For the identification of mysterious objects

A place to find out what that odd-looking thing that you stumbled across actually is.

Effective Altruism: An Introduction — ten curated episodes from The 80,000 Hours Podcast

a collection of ten top episodes of The 80,000 Hours Podcast , specifically selected to help listeners quickly get up to speed on the school of thought known as effective altruism.

Why is it so hard to reuse formally verified code? (Lars Hupel)

A lot of great thoughts here

120 hours of coding in a week

Man barely moves for a week, staring at patterns of light on a flat object and trying to make the patterns change. Every 2-4 hours, a stimulus is presented and he records how happy he is. He eats and sleeps as fast as he can so he can go back to looking at the lights. It is the happiest week he has ever recorded by a wide margin.

His functional day was twenty-two hours. He would try to go to sleep in a kind of buzz, and awaken two hours later with his thoughts exactly where he had left them. His diet was strictly coffee. (Even when healthy and at peace, Feigenbaum subsisted exclusively on the reddest possible meat, coffee, and red wine. His friends speculated that he must be getting his vitamins from cigarettes.)

Great Malaria Vaccine News (Derek Lowe)

Excellent news today: we have word of the most effective malaria vaccine yet discovered. A year-long trial in Burkina Faso has shown 77% efficacy, which is by far the record, and which opens the way to potentially relieving a nearly incalculable burden of disease and human suffering.

Treacherous turns in the wild (Luke Muelhauser)

In research focused on understanding how organisms evolve to cope with high-mutation-rate environments, Ofria sought to disentangle the beneficial effects of performing tasks (which would allow an organism to execute its code faster and thus replicate faster) from evolved robustness to the harmful effect of mutations. To do so, he tried to disable mutations that improved an organism’s replication rate (i.e. its fitness). He configured the system to pause every time a mutation occurred, and then measured the mutant’s replication rate in an isolated test environment. If the mutant replicated faster than its parent, then the system eliminated the mutant; otherwise, the mutant would remain in the population. He thus expected that replication rates could no longer improve, thereby allowing him to study the effect of mutational robustness more directly. However, while replication rates at first remained constant, they later unexpectedly started again rising. After a period of surprise and confusion, Ofria discovered that he was not changing the inputs provided to the organisms in the isolated test environment. The organisms had evolved to recognize those inputs and halt their replication. Not only did they not reveal their improved replication rates, but they appeared to not replicate at all, in effect “playing dead” when presented with what amounted to a predator.

Ofria then took the logical step to alter the test environment to match the same random distribution of inputs as would be experienced in the normal (non-isolated) environment. While this patch improved the situation, it did not stop the digital organisms from continuing to improve their replication rates. Instead they made use of randomness to probabilistically perform the tasks that accelerated their replication. For example, if they did a task half of the time, they would have a 50% chance of slipping through the test environment; then, in the actual environment, half of the organisms would survive and subsequently replicate faster. In the end, Ofria eventually found a successful fix, by tracking organisms’ replication rates along their lineage, and eliminating any organism (in real time) that would have otherwise out-replicated its ancestors.

Material from Hamiltonian Mechanics 2021 (Marcello Seri)

CSS Tips - Marko Denic - Web Developer

CSS tips and tricks you won’t see in most of the tutorials.

  • smooth scrolling
  • centering
  • custom cursor
  • truncate text to a specific number of lines
  • :target pseudo-class / modals
  • custom scrollbar
  • position: sticky / sticky headers
  • scroll snap
  • tooltips

Diátaxis Framework


The framework identifies four modes of documentation - tutorials, how-to guides, technical reference and explanation.

Nootropics Survey 2020 Results - Astral Codex Ten

Always interesting to hear Scott’s thoughts on nootropics.


So many great responses.