The best of the web, according to me

Mike Solomon

The web is a big place, but these are the best things on it (that I know of).

Most links here will, at a minimum, make you think.

Technical and technology

A Word is Worth a Thousand Vectors
Fascinating and approachable introduction to an important algorithm in Natural Language Processing called word2vec
The technology behind preview photos
Interesting example of elegant problem solving under tight constraints
The Pixel Factory: WebGL, GPUs and Math(Box)
Good visual explanations of computer rendering
Lessons Learned in Software Development
Succinct advice that’s not always apparent
Covariance and Contravariance
The best explanation I’ve found yet, but still may take a few reads to understand
Testing without mocking in Scala
The best practical guide on how to write effective unit tests without mocks
Effective Learning Strategies for Programmers
This is also a good programmer-oriented summary of the “growth mindset”
On Being A Senior [Software] Engineer
Good guidelines on how to mature as a software engineer

More technical and technology

Living Without Atomic Clocks in Cockroach DB
Shows how to solve a hard problem under constraint
Three things that every medical writer should know about statistics
Important for reading many scientific papers
The Little Printf
Story of stages of a programming career and keeping sight of what matters
What is the appeal of dynamically typed languages?
Good points to help me see the upshot
#DisruptTechInterviews using psych methods, maybe! (with tweets)
Fact-based suggestions to improve software engineer interviews
Principal Component Analysis explained visually
Well done
Agile, Lean, Patterns: Software has diseconomies of scale - not economies of scale
Model for understanding software complexity
It’s a trap! Systems traps in software development
Useful models for understanding situations in software development
Type Classes in Scala
Best explanation of type classes I’ve found

View broadening

Damn Right Amazon Runs a Fucking Deficit and So Should America
Stylistically engaging and not something I’d thought of
Why People Are Irrational about Politics
Understand political viewpoint origins systematically
Fuck Nuance
Persuasive argument that simplified models and arguments are better
Adtech and tech and social issues - What Happens Next Will Amaze You
Hyperbolic at times, but explores some of the deeper issues with online advertising
Antiwork – a radical shift in how we view “jobs”
Examining whether you ought to be focused on your work
The Case Against Credentialism
Explores the phenomenon of credentialed professions
The CIE and XYZ and xyY color spaces
Somewhat dense, but makes you think about what color is
Enough With This Basic Income Bullshit
A good hard look at basic income

More view broadening

What I Learned From Dating Women Who Have Been Raped
Improved my perspective on how to treat rape victims
Join the Engineering Leisure Class
A possible alternate lifestyle
The new mind control
Serious problems emerging from current technologies
Shaka, When the Walls Fell
Thoughts about language based on a Star Trek episode
The Rest Is Advertising
Sponsored content is everywhere
Toxic workers
Research on how much bad hires hurt vs. how much great hires help
Why Big Oil Should Kill Itself
Big oil’s strategic mistakes
Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid: a list of inaccurate, misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused words and phrases
Don’t abuse language, it makes it useless
Relearning How to Talk in the Age of Smartphone Addiction
Some interesting ideas on people using phones
A Theory of Humor
I was slow to be persuaded, but this is the best answer to “what is humor?” I’ve found
Why It's OK to Block Ads
A practical way of looking at online advertising

Understanding life

Class (American)
One of the most enlightening pieces I’ve ever read. A clear look at social classes
Skullfuck You Very Much: Cultural Authority and the Dispossessed
On social class and credibility, insightful yet entertaining
Why do we work so hard?
Serious look at why people of many privileged classes spend their time working
The 3-ladder system of social class in the U.S.
Breaks down and explains the American social hierarchy
Policing, Mass Imprisonment, and the Failure of American Lawyers
A serious look at serious problems
Willpower/cognition pool - Your app makes me fat
A useful and plausible model for understanding your own behavior
Normalization of deviance in software: how broken practices become standard
Explains why many processes end up broken
The Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems
Limitations of foreign aid and voluntourism
Do the Thing, and Other Sage Advices (with images, tweets)
Fun style. Convince yourself to take the right risks
Placebo effects are weak: regression to the mean is the main reason ineffective treatments appear to work
Solidified the insight that many measured effects are essentially regression to the mean
Stop Buying Real Estate (in SF)
Nice, interesting vertical slice of economics
If money doesn't make you happy, then you probably aren't spending it right
Scientifically backed ways to spend money to maximize happiness
A Nihilist’s Guide to Meaning
Despite the title, some interesting ways of finding meaning

More understanding life

The Unbearable Asymmetry of Bullshit
Why bullshit works, especially in academics
Dick Smith is the Greatest Private Equity Heist of All Time
Interesting walk-through on how to steal money from another company
Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion
Short summary of elements used in persuasion


The Tricky (And Necessary) Business Of Being A Male Advocate For Gender Equality
Practical advice on a topic that’s easy to do wrong
Lessons from a surprisingly successful blog
Very practical advice
Clean Up Your Mess - A Guide to Visual Design for Everyone
Practical and easy to follow
GTD in 15 minutes
Starting point for developing a personal organization system
What I'd tell myself about startups if I could go back 5 years
Short distilled advice, not only for startups
Mental Models I Find Repeatedly Useful
Fantastic list of reusable ways to understand the world

More useful

The Simple Rules That Could Transform How You Launch Your Product
Excellent guide on this topic
Hacking strength: Gaining muscle with least resistance
Efficient approach to exercising
Least resistance weight loss
Efficient approach to weight loss
16 types of useful predictions
Practical ways to calibrate and improve your ability to predict
Dabrowskis Theory and Existential Depression in Gifted Children and Adults
A good look at existential depression


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