Reading List

Looking for things to read that don’t suck?

In this modern age of social media it is paradoxically hard to find “good” written content online, maybe because everyone very much wants you to find their mediocre content instead. You pretty much have to build up your own list over time… but it would a lot easier if everybody shared their lists too.

So, here are some of the best places on the Internet.

  • Hacker News — miscellaneous interesting tech news, and the only place with consistently intelligent discussions.
  • Astral Codex Ten — a bleeding edge of ideology, some very good and some very bad
  • Universe of Discourse — absolute fascination with everything for its own sake
  • A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry — history that’s concerned with how the past worked and what it felt like to be there.
  • Money Stuff — the best writing on the internet, even though it’s about finance.
  • Big — one of the best ideologies, that things will get good by taking down monopolistic corporate power, in digestible newsletter form

And occasionally:

  • Terry Tao — the most legitimate mathematician there is. Most of it goes over my head but when it doesn’t it’s amazing.
  • N-Category Cafe — a bunch of mathematicians hanging out and talking about math that goes over my head, but when it doesn’t it’s amazing
  • This Week’s Finds in Mathematical Physics — John Baez’s old blog which is an infinite treasure trove of interesting math ideas.
  • Jess Riedel’s ForeXiv — occasionally writes about the same things I do, that physics is messed up and needs fixing and nobody really understands it anyway, but he’s much more legit.
  • The Aging Report — my dad’s rarely-updated blog about aging research. All his takes are actually really good but he doesn’t seem to work on it anymore
  • Rachael Meager — fairly new and already some of the best writing around, because they’re concerned with social interpretation and they’re good at it.
  • Ex Urbe — the best takes on the Renaissance, which I celebrate particularly for their take on Machiavelli.
  • Bits About Money — Patrick Mackenzie works in FinTech and actually espouses an ideology. He also vaccinated California.
  • Works in Progress — for actually-technical writing about how the world actually works.
  • — Steve Wittens is a bit of a kooky nutjob and a bit of a genius. I love that he’s trying to make React for graphics programming and would maintain a healthy distance from the social commentary because it’s not very reasonable although I can see how a person might feel that way.
  • WorryDream — Bret Victor has a vision for the future which I don’t exactly agree with but at least he’s walking the right direction while everyone else is circling the origin. Also, his site is very neat.
  • Digital Antiquarian — detailed histories of computer stuff.
  • Construction Physics — in-depth essays on how stuff gets built.

Also, just in case you don’t know about these: the trick to doing your own education in a world of closed-access papers and 100$ textbooks is to steal borrow them. You can look these up yourself.

  • Library Genesis — for all the textbooks
  • Sci-Hub — for all the old papers, when it works.
  • ArXiv — for most of the new papers, and legally at that.