Stray notes

Notes with few or no connections to other notes.

Semantic line breaks

A name for the practice of putting line breaks between clauses in markup. Buckminster Fuller called it ventilated prose. (Found via Gwern.net.)

I encourage students to treat the files as private “source code” that they are free to format semantically. Instead of fussing with the lines of each paragraph so that they all end near the right margin, they can add linefeeds anywhere that there is a break between ideas.

The reason I am writing this is that I find Ventilated Prose a valuable aid to composition of text intended for presentation in conventional, unventilated format. In this essay I first present an example of Ventilated Prose as an aid to reading and then describe my use of it in composition.


Bookmarks in search of a home.








Wikipedia bookmarks

Twitter favs

[mysterious old lady flips tarot card revealing a dude who looks exactly like me flying a hot air balloon into power lines]
Me: is that good

USERS: you’re alienating the people who actually use your product
TWITTER: likes are now florps
USERS: what
TWITTER: timeline goes sideways

The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist

genie: please no
millipede: more legs

my dad once said “do what you hate first thing in the morning to get it out of the way” then 2 mos later called me on my birthday at 6am

Preserving computer tech

Winter is coming and Collapse OS aims to soften the blow. It is a Forth operating system and a collection of tools and documentation with a single purpose: preserve the ability to program micro-controllers through civilizational collapse.

Our expectation is that you didn’t need our definitions of software, computer, and other terms. We imagine you have computers of your own, probably vastly more advanced than ours, and possibly fundamentally differently architected. Once you understand the overview and guide below you will easily be able to access all of the data.

However, it’s possible that you have inferior computers to ours, or even no computers at all. In case of that eventuality, we have prepared an uncompressed, unencoded, human-readable reel of data which we call the Tech Tree. The Tech Tree contains information about our fundamental technologies, our computers, and our software, in the hopes that, over time, you will be able to use this knowledge to recreate computers that can make use of the open source software in this archive.

Programming dictionary

Describes a procedure which can be repeated without changing the initial result or causing unintended side effects. Without this property, the caller may need to track whether the procedure has been run.

Style Guide for online hypertext

Attention Conservation Notice

…we will begin each Viridian Note with a useful set of its key concepts. With some practice, we hope that you will be able to reject a Viridian Note, confidently and without a pang, within two or three seconds.

This effort, however, may not be enough. You may still find yourself painfully tempted to actually read the Note. We therefore offer a backup safety system, our unique “Attention Conservation Notice.” This will begin each Note by explaining to you, in some brief detail, why you should NOT read it.

This has never been done before in print-based publishing, but in the text-glutted electronic context, we feel this practice makes a lot of sense…


  • TLA+ Helped Me Count to Six (Computer Things #86, Hillel Wayne, Oct 2020)

    The term for this is subitizing, which is the worst-sounding word I learned all year. Subitization is the process of exactly determining the number of objects in a collection without having to explicitly count them. I looked for resources on improving my subitization but all the resources are for teaching children. Children can barely subitize two, and then gradually get better until they can subitize around four, where it stabilizes. If I want to improve my adult subitization then I’m on my own.

    This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to learn a weird mental skill. I call them “knacks” for some reason. Not complete mental disciplines, not party tricks, just small things that come often. I’ve been fascinated with them ever since I learned about compass belts.

  1. Due to this regular transformation by T. nutricula, it is thought to have an indefinite lifespan.