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Posted: Nov 27th, 2022 - Modified: Aug 6th, 2023

June 2024

First Steps, by Georgios Jakobides. I just think it’s a cute painting. I saw it on the wikipedia page for “Toddler”

First Steps, by Georgios Jakobides

Lincoln Mullen: The Spread of U.S. Slavery

Jimmy Carter Rabbit Incident

Chapter 1 of The Man Who Loved Only Numbers, a Paul Erdos memoir.

Some information on academic salaries, courtesy of SamR’s Assorted Musings:

In a 1954 lecture, Dennis Robertson asked “What Does the Economist Economize?”, to which his answer was “love”. There are various cynical interpretations of this floating around, but I really appreciated Prof. Chari’s at the recent graduation ceremony: that we must save our love for those close to us and for the most needy, and that we run much of the world with cold things like markets so that our loving attention may be focused on those who need it most. Can’t find the full original lecture online, but here’s a very short page with a snippet.

Uncensor any LLM with abliteration. A blog post where they are able to fine tune a llama llm to get rid of its censorious impulses by identifying the “direction” in which those impulses point.

Previous

Examples of Unintended Consequences
Most recent example in this blog’s feed is the FDA labelling sesame seeds as a major allergen. There are now big fines for putting sesame seeds in food where it isn’t listed as an ingredient. The result? Firms start adding a pinch of sesame to everything just so they can put it on the ingredient label.
This jacana leg situation
The jacana is a wading bird with doting fathers. A male Jacana will carry his chicks around under his wings.
Cameron’s World
A web-collage of text and images excavated from the buried neighbourhoods of GeoCities.
Causal Inference for The Brave and True
A clearly written online textbook, with example python codes, and plenty of humor. Fantastic stuff. Mostly deals with the estimation of average treatment effects.
The Medieval Bestiary
Well-referenced site with details about medieval european beliefs about beasts, both real and mythical.
The pages on real animals, detailing bizarres misconceptions, are my favorites. Here’s the page on elephants, for example.
Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1672)
An interesting old document in which Sir Thomas Browne writes long essays about the common misconceptions that annoy him. Also contains the first recorded instance of the word “electricity”.
An example: Book 3, chapter 21 carefully argues against the popular belief that Chameleons survive on air alone and don’t need to eat any food.
There’s also an accompanying document, written as a rebuttal to Browne. Including, yes, an argument that chameleons totally just need air to survive and that the reason they eat flies is for… uh… for fun?
Literally Imagine Dragons
A blog post in which the first half is an educational description of porphyrins, and the second half is bonkers speculation about fire-breathing stegasaurs.
infrastructure that looks like sci fi
Brain Maps
Zoomable, hi-res images of tissue cross sections. Some of the images let you zoom in far enough to see individual cells.
Wikimedia Gallery of Medieval Diagrams
Nine Degrees Below Photography
color management, photography and painting using free/libre software. Articles about color spaces and the like. Probably more detail than you’d ever need to know.
Jason Davies
Lots of interesting visualizations, mostly of maps.
Erich Friedman
Math Puzzles and visualizations
Flags of the World
A website about flags. It’s hideous. I love it. See, for example, municipal flags of Kansas. Overland Park’s flag redesign is especially baffling.
Worldbuilding Pasta
Incredibly detailed blog posts about geographic features, and how to invent realistic geography for imaginary planets.
Ming the Clam
At 507 years old, Ming was the longest-lived individual animal. This fact wasn’t discovered until after Ming was frozen and killed.
Twitter’s Whistleblower Report
There has been much ado over twitter drama since Elon Musk took over the company. But much more shocking and less talked about are the allegations made by a whistleblower back in July 2022. Twitter threads with highlights: 1, 2. Among other things, Twitter was apparently doing development on the production environment.
Heavy Boots
Vertical Castling
The rules of chess used to allow a King to Castle with a newly promoted pawn.
Five Problems With Chess
A game designer’s complaints about the rules of chess. The highlight is a vulgar rant about En Passant
Life Without Your Cerebellum
I knew that the cerebellum was responsible for ‘muscle memory’, but I didn’t know that it contains half of your brain cells and “has some role in coordinating social stimuli as well as motor”. If a person is born without a cerebellum, they can adapt and survive, but will be clumsy and socially stunted.
The Commodordion
A Functioning electronic accordion built from two Commodore 64 computers.
Let’s Learn About Waveforms
A short essay about sound with interactive visualizations (auralizations?)
H3: Uber’s Hexagonal Hierarchical Spatial Index
Uber has a clever system for implementing a hex-grid tiling of Earth’s surface. If you remember your geometry, you know there must also be 12 pentagons in the mix. Uber uses the Dymaxion orientation to place the center of each pentagon in the ocean. Another link. And here is a python script which generates h3 shapefiles in QGIS.
TensorFlow Playground
Interactive visualization of an Neural Network as it learns.

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