Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: What niche blogs are worthwhile to follow?
363 points by notomorrow on Jan 1, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 68 comments
I enjoyed reading Gwern and slate star codex's essays. I wonder if you can suggest another one.

https://www.gwern.net/ https://slatestarcodex.com/ https://www.gwern.net/

Read https://pedestrianobservations.com and learn more about public transit than you ever wanted.

You might enjoy seeing the complexity of optimising these systems that you know so well but only superficially. There may be articles about your region, and it will point out some huge mistake with the subway interchange at <x> that is totally obvious once you read about it. At that point you'll be sharpening some pitchfork and trying to find where that totally corrupt mayor from the 90s now lives. But on the way over to his nursing home you miss the connection at <x> and have enough time to finish the article, which gives a reasonable-but-not-totally-satisfying reason the problem couldn't be avoided.

You turn around, and pretty soon you're back in a happy mood. Because at least you don't have to suffer some US transit system.

(Sorry, I got slightly carried away in the narrative fiction there)

For programming and tech topics:

Dan Luu's Blog https://danluu.com/

Drew DeVault's Blog https://drewdevault.com/

For a broader scope:

Derek Sivers' Blog https://sivers.org/blog

If you love books, Maria Popova's Blog https://www.brainpickings.org/

Wait but why is pretty neat... For example, [1] was quite nice.

[1] https://waitbutwhy.com/2018/04/picking-career.html

Thanks for the rabbit hole! Spend a few hours on this blog and his recommendations... and then theirs.

This is really nice ... Thanks for sharing ...

If you love Wait But Why, Randall Munroe's What If? blog has a similar semi-visual explainer style, but has more of a focus on scientific answers to ridiculous hypotheticals: https://what-if.xkcd.com/

Thanks for the link, I really needed this at this point!

ribbonfarm - a longform blog devoted to unusual takes on both familiar and new themes. What we call “refactored perception.” https://www.ribbonfarm.com/

meaningness - Better ways of thinking, feeling, and acting—around problems of meaning and meaninglessness; self and society; ethics, purpose, and value. https://meaningness.com/

Whereas sites like SSC and LessWrong are rationalist, both of these suggestions are predominately post-rationalist, but perhaps you’re like I was – reading the rationalist sites because I didn’t know there were post-rationalist sites

Meaningness is great. Thanks for that. Such deep concepts expressed so clearly with so few words.

> It is easy to fall into nihilism..... but, fortunately, it is difficult to maintain, and hardly anyone holds it for long.

I guess I'm one of the few :\

meaningness seems really interesting, thanks for sharing!

What is post-rational. His blogs are mostly support right wing views, religion. Is that what you meant by post-rational ?

If you like my website, you may find my RSS subscriptions of interest: https://www.gwern.net/docs/personal/rss-subscriptions.opml

If you're familiar with SSC, you may be familiar with Scott Aaronson: https://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/

The Quantum Mechanics itself is generally over my head, but it's super well-written and interesting nonetheless.

For the pharma industry, Derek Lowe's blog In the Pipeline:


Idlewords https://idlewords.com/ - Maciej Ceglowski of Pinboard's blog. His essays are always worth reading

Two tech blogs of which I read every post:

http://www.windytan.com/ - Oona Räisänen - great hacker of signal-related stuff (audio, video, wireless, etc), graphics, and more.

https://syonyk.blogspot.com/ - a lot of hacking around batteries, off-grid energy, and teardowns and repairs of various devices.

Non-tech related, Ken White at https://www.popehat.com/ can be quite funny, though he hasn't been posting as much lately.

Agreed that windytan is awesome.

Another highly-technical blogger that I’ve enjoyed has been Ken Shirriff’s: https://www.righto.com/ Mostly focused on microcontrollers and vintage computing, but with other stuff mixed in (he did a great series in understanding the technical side of Bitcoin, although he’s definitely not a “cryptocurrency enthusiast”).

I’ll have to checkout out syonyk.

Thanks for the nice comment about my blog!

Ken White now often writes at The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/author/ken-white/. It's much the same, only now he gets paid and far wider circulation.

If you read only one of hist articles, make it https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/08/thirty-two...

Yeah, but even there, he hasn't posted since August :( nowadays I think the only regular public activity is his participation in the podcast All the President's Lawyers - besides @Popehat on Twitter, of course.

