A list of texts and blogs that are important to me. Blogs that are not active anymore are marked with a †. This page has two sections: Blogs, a classic blog roll, and Core Texts, a list of foundational texts that may or may not explain parts of my brain.
All of these blogs have RSS feeds. This list is a (significant, but not major) subset of my regular reads. It's selected for sites that inform my thinking to a noticeable degree, and that I don't regret spending time with, and that I think others might enjoy, too. I included the odd or weird sites, but left out the oddly weird ones. Ordered by topic and then vaguely alphabetical by domain. Topic sections are Tech, History, Misc.
- benjojo does wild things with technology, with a focus on networking. His content mix is well-described by Tealemetry, Splitting the ping and Playing battleships over BGP.
- Ben Kuhn has thoughts about the tech industry, both on the coding and management side of things. In defense of blub studies is a good sample.
- Louise Grandjonc† can explain anything about PostgreSQL. She has a series about how EXPLAIN works, and deep dives into various index types.
- Dan Luu always has interesting and well-reasoned thoughts. A mix of life stuff and tech stuff. 95%-ile isn't that good demonstrates this mix well.
- Hynek has opinions on all things Python, and while he's busy explaining his opinions, he'll teach a bunch of in-depth Python things on the side. Examples: Subclassing in Python Redux, Python Application Dependency Management.
- Lethain writes from an IT management/staff engineer perspective. Managing technical quality in a codebase shows this off nicely.
- Jacob Kaplan-Moss has consistently hight quality posts about everything between IT security and management (or life) wisdom.
- Julia Evans explains things really really well. Speciality: asking excellent questions and making zines.
- The Lazy Reading posts in the Dragonfly BSD Digest blog always have some good stuff.
- Reading n-gate is a guilty pleasure.
- Peter Norvig posts extremely rarely, but his deep, clean explanation style has influenced my coding a lot. His XKCD regex solution is my favourite example.
- If, like me, you're a Django programmer, you'll enjoy Schinckel.net, who gets Django to use ALL the database features.
- Simon Willison builds cool things and writes about it. Of particular note is his TIL blog where he puts everything that he learns and wants to remember.
- Ten thousand meters made me reevaluate what I consider a "deep dive" with their "Python behind the scenes" series.
- Two bit history is a nice collection of oddities. Updated occasionally, I never regret my time spent here.
- ACOUP. I have found nothing that comes close, so far. Even if it were just for his posts on how realistic battle tactics in Lord of the Rings were (very) and the same for Game of Thrones (very not), this site would be top of the list.
- Cabinet Magazine doesn't always hit my areas of interest, but when it does, it's outstanding. Archives are only accessible to subscribers, so no links here.
- Rare historical photos is less scholarly than I like, but more than you'd expect. And there's something about seeing photographs that really brings history home.
- Science in SciFi, Facts in Fantasy investigates real-world phenomena (in history and science) and how they apply to worldbuilding. Crossover of two of my favourite things. Posts are typically by guest authors who are experts in their respective fields.
- Social History Blog gets into extremely niche questions with an admirable investigative attitude. Attached to an academic journal.
- John Bull publishes modern history with a journalistic slant on Medium. One of my favourite posts is The problem with the Romans is they always try to walk it in, which is exactly what it sounds like.
- The Analog Antiquarian writes in-depth long posts that are connected in something resembling a book. Always worth the read.
- Alex Guzey's writing is usually very worth reading. There's no RSS feed, but you can follow his Substack.
- Where other people recommend Ask A Manager or Captain Awkward, I enjoy reading Ask Polly.
- Hormeze. Samples: What a chavrusa is, and The Emotionally Distressed Person’s Guide to Doing a Perfect Set of Pushups
- Drossbucket has a wide variety of content. I like the Wikipedia speedruns and the book reviews most.
- Slime Mold Time Mold investigates things, particularly obesity and nutrition. I don't trust their results overly much, but I like to read them regardless.
In no particular order.
- The silence is deafening explains significant parts of how I approach online interactions, in particular, assuming good intent and using private messages freely to instigate social regulation.
- Second person, present tense is a good reminder to perform a particular mental motion towards identity and ego.
- Sabbath hard and go home plus Bring back Sabbath, both of which I agree with strongly (though of course from a Christian-shifted POV)
- 95%-ile isn't that good encourages more dakka.
- Outliers encourages searching for that 95%ile.
- Universal love, said the cactus person may be useful to think about in contrast with Second person, present tense.
- Lob's Theorem cured my social anxiety. Duck's blog is one for binge-reading, but this post stuck with me.
- How I wasted my 20s (pursuing goals) makes an easy-to-forget point about goals vs values. Gave my thinking a valuable spin that triggered a lot of major changes down the line.
- The Curse of the Counterfactual about the is-ought gulf and helps (or helped, at least) me relax about it.
- In Defense of Men is worth re-reading.
- How to bootstrap (almost) any relationship describes something that I do intuitively, and wasn't much of a revelation, but I like linking it to people.
- Similarly, Should you reverse any advice you hear is not a huge revelation, but extremely useful daily praxis.
- advice for academic refugees is not just for academics. It's not something I struggle with too much, but I see a lot of people who could benefit from reading this.
- Experimental history twice: Stop Eating Frogs and Good conversations have lots of doorknobs
- Errors vs. Bugs and the End of Stupidity lives rent-free in my brain, and I'd actually be willing to pay it to stay there (particularly the first half).
- The Numbness of Everything All of the Time
- The Most Important Question of Your Life, despite the title
- Rest in Motion was important for me to read, as was the rest of the series.
- Sam Kriss writes so well. The Internet is already over is good and depressing (but more good than depressing), and Legion is so niche and down my road I'm surprised it exists – well-written, funny, well-informed bible snark with an agenda?
- Cat Valente on online communities and interaction and everything.
- An honest to god good text on setting goals.
- how and why to be ladylike (for women with autism) is very informative, even though I have zero overlap with the target group
- A take on Chesterton's Fence that lives in my head rent-free
- turn towards instead of away https://infosec.exchange/@saraislet/110704711730989583
Silliness I love
Here are some texts that aren't core texts for me, but they make my brain happy.
- Aphyr's software interview series is everything
- The MTG color wheel is an excellent demonstration of how we make systems everywhere, and how we want to see ourselves in every system.
Another set of texts that are like core texts, just for business things. Good pricing, good behaviour, etc.