Content of Charles Darwin's personal library revealed for the first time

I’m always fascinated by these in-depth bibliography efforts, and this one, with its unique 300-page catalog detailing 7,400 titles from Charles Darwin’s library, is nothing short of extraordinary. John van Wyhe, the academic who has led the “overwhelming” endeavour, said it showed the extraordinary extent of Darwin’s research into the work of others. “It also shows how insanely eclectic Darwin was,” Van Wyhe said. “There is this vast sea of things which might be an American or German news clipping about a duck or invasive grasshoppers....

February 15, 2024

Spinoza and the art of thinking in dangerous times

Technically, The New Yorker’s Baruch Spinoza and the Art of Thinking in Dangerous Times reviews a book on Spinoza. It is so well conceived that it also offers a practical primer on the philosopher’s thoughts on God, nature, democracy, religion and their interaction. A few steps into his public philosopher career, Spinoza found himself exiled from his Jewish community in Amsterdam. That made him cautious and adept at avoiding an even worse fate, which was entirely possible in the mid-1600s....

February 10, 2024

GitHub Wikis don't allow edits or pull requests

Today I learned that GitHub wikis are not editable online and do not support pull requests. You can clone and edit a wiki locally but not return your change to the original repository. I don’t use wikis in my projects; I prefer documentation to stay with the project, usually in a dedicated directory, and publish it on a dedicated site through GitHub Pages. But today was different as I opened a pull request for PaperMod, the Hugo theme I use on this website....

February 9, 2024

Isolated indigenous people as happy as wealthy western peers

People living in remote Indigenous communities are as happy as those in wealthy developed countries despite having “very little money”, according to new scientific research that could challenge the widely held perception that “money buys happiness”. Researchers who interviewed 2,966 people in 19 Indigenous and local communities across the world found that on average they were as happy – if not happier – as the average person in high-income western countries....

February 9, 2024

Ethan Mollick's first impressions on Gemini Advanced

Ethan Mollick, one of my few LLM/AI sources, just dropped his first impressions on Gemini Advanced, released today, but which he’s been testing for a month in early access. Let me start with the headline: Gemini Advanced is clearly a GPT-4 class model. The statistics show this, but so does a month of our informal testing. And this is a big deal because OpenAI’s GPT-4 (the paid version of ChatGPT/Microsoft Copilot) has been the dominant AI for well over a year, and no other model has come particularly close....

February 8, 2024

A new golden era of blogging?

After yesterday’s, another article on the modern era of blogging surfaced on my RSS feed. In A Golden Era of Blogging, Jim Nielsen boldly proposes that we live in, you guessed it, a new golden era of blogging. He argues that the advent of the ads market tainted the original blogging scene in the mid-2000s, and something similar is now happening in the YouTube scene. Today’s independent blogger is not in it for the money (there’s none to be had) but for passion and an (unconscious?...

February 8, 2024

The 20-year indie web cycle, maybe

The History of the Web has an interesting take on the resurgence of blogging and the indie web that seems to be occurring these days. With roots in the world of fashion, there exists a cyclical principle suggesting that every two decades, previously popular trends “every 20 years or so the trends that were once popular will begin to be on the forefront again.” What’s old is new again. However, these recurring trends aren’t just rip-offs....

February 7, 2024

YouTube video summaries via ChatGPT

Just Tell Me cleverly leverages ChatGPT to provide short, insightful summaries of YouTube videos. Have you ever wasted some time watching a youtube video, that got you kind of interested because of the click-baity topic, but in the end turned out to be nothing more BUT click-bait? Or have you ever wanted to just quickly recall what a video that you’ve watched some time ago was about? Just Tell Me has you covered!...

February 6, 2024

Marcus Aurelius the man who solved the universe

I’ve been reading Marcus Aurielius’ Meditations and, very appropriately and scaringly, YouTube algorithm thought I would be interested in Marcus Aurelius, the Man Who Solved The Universe. The title is bombastic and misplaced, but the video is well executed and correctly summarizes some of the Emperor-Philosopher’s thoughts.

February 3, 2024

Being autistic

A lot of the things David describes in this post resonate with me. As far as I’ve been able to figure out so far, the things my mind is best at are details and systems. It‘s part of what makes me a good programmer: I can hold a lot of detail in my head about how a system fits together, I can mess around with it more easily than most people, and I can pick up on details other people might miss, such as potential bugs....

February 2, 2024