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 often (several times in a year)
There used to be two different lists with two different headings here (“actively follow” and “check more than occasionally”), but tbh I am nowadays too busy with other things (work life, personal life, book-reading) to read blogs. I no longer can claim “actively follow” anything.
- The previously latest addition to this list was A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry, blogging 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 and posts:
- 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. Jackson’s lack of such knowledge and preference for “Hollywood plot logic” 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, already knew Frank Miller’s / Snyder’s 300 was not very accurate. However, I was surprised by many aspects of Spartan culture and history presented in this blog post which I don’t remember being discussed in my 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?
- Why No Roman Industrial Revolution? An interesting post, made even better by all the thoughtful well-cited comments by people who disagree. I think this post should be reminder to everyone that a good blog becomes excellent when it can cultivate a valuable comments section.
- The Roman Dictatorship: How Did It Work? Did It Work? The middle-school version of Roman history often glances over the fact there was a significant period of time (over a century!) between the last known customary Roman republican “dictatorship” (think of the famous story of Cincinnatus) and the later tumultuous period characterized dictators like Sulla and Caesar and which ended in the practical end of the republic.
- Dynomight, a general interest / life improvement blogger with a statistical bent is the currently latest addition to this list (2022-08-27). The blogger is one of the few people who appears to have quite reasonable, calm, well-researched opinions. I don’t always agree, but I like the sense of calmness. Even the background images evoke soothing calmness. It is a striking contrast to the general impression left by today’s 2022 internet where it appears everyone is angry and/or sarcastic and arguments run so hot they can be barely called arguments rather than shouting match. Blogging at https://dynomight.net . Posts that I have liked:
- Key quote: “It doesn’t matter how hard you run today. What matters is (1) that you do run, and (2) that you enjoy it enough that you’ll run again tomorrow.”
- https://dynomight.net/ikea-purifier/ On air purifiers.
- https://dynomight.net/alcohol-trial/ As it is titled “The big alcohol study that didn’t happen: My primal scream of rage”, one could infer a contradiction between “calm” and “primal rage”, but if everyone’s expressed their primal rage in this fashion, the world would be a better, more scientific place.
- 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.
- Recent2021post from the blog main: Aaronson’s take on R. Hanson’s “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
- In my eyes, with this blog, Gelman and his blogging collaborators provide the golden standard for science communication in the 21st century. Blog collects also a great number of intelligent commentators.
- For recent-ish example, see this post on ‘What is the relevance of “bad science” to our understanding of “good science”?’ (2021), with several insightful comments (including but not limited to off-the-cuff citations of Emerson).
- 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).
- To back my opinion, I feel obliged to provide also an example of Gwern being a crank: How to be very thorough in research and still misunderstand the lesson of the tank legend.
- 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/
- Terence Tao https://terrytao.wordpress.com/
- Prominent mathematician with excellent research blog (though it is most often over my head). However, his lecture notes (specifically in complex analysis, real analysis/measure theory and probability theory) can be a life saver.
- Mathematics students or students considering university mathematics? Specifically check out his career advice. I wish I had followed it with better effort when I tried to get started in PhD.
- 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.
- See, for example, Does Your Philosophy of Science Matter in Practice? (2019)
- 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 main blog https://michaelnielsen.org/blog/ is good but unfortunately has been silent since 2017.
- The DDI blog https://michaelnielsen.org/ddi/ has been silent since 2014.
- Both archives contain material worth reading, but thankfully he is still active2021 at least on Twitter. Check out this tweet thread: https://twitter.com/michael_nielsen/status/1061824470556467200
The ones with a short description, ie, not necessarily known very well:
- Ben Recht blogs about information theory, optimization, optimal control and related topics at ArgMinBlog https://www.argmin.net/
- Bill Gasarch and Lanse Fortnow blog at Computational Complexity about, guess what.
- While My MCMC Gently Samples https://twiecki.io/
- Recommended resources for getting started with Bayesian modeling, data science, and Python.
- Boaz Barak (and sometimes others?) blogs about ML at Windows on Theory.
- Zach C. Lipton (and today, apparently many others) blog at Approximately Correct on AI, ML and other topics.
- Turing’s Invisible Hand is a blog at intersection of game theory and economics and computer science by several contributors.
- R.J.Lipton and K.W.Regan at Gödel’s Lost Letter blog about Complexity theory, P vs NP, other theoretical CS and (discrete) mathematics topics, but also general mathy interests.
- With high probability: https://samidavies.wordpress.com/
- Apparently no longer active, but archive is nice.
- Isaac Slavitt on statistical programming etc at https://www.isaacslavitt.com/
- Keith Devlin blogged about maths, education and related topics at http://devlinsangle.blogspot.com/ and now on https://www.mathvalues.org/devlinsangle
- Mike Glyer posts about (mainly US) SF (fandom) news at File770: http://file770.com/
- The blog is far too prolific to actually follow. In another life, where I embrace SF&F writing, maybe I would.
- David Richeson: Division by Zero, because I feel this list needs a geometry focused link.
- Bruce Schneier. Cybersecurity and cryptography.
- Francis Bach, blogs at Machine Learning Research Blog. https://francisbach.com/
- Jeremy Kun blogs at Medium and https://jeremykun.com/.
- Selected highlight: Habits of Highly Mathematical People
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).
- Wait but why: Your life in weeks (2014) and in events (2015).
- Apxhard.com on Unix Time Presence Reminder, with a wonderful account of implications about passage of time.
- Anders Sandberg, of dissolving Fermi paradox fame blogs about technology and future.
- Ville Kokko on kirjoittanut blogissaan mm. determinismistä ja tahdonvapaudesta, suomen ja englannin kielen eroista koskien sanaa “butterfly” ja jännän heilurivideon yhteydestä emergenssin käsitteeseen.
- I am not exactly sure what Crooked Timber (https://crookedtimber.org/) is about; it seems to have lots of contributors and topics. But it has been around for a long time and Wikipedia has an entry on it. The noteworthy stuff includes:
- In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You (2012) about the inherent problems with Soviet-style ideal of central planning economy from the mathematical optimization problem point of view.
- Nintil on Funding people, not projects (2020-2021).
The list is incomplete and hopefully will be updated in future! Previous update on 2022-08-27.