Highlighted hyperlinks promoting people and projects.
- 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.
- The Scholar’s Stage, by Tanner Greer, is well worth your time, and I believe it so strongly that I support him on Patreon. In the author’s words, Scholar’s Stage is
a forum to discuss the intersections of history, behavioral science, and strategic thought, with an emphasis on East and Southeast Asian affairs.Samples:
- 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 Chinese Text Project.
Ancient texts, modern technology,edited and programmed by Professor David Sturgeon. A unique resource for students of the Chinese classics. It even provides an API, so coders can build on top of the website’s data hoard!
My favorite feature is “Parallel Passages,” by which users can visually compare multiple passages from one or more text sources. Here it is in action for the 诗经 (Classic of Poetry). This feature empowers the Web visitor to observe, literally at a glance, the textual changes wrought by centuries of scholarly transmission.
- 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.
Spenserians. My god, what a magnificent project. Response in progress…
Provided the necessary impetus to shift from accumulation mode to interpretation mode.
Tenure brought relief from the ticking clock and the illusion of endless vistas of time. Why not undertake a database of Spenser imitations as a research project? I was accustomed to financing my own research, and it was possible to purchase the necessary software and a primitive though costly scanner. My introduction to databases came when I migrated my text file to an early version of Filemaker Pro running on a Mac Quadra. The graphic interface was a novelty, and much time was spent modifying the visual arrangement of the fields and the color of the fonts. These new technologies — scanner and database — changed the scope of the research. Rather than transcribing a couplet or stanza as an “illustration” it became easy to input entire documents. Given the antiquary’s predilection to accumulate, it was all but inevitable that the bibliography would evolve into a full-text database.This was not planned; it just gradually happened. I also added a second file with records for authors; there would have been four or five hundred then, and it was becoming difficult to distinguish the Rev. John Whaley (d. 1745) from the Rev. John Whalley (d. 1748). Without knowing what I was about, I had made the first step towards a relational database.
- Red Blob Games, by Amit Patel.
- 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.
- Cockeyed, by Rob Cockerham, is a long-standing archive of pranks, measurements, and costumes.
- 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.
- Ultimata Ratio Regum is
a game which aims to integrate thematic content on historiography, philosophical idealism and the rise of modernist grand narratives, with the deep, complex and challenging gameplay one expects from a classic roguelike.
- 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 made everything from music to Flash games, so a tour through his website ecosystem is unlikely to disappoint.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The complete artwork archive of the Electric Pencil Artist, a mentally-handicapped man who created his drawings while confined to an insane asylum.
- 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.
- Liza Daly is an artist and technologist investigating
playful ways in which machines can augment human creativity. She is well-known in the interactive fiction community.
- Simplifier is a machinist, woodworker, and all-around craftsman. To experiment with self-reliance, Simplifier builds his own material goods from scratch: vacuum tubes, microphones, and speakers; paints, pottery, and soap. See this post for an overview of his philosophy.
- [Carl Gene Fordham’s blog covers issues in Chinese translation. Three articles I’m keeping on hand are 40 Terms Commonly Used in Academic Writing, A Comprehensive Guide to Euphemisms in Chinese and English, and this translation challenge.
Bartosz Ciechanowski is a graphics programmer who has created fabulous interactive explanations of light, color, gears, and physical phenomena. 2020-09-19T21:27:26-0700
Worth Keeping in a Back Pocket
- 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.
- 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.
- Body By Victoria, by Dr. Neal Krawetz, uses techniques from digital forensics and image authenticity verification to reveal the digital manipulation performed on fashion models’ photos. 2020-06-07, 18:47
- 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.
- 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.
- Of Two Minds, by Charles Hugh Smith, who is a writer.
- 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).
- Justin Erik Halldór Smith is a philosopher.
- ctrlcreep makes lovingly detailed visual art, and writes Twitter-length microfiction.
- Grumpy Website, by Nikita Prokopov. Ranting about web grievances, to which I am sympathetic.
- Yves “Jetman” Rossy, a former Swiss military pilot, builds and flies jet-engined-powered wingsuits. That is, actual jetpacks. So. Cool. Here’s a video.
- Delta Ark.
- 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. Mad hacker cred.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wildlife Photography, by Dean Mason.
- Sam Gentle
- A Sandboxxx, a personal website that seems to primarily collect links and quotations from around the web.
- Hunter Scott has cool hardware projects, like this RC cylinder.
- Acko.net, by a Belgian named Steven Wittens. Check that animated 3D background. Try this article about joking and transgression.
- Jacob O’Neal creates interactive graphical explanations.
- The Lexicans is a memorial archive for works published by the late Captain Carroll “Lex” LeFon on his site Neptunus Lex (defunct).
- The Habitat Chronicles, a group blog by the creators of Habitat, which was the first graphical MMO. The blog covers technical and historical details of Habitat and its creation.
- Economic Games: 14 single-player and 48 multiplayer economic simulators.
- Clay Shirky
- Professor David D. Friedman
- Melting Asphalt
- J Malloy, a hyptertext poet and artist. Note that her homepage is hosted on The Well.
- Scattered Thoughts, by Jamie Brandon, a programmer.
- Nintil is a writer. My impression after skimming his archives in December 2019 was “I don’t like his tone but can’t argue with his consistency.”
- Paul Stamatiou’s personal site has some great design.
- The Rikverse:
poetry by Rik Roots.See also his invented world, Kalieda.
- Adam Ponting: see Hyphenated Words in Shakespeare or the Pseudo-Word List.
- Imgtalk is a project by digital artist Simon Griffee, in which participants
write about an art piece that was important to or inspired them. This may be a photograph, drawing, painting, film, song, record, story, novel, poem, play, building, sculpture, garment, dish, equation, machine, algorithm, videogame, etc.No less than Douglas Hofstadter has participated.
- Simon Griffee’s personal website is worth visiting, particularly because he maintains a sub-website as his alter ego Jimmy Boss, which makes him a stupendous drongo.
- Michael Fogleman’s website of software and woodworking projects.
- Archive.org’s Wayback Machine preserves the website of the late Web pioneer Leslie Harpold.
- James Somers is a writer whose homepage hosts an abundance of programs and essays.
- Dr. Jason Fox is a wizard with eccentric affectations who styles himself a thought leader. See also: the Dragonmaster (link forthcoming.)
The feedback place.A place for creators working in any medium to privately share their works-in-progress, and receive comments from others.
- A very silly rendition of “U.N. Owen Was Her?”
- 300-Language Polyglot Program
- MARKUS is a platform for reading and managing Chinese- and Korean-language historical research documents. I don’t understand the team’s decision to release the tool only as a Chrome extension, instead of a cross-browser extension or a proper webpage/app, but even as I shed a tear for the open Web, I have to admit this case study is pretty cool: “using MARKUS to study Chinese gazetteers for information on building city walls.” Hopefully I can take lessons from MARKUS as I design and program document reading in Linguary. 2020-08-27T10:53:21-0700
- Consider.It is a website for building communities that can hold contentious conversations without growing uncivilized. You could improve the quality of social media and news aggregator discussions by changing their platforms not to show people things which are calculated to make them angry and tribal, but that wouldn’t fix the fact that humans on social media still share that stuff. Consider.It could be the next step toward public discussion platforms on which members hold themselves to, and expect, a higher standard. 2020-08-27T11:05:26-0700
- Elliott runs (https://special.fish) and other batty projects. Chugging and charging in New York, making art: what a life! 2020-08-27T11:05:42-0700
- Kaushal Modi is an IndieWeb participant, Emacs, and Org-Mode user who builds his website by exporting Org files. Clean website styling, with red (rubrication) and black against white, plus occasional Org TODO red/green. I want to steal the table of contents (TOC) approach he uses, where the TOC is visible the whole time you’re reading and the current section is highlighted. I’ve seen this in several places, but I haven’t programmed TOC generation yet, nor have I learned the right browser API to inspect the current scroll position. 2020-02-09T21:35:56-0800
- Benjamin Esham investigates the Olympic colors problem.
