Hyperlinks to people, projects, and websites which I wish to highlight.
- The Tao of D&D, by Alexis Smolensk (along with his Patreon-members-only blog The Higher Path, of which I am a supporter.) I consider Alexis the world’s foremost practitioner of DMing. He has written skillfully and at length on every topic related to running roleplaying games.
- Gwern Branwen is an independent writer and researcher with deeper and wider interests than anyone else I know of. I admire him for his peerless productivity on a vast range of topics.
- Meaningness, by David Chapman. An ongoing book/blog about
better ways of thinking, feeling, and acting–around problems of meaning and meaninglessness; self and society; ethics, purpose, and value.The website’s organization may confuse you at first, but if you start here and proceed linearly, you’ll have no problems.
- The Scholar’s Stage, by Tanner Greer, is well worth your time. In the author’s words, this blog is
a forum to discuss the intersections of history, behavioral science, and strategic thought, with an emphasis on East and Southeast Asian affairs.
- Strandbeests are wind-powered mechanical creatures invented by Theo Jansen. He engineers these enormous creatures out of plastic tubes and air bottles, then sets them free to walk, wiggle, slither, and roll along the beach.
Worth Diving In
- Slate Star Codex (SSC), by Dr. Scott Alexander, who writes on politics, medicine, history, science, rationality, and more. SSC has a vigorous commentariat, with each post drawing hundreds of responses; you can always be sure of having a conversation partner, no matter your take on a given topic.
- The Digital Antiquarian, by Jimmy Maher, is a fascinating chronological exploration of the history of adventure games, including essays on contemporaneous trends in hardware, culture, companies, and celebrities.
- The Chinese Text Project.
Ancient texts, modern technology,edited and programmed by Professor David Sturgeon. A unique resource for students of the Chinese classics. My favorite feature is the ability to view different versions of a text, as well as near-identical passages from different texts. Here it is in action for the 诗经 (Classic of Poetry). The reader is empowered to observe, at a glance, the process of textual changes during long centuries of scholarly transmission.
Worth Keeping in a Back Pocket
- Atomic Rockets, by Winchell “Nyrath” Chung, holds articles which debunk the shortcomings of science-fiction spacecraft and space operations, and explores the real-life principles and techniques of spacecraft design, construction, infrastructure, crewing, and more.
- The Black Vault. John Greenewald, Jr. has amassed an enormous collection of declassified government documents by exercising rights granted under the USA’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
- Ron Garret wrote Lisp code that got sent off-planet on board Deep Space 1. Then he debugged and patched it from millions of miles away.
- Tom Murphy VII is an ultimate drongo. He’s a hard man to summarize, but since he’s made everything from music to Flash games, a tour through his website ecosystem is likely to bring you something enjoyable.
- Online Etymology Dictionary, by The Sciolist, a historian and lover of words. Both the Dictionary and his homepage are worth checking out.
- Aaron Parecki has a slick website which he uses to share his projects (and his globe-trotting professional life.) Reading his feed might inspire you to make something cool yourself.
- Political Graveyard:
the Internet’s Most Comprehensive Source of U.S. Political Biography. This website collects and archives biographical data on the lives, deaths, and families of over 300,000 US politicians.
- Daniel S. Wilkerson. I read, with much interest, his introduction to music theory from physical and psychometric first principles.
- UbuWeb, a digital collection of avant-garde art. For starters, try this collection of prose generated by the computer program RACTER.
- Abandoned and Little-Known Airfields, by Paul Freeman.
- ctrlcreep makes lovingly detailed visual art, and writes Twitter-length microfiction.
- Hiroshige.org.uk collects information about master ukiyo-e printmaker Utagawa Hiroshige. The site also has straightforward, minimalist Web galleries of his prints.
- Bartleby.com publishes free, full-text, online editions of classic works. I won’t link to their main page because (as of 2019-11-19) it tries to sell you on their study-help product. Instead, see their index pages for (1) reference works, (2) verse and poetry, (3) fiction, or (4) nonfiction. (Poetry fans, try A. E. Housman.)
