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Following my writing can be a little difficult: while I provide an RSS feed of the edit history, it is too fine-grained to know what is an interesting update and what is housekeeping. So periodically I write up interesting changes in a human-readable format:

2014

July

QS/self-experiments:

Statistics:

Debunking:

Misc:

Site:

June

May

April

March

Bitcoin:

Tech:

February

January

Black-markets:

  • I have begun systematically spidering all operational black-markets.

General:

Statistical:

Radiance:

  • diff of “Radiance” and part I of Radiance

Site:

  • rewrote configuration for Hakyll 4
  • converted site’s Darcs repository to Git & hosted on GitHub

2013

December

Black-markets:

Statistical:

Radiance:

Personal:

Site:

November

Another busy month:

  • DNB meta-analysis: corrected multiple mistakes based on Redick’s review
  • Lunar sleep: split out, acquired 2 other Zeo users’ data, expanded into a multi-level model & power analysis (Cajochen still has not responded)
  • Modafinil: price table update
  • Silk Road:

    • estimating DPR’s net fortune based on the FBI numbers
    • black market survival analysis
    • publicly betting Sheep & BMR to shut down soon (which was vindicated even quicker than expected)
    • Mike Power email interview
    • BBC Radio 5 interview (not yet broadcast)
    • doxed the owner of Sheep Marketplace (see http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=9spTATw6 & https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/182368464/2013-11-03-sheepmarketplace-doxxing.maff )
  • Bitcoin:

  • Radiance: finished transcription & added all notations
  • AB testing: blockquote finished, status quo performed best
  • Site:

October

My focus in October was coping with the fallout from the bust of Silk Road - dealing with the revelations, copying the SR forums, tracking down leads, talking to various people, recording the ensuing arrests, tracking the black markets popping up in its wake… I still have much material to work through, but some things I managed to do included:

I decided to post my most extensive self-experiment yet, on LSD microdosing. While there was a lot of criticism, I still regard it as worthwhile and setting a new benchmark for any future research in that area.

My anti-linkrot system benefited from comments on Hacker News telling me how to use archive.is; this may help me out quite a bit in the future.

A/B testing has been active since Hacker News traffic furnished large sample sizes:

September

  • compiled a small meta-analysis of creatine’s effect on intelligence
  • combined previous progress reports all into a single page (this page) & added it to the sidebar. Should help out everyone who keep asking for an RSS feed of major changes rather than every change.
  • started a new A/B test on foreground/background colors
  • expanded the Google Alerts analysis with fresh emails from the past half-year, for its Hacker News submission
  • started a bigger Noopept self-experiment
  • did some spaced repetition research using the Mnemosyne logs: found weekly & time of day effects on memory performance - with a clear circadian rhythm

August

Original

  • A/B testing: the lineheight test found no difference, so I did a quick one where I tested an empty test to check the A/B testing tool I’m using; I successfully failed to reject the null. The next test is whether underlining hyperlinks annoys people or not.
  • Book reviews: I wrote a Haskell program to parse my GoodReads ratings & reviews into flat Pandoc Markdown; it works somewhat well, it seems to be eating blockquotes & neutering hyperlinks, I’m not sure why. Was also an opportunity to clean up some reviews: inline some of them, spellcheck, expand references & links, which was a lot of work. But it’s nice to have my reviews gathered somewhere with a readable interface. kiba thinks the work may pay for itself in affiliate revenue with Amazon, but I’m skeptical.
  • Scholz’s Radiance: Added a hundred pages or so. Annotating some of it is quite difficult; Scholz’s familiarity with Wagner’s operas is a challenge, since I’ve only ever read his Ring Cycle.
  • I’ve started two new self-experiments:

  • Touhou music growth rate: made a little more progress on Touhou music, with an analysis # of releases vs time: seems like we may’ve reached peak Touhou in 2009.
  • Silk Road mirrors: I’ve started hosting public copies of subsets of the black markets; these are backups for particular incidents or timeseries
  • Spaced repetition statistics: I’ve been analyzing my Mnemosyne data and the giant public database for time of day effects. While my results aren’t conclusive, my analysis of 48m flashcard reviews from the public database finds that the best time to study your flashcards seem to be noon. A little surprising, you’d think that late at night, before bedtime, would be the best time.
  • My Sand polls aren’t done because I got a much lower rate of responses to the polls than I was hoping for and only got enough responses in the final poll the other day.

July

Original

Interesting things I wrote during July:

  • Google Alerts: Statistical analysis of all my emails from Google Alerts to see whether/when they started to be less useful.
  • 2013 Lewis meditation quasi-experiment: A Quantified Selfer and a few other guys did some meditation while doing an arithmetic game; turned out to be a perfect application for multilevel modeling
  • Sleep and lunar phases: A recent paper claimed that there’s a phase-of-the-moon effect on circadian rhythms; since I have so much sleep data on myself, I thought I’d see if there’s any effect…
  • Sand: continues to progress; I closed the LW poll and set up 3 new polls on gwern.net to test problems with the original poll.
  • Betting Made a list of things I’ve bet on or at least tried to bet on with people (as opposed to prediction market use). Disappointingly short.
  • Scholz’s Radiance: I’ve started transcribing and annotating one of my favorite tech/lit novels. It’s mostly done; hopefully in August I’ll be able to finish Radiance.
  • Cicadas for dinner: I finally got around to eating the cicadas I caught during the most recent Maryland emergence; so of course I had to write up this outré dining.

