# Changelog

topics: meta
created: 15 Sep 2013; modified: 25 Oct 2019; status: in progress; confidence: log;

This page is a changelog for gwern.net: a monthly reverse chronological list of recent major writings/changes/additions.

Following my writing can be a little difficult because it is often so incremental. So every month, in addition to my regular subreddit submissions, I write up reasonably-interesting changes and in addition to a compilation of links & reviews ().

# 2019

## February

• gwern.net CSS/HTML/JS changes: click-to-zoom images (using image-focus.js); headers are now self-links; -style epigraph support; Table of Contents: Wikipedia-style section numbering, margin & size tweaks, lightweight subset of (for Mac users); nicer diamond list icons; sleeker sidebar (especially nice on mobile); PDF/internal/section links are now annotated with icons; borders on tables, image figures, and blockquotes; in text & tabular numerals in tables; (but not in Chrome due to decade-old lack of hyphenation); narrowed maximum body-width in characters & made line-height responsive to body-width (hopefully addresses the perennial complaints that pages are always too wide/too narrow/lines too close); quote highlighting disabled by default; collapsible code-blocks; inline smallcaps support; optimized SVG logo & favicon; page-specific CSS overrides enabled; list paragraph bugs in Pandoc fixed; compressed JPEGs; changed code syntax-highlighting scheme to match overall esthetics better; miscellaneous responsive design/mobile improvements

• image-focus.js (/): release of new, correct, lightweight, dependency-free JS library written by Obormot for implementing “click to zoom” on images (useful for large images/graphs)

# December

## March

• moved newsletter from MailChimp to TinyLetter due to exorbitant MailChimp fees

# 2017

## September

• gwern.net updates: Google AdSense banner ads removed (due to initial analysis of A/B test results); URL scheme changed to replace spaces by hyphens & delete commas/apostrophes (due to persistent user error); footer moved to sidebar; re-tagging pages; font/CSS tweaked for faster loads & wider margins; hosted documents reorganized & expanded with personal archives; began buying & scanning all cited books to provide fulltexts; added sitemap generation to expose fulltexts to search engines

## March

• gwern.net: HTTPS now mandatory; HTML sections rewritten using HTML5 semantic markup for hopefully better compatibility with screen readers & offline browsers like Pocket/ReadItLater; “importance” metadata added to all pages to rank them; “belief” metadata renamed more intuitively as “confidence”; finish adding 301 Redirects for all broken links & common typos; renamed & all darknet market pages for current terminology; rewrote Patreon profile

# 2015

## June

• rewrote gwern.net CSS to be mobile-friendly; should now be readable in an iPhone 6 browser
• wrote , on earthworms and the rain

## March

• : no effect (so earlier correlative results were grossly overestimated; I’m starting to expect this from anything non-randomized…)
• an caused me a good deal of trouble
• playing with inferring Bayesian networks for my & data (powerful generalization of SEMs, but requires a lot of data before networks stabilize)

## February

• : split out of Silk Road page & began bringing up-to-date with all known incidents across all markets
• : collected some simple data on my kettles & demonstrated some statistics tools on the dataset like a Bayesian measurement-error model

# 2014

## December

Nothing finished.

## October

QS:

• : screen-reddening software shifts bedtime forward by 20 minutes
• : no change in sleep as hypothesized by another LLLT user
• of sceaduwe’s spirulina/allergies self-experiment (no reduction in allergies)

Personal:

## September

QS:

Stats:

Technology:

• My window tracker/time-logger of choice is 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.

• : wrote a Bash implementation of serial hashing time-lock crypto, link to all known implementations of hash time-lock crypto

## July

QS/self-experiments:

Statistics:

Debunking:

Misc:

Site:

Bitcoin:

Tech:

## January

Darknet markets:

• I have begun systematically spidering all operational English darknet markets

General:

Statistical:

Site:

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

# 2013

Darknet markets:

Statistical:

Personal:

Site:

## November

Another busy month:

## 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 darknet 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 . 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 system benefited from comments on Hacker News telling me how to use ; 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:

## August

• A/B testing: found no difference, so I did a quick one where I tested an empty test to check the ; I successfully failed to reject the null. The next test is whether underlining hyperlinks annoys people or not.

• : 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.

• : 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:

• : 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.

• : I’ve started hosting public copies of subsets of the darknet markets; these are backups for particular incidents or timeseries

• : 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 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

Interesting things I wrote during July:

• : Statistical analysis of all my emails from Google Alerts to see whether/when they started to be less useful.
• : 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
• : 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…
• : continues to progress; I closed the LW poll and set up 3 new polls on gwern.net to test problems with the original poll.
• 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.
• : 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.
• : 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

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 , 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
• 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:
• 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 Like most political essays, it’s probably worse than I realize.
• From my perspective, probably the most interesting thing I wrote all month was , pointing out the obsolete science behind some stuff written off as fantasy.

## May

• I’ve made a little more progress on the Touhou project

• Added 2 new studies to the DNB meta-analysis and also a new covariate (whether payment reduces gains: )

• updated my

• oh wait, I did do a new project: applied survival analysis to

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 , 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 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 ); but maybe they will have a trend and I can try a bigger experiment later.

• 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 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 ()

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

“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

“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. (As of 2015, there are hundreds of responses and I consider the feedback form to have paid its way; see my later writeup detailing the benefits.)