- Paper Republic publishes and popularizes Chinese literature in translation.
- The Public Domain Review is a non-profit digital journal which publishes essays on unusual works from the public domain. Each essay links to the document or documents which inspired it.
- Apple Search documents Tom Brown’s quest to find and preserve heritage varieties of apple. So far, he has saved over 1000 varieties!
- t3x.org, by Nils M Holm, hosts an array of books and tutorials on computer science topics – all written by the author himself! Worth a look for anyone interested in Lisp, compilers, or language design.
- rs.io, including the articles Expert Memory and Core Human Values. I also liked the friendly and inviting contact page.
- Of Two Minds, by Charles Hugh Smith, who is a writer.
- Justin Erik Halldór Smith is a philosopher.
- Doug Koellmer has an eclectic portfolio of projects (and you explore those projects through a delightful “unfolding” interface.) Reminds me of an Utahan friend of mine. Give Mr. Koellmer a look.
- Grumpy Website, by Nikita Prokopov. Ranting about web grievances, to which I am sympathetic.
- Kazerad is, as far as I can tell on 2020-01-13, an online social scientist. They’ve written good essays about the social dynamics of anonymous Web cultures, including this and this.
- Ryan Veeder has written lots of Inform 7 games, and once ran an interactive fiction competition all about making games to please him. Now that’s my kind of zany! A similar philosophy brought about my Sith Lord Challenge.
- Jacob O’Neal creates interactive graphical explanations.
- The complete artwork archive of the Electric Pencil Artist, a mentally-handicapped man who created his drawings while confined to an insane asylum.
- Taylor’s Nuke Site, by Taylor Wilson. Mr. Wilson successfully developed a nuclear-fusion reactor at the age of 14, making him the youngest person ever to do so.
- Bryan Bilston’s Poetry Laboetry. Mr. Bilston has a delightfully droll sense of humor which he expresses throughout his website and his poetry. As a parodist myself, I am especially fond of The Love Song of Brian H. Bilston, which parodies T. S. Eliot’s classic “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”.
- Fantastic Anachronism, by Alvaro de Menard, is a blog covering history, historiography, economics, and other humanistic topics. Well-written and broad in scope.
One and Done
- Bertolt Meyer is a DJ with an electro-mechanical prosthetic left arm. He built a device which sits in the socket where his hand normally sits, and which plugs into his synthesizers so he can control them with his brain. Truly amazing.
- Flower of Battle is a YouTube video by a Polish HEMA group, Akademia Szermierzy. I’ve linked to the sequence two minutes into the video, which exhibits longsword fighting which has been overlaid with split-second flashes of illustrations from historical weapons manuals. The effect is striking.
- Justin Laser-Bong demonstrates his namesake apparatus.
- Jting-F is a protogen (cyborg furry) whose fursuit includes a sweet-ass electronically-linked helmet and shield.
- Tetramorph, by Rob Kelly.
- Inferno, created by Louis-Philippe Demers and Bill Vorn, is a piece of performance art in which audience members were strapped into dancing exoskeletons.
- Javier Arce has a lovely website consisting entirely of one long, continuous strip of clickable illustrations. Gorgeous and delightful. (:via Javier’s entry on special.fish, a funky social network where people’s profiles are shown as colored squares on the main page.)
- Everything That Happened Today hosts a friendly, minimalist calendar which can be clicked to reveal one or more amusements. (:via the creator’s profile on special.fish)
- Impossible Objects: 3D-printed objects which have different shapes from different vantage points. Fascinating.
- Simon Weckert is an artist. For his Google Maps Hacks project, he filled a handcart with 99 smartphones – each with location data turned on – and pulled the cart around in San Francisco. The software behind Google Maps perceived the cluster of location-emitting phones as a traffic jam, which displayed the corresponding “heavy traffic” warning in Google Maps and attempted to route others’ cars around that area. That’s some serious hacker shit.
- Sos is an indie developer releasing kooky, lo-fi games.
- Joe Colman’s homepage has to be seen to be believed. It won a Webby in 2018, for good reason.