Things on the internet

Complementary to list of things I have made and the list of remarkable blogs, here is a list of things I like.

Other stuff, created by others

I don’t follow all of the resources linked below actively, but I would if I had enough time and mental energy.

Blogroll

My blogroll list is long and has its own separate page. See here.

Great resources (general)

OurWorldInData is an amazing resource for quick and loose investigation of various politically relevant data and statistics. https://ourworldindata.org/ For example, contrary to popular myth, our increased life expectancy is not only due to decreased childhood mortality (while it helps).

Tilastokeskus (Statistics Finland, in Finnish). Päivänä jolloin tajusin että monet uutisissa ja poliittisissa keskusteluissa viitatut asiat ja väitteet voi kohtalaisen helposti tarkistaa tutkimalla niihin liittyviä tilastoja Tilastokeskuksen nettisivuilta tunsin itseni hetken typeräksi. Ei ihan yhtä kätevä kuin OurWorldInData, mutta silti avuksi ajatteluun. https://www.stat.fi/til/index.html

Valtionbudjetti.fi (in Finnish) vuorostaan samalla tapaa esittelee Suomen valtion budjetin ja sen muutosten lähihistoriaa.

StackExchange is also a great resource to get ones questions answered (and often one finds their question already asked by someone else, and also answered). Especially useful ones include https://english.stackexchange.com/, https://superuser.com/, https://math.stackexchange.com/ (for generally undergrad level) https://mathoverflow.net/ (graduate/postgraduate), https://askubuntu.com/, https://tex.stackexchange.com/.

Encyclopedia Britannica often gets a bad rap for being less cool than Wikipedia. However, the individual articles are often very good and coherent! (If you can access them, as of writing this they are not apparently paywalled.) https://www.britannica.com/ For an example, see this review of history of probability and statistics.

Great resources (introductory mathematics)

3Blue1Brown is an excellent YouTube channel with great narrated, animated visualizations of mathematical concepts of varying difficulty. https://www.youtube.com/c/3blue1brown For specific recommendations (in no particular order) see:

For software-minded people with more ambition than me, the Python library the 3Blue1Brown author uses is publicly available: https://github.com/3b1b/manim .

Great resources (inverse problems)

OneWorld IMAGINE internet seminar talks are cool. One of the good things that resulted from COVID-19 epidemic of 2020 was open internet streaming of seminars that otherwise would have remained difficult to access. https://sites.google.com/view/oneworldimagine. Busy people seldom have time for everything (and me even less because I don’t nowadays work in inverse problems, the topic of IMAGINE), but even looking at seminar titles and abstracts every now and then provides some ability to remain current. (It also is significantly cheaper and easier than trying to attend conferences.) And if there is something really interesting, all of OneWorld family of seminars seem to maintain a public YouTube channel.

Check also other OneWorld seminars, for example:

Great resources (machine learning and statistics)

Center for Open Science has many useful resources: When, why and how to preregister. What is metascience.

I recently2021-02-11 discovered PapersWithCode.com which collects many machine learning datasets and most importantly, papers that come with the code to run their algorithms. Looks cool!

Frank E. Harrell has compiled a useful glossary (pdf) of statistical terms. Ever wonder what “ANCOVA” means?

Datamethods Discourse is a forum, which to according its own description

is a place where statisticians, epidemiologists, informaticists, machine learning practitioners, and other research methodologists communicate with themselves and with clinical, translational, and health services researchers to discuss issues related to data

Probabilistic Programming & Bayesian Methods for Hackers is a practically oriented tutorial to Bayesian inference with probabilistic programming (with Python library PyMC).

I am making a record here that Gelman and Vehtari recently2021 wrote an opinionated literature review (pdf) of important concepts in statistics. Nice collection of seminal papers concerning counterfactual causal inference, bootstrapping and simulation-based inference, overparameterized models and regularization, multilevel models, many computation algorithms, decision analysis, robust inference and exploratory data analysis if you find yourself without idea where to look for more reading. This kind of historical perspective is sometimes missing from textbooks (I am stating this with confidence as I have studied many textbooks, and I am familiar with only a few references they cite).

Magazines and periodicals (science and general interest)

Quanta Magazine is of the best popular science magazines, and what’s best, it is freely available on internet. https://www.quantamagazine.org/

Aeon is a magazine / essay newsletter. It casts a quite wide net when it comes to focus (= I don’t read most of the essays) but when when I have found the title interesting, the article has been often quite good. https://aeon.co/ For example highlights, check these essays on Hannah Arendt (S.R.Hill, 2020), Nordic children’s literature characters and their authors (R.W. Orange, 2020), trolley problems (J. Wilson, 2020), Kierkegaard (Baggini, 2013), trial by ordeal (P.T.Leeson, 2017), hard problem of consciousness (A.K.Seth, 2016), personal information networks (C Thi Nguyen 2018) and the reasonable opposition to Galileo (C. Graney, 2016).

Suomen Kuvalehti (in Finnish). News maganize with history and tradition. Mikään ei ole täydellistä, mutta vakavasti otettava suomenkielinen ajankohtaislehti ja ainoa jonka olen arvioinnut hintansa väärtiksi. https://suomenkuvalehti.fi/

Tähdet ja Avaruus (in Finnish). Mitä maailmankaikkeudessa tapahtuu? https://www.avaruus.fi/uutiset.html

Forums (general and specific interests)

LessWrong I already introduced above. https://www.lesswrong.com/ A word of warning: while it has lots of interesting content, healthy amount of skepticism is warranted. (I remain skeptical concerning the thoughtspace as far it ideas like AI risk, AGI, biohacking, and social dynamics). However, similar internet forums where one can read such conversations are rare (or at least, I don’t find them often). Some selections from LW that I have enjoyed:

  • Martin Sustrik‘s very informative posts concerning Swiss political system (content that is difficult to find if one does not know German or other relevant languages to be “in” the know how the Swiss system works): Part I, Part II, Part III, and a post concerning lotteries.
  • Jason Crawford on Industrial Literacy.
  • Cheating: not posted on LW, but found via LW. Benjamin Hoffman on Sabbath, or having slack in your schedule.
  • Other essays TBA (I have a list, but I am not yet done curating it so that the list is good).
    • The LW landing page heavily recommends “The Sequences” or “Rationality A to Z”. I do not.
  • For some context about relationship between academic philosophy, maybe read this interview with J. Livengood.
    • For their own view on academic philosophy, maybe see this screed by lukeprog, which is not entirely wrong, with this response by Livengood, which is less wrong. However, I’d like to see curriculum described by Livengood to also reach the lukio (high school) level study of philosophy.
  • (For the record, I use this nick aa-m-sa)

Kvaak.fi. (In Finnish.) Suomen paras / paras suomenkielinen sarjakuvakeskustelufoorumi. Vaikka foorumi ei ole yhtä aktiivinen kuin menestyksen huippuvuosinaan, jo pelkästään keskusteluiden arkistojen säilyttäminen on kulttuuriteko. Painetut sarjakuvat kestävät ihmisiän, joten myös vuosi(kymmeniä) vanhat keskustelut samoista teoksista ovat edelleen aarre. Itse olen käyttänyt nimimerkkiä Mambrinon kypäri. https://www.kvaak.fi/keskustelu/

HackerNews. This link aggregator / discussion forum run by Y Combinator (startup accelerator from US) is seldom about hacking or hackers, but one the best platforms for “water cooler” discussions for all things computation, software and occasionally machine learning. https://news.ycombinator.com/

Reddit is in general is not what it used to be, but r/AskHistorians is a rare subreddit, being an excellent resource to anyone interested in history and willing to learn. On the other hand, it is run unlike most other subreddits (and not much like forum, but heavily curated). https://www.reddit.com/r/askhistorians. Check also their FAQ and book list.

Recommended TTRPG Material

For starters, see Lasers and Feelings by One Seven Design. It is a minimal set of rules but nevertheless fully sufficient get you started with roleplaying! Next you can also check out their other stuff, which is also cool but I am less familiar with it.

Delta Green is a living classic horror/conspiracy table-top roleplaying game that was born in the 1990s as a legendary source book for Call of Cthulu RPG. While you are at it, check out also Trail of Cthulhu and related line of products by Pelgrane Press.

(Spoiler warning: If you are ever going to play in a game GM’d by me, do not click links in this paragraph.) If you are in want of scenario ideas for running Delta Green, fan wiki known as The Fairfield project hosts a list of Delta Green Mailing List Shotgun scenario contest entries since 2005. (/end of spoilers).

For something FUN, see Everyone is John. (1d4chan has also a useful record.)

Other Specific Articles, Essays and Other Resources (science, general interest)

Other Things Entirely Not Serious (except when they are)

  • H.P. Lovecraft archive collects out of copyright writings of HPL and other things related.
  • XKCD What If https://what-if.xkcd.com/ presents a fun way to try scientific thinking and analysis.
  • Selected quotes by Bryan Caplan on following news (old blog). Original source. Jefferson quote.
  • Habits of highly mathematical people by Jeremy Kun provides ample reasons to study quantitative (mathematical) fields.
  • (in Finnish) Knalli ja sateenvarjo, farssi brittiläisten virkamiesten toilailusta ja Radioteatterin suurimpia ja aikanaan suosituimpia klassikoita on saatavilla Yle Areenassa.
  • Areenassa on myös kattava ja kuuntelemisen arvoinen kokoelma vanhoja tieteiskuunnelmia vuosien varrelta ennen kuin Radioteatteri ajettiin alas. Poimintoja:
  • Bandcamp: https://bandcamp.com/
    • Spotify was an improvement over the era when easiest way to find music at reasonable prices was a search for a torrent from PirateBay but their artist compensation allocation is quite terrible. I like the idea of Bandcamp much better! If I listen to someone, I will buy something, and the money will mostly go to the artist I bought it from (and not to the artists who other Spotify users listen). The only downside is that Berliner Philharmoniker is not (yet) on Bandcamp, so my BC collection is bit too one-sided.

Our students should be able to

* construct mathematical models of physical systems

* solve the models analytically or computationally

* make physical measurements of the systems

* compare the measurements with the expectations

* communicate the results, both verbally and in writing

* improve and iterate

and to apply these skills to both fundamental and applied problems.

The list is not finished. Previous update on 2021-03-22.