Monthly reverse chronological list of recent major writings/changes/additions to (see also the monthly newsletter)
2013-09-152021-01-24 in progress certainty: log importance: 1

This page is a changelog for Gw­ 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 ().


December 2020

  • Gw­ re­cur­sive link an­no­ta­tions (mem­o­ized for effi­cien­cy); cross-page/document pop­ups (demo); syn­tax high­light­ing of source code pop­ups (demo); di­rec­tory in­dexes

November 2020

  • On De­vel­op­ment Hell
  • Gw­ dark­-mode rewrite com­plete (fixes page load flash & laggy scrolling) arabesque nav­i­ga­tion bar in footer with JS key­board short­cuts; Mono font & cus­tom -like syn­tax high­light­ing for code blocks; new /moon icons for hor­i­zon­tal rulers; im­ages in Wikipedia pop­ups; new in­ter­nal link/citation con­ven­tion for mul­ti­ple ci­ta­tions

October 2020

  • more Gw­ fixes of in­fe­lic­i­ties & out­dated in­fra­struc­ture: ma­jor ones: line-break­ing on slash­es, hy­phen­ation & jus­ti­fied text on Chrome desk­top browsers us­ing Ed­ward Kmet­t’s at com­pile-time; ful­l-width mo­bile im­ages; rewrote GoodReads con­ver­sion for much more read­able ; brows­able di­rec­to­ries; popup an­no­ta­tions now ren­der more like body.

    Dark mode users should have no­ticed it’s im­proved con­sid­er­ably; most of the other fixes ei­ther are more sub­tle (con­sis­ten­cy, cor­rect for­mat­ting, edge-cas­es, bold rather than ital­ic­s), or rewrit­ing old hacks to pay off tech­ni­cal debt. In gen­er­al, it should just look nicer and more pleas­ant, and be a lit­tle eas­ier for me to write.

    Mi­nor ones:

    • I wrote up things we’ve tried & aban­doned

    • rewrote GoodReads con­ver­sion for much more read­able ; be­gan com­pil­ing all movie/TV/opera re­views into ; be­gan copy­ing all MAL anime/manga re­views & lo­cal­iz­ing into ; all GR re­views have been moved to gw­ per­ma­nently

    • dark mode:

      • popup white­ness fixed
      • im­age han­dling fixed (im­ages are in­verted & col­or­space-ro­tated based on au­to­mated heuris­tic + man­ual tag­ging); tweaks like high­light­ing to make in­line code blocks read­able
      • bright­ness de­creased to en­able a pure black back­ground with­out the white fore­ground be­ing blind­ing
    • new : re­vealed a num­ber of mi­nor bugs, makes it much eas­ier to test changes for cor­rect­ness

    • popup an­no­ta­tions:

      • popup an­no­ta­tions now ren­der more like body: they have link icons, para­graphs, prop­erly in­dented lists, mul­ti­-col­umn sup­port etc

      • an­no­ta­tions (titles/authors/abstracts) are auto-smallcaps/hyphenated like the body, mak­ing them more con­sis­tent and re­duc­ing the an­no­ta­tion toil in adding small­caps spans

      • au­to­matic an­no­ta­tions get some rewrite rules like ‘N=’ → ‘n =’

      • an­no­ta­tions can now be ‘de­fi­n­i­tions’ (popup an­no­ta­tions for non-link text)

      • pop­ups can now be ar­bi­trary IDs, not just sec­tions or an­no­ta­tions (same as the re­verse-foot­note pop­ups)

        • links pop up with a ‘con­text’, to sup­port my new ci­ta­tion con­ven­tion: every ci­ta­tion is ei­ther a full­text hy­per­link with an­no­ta­tion, or a link back to an­other use of that ci­ta­tion with more context/discussion. (This ex­ploits the new au­to­matic ID gen­er­a­tion so a link like [Foo et al 2020](/docs/ai/2020-foo.pdf) gets an HTML ID like #foo-et-al-2020, mak­ing it ex­tremely easy to link else­where like for more details on the scaling laws, see the earlier discussion of scaling papers like [Kaplan et al 2020](#kaplan-et-al-2020).)
      • tooltips are shorted ver­sions of link an­no­ta­tions, as a fall­back for non-JS or mo­bile users

      • bolded ab­stracts (man­ual & au­to­mat­i­cal­ly)

      • Arxiv ab­stracts now parsed as LaTeX first (fix­ing a lot of weird­ness); wrong pub­li­ca­tion dates bug fixed & re­ported up­stream (up­stream re­fuses to fix, so forked)

      • PLOS/PubMed/Wikipedia ab­stracts for­mat­ting greatly im­proved (and fixed up­stream)

      • MedRxiv sup­port

      • <video> tag sup­port

      • re­moved bro­ken re­verse search link

      • bet­ter au­thor trun­ca­tion

      • au­thor ini­tials get pe­ri­ods (“John H Smith” → “John H. Smith”; sur­pris­ingly com­mon in a lot of bib­li­o­graphic meta­data)