Probably a matter of personal preference, but if you're not a fan of low-quality, intellectually dishonest shitposting in your feed, I'd avoid @Popehat on Twitter. I enjoy his columns and blog posts, but Twitter does weird things to some people's brains.

OTOH, my tolerance for that stuff is extremely low, so the SNR may suit someone else.

These are my two favorite blogs of Q4`19:

Pat Collison [1] (Co-founder, CEO Stripe) doesn't blog often, but is one of the most interesting and insightful people I have ever read

I don't know much about Alexey Guzey [2] yet, but he also has some very good posts (he writes more often and more long form, and is more similar to Gwern and SSC, in part because I think those two blogs have influenced him heavily)

[1] https://patrickcollison.com/

[2] https://guzey.com/

Thanks, I'm not familiar with Alexey Guzey, but just scanning the list of pages I see quite a bit I'd find interesting or challenging.

He's very good, I recommend the following:

Follow up: https://guzey.com/follow-up/

What to do with your life: https://guzey.com/personal/what-should-you-do-with-your-life...

How to make friends online: https://guzey.com/how-to-make-friends-over-the-internet/

You should start a blog: https://guzey.com/personal/why-have-a-blog/

(In fact, the latter has convinced me to begin posting more of my writing publicly on my own blog)

It's a shame neither of those blogs provide RSS. I'm not sure why. It's a trivial thing to do for your readers.

I don't have RSS on my blog either, whoops

https://beepb00p.xyz/ - Dmitrii writes a lot about quantified self and building personal knowledge bases.

Marginal revolution! https://marginalrevolution.com

https://www.marksdailyapple.com/ - Ancestral health and lifestyle

https://earlyretirementextreme.com/ - Financial independence. No longer adding new posts.

https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/ - Travel "hacking" and the miles and points "game".

https://jamesclear.com/newsletter - Habits and human potential. Email newsletter - not a blog, per se.

https://blog.asmartbear.com/ - Startups and marketing

https://recraigslist.com/ - Appliance repair and entrepreneurship. No longer adding new posts.

https://www.emptywheel.net/, though just the posts written by Marcy Wheeler, a.k.a. emptywheel, herself.

> Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

> Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

If we are allowed to self promote, then I'll put forward my blog http://datagenetics.com/blog.html

There's currently about 360 articles about math, science, programming, data-mining, geekery ... in style similar to a hero of mine, the late Martin Gardner.

Some I follow:

https://apenwarr.ca/log/ - programming, high level perspective

https://www.benkuhn.net/ - programming, startups, effective altruism

https://danluu.com/ - programming, hardware

https://pedestrianobservations.com/ - public transit

https://sideways-view.com/ - lots of interesting ideas, very eclectic

And plugging my own blog: https://www.jefftk.com - effective altruism, contra dance, diy, not very focused

I love reading Granola Shotgun, it's a blog focused on how to navigate the current macro trends in urban/suburban real estate design but from a very interesting and personal viewpoint.


I find Joel Spolsky's (CEO of Stack Exchange and Co-founder of Trello and Fog Creek Software) blog to be informative for software engineering and management (link: https://www.joelonsoftware.com).

I revisit his article "Things You Should Never Do, Part I" (link: https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2000/04/06/things-you-should-...) every time I get the itch to rewrite code from scratch.

Not tech-related, but if you're into city issues, I enjoy these:

Vital Vegas: https://vitalvegas.com

Chicago Architecture: https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org

Even though I don't live in either place, their cheeky writing styles can be a nice change from the pretense we see so often in blogs.

In the beginning of 2019, I felt overwhelmed with information overload across Twitter, HN, and the dozen or so newsletters I subscribed to.

I ended up unsubscribing from just about everything and now follow a handful of great curators instead. It's probably the best thing I did last year to find more signal online.

My favorite is Stew's Letter: https://stewfortier.com/subscribe

It's a short email that comes out every week or so and includes a funny/entertaining collection of ideas across a broad range of topics (AI, communication skills, evolutionary biology, etc.).

David Perell sends out a similar email that I also enjoy: https://www.perell.com/newsletter

https://dariusforoux.com/ on productivity, self improvement.

https://fs.blog/ mental models, critical thinking.

A blog that I recently discovered is the Sakuga Blog, which analyzes the process of anime production, the works of individual animators, and the state of the anime industry. The blog is very nuanced and has led me to better appreciate the artistic qualities of anime.

The Sakuga Blog is a publication of Sakugabooru, a booru (image board, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imageboard#Danbooru-style_boar...) that collects the works of animators.


COSS Media (https://coss.media/) is a new blog that's focused on the niche of building companies out of open source software.

Disclosure: I write for the blog from time to time.

For solid data points and analysis on how the US economy is performing I follow:


The blog is authored by Bill McBride who correctly called the 2008 downturn and housing market blow-up. I find his data points and corresponding analysis to be much better than any coverage in major media organizations, and it has majorly influenced the financial decisions that I have made over the past decade.

At the moment he is posting about a series of 10 questions about how the US economy will perform in 2020 that are worth checking out.

Tech blogs I follow (and one I write): - Irrational Exuberance![1] by Will Larson (ex Digg, Uber, Stripe) - focuses on engineering management

- Hillel Wayne’s blog [2] - software engineering and formal methods

- The Pragmatic Engineer [3] - software engineering & tech lead topics, written by myself

[1] https://lethain.com/

[2] https://www.hillelwayne.com/post/

[3] https://blog.pragmaticengineer.com/

For understanding the world we're living in and expanding your horizons (substantially): https://www.ecosophia.net

Ribbonfarm? A bit more flowery

I found Do the Math really good, especially the posts assessing various energy sources' abilities to provide mankind with its energy needs. There hasn't been a new post in quite a while but the ones there are well worth a read.


I'm biased, though...

https://bassi.li/blog has short-form programming-related content.

https://mikesgamingtrove.ca/archives/ has long-form video game-related content.


Ben writes about technology companies from a business model perspective. He also has a good podcast where he weekly summarizes his blog posts about company specific platform and aggregator data/revenue models. Very insightful.

If you're a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Cliff Mass -- an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington -- has an excellent regional climate and weather blog. https://cliffmass.blogspot.com/

If you're at all interested in ships, history, or the intersection of ships and history, I can wholeheartedly recommend Naval Gazing: https://www.navalgazing.net/

If you're interested to learn about systems and complexity in a humanities style: https://unintendedconsequenc.es/blog/

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone has good coverage of geopolitics, defense acquisitions, and occasionally military history

I’ve collated a bunch from various sources into a website I can go and check. It’s updated from the feeds throughout the day.


On productized services: (https://www.productizedstartups.com) with interviews of productized service entrepreneurs.

https://www.interfluidity.com/, on economics and economic philosophy

https://www.filfre.net/ for an amazing trip trough the history of gaming!

Meaningness by David Chapman, LessWrong.

Mine is https://qvault.io/blog I guess I'm quite biased though :P


Here's my list of Feedly subscriptions that update reasonably often I put together. Should all be easy to find on Google.

Shtetls optimised, slate star codex, xkcd, smbc, existential comics, put a num on it, don't worry about the vase, fake nous, overcoming bias, backreaction, preposterous universe, Krebs on security, the old new thing, torrent freak, Matt Levine Bloomberg, random critical analysis, Scott Sumner econlog, the money illusion, stratechery, freakonomics, Greg mankiw blogspot, the grumpy economist, crimestory.com, likelihood of confusion, Fred Wilson AVC

ribbonfarm? A bit more flowery

I refuse to read any blogs.


Some vague feeling that if it were useful, correct, refined, and thought-out enough it would be in a book or periodical.

Hmm, I see it somewhat oppositely. I find that most books are bloated and spend most pages regurgitating information I already know, where blog posts tend to present only the novel information, using hyperlinks to link to information required to understand the given post.

If I know nothing about a topic I find books to be really valuable, but for topics I'm already knowledgeable on, they are terribly inefficient.

Hello Dominic You are looking for new ideas and I have several for the NHS which will save a lot of money and improve the service.

I run Rosetrees a private family charity that has funded cutting edge medical research for 30 years using venture philanthropy - £40m of seed corn money has taken us more than half way to our target of £1bn of major Grants.

Experts describe us as unique and every day we work on new ideas,available free to co-donors who now exceed £20m.

Happy to meet/speak

Richard Ross Rosetrees Trust Richard@rosetreestrust.co.uk Tel 0208 952 1414

I should have been more specific; I was thinking og the "Unrecognised Simplicities of Effective Action" blogs in particular.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2023

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact