I always wondered what people meant when they (usually obliquely/snidely) referred to “creative accounting practices”. Today I stumbled upon an example entirely by happenstance, called “Hollywood accounting”, in a comment of jimrandomh‘s on his LW container for short-form writing: The discussion so far on cost disease seems pretty inadequate, and I think a key piece […]

# Category Archives: Uncategorized

## P vs NP humor

Parody of a typical comp.theory newsgroup discussion of a typical P vs NP proof, from Suresh Venkatasubramanian’s post A meta-proof: P: I would like to announce my proof of P=/!=NP. The proof is very short and demonstrates how to solve/not solve SAT in polynomial time. You may find a write up of the proof here. |– V: […]

## The Peter Scholze experience

There are lots of rising stars in math. There are a number of superstars too. (Exercise for the interested reader: browse through the laudatios for all the recent high-profile prizes, see what names pop up again and again.) But every once in a while comes a person to whom others feel called. Think Grothendieck. The […]

## Saharon Shelah, logic juggernaut

There’s a great quote via Hunter Johnson on Quora arguing for the importance of mathematical logic to math: Shelah is attending a mathematics talk. The presenter has offered, with great difficulty, a new example of some mathematical structure, let’s say a quasi-Hebrand reticular matrixoid. The existence of a new example of this object is significant in […]

## Terry Tao: can an approach used to prove almost all cases be extended to prove all cases?

Recently Terry Tao posted to the arXiv his paper Almost all Collatz orbits attain almost bounded values, which caused quite the stir on social media. For instance, this Reddit post about it is only a day old and already has nearly a thousand upvotes; Twitter is abuzz with tweets like Tim Gowers’: (this sentiment seems […]

## Appleseed by John Clute

Rob Nostalgebraist’s Goodreads reviews are fun to read, so I read nearly all of them some time ago. That’s how I came across John Clute’s novel Appleseed. Before talking about Appleseed, a bit of setup. Nostalgebraist is very bright. In particular, his very-bright-ness is of the “see through complexity” variety. One salient way he made […]

## Wendigoes in the wild

Comment from gtsteel on the Haskell subreddit MIRI’s newest recruit: Edward Kmett: Have you ever encountered the any of the work on Basil Johnston? He made the point that a lot of institutions, through the restrictions they place on those in them, form structures that function as optimization algorithms independent of the motivations of their […]

## Extremely expensive NYC properties

I know nothing about luxury property, save for the fading recollections of my parents’ Trends magazine subscriptions I religiously leafed through cover-to-cover as a child. Since I’m always looking for ways to reconnect with my childhood, it was exciting to stumble upon a Zillow link by David S. Rose on Quora to luxury apartments in […]

## From Nielsen to Thurston by way of Cummings, ft Terry Tao

I was reading Dominic Cummings’ blog post On the referendum #33: high performance government, ‘cognitive technologies’, Michael Nielsen, Bret Victor, & ‘Seeing Rooms’, and at one point he references a nice passage by Nielsen that immediately reminded me of Bill Thurston’s experience trying to communicate his ways of thinking in his seminal retrospective On proof […]

## The ascended economy civilizational failure mode, ft Scott Alexander and Charlie Stross

Scott Alexander’s short speculative depiction of a possible Goodhart’s law-style civilizational failure mode – where “the imperative of economic growth” becomes the end rather than the means, becomes, indeed, totalizing – in his book review of Robin Hanson’s Age of Em has stuck with me like a low-grade nightmare ever since I read it all […]