- Elise Marie Anderson is a Uyghur-speaking ethnomusicologist who got her PhD at IU Bloomington. My dear friend, the wild Uyhgur enthusiast Alexi Caracotsios, met Elise during his time in IU’s Greek department. Weird connections are everywhere. 2020-08-16T22:14:15-0700
- The Obscuritory presents a deep dive into Eastern Minds, a surreal and bizarre Japanese videogame. (See also: The Digital Antiquarian’s article “The Merry Pranksters of Automata.”) 2020-05-20, 13:30
- Olivier Forget has the snazziest known implementation of “a man’s head lifting up to reveal the rest of his website.” 2020-09-20T20:09:35-0700
- Ridiculous Fish has the sexiest known implementation of “man’s hand unscrolling blog-post-inscribed paper towel.” 2020-09-21T13:30:46-0700
- Twitter user Foone has implemented DOOM on the computer architecture of … a pregnancy test?! 2020-09-27T22:41:10-0700
- The Plaintext Players
- Museum of Forgery(:via the website of
Selections from Bodies of Work
Favorite works of Magritte, having cast my eye over the nearly 400 works available at WikiArt:
- The Listening Room, 1952
- The Castle of the Pyrenees, 1959
- Not to be Reproduced, 1937
- Philosopher’s Lamp, 1936
- The Therapeutist, 1937
- Gonconda, 1953
Favorite prints from Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Views of the Moon:
- #7: Inaba Mountain Moon
- #13: Cry of the Fox
- #15: Mount Yoshino Midnight Moon
- #30: Moon Through a Crumbling Window
- #32: Kitayama Moon
- #41: Moon over the Pine Forest of Mio
- #44: Akazome Emon Viewing the Moon from her Palace Chambers
- #50: Dare no Tsuki
- #55: Fukami Jikyu Challenges the Moon
- #57: Book-reading Moon
- #65: Katada Bay Moon
- #66: Shizu Peak Moon
- #82: Kenshin Watching Geese in the Moonlight
Favorite Penny Arcade comic strips:
- Incredibility, for the one and only John Videogames. Top. This strip birthed an in-joke between myself and Ryan Wright.
- Bono Trask: Timesqueezer, for
Your hand-breakfasts have passed from history into legend […] I assume GOLD will suffice?Top.
ITS EXACT LOCATIONelevates this to sublime status. Top.
- Liquefaction, for
No. Not this. Not now.
- Games of Storied Lineage, for
Men’s Horse Marriage.
- Rue, Rue, Rue, Your Boat
- Alien Genocide is Thirsty Work, for
I’m chugging and charging!
- Benevolence. I can tell you that current efforts toward software of this type are surprisingly few and weak.
- Pac Men
- The One-Oh-Furst Part Two, for
I don’t rightly know…
- Savannah Heat. Classic.
- Getting Down, for
First, become a sphere.
- A Waste Sensation, for
I’m like a shark. I’ve just got to … keep making analogies.
- The Ultimatrix, for the cute cat.
- Visceral Gameplay, for
tiny wooden men.Silly but effective joke.
- Polygonous Polygamy, for a great Gabe face in an otherwise-forgettable strip.
- The Ecology of the Suburban Thug
- Irrepairable. Good punchline.
- The Littlest Hashshashin, for
I obey, Master / Give Hugs
- A Disgusting New Affliction
- His Most Recent Superpower
- In Search Of A Robust Cosmology, for
Shadow Shadow Bo Badow.
- Full Of Twists And Turns
- Excitement Engines
- Our Connected World, for a great Tycho.
- Real Science