Right now, I’m listening through my Reitaisai 10 downloads (more Touhou music work); and working with this coach who is interested in predicting triple-jump performance by college athletes, and has collected a bunch of data about triple-jumpers.

June

Original

Hm, what did I get done this June…

It was a little boring, honestly; jury duty was a mental distraction where I couldn’t plan ahead to do anything but I ultimately wound up going in once and not being picked up for the jury! So I spent a lot of time simply digging up fulltext papers for citations, so at least there’s now something like another 100 papers available online for melatonin/nicotine/modafinil etc…

  • I was thinking of trying to meta-analyze the correlation of lithium in drinking-water with suicides/murders/mental-illness, but after I got copies of all the citations I knew of, I’m not sure the data is homogenous to do that, which is disappointing, and the meta-analysis papers/textbooks I’ve checked don’t seem to be very encouraging about the utility of doing it with epidemiology stuff.
  • And reorganizing & fixing broken links & updating various pages (I figured out how to make a fun forest plot showing the active/passive split in dual n-back studies )
  • My long-running font A/B test finished but with the most boring possible results of close to zero difference between the 4 fonts
  • I researched an old family friend in his 90s who has never been willing to talk about his government work during the Cold War and found some stuff using released Census records, but that’s not really of interest to other people, and I decided to not make it public. Likewise when I added ~40 book reviews from my old notes to my Goodreads account.
  • I managed to trace an arrested drug dealer back to his Silk Road account, which was somewhat interesting: Reddit discussion
  • Is one familiar with Fukuyama & ‘the end of history’? I think he’s right but no one seems to agree with me, so I wrote a short essay defending him Like most political essays, it’s probably worse than I realize.
  • From my perspective, probably the most interesting thing I wrote all month was some criticism of early SF, pointing out the obsolete science behind some stuff written off as fantasy.

May

Original

And in my Google analysis (which I credit to last month and not May, even if it went viral in early May), I added in random survival forests, fixing that gap in evaluating prediction methods, which was a little burden of guilt off my mind.

While I was at it, I reproduced that recent paper analyzing Bitcoin exchange shutdown or theft risk. The dude’s since given me his source code. (What can I say? Survival analysis is a great hammer, and it cost me enough tears and sweat to learn how to use the R library that I plan to use it everywhere I can.) - I started a little Noopept self-experiment using the Noopept someone gave me, but unfortunately they gave me too little for the results to be very meaningful (see the power analysis); but maybe they will have a trend and I can try a bigger experiment later.

  • TruBrain sent me a month’s supply of their all-in-one nootropic, but I haven’t tried it yet because it would interfere with the Noopept. I also purchased magnesium l-threonate, which is a disappointment so far, and some nicotine patches, which I haven’t used yet. A small sample order from a new modafinil website selling the usual Indian Modalert is in progress but hasn’t arrived yet. (It ultimately did not arrive as the delivery required a signature.)
  • I have a weird little literature/historical/survey article in progress; we’ll see where that goes
  • I posted an analysis I wrote a few months ago in private of whether a particular vendor on Silk Road is a federal mole (probably not)

Actually, I guess it was overall a pretty productive month. Probably helped that jury duty has so far turned out to be a bust: I’ve been on call since 21 May but have yet to actually go into the courthouse to do anything.

2012-2013

Original


“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.”

Here is material I’ve worked on in the 477 days since my last update. In roughly chronological & topical order, here are the major additions to gwern.net:

Transcribed or translated:

More technical:

Personal:

2011

Original


"I'd like to poison your mind / With wrong ideas that appeal to you / Though I am not unkind..."
Per my past practice of linking stuff I think LWers will find interesting, here is what I've been up to lately:

  1. "Politicians are Ethical": applying base-rate neglect
  2. Modafinil: a dual-pronged argument for low-balling estimates of modafinil harm by pointing to both temporal and quality discounting of health in old age. (If you missed it the first time around, I still think my mini-tutorial on drug ordering with Bayes's theorem is worth reading.)
  3. "The Narrowing Circle": argument that the usual belief of 'moral progress' and the 'expanding circle' assume many of their conclusions by pointing to the beliefs and classes of entities discarded along the way. (As many LWers share those assumptions and will be unsympathetic, the interesting parts may be the appendices on perpetuities and waqfs, inasmuch as those bear directly on cryonics.)
  4. Both Modafinil and Spaced repetition have been expanded with scores more links to studies & PDFs. (Nicotine and Melatonin are next.)
  5. "Worldbuilding: The Lights in the Sky are Sacs" is a silly bit of SF/alternate history speculation involving floating hydrogen-sac organisms.
  6. "Wikipedia and Knol" has been completed, as the 7 predictions I made on the matter have been judged thanks to Google's recent announcements; I blew one.
  7. Stuff which is incomplete or which is just a pile of notes:
  8. I stuck a link in the footer of every page to a Google spreadsheet form, borrowing the idea from Luke Muehlhauser - I've only gotten 1 feedback so far, IIRC, but that was before I put it in the footer and updated all the pages a few hours ago.