author: niplav, created: 2022-06-18, modified: 2022-10-03, language: english, status: draft, importance: 2, confidence: log

Idea & format stolen shamelessly from Gavin Leech.

Favorite Things



My favorite poems are Howl (Allen Ginsberg, 1955), Spinoza (Jorge Luis Borges, 1964), Hyperions Schicksalslied (Friedrich Hölderlin, 1797), and An die Freude (Friedrich Schiller, 1805).



My favorite insightful blogposts/online essays are Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) (Eliezer Yudkowsky, 2007), Software engineers solve problems (Drew DeVault, 2020), How To Be Attractive (Hotel Concierge, 2016), Meditations on Moloch (Scott Alexander, 2013), Being the (Pareto) Best in the World (johnswentworth, 2019), The Curse Of The Counterfactual (pjeby, 2019), My current high-level strategic picture of the world (Eli Tyre, 2021), Humans are not automatically strategic (Anna Salamon, 2010), The Forces of Blandness and the Disagreeable Majority (sarahconstantin, 2019), and Science, the Constructionists, and Reality (John Nerst, 2017).


The most practical/action-guiding posts I've read so far are (these might not be practical/applicable to anyone else, and often were just final pushes for me to do something in a particular direction):


My favorite books are The Elephant in the Brain (Hanson & Simler 2017), There is no Antimemetics Division (Hughes 2020), 1984 (Orwell 1948) and House of Leaves (Danielewski 2000) (it does the whole postmodern literature shtick, but it does it really enjoyably! This trend did not continue with Only Revolutions and The Familiar…).




My favorite musicians are Johann Sebastian Bach, Patricia Taxxon, Steve Reich, Charles Mingus, Sonny Clark, and Vincent E. L..

My favorite pieces of music are Gavotte en Rondeau (Johann Sebastian Bach), Gyermektánc (Béla Bartók), Piano Phase (Steve Reich), Electric Counterpoint: III. Fast (Steve Reich), The Well Tuned Piano (La Monte Young), This Goes To (Vincent E. L.), Reconstructing More Science (Mike Morasky), Diamond Sky (Patricia Taxxon), Sweet Mary Sweet Midi (Patricia Taxxon), Castle Sinclair Girnigoe (Patricia Taxxon), Alien (Patricia Taxxon), Pack My Box (Patricia Taxxon), and Hellbulb (Patricia Taxxon) (I might be a little bit of a Taxxon fan).


My favorite podcast episodes are Tara Mac Aulay, Paul Christiano (1) and Paul Christiano (2) on 80,000 hours, Romeo Stevens' talk about "Attractors in the Space of Mind Architectures and the Super Cooperation Cluster", Chaos Radio Express on Diamonds (unfortunately in German), Joe Cesario on Manifold, Lee Cronin on the Lex Fridman Podcast, Bhante Jason and the series of dialogues between Chelsea Fasano, Jay Sanguinetti, Shinzen Young and various guests on Guru Viking.


A proposal, dear reader: Create a list of bookmarks linking to websites you find interesting, and publish it for the world to see. You decide what constitutes "interesting". The model is as recursive as it is simple. There is nothing preventing a list of bookmarks from linking to another list of bookmarks.

Memex, The Small Website Discoverability Crisis, 2021


My favorite form of online expression is the long site, best exemplified by Gwern, Essays on Reducing Suffering, Gavin Leech, 210ethan, and Yujiri's homepage (a very Russian website: "This site's organization is different from most other sites that serve a similar purpose. It's not chronological like a blog, because it was never meant to be a personal voice for me, at least not primarily. It's meant to be an up-to-date, organized database of philosophical truth.").


My favorite general knowledge blogs are Nintil and Dynomight; my favorite blogs about rationality are Less Wrong, Everything Studies, Overcoming Bias, Slate Star Codex, and ☆✦ The Scintillating But Ultimately Untrue Thought ✦☆ (which is highly focused on a rather irrelevant topic, but the lessons are generalizable); my favorite programming blogs are Coding Horror, Drew DeVault's Blog, Joel On Software and Null Program; my favorite mathematics blogs are Bit-Player, Math ∩ Programming, Shtetl-Optimized and An Algorithmic Lucidity; my favorite philosophy blogs are Entirely Useless and Metamoderna.

I don't read many blogs about politics per se, but I like the (in different ways) spicy The Real Movement and Unqualified Reservations; good insight porn is hard to come by these days, but I have made good catch by trawling through the archives of Hotel Concierge, The Last Psychiatrist, sam[]zdat, An Algorithmic Lucidity and Traditions of Conflict.

Meditation is better done than read about, but if you have to, Meditation Stuff and Neurotic Gradient Descent are great places to; similar with pickup and The Red Quest/Days of Game.

My favorite blogs about Effective Altruism are Reflective Disequilibrium and Rational Altruist (both unfortunately inactive), the Effective Altruism Forum is of course widely known & loved, and I like the Qualia Research Institute and Rethink Priorities (if just because I actually read the stuff they put out).

As for fiction, Zero HP Lovecraft and Things of Interest present two very different (but both delightful) options. The SCP Wiki is also one of a kind, a true product of the internet age.

My favorite wikis are Wikipedia, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Xenharmonic Wiki and the Arbital AI Alignment Domain (sadly defunct); my favorite social media site was schelling.pt (now sadly defunct); and my favorite forecasting/news sites are still the good ol' reliable Metaculus and PredictionBook.


My favorite mathematical structure is , my favorite theorem is the Bulow-Klemperer theorem, and my favorite proof is the Classification of finite simple groups (not that I understand it).

My least favorite mathematical mathematical technique is spectral clustering, and I am incredibly suspicious of spectral graph theory in particular.

My favorite algorithms are the IC* algorithm, Kadane's algorithm, the Bron-Kerbosch algorithm, and sleepsort.


My favorite movies are Rango, District 9, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Koyaanisqatsi, Die Welt am Draht I and II, and The Element of Crime.


My favorite ideas in policy are futarchy, Harberger taxes, track records, and open borders (though I've become less certain of their goodness, and see also the dedicated site).


My favorite non-extinct animals are octopuses, my favorite extinct animals are glyptodons, my favorite type of art is geometric abstraction, my favorite type of biome is flat deserts, my favorite type of meditation is good ol' ānāpānasati (with each cycle beginning on an outbreath, relaxing & then counting to eight after recognizing mind-wandering, being more on the vipassanizing side, and (ideally) spanning up awareness to perform a mental check-in every ~4 breath cycles), my favorite kitchen appliance is the microwave, my favorite food is kimchi, my favorite non-alcoholic drink is tap water (with ayran being a close second), my favorite alcoholic beverage is none (although beer is enjoyable on dates), my favorite flags are the flag of Uganda, the flag of Barbados and the flag of Albania (I may have a thing for birds on flags), my favorite anthem is the one of Kazakhstan (unfortunately most anthems are bad), my favorite mode of transport is by Zeppelin (primarily æsthetically, train is much more practical and nearly as cool), my favorite solution to moral disagreement is trade.

My favorite activities are jamming, standing in front of a whiteboard with two other people boggling at a hard problem, taking MDMA in the presence of effective altruists after an EA conference, and executing a really clean daygame approach (all of these involve other people, hm…).