I launched a new website for my linkblog; go check it out! I'm proud of how it looks.

My linkblog is a collection of links I find interesting. I write it for an audience, a few links a day of general interest. I've been doing this for 19 years now and I think it's one of the best things I publish.

Link blogging is a venerable form that both was a part of the very first blogs and predates blogs with definitive 90s web sites like Cool Site of the Day. It's no longer fashionable although its spirit lives on in every social media share button. The distinguishing factor of a linkblog is the link itself is the focus. Minimal extra content; I average 10 words a link.

The novel thing on my new website is sentiment. I decide whether the link will make readers feel better or worse and color the post white or black. I think it's important to share negative stories but I don't want to overwhelm everyone with doomscrolling. The other fancy thing is a prominent image for every post. They're a combination of website previews from metascraper and screenshots from shot-scraper.

The primary datastore is still my Pinboard account, the RSS is served directly from there. I also have been posting links to Twitter @somebitslinks; that works pretty well.

I wish I had more reach! Only 12 people said they read it on Twitter (despite 7400 followers!). I have more readers via RSS; Feedly shows 100, there's a few more on Slacks. Kind of sad but I accept what I'm doing is not mainstream. I don't think this new web view will bring in the masses but it feels like an important part of making my linkblog more of a real thing.

Technical notes about how it works are on my secret work blog. I also have older posts about my linkblog. As always, feedback is welcome.

  2022-07-20 17:54 Z
Way back in 1994 I wrote an undergraduate thesis for my math degree at Reed College. It was a fun project, studying a discrete dynamic system that was an extension of the Ising model. Sort of cellular automata meets statistical mechanics. It's the only significant thing I've written that's not online (too lazy). Update July 2022: PDF is here.
A few years ago my colleagues from the Santa Fe Institute wrote a preprint from that work, Vortex Dynamics and Entropic Coulomb Forces in Ising and Potts Antiferromagnets and Ice Models. They were kind enough to list me as an author even though I barely understand half the paper! I do have the pretty pictures, though, plus a healthy appreciation of the complexity of discrete systems.
I've never met one of the co-authors, Cosma Shalizi. But thanks to his having a weblog I now know more about him than the other guys.
  2022-07-05 16:29 Z