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2014 Year in Review


Technically, rewriting the site to use Hakyll-4 as a static site generator and converting the repository from Darcs to Git were major pieces of technical debt I needed to pay off. Painful, but it had to be done. I was also pleased to finish my annotated ebook of Radiance: I think it’s an unjustly obscure piece of literary scientific fiction which shines even more when the historical context is laid out.


Somewhat to my surprise, each month I was able to compile & send out a newsletter stuffed full of links and other things:

Putting them together was a lot of work, but thus far it seems to be worth it: I am up to ~450 subscribers, most of whom click on at least one or two links, and I suspect most would not follow the RSS feed or my Google+ profile.


2014 was an eventful year. Bitcoin continued evolving towards respectability despite the MtGox disaster (which I think surprised even the more cynical observers), and the technical possibilities continue to be explored (I particularly like sidechains and Truthcoin). The darknet market scene saw dizzying turnover as markets continued to rise and fall in the post-SR1 vacuum (although in many cases, the fall was no less than merited) with 42 new markets and more closures, not to mention various prosecutions. Monitoring them all, much less scraping them, has proven to be quite a challenge, but I now have fairly complete archives which I have distributed to a number of academics; with luck, I can do a public release in 2015. This all drew some media attention as well; I did interviews in person or over email with Mike Power, the NHK, and Erica Fink.


Entries are sorted in descending order of how much I liked them, taking the top half.


Top books:


  1. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro

  2. Worm, wildbow

  3. Radiance: A Novel, Carter Scholz

  4. Diaspora, Greg Egan

  5. The Quantum Thief, Hannu

  6. Catch-22, Heller

  7. Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Márquez

  8. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

  9. A Clockwork Orange, Burgess

  10. Ra, Sam Hughes

  11. Echopraxia, Peter Watts

  12. The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Swanwick

  13. Rogue Male


  1. The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, Tooze

  2. Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman

  3. Past, Present, and Future of Statistical Science

  4. Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

  5. Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose, Thomas & Turner

  6. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, Graeber2004

  7. The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family, Bryne (review)

  8. The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field, Hadamard

  9. Excuse Me Sir, Would You Like to Buy a Kilo of Isopropyl Bromide?







God is an Astronaut:


Kantai Collection: