Reading List

November 2017 · 7 minute read

Despite being able to count the books I read cover to cover on my fingers, I enjoy reading. There is no contradiction there, I simply lack the ability to commit to a long text. The same goes for writing - you would be hard-pressed to find anything over 2000 words signed by me.

I have the patience to read through boring articles as long as they are short - something a lot of people wouldn’t stand for. For these people, as well as for my future self, I started curating timeless articles worth reading from all around the web. The articles below are in no particular order spare the order that I decided to add them chronologically as I saw fit for one reason or another.

I hope that you will enjoy these as much as I did.

Last updated on the 23rd of January 2018

Forer effect

http://skepdic.com/forer.html

Why do astrologists seem so dead on about us? The answer is vagueness.

Psychologist Bertram R. Forer (1914-2000) found that people tend to accept vague and general personality descriptions as uniquely applicable to themselves without realizing that the same description could be applied to just about anyone.

The Mystery of S., the Man with an Impossible Memory

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-mystery-of-s-the-man-with-an-impossible-memory

The neuropsychologist Alexander Luria’s case study of Solomon Shereshevsky helped spark a myth about a man who could not forget. But the truth is more complicated.

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Giving

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/05/the-man-who-couldnt-stop-giving/389531/

A story about a man who, following a stroke, became a “pathological giver”.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

http://images.kw.com/docs/2/1/2/212345/1285134779158_htwfaip.pdf

This one is an outlier on this list as it is a book and not an article. But if anything fits the bill for timelessness, this is it.

Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me

http://gizmodo.com/1798646437

A testament to the chronic abuse of power by Google. This article was posted shortly after a Google-funded think-tank scholar got fired for citizing the giant.

Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/04/why-is-silicon-valley-so-awful-to-women/517788/

Regardless on where you stand on women in tech and sexism, this is a well-written article discussing what it is like for women in Silicon Valley. Meritocracy fails when bias comes into play. In my opinion, anybody who advocates the dismantling of this system should have shoe thrown at them; but we need to look for ways to reduce bias in all areas of our lives - even more so in the professional sphear.

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/

Being a “post-Milennial” myself, I see first hand how much smartphones have altered by generation (myself included) in terms of not only lifestyle, but mindset too. This analyses the issue far better than I ever could.

The Sugar Wars

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/01/the-sugar-wars/508751/

Pure, White and Deadly: Science can’t prove it and the industry denies it, but Gary Taubes is convinced that the sweet stuff kills.

How to Sleep

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/01/how-to-sleep/508781/

Should you drink more coffee? Should you take melatonin? Can you train yourself to need less sleep? A physician’s guide to sleep in a stressful age.

What’s a Canadian?

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/09/02/whats-a-canadian

Questioning the meaning of dual-citizenship by suggesting that one can really only belong to a single country.

michael crichton: why speculate?

http://larvatus.com/michael-crichton-why-speculate/

A very well written and articulated critique of the speculatory nature of modern media. Written with a dash of cynical humor.

The Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect

https://seekerblog.com/2006/01/31/the-murray-gell-mann-amnesia-effect/

The Gell-Mann effect goes hand-in-hand with the above article. In short, it speaks of our tendency to believe people who sound credible even with evidence that they speak nonsense.

Tech Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now Viewed as Threats

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/12/technology/tech-giants-threats.html

A story about about how Google and Facebook shifted from being seen as saviors to threats. The tech giants have set a precedent by shutting down The Daily Stormer and are suffering greatly from it. The public now at large sees that they are biased and how much power they have over who gets a say.

Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/13/opinion/sunday/Silicon-Valley-Is-Not-Your-Friend.html

A more verbose article on the same topic as the above.

Why The Web Won’t Be Nirvana

http://www.newsweek.com/clifford-stoll-why-web-wont-be-nirvana-185306

A guy from 1995 is writing about why the internet will not live up to the hype (which it has). Interesting arguments and great to think about: What went right? What went wrong?

Why I Hate Five-Star Ratings

https://davidcel.is/posts/why-i-hate-five-star-ratings/

While five-star ratings aim to provide nuance, they create little more than noise and confusion. While 5 stars is suppose to mean excellence and beyond, companies such as Uber have decided it to be the expectation.

Becoming a Steelworker Liberated Her. Then Her Job Moved to Mexico

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/14/us/union-jobs-mexico-rexnord.html

A story about how a woman’s life has been affected when her employer, Rexnord, delocated to Mexico. New York Times managed to present without embedding too much politics. Good read regardless of political stances.

technicalities: interactive scientific computing #2 of 2, goldilocks languages

https://graydon2.dreamwidth.org/189377.html

Even though my understanding of computers is fairly rudimentary (For a computer scientist), this post, written by the most prominent figure behind the Rust language, goes deep into the “Why” of languages. He spends most of the time writing about Lisps, so if you are more familiar with the subject than I am, you may be in for an enjoyable time.

Why did James Comey change his statement to save Hillary Clinton from going to prison?

http://theduran.com/why-did-james-comey-change-his-statement-to-save-hillary-clinton-from-going-to-prison/

A recent story about how specific wording is (ab)used in the world of politics. James Comey’s initial memo was accusing Hillary Clinton of “gross negligeance”, something punishable by jail. His final statement however, accused her of being “extremely careless” instead which is not something illegal.

Something is wrong on the internet

https://medium.com/@jamesbridle/something-is-wrong-on-the-internet-c39c471271d2

This is something I am even uncomfortable linking, and have trouble putting into words. It is quite long, and leaves a lot of rabbit holes to be chased. The article outlines the wickedness targeted towards children that is available on YouTube. It has a certain emotional toll upon the reader, but is something that is necessary to go through.

What’s wrong with big data?

https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/5104/whats-wrong-with-big-data

There is an emerging theory in business that the scientific method is obselete, that with enough data, corrolation is all we need to produce truth itself.

How to Hire Fake Friends and Family

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/11/paying-for-fake-friends-and-family/545060/

Japan is the leader of commercializing normal, human interaction. They have really out-done themselves this time: an entire industry has been create that sells friendship itself.

We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made

https://medium.freecodecamp.org/we-fired-our-top-talent-best-decision-we-ever-made-4c0a99728fde

The author talks about “Rick” who, while a genius developer, caused more harm than good to the team’s ability to deliver and how firing him was beneficial. The replies are definitely worth reading too.

RSS: there’s nothing better

https://davidyat.es/2017/05/18/rss-nothing-better/

A short and humerous article talking about why RSS is so great. Also look at this, Knyzorg has an RSS feed too!

I hate telephones

https://jameshfisher.com/2017/11/08/i-hate-telephones

Hate phones but can’t articulate a proper argument? Well the author managed to do so very, very well.

Why programmers work at night

https://swizec.com/blog/why-programmers-work-at-night/swizec/3198

The author analyzes the programmer’s work schedule from within the context of the “maker’s schedule” versus that of the “manager’s schedule”. It is based off an essay written by Paul Graham in 2009.

What You Can’t Say

http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

An essay by Paul Graham, a founder of Y-Combinator, discusses things that you aren’t allowed to say and why.

No one gets in trouble for saying that 2 + 2 is 5, or that people in Pittsburgh are ten feet tall. Such obviously false statements might be treated as jokes, or at worst as evidence of insanity, but they are not likely to make anyone mad. The statements that make people mad are the ones they worry might be believed. I suspect the statements that make people maddest are those they worry might be true.

Life is Short

http://www.paulgraham.com/vb.html

Another essay by Paul Graham, this time discussing how short life really is.

Having kids showed me how to convert a continuous quantity, time, into discrete quantities. You only get 52 weekends with your 2 year old. If Christmas-as-magic lasts from say ages 3 to 10, you only get to watch your child experience it 8 times.


I am constantly on the look-out for new great articles to read. If you come across any, send me an email to slava@knyz.org. I would be extremely greatful.