Blogroll

As I have been active internet user since early 2010s, I have collected far too many blogs and other similar actively updating webpages to really keep up with them all. Thus, here I tried to create a hierarchy for all the blog links in order to conceptualize how strong my blogroll reading recommendations are.

For list of recommended internet content that are not blogs, see this page.

Blogs I check for updates several times in a year

There used to be two headings or different lists here, “actively follow” and “check more than occasioanlly”, but tbh I am nowadays too busy with other things to read blogs I claimed to “actively follow”.

  • The latest addition to this list is A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry at https://acoup.blog/. Dr. Bret Deveraux is academic historian, who specializes in military of ancient Rome but greatly knowledgeable about other topics, including, but not limited to, classical antiquity. The commenter crowd is also generally (of course, not always) interesting and worth reading. Recommended blog post sequences:
    • How It Wasn’t: Game of Thrones and the Middle Ages and also That Dothraki Horde. If you are not aware of all the ways Game of Thrones fails to do its legwork concerning history, one may end holding misconceived notions.
    • Historical analysis of the Siege of Gondor and the Battle of Helm’s Deep. Tolkien had a generally good idea how a pseudo-medieval combat strategy, tactics and logistics would work, compared to Percy Jackson, which hurts the internal logic of the films at some parts.
    • The Fremen Mirage is not about the Fremen from Dune, but they are relevant to it: “by the end of this series, you will have a good sense of how probable I find it that a low-density de-industrialized population of knife-wielding warriors would overrun a vast, dense industrialized interstellar civilization.”
    • This Isn’t Sparta. I, for one, did know Frank Miller’s / Snyder’s 300 was not very accurate. However, I was surprised by many aspects of Spartan culture and history that I did not remember being discussed in school classes at all.
    • How Did They Make It? More than you ever knew you wanted to know about the economics and history of bread and iron.
    • Why Don’t We Use Chemical Weapons Anymore?
  • Scott Aaronson, the quantum algorithm computer scientist and general intellectual. https://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/
    • If you are not going to read anything else, his paper Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity (pdf) is (a) excellent reading (b) a proof why the Western philosophy has suffered not heeding the warning of C. P. Snow’s Two Cultures, providing intellectual examples how philosophy could be so much better if more philosophers had mathematical education.
    • Recent post from the blog main: Aaronson’s take on R. Hanson’s recent2021 “Grabby Aliens” theory for Fermi paradox. (Hanson’s paper https://arxiv.org/abs/2102.01522).
    • If you have the time and the inclination, check also his lecture notes for Quantum Computing since Democritus: https://www.scottaaronson.com/democritus/. (There is also a book, it is probably good one, but I have not read it.)
  • The blog of Andrew Gelman et al. at https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/ titled Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science
  • Jukka Kemppinen. Half of the time I don’t have any idea what he writes about, but more often than not, it’s interesting. Especially the old archives are tend to be very good. If I should give one broad thematic descriptor, it would be ‘‘opionated first-hand cultural history of Finland’’. (In Finnish.) http://kemppinen.blogspot.com/
  • Osmo Soininvaara. https://www.soininvaara.fi/
    • In 2010s, when I was far more active in following political bloggers, Soininvaara was the one of the few rare mainstream politicians who actively blogged in Finnish blogosphere. While I disagree with him on some issues, I can’t help but respect that he thinks and dares to put his reasoning in writing and foster (or fostered) quality discussion forum in blog comments.
  • The Renaissance Mathematicus / Thony C. https://thonyc.wordpress.com/
    • Great, though heavily opionated blog about history of astronomy and its connections to philosophy of natural science.
  • Gwern. https://www.gwern.net/
    • Gwern presents a formidable example of argumentative blogging with serious literature search. Therefore it is also curious lesson to notice that they still occasionally make mistakes and can be obviously crank-ish about some topics, appearing never to consider possibility it is them who should update their beliefs. And this is despite them starting their “About” page by discussion of confirmation bias. Sometimes they are simply weird (who writes extensive series of notes interpreting Neon Genesis Evangelion?)
    • Nevertheless the caveat above, I think reading gwern.net with critical eye is an excellent way to challenge oneself / educate one’s ability to think. Some highlights: Book reviews, Social science of terrorism, the alternative view on sunk cost fallacies.
    • This essay on Why Correlation Usually Is Not Causation is one of the most useful things to read.
    • If for nothing else, the gwern.net archive of internet that disappears is a treasure. See, for example, Gian-Carlo Rota’s Ten lessons (recommended to all interested in career in mathematical fields).
  • Simo K. Kivelä https://simokivela.blogspot.com/
    • (in Finnish) Entisen TKK:n proffan matematiikkablogi. Suositeltavaa lukemista kaikille matemaattisista aloista kiinnostuneille.
  • Tuomas Aivelo at Tiede.fi https://www.tiede.fi/blogit/kaiken-takana-loinen
    • Ecologist and evolutionary biologist, Aivelo was one of the lone independent voices of reason during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020. To my understanding, his principal field of expertise is in ecology of rat populations, which I know next to nothing about, however.

Blogs I have read in past

Since then, it is possible that either me or them have changed.

The ones that I have found time to write a long description for:

  • Richard McElreath https://elevanth.org/blog/
    • The blog is called Elements of Evolutionary Anthropology. While anthropology is interesting, it is not the reason why I am including the link here. I am linking to it, because McElreath has a knack of explaining statistics to anthropologists (and anyone with similar level of background information; statistics do not care if you are an anthropologist or not).
    • Recommended: This series on statistical regression models and causal inference. Regression, Fire, and Dangerous Things (1/3), part (2/3) and part (3/3).
    • See also his book Statistical Rethinking and associated materials.
  • Timothy Gowers https://gowers.wordpress.com/
    • A mathematics professor from Cambridge, quite active in the internet world of mathematics and vocal open science proponent (remember the Elsevier boycotts or founding of Discrete Analysis?). Check his blogroll for more blogs!
  • Terence Tao https://terrytao.wordpress.com/
  • Paul Graham http://www.paulgraham.com/articles.html
    • Paul Graham is probably world’s most prominent LISP programmer who also has published essays on internet since 2001. His essays are often very good, though I admit I am unsure if they have influenced me at all.
    • Picks: What You’ll Wish You’d Known (2005) was written for US high school students, but has sound sounding life advice for anyone. Life is Short (2016) provides dramatic, even visceral and yet very true advice how one must choose how they spend their life, especially in the era of technological addictions such as online arguments. Also, The Two Kinds of Moderate (2019) and The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius (2019).
    • On the other hand, on can also watch what people do instead of what they say. PG’s VC accelerator Y Combinator’s funding decisions can’t always described as stellar moral successes (but some of them were successful start-ups; judge Graham’s advice accordingly).
  • Daniel Lakens blogs about statistics and other science matters.
    • Or, a more recent essay on replication: Why I care about replication studies (2020): “And yet, in this small conference room in Poland, there was this young PhD student, acting as if we didn’t need specially convened institutions of experts to inform the scientific community that a study could not be replicated. He just got up, told us about how he wasn’t able to replicate this study, and sat down. It was heroic. If you’re struggling to understand why on earth I thought this was heroic, then this post is for you.”
  • Michael Nielsen has ideas about science, quantum, machine intelligence and many other things.

The ones with a short description, ie, not necessarily known very well:

Blogs known for some particular remarkable posts

This list collects blogs that I have read not much at all except for a couple of posts that I have considered remarkable, and recorded somewhere (that is, here).

The list is incomplete and hopefully will be updated in future! Previous update on 2021-11-11.