Just one and a half years ago, I was heralding the end of the blogosphere and its replacement by the vlogosphere. But last year, along came Substack – a modest newsletter service that doubles as a blogging platform with inbuilt RSS, analytics, and monetization infrastructure. Seemingly exploding out of the blue, before long a rafter of prominent pundits such as Matt Yglesias, Noah Smith, Glenn Greenwald, and – most recently – Scott Alexander have migrated to that platform. And so this year ushers in what may soon become a Silver Age of blogging.
In the old days, many blogs had what we’d call a blogroll – a list of people/accounts that the blogger reads, is influenced by, or at least sufficiently respects to “follow back”. It’s high time to update it.
Note that this is not, by any means, meant to be comprehensive a tally of blogs/websites in each of their respective domains. They are limited to people and sites that I like and follow, or at least occasionally visit to keep tabs on.
MSM, Forums & Social Media
MSM: Following the news as such is mostly a waste of time – for deeper understanding, you’re inevitably better off with books; for the news element, once everybody knows about something – you can’t make money of it as you no longer have an informational advantage (Taleb makes this point very well in his books). Nonetheless, keeping a finger on the “pulse” of the “discourse” is still part of the job of a “pundit”, even if I mainly accomplish that goal through social media and aggregators.
There is a Chrome extension called Bypass Paywalls that frees you from the rigmarole of finding custom solutions to paywalls on the great bulk of walled websites.
Reddit: Reddit has no intrusive ads like most news websites, and most often the comments adequately summarize articles. Now make fun of Le Reddit/plebbit all you want, but the basic fact is that it is by far the largest Anglophone forum in the world (the website has almost 2B visits per month – for comparison, 4chan has 50M). This is the mainstream midwit view in the world and it pays to be familiar with it. I usually scan it to get a sense of the headlines, the talking points (manipulated or not as they might be), the “Zeitgeist” of 110 IQ normie/yuppy American opinion.
- /r/worldnews – the most popular “political” sub with 26M users
- Regional subs: /r/europe (normies), /r/russia (lefty/vatnik, I once did an AMA with them), /r/sino (Chinese nationalists; many of them SJWs with a chip on their shoulder, but much better than the “English language teachers” who populate /r/china)
- /r/geopolitics is pretty good/attempts to be objective though I don’t check it often
- Rationality: /r/slatestarcodex, /r/TheMotte (see also LessWrong)
- /r/PoliticalCompassMemes – at this point by far the funniest meme sub. VirginVsChad is also good.
The Reddit Enhancement Suite plugin drastically improves the user experience.
I still occasionally idly browse 4chan, in particular /pol/, /biz/, /fit/ – The autistic antidote to Reddit normie fags. On the other end of the scale, I enjoy chapo.chat, the new home of /r/ChapoTrapHouse, which was banned on Reddit (neolib censorship doesn’t discriminate between left and right, and in fact I predict that censorship of leftists will get more severe later in the Biden term, as passions over Trump and the Capitol storming fade away). Since the Alt Right and various permutations thereof are totally broken and defanged, I expect that the relative profile of Antifa, chapos/”dirtbag left”, and their various allies will increase as the Biden administration repeatedly stabs them in the back). However, I hardly ever contribute personally on these forums. 2ch.hk is Russia’s /pol/ (but less fashy) and is mildly useful for surveying what zoomers and millennials are thinking of.
One side effect of Big Tech censorship is that many of the most interesting discussions have retreated to closed or semi-closed spaces on platforms such Telegram, closed forums, Discord and Slack groups, and more esoteric options such as urbit planets. It’s interesting to think that this is recreating the “secret societies” of Enlightenment Europe and Qing China online.
Twitter: This is my main tool for “monitoring the discourse”. As with Reddit, although one might whine about “censorship”, the fact remains that network effects are key and most everyone who is anyone is on Twitter (6B views), not Gab (10M) or Parler (20M, with the minor inconvenience that it’s been down for weeks). Yes, sure, it’s full of vacuous hacks and celebrities – but nowhere else are you also going to get “takes” from Grandpa Elon (I am now a hardline Musk fan after he helped me make tons of money on the doge run), established historian-intellectuals like Peter Turchin and Adam Tooze, anonymous historian-intellectuals like @Nemets and @Irkutyanin, the unbanned half of the HBDsphere, Tsarist-themed publishing houses, the Sputnik V vaccine, and meme accounts like Hakan (since reincarnated as Zolbar Sakusan) in one place.
I am not much present on other social media. I quit posting to my Facebook page when they blanket banned unz.com links (even in private messages), up to the point of deleting all prior posts that had that URL. It is still useful for following some people (unfortunately, Russian boomers have taken to it a couple of years ago), and there are some highly useful groups (e.g. probably the biggest Moscow expat community, some COVID-19 and transhumanist groups, etc.) but I don’t generally spend much time there. This also applies to VK and Telegram, where I also have a minimal presence.