      • re­built all Wikipedia & Arxiv link an­no­ta­tions to bring up to date and with new for­mat­ting

        • Wikipedia an­no­ta­tions now in­clude im­age thumb­nails, which get au­to-in­verted like reg­u­lar im­ages for dark mode view­ers
      • au­to­matic an­no­ta­tions stored as YAML; more con­sis­tent, sim­pler im­ple­men­ta­tion, and makes a lot eas­ier to copy au­to­matic an­no­ta­tions into the man­ual an­no­ta­tions for im­prove­ment

      • an­no­ta­tions can now be selected/copy-pasted (this was dis­abled pre­vi­ous­ly, for un­clear rea­sons)

      • added columns

    • refac­tored the site in­fra­struc­ture into a sep­a­rate repo

    • mo­bile:

      • sim­pli­fied mo­bile ap­pear­ance, re­duced ital­ics over-usage
      • ful­l-width (edge-to-edge) mo­bile im­ages (uses ~20% more hor­i­zon­tal space)
    • ty­pog­ra­phy: rewrite pass to in­sert <wbr> to en­able line-break­ing on slash­es; rewrite pass to in­sert soft hy­phens for hy­phen­ation & jus­ti­fied text on Chrome desk­top browsers us­ing Ed­ward Kmet­t’s

      • fixed Sa­fari dou­ble hy­phen bug, re­ported up­stream
    • re­vised list hi­er­ar­chy to use bold (ie bold → small­caps → ital­ics; small­caps → italic → bold or small­caps → bold → italic made no vi­su­al-em­pha­sis sense, and I think it re­sulted in small­caps overuse); switched or­dered lists to up­per­case Ro­man nu­mer­als to avoid con­fu­sion with low­er­case al­pha­betic nu­mer­als; added a third-level icon, and made ordered/unordered lists & block­quotes cy­cle through 3 styles based on depth

    • ‘pre­vi­ous’/‘top of page’/‘next’ nav­i­ga­tion links added to all pages be­neath the foot­notes

      • ex­ploit­ing that new meta­data about page se­quenc­ing, a JS wid­get will au­to­mat­i­cally load the next/previous page if you are at the bottom/top of a page & hit a down/up key twice within 0.5s
    • sim­pli­fied side­notes ap­pear­ance (re­moved dou­ble-lin­ing, merged the num­ber box with the main box)

    • au­to-s­mall­caps: catches more acronyms/initialisms, and rewrit­ten to avoid deeply nested du­pli­cate spans (an un­for­tu­nate con­se­quence of sub­sti­tu­tion + Pan­doc AST walk­ing, re­quir­ing a switch to brute­force string sub­sti­tu­tion); head­ers no longer small­caps (which looked weird)

    • meta­data blocks are com­piled to HTML; be­fore, they were in­lined as raw Mark­down, which was un­for­tu­nate, but tricky to fix

    • is now a gen­er­ated page rather than a pile of man­u­al­ly-edited HTML, so it will no longer be per­pet­u­ally out of sync in style/content

    • cus­tom based on the list icons in­stead of hor­i­zon­tal ruler

    • in­fla­tion ad­justers: tooltips were wrong; Bit­coin ad­juster now in­ter­po­lates or ex­trap­o­lates for miss­ing ex­change-rate dates in­stead of crash­ing

    • brows­able di­rec­to­ries on gw­ & TWDNE (eg /docs/)

    • changed all dates to YYYY-MM-DD for con­sis­tency

    • cut down wasted white­space mar­gin in lists/blockquotes (which looked es­pe­cially ridicu­lous on mo­bile), and head­ers

    • added miss­ing link icons for 10+ do­mains, fixed spac­ing & over­lap­ping, and har­mo­nized opac­ity of all link icons; fixed Sub­stack back­ground, Ope­nAI size

    • Pan­doc now uses Math­jax di­rect­ly, en­abling col­ored equa­tions

    • col­lapse sec­tions have el­lipses

    • ‘ab­stract’ class gen­er­al­ized, so pages can have mul­ti­ple ab­stracts, sim­pli­fy­ing for­mat­ting (the man­ual drop-cap­s+s­mall­caps are then re­dun­dant)

    • in­ter­nal links to a pre­vi­ous or later link ID (usu­ally a sec­tion) now have an ar­row icon point­ing up or down (re­spec­tive­ly) as a nav­i­ga­tion aid

    • ex­per­i­men­tal use of prefetch­ing

    • tag pages now in columns

    • im­proved ad­mo­ni­tion icons (ugly or did­n’t show up in dark mode, or at all on An­droid) & spac­ing

    • the <code> syn­tax high­light­ing (out­lined box) looks bet­ter in­side links

    • re­moved dead CSS & code

    • short­ened page de­scrip­tions & ti­tles

    • up­dated last-mod­i­fied meta­data on most pages

    • checked all pages for MIME types and sta­tus, re­veal­ing a num­ber of in­fi­nite redi­rect er­rors

    • WWW archive: no crawl head­ers; force UTF-8 charset header for Mark­down sources (for Chrome)

    • all Twit­ter.­com → Nit­ (sta­t­ic, more re­li­able)

    • con­verted sim­ple LaTeX for­mu­las to HTML where pos­si­ble; added spaces to var­i­ous equalities/inequalities

    • fixed blur­ri­ness on highlighting/selecting text

    • mar­gin notes are now selectable/clickable (z-in­dex er­ror)

    • set up /r/mlscaling as a more con­ve­nient way to browse “Mat­ters of Scale” topic links

    Known out­stand­ing bugs:

    • no popup an­no­ta­tions for mo­bile

    • some users re­port pop­ups ‘cy­cle’ rapidly in and out of ex­is­tence; we have been un­able to repli­cate this and don’t know why it hap­pens

    • dark mode is slow, be­cause browsers im­ple­ment fil­ters like in­ver­sion very slow­ly. Sor­ry.

    • dark mode is slow to load, yield­ing a ‘flash of white’

      In­ject­ing CSS does­n’t work be­cause browsers seem to ig­nore it un­til after the page loads, with the ex­cep­tion of set­ting a class, which how­ever breaks all the ex­ist­ing dark mode CSS.

    • mar­gin notes over­lap with side­notes, and side­notes may be over­lap as well (desk­top)

    • side­notes are laid out even when they’re in col­lapsed sec­tions

    • popup an­no­ta­tions may not cor­rectly dis­play LaTeX/math

  • com­piled all &

September 2020

  • Gw­ dark mode im­age han­dling fixed (im­ages are in­verted based on au­to­mated heuris­tic + man­ual tag­ging); an­no­ta­tions can now be ‘de­fi­n­i­tions’ (popup an­no­ta­tions for non-link tex­t); ex­panded tooltips as fall­back for link an­no­ta­tions; bolded ab­stracts & re­vised list hi­er­ar­chy to use bold; changed all dates to YYYY-MM-DD for con­sis­ten­cy; added miss­ing link icons for 7 do­mains, fixed spac­ing & over­lap­ping, and har­mo­nized opac­ity of all link icons; Pan­doc now uses Math­Jax di­rect­ly, en­abling col­ored equa­tions; in­ter­nal links to a pre­vi­ous or later sec­tion now point up or down (re­spec­tive­ly) as a nav­i­ga­tion aid; ex­per­i­men­tal use of prefetch­ing; in­stead of hor­i­zon­tal ruler; sim­pli­fied mo­bile ap­pear­ance; many mis­cel­la­neous bug fixes

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020


December 2019

November 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

  • ()

  • “Ori­gin of ‘Lit­tle­wood’s Law of Mir­a­cles’”

  • Gw­ CSS/HTML/JS changes: click­-to-zoom im­ages (us­ing image-focus.js); head­ers are now self­-links; Tufte CSS-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 (JS/CSS): re­lease of new, cor­rect, light­weight, de­pen­den­cy-free JS li­brary writ­ten by Obor­mot for im­ple­ment­ing “click to zoom” on im­ages (use­ful for large images/graphs)

January 2019


December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

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

February 2018

January 2018


November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

  • Gw­ 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

July 2017

June 2017

April 2017

March 2017

  • Gw­ 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

February 2017

January 2017


December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016


December 2015

October 2015

September 2015

July 2015

June 2015

  • rewrote Gw­ CSS to be mo­bile-friend­ly; should now be read­able in an iPhone 6 browser
  • wrote two sum­mer po­ems, on earth­worms and the rain

May 2015

March 2015

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

February 2015

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

January 2015


December 2014

Noth­ing fin­ished.

November 2014

October 2014



September 2014




  • “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.

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

August 2014

July 2014






June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014



February 2014

January 2014

Dark­net mar­kets:

  • I have be­gun sys­tem­at­i­cally spi­der­ing all op­er­a­tional Eng­lish dark­net mar­kets




  • diff of “Ra­di­ance” and part I of Ra­di­ance


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


December 2013

Dark­net mar­kets:





November 2013

An­other busy mon­th:

October 2013

My fo­cus for 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 archive.­to­day; 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 2013

August 2013

  • A/B test­ing: the line-height 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.

  • : 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:

  • 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 dark­net 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 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 2013

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
  • 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…
  • : con­tin­ues to pro­gress; I closed the LW poll and set up 3 new polls on Gw­ 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.
  • : I’ve started tran­scrib­ing and an­no­tat­ing one of my fa­vorite tech/lit nov­els. It’s mostly done.
  • 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 2013

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 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 , point­ing out the ob­so­lete sci­ence be­hind some stuff writ­ten off as fan­ta­sy.

May 2013

  • 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: it does­n’t)

  • up­dated my analy­sis of SDr’s sleep data

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

    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 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.



“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.”

28:12 ()

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 Gw­

Tran­scribed or trans­lat­ed:

More tech­ni­cal:




“I’d like to poi­son your mind
With wrong ideas that ap­peal to you
Though I am not un­kind…”

“Whistling in the Dark”, ,

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. : 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 have been ex­panded with scores more links to stud­ies & PDFs. ( and 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.)