Changelog

Monthly reverse chronological list of recent major writings/changes/additions to gwern.net (see also the monthly newsletter)
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2013-09-152020-10-28 in progress certainty: log importance: 1


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 ().

2020

September

  • gwern.net: 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

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

2019

December

November

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

  • “This Waifu Does Not Exist” ()

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

  • gwern.net 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

2018

December

November

October

September

June

May

April

March

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

February

January

2017

November

October

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

July

June

April

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

February

January

2016

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

March

February

January

2015

December

October

September

July

June

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

May

March

  • LLLT self­-­ex­per­i­ment fin­ished: 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 Zeo & body weight 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
  • 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

2014

December

Noth­ing fin­ished.

November

October

QS:

Per­son­al:

September

QS:

Stats:

Tech­nol­o­gy:

  • “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

July

QS/self-experiments:

Sta­tis­tics:

Debunk­ing:

Misc:

Site:

June

May

April

March

Bit­coin:

Tech:

February

January

Dark­net mar­kets:

  • I have begun sys­tem­at­i­cally spi­der­ing all oper­a­tional Eng­lish dark­net 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

Dark­net mar­kets:

Sta­tis­ti­cal:

Radi­ance:

Per­son­al:

Site:

November

Another busy mon­th:

October

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

August

  • 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

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 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.
  • : 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

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

  • 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.

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.”

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 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…”

“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. 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.)