This is the core of the blogroll – the list of bloggers/journalists whom I regularly read, or at least keep tabs on. I primarily do this via the Feedly blog readers. It served my well and I highly recommend it, though others prefer The Old Reader.
Bloggers whom I particular like/try not to miss are surrounded by asterixis. The tags at the end mean the following:
- /pol/ = politics, with ideological slant appended; /sci/, /econ/, /hist/, etc. should be self-explanatory.
- HBD-IQ = self-explanatory (note that most of the people in The Library – in particular, this includes most of the rationalists – are crypto-HBD); LW = rationality; H+ = transhumanism; PT = produces many “powerful takes”; BB = “Big Brain”, i.e. I suspect they have a very, very high IQ.
I do not list inactive bloggers/pundits here, even if I like them and they influenced me a great deal. Many former greaters are listed at the links page on my website, which I intend to update soon: https://akarlin.com/links/
Accounts that can broadly be categorized as intellectuals, scientists, historians, and insightful observers of the world around them.
This first section contains “top bloggers” whom I try to read more or less comprehensively:
- Scott Alexander (Astral Codex Ten) is back to blogging thanks to Substack. His old Slate Star Codex blog was the focal point of the global rationalist community, covering a wide range of topics including psychiatrics, nootropics, governance, technology, and machine intelligence. [/soc/-Center, LW, BB]
- Guillaume Durocher [@GuiDurocher] is a French identitarian (archived at CC, OO) with an exhaustive historical erudition who may well be called the French Kevin McDonald. [/pol/-Alt Right, HBD]
- gwern [@gwern] is a brilliant American polymath famous in narrow rationalist circles who has written extraordinary detailed, brilliant longreads on every from nootropics to the role of chip fabs in the future of civilization. You can follow monthly updates to his articles and links collections via his Substack newsletter. [/sci/-Center, LW/H+, BB]
- Robin Hanson [@robinhanson] is an immensely productive libertarian economist who came up with the Great Filter, futarchy (rule by prediction markets), and the Age of Em. His powerful takes on sexual market dynamics have resulted in him getting canceled by SJW EA’ers. [/econ/-Libertarian, LW/H+, BB]
- Anatoly Karlin (Russian Reaction) [@akarlin88] is yours truly, whom I read regularly by definition. Detailed information about all my websites/projects on the sidebar and at my site here: https://akarlin.com/ . [/pol/rus/-Alt Center&RuNat, HBD/IQ, H+]
- Emil Kirkegaard [@KirkegaardEmil/YouTube] is a Danish polymath and “troll science” champion – possibly the single best blog to follow on all matters QHBD. [/sci/-Alt Center, HBD/IQ, LW, PT]
- Roko Mijic* (Heretical Update) [@RokoMijicUK] is a “based” rationalist, inventor of the eponymous Basilisk (and unwitting godfather to Elon’s latest child). [/pol/-Alt Center (cons.), LW/H+]
- Moldbug (Gray Mirror) is back to blogging, thanks to Substack! The Father of Neoreaction hardly needs an introduction – just start reading [/pol/-NRx, BB/PT].
- spandrell (Bloody Shovel) [@thespandrell] is a European neoreactionary in China who invented IQ shredders and Bioleninism. [/pol/-Alt Right/NRx, PT]
- Adam Tooze (Chartbook) [@adam_tooze] is a historian whose book on the Nazi economy radically altered my understanding of WW2. He has written magisterial histories of past economic crises, and it was a real pleasure to discover he is also an active blogger and Twitterer. [/hist/econ/-Center]
- James Thompson [@JamesPsychol] is a British IQ researcher and blogger – the single best person to follow for developments in the field along with Emil Kirkegaard. [/sci/-Conservative, HBD/IQ]
- Ron Unz [@UnzReview] merits prominent mention not just for his own prodigious contributions, but for hosting this website and financially enabling the careers of a substantial number of people on this list. [/soc/-Alt Right, HBD/JQ, PT]
This next tier of bloggers includes those whom I also follow, but don’t typically read comprehensively:
- Audacious Epigone is the go to guy for American sociology/ethnic stats and analysis. [/sci/-Alt Right, HBD]
- Biohackinfo [@biohackinfo] is a Swedish-(Armenian?) “grinder” (aspiring cyborg), futurist, transhumanist, implacable foe of the NWO. [/sci/-Alt Center, H+, PT]
- Noah Carl [@NoahCarl90] is an English sociologist who famously had his postgrad position at Oxford University terminated for fleeting associations with the “wrong” people. Now also an occasional contributor to RT. [/soc/-Center, HBD]
- Greg Cochran (West Hunt) [@gcochran99] is an American HBD blogger who is a walking encapsulation of the saying that brevity is the soul of wit. [/sci/-Conservative, HBD, PT