information or arguments. Weak arguments and information tend to differ from each other, whereas stronger arguments or information tends to be articulated, transmitted and replicated more coherently…

Tales from Türkiye

What is today called Turkey (the Republic of Türkiye) was founded as a secular state in 1923 by Atatürk. The man’s face adorned every second building in Turkey as we approached the 100 year anniversary on October 29th 2023.

Italian Cashgate

Small Business, Credit Card Costs and Tax Avoidance The Background Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni proposed rescinding a fine on retailers who refuse to accept electronic payments for less than… Read More »Italian Cashgate

Citizens' Keys

A Multi-part Series on Digital Currency Financial Regulation Series Overview: Unpacking financial regulations This series unpacks current and proposed regulation of digital currencies. It will serve as a tool to… Read More »Citizens' Keys

US Dollar then Rekt

Europe is dollar-ising. Dollar risk is piling up. Summary: The Euro and Pound are plummeting in value. With apps like Revolut and Wise, consumers have easy access to dollars. Europe… Read More »US Dollar then Rekt

What the F(?TX)

Notes on Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange Howdy folks, let’s get started with a graph of FTT (the FTX token) charted, not against USD, but, against ETH (a hip way… Read More »What the F(?TX)

An interesting graph

Ethereum Classic vs Ethereum Here’s an interesting graph, it’s the price of Ethereum Classic (ETC) compared to Ether over the past 180 days: There is some strengthening of Ethereum Classic… Read More »An interesting graph

The Blip

Building. learning. investing. philosophising. This is blip, a newsletter by me – Ronan McGovern – about building, learning, investing and philosophy.

Twitter Trade Episode 2: Twitter Board accepts Elon's Offer

Sponsored by – simple crypto payment links for merchants. Episode Notes: Michael Burry on Tesla: SEC filing listing X Holdings as the buyer of Twitter: Disclaimer: Investment… Read More »Twitter Trade Episode 2: Twitter Board accepts Elon's Offer

Stargate Episode 6 – FINAL EPISODE: Community Round 2

sponsored by Show Links: Community Auction Page: FTX Price for STG: Curve Finance Price for STG: Follow me @RonanKMcGovern and @Pinotio_DeFi

Stargate Episode 4: Retrospective

A recap of the Stargate March 2022 auction – what went right and wrong. For more: Twitter: @Pinotio_DeFi Newsletter/website: Links: Twitter Stargatefinance Retrospective: Stargate bonding: exchange:… Read More »Stargate Episode 4: Retrospective

Weekend links – Jan 28th 2022

Trust networks as a basis for payment networks, an interesting project by a subsidiary of Block (formerly Square). tbDEX. A case for Bitcoin: . A case against Bitcoin.… Read More »Weekend links – Jan 28th 2022

Weekend Links

Clickbait, Degrowth, Insulting Steve Jobs, Phone Chargers, Gini Coefficient

Weekend Crypto Links

A phenomenal video covering “Bridges”. Bridges allow tokens to move between different blockchains. With more bridges, the whole cryptocurrency system becomes more interoperable, increasing economies of scale and network effects… Read More »Weekend Crypto Links

Where are the Smart People Going?

People that are both quick thinkers but also doing something abnormal. You also need to know enough of them to see a pattern, but not so many that they are just following a crowd.

A Local Approach to Philanthropy

I thought I would start this blog by coining a new word – philentropy – a hybrid of philanthropy and entropy. I decided not to because it made the blog look disorderly.

Five Takeaways From The Berkshire Annual General Meeting 2021

I am concerned about Berkshire post-Buffett. Greg Abel as future CEO stands a chance of preserving the Berkshire culture of operating its businesses independently. However, it will become increasingly difficult without Buffet’s large vote, and, with the rise of index investing to resist short term pressures index investment groups. For now, I will continue to hold 30% of my liquid net worth in Berkshire and sleep well.

S&P 500 returns since 1971 rely on dividends to beat gold

The US stock market index has not progressed since 1971 if you denominate the index in ounces of gold rather than dollars. This is true but neglects the role of dividends in driving stock market returns. Including dividends, the total stock market return is close to 4X that of gold.

The Beginning of Infinity: My First Reading

Deutsch raises the question: “What is the basis for sustainability?” Should sustainability be based upon living standards of the 1800s or the 1900s or the 2000s? Or is sustainability the wrong approach? For Deutsch, the answer is not sustainability, it is infinite progress.

Hello World

Hi folks! I’m Pinotio (people call me Pino). I write about crypto in general on this website (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Celo, Helium) I write about Celo governance at . I’m… Read More »Hello World

Wifi that stretches for miles

Helium provides a communication network using hotspots that people install in their homes.
As a hotspot owner you earn helium tokens – a cryptocurrency – for providing coverage.
There are now about 5,000 hotspots in the world, providing full coverage in most major US cities.
So far, the Helium network has been used for tagging/tracking devices and also smart water meters, among other applications.

DeFi Mini Course: Part 1, Wallet Setup for DeFi

This is a learn-by-doing mini-course in decentralised finance (DeFi). The idea is to let you explore how decentralised finance works and how to make (or lose!) money in decentralised finance.

A Simple Explanation of Why Home Antigen Testing is Effective

Isolation based on COVID symptoms is helpful and important, but far from perfect.
Contagion can happen before symptoms or without symptoms.
An inaccurate test (say, 30% false negatives) is likely more accurate than isolating based on symptoms.
Cheap quick (15 min) antigen tests accurately detect contagiousness (often 95%+).
Governments should make emergency allowance for antigen tests that are authorised for clinical use to be used at home. They’re easy to use.

Alfa Laval Acquires Sandymount Technologies

Alfa Laval Acquires Sandymount Technologies.

DIY Self Driving Cars

I bought and installed a self driving system. Here’s what I learned.

I tried out a COVID antigen test for myself

Cheap COVID antigen tests are available with high specificity and sensitivity
They are easy to use and give results in 15 mins
In the EU, they are only approved for clinical use.
Government could greatly expand testing simply by allowing people to test at home.

Review: Sun Tzu – The Art of War

Humble words and increased preparations are signs that the enemy is about to advance. Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack are signs that he will retreat.

Newsletters are all the rage.

Newsletters are in vogue, particularly as companies like Substack have made it easy to set up a newsletter on a freemium model.

COVID Notes: Ventilation & Anyone know where to buy home test strips?

It’s good that vaccines are progressing. However, we should remain cautious because it is possible COVID will mutate, and the vaccine will become less effective. While the vaccine is rolling out, the higher number of infections, the easier for the vaccine to mutate.

What is affiliate marketing and how to use it to make money or increase sales?

Affiliate marketing allows you to get paid a commission when you link products from your website or social media accounts.
Many companies have an affiliate program, including Amazon, that is easy to sign up for.
I set up an Amazon affiliate account and made videos for two products I like to see how it works. Here is what I learned.

Why Digital Advertising Sucks

It is entirely possible that advertising works, but digital advertising is in a bubble. My direct experience with paid advertising, and my reading of the references above, have brought this to light for me, although I am far from the first.

What’s the story with Bitcoin?

Bitcoin provokes strong reactions – positive and negative. Warren Buffett thinks Bitcoin is a bubble (“rat poison squared”). Meanwhile, large public companies are starting to get on board with Bitcoin – Square recently bought $50M worth and Paypal are planning to add Bitcoin to Venmo in 2021.

Who are You?

“Hi, my name is, what? My name is, who?My name is, chka-chka Slim Shady” Eminem / Slim Shady Summary: Bio-metric verification (iris, face scans etc.) is one (likely) direction for… Read More »Who are You?

Ronan's Monthly Newsletter

Lastly – my January newsletter will be coming out later this week for subscribers. Sign up to get ahead on new business ideas:

More Passive Investing without Index Funds

I have moved all of my investments to a passive approach so I can divert more time to building businesses instead of stock picking/reading about markets.

Hand Sanitizer, Startups and Still Waiting for $120,000 from Amazon

Over the three-month period, the business was involved in producing over 1.2M bottles of hand sanitizer… with $500,000 donated as of the end of August, split between five charities: Fathers Uplift Inc.; Y2Y Network; Fresno Barrios Unidos; My Stuff Bags Foundation; and Urban Revival Inc.

Warren Buffett’s Well Worked Will

Mr. Buffett has thought through the matter of donating his shares carefully and, I believe, largely mitigated associated risks by i) spreading out the donation of shares over time and ii) gradually reducing the amount of shares donated each year so that the dollar value of shares entering the market via share sales by foundations is somewhat stabilised.

Point 5 Brewing on Futurized Podcast

Thanks to Trond Undheim for inviting me on his podcast earlier this week to talk about the future of beverages. Link here: .  

Death by bcc

(Metaphorical) Death by bcc is the ultimate of all e-mail deaths. It ranks at the very top, above the basic e-mail blunder, and above the dreaded “reply-all”. For those that are… Read More »Death by bcc

Part 5: The Dream Team

Raw entrepreneurial talent and a diverse founding team correlate strongly with improved startup success rates. In this blog, I’ll provide evidence for this claim and propose a way to measure the quality of a… Read More »Part 5: The Dream Team

Part 5: The Dream Team

Raw entrepreneurial talent and a diverse founding team correlate strongly with improved startup success rates. In this blog, I’ll provide evidence for this claim and propose a way to measure the quality of a… Read More »Part 5: The Dream Team

Taking out the Salt

The large amounts of water required in the hydraulic fracturing of shales for oil or gas is a pressing concern. In hydraulic fracturing, water is sent  down underground at high pressures… Read More »Taking out the Salt

The Left Field StandUp Comedy

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Céad Míle Fáilte

I’m Ronan, or Rónán to some, an Irish PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I research next generation desalination systems offering lower energy and improved economics. It… Read More »Céad Míle Fáilte

A Gift

There a good few weeks ago I made a friend while down in DC, who happens to live here in Cambridge. He convinced me to start learning the ukelele –… Read More »A Gift

Habit Habitat

Few moments in life achieve such comfort as habit. Via habits we may rise or acquiesce, create or rescind, progress or recede. Habits define our careers,  our lives and our habitats,… Read More »Habit Habitat

Arrival in Italy

Just arrived in Italy and I’m trying to get away with communicating using my phrase-book Spanish. I’m not really sure what Italians would prefer to experience, poor Spanish, Irish-English or… Read More »Arrival in Italy


Spunk This morning I feel badly spunk, Last night’s meal of spuds has me drunk, My stomach is softenin’, I’m not eaten spuds often, And my citizenship could be sunk.

Charity Extraction

This article appeared in the Tuesday 28th September 2010 edition of MIT’s “The Tech” Newspaper available at the following address: Half an hour waiting in a long snaking queue, or… Read More »Charity Extraction

Night Faces

A building sky, far out ahead, As clouds lie flat, upon their heads, Facial features, silhouettes On yellow, orange, then dark red, Square chins and noses off to bed.

Life Coaching

Dragging feet on midnight tiles, The drag of a fag’s last quarter inch, Eyelids tilt over powder-dry eyes, Bus doors encapsulate night crowds. A saturated Luas, saturated with gazers Penetrating… Read More »Life Coaching

CoinFlip: The Blog

It’s fifty-fifty, maths guys would say, You’ve half a chance, could go either way, Floating high, heads or tails, We’ve all forgotten, as it sails, That on its edge, it might, it… Read More »CoinFlip: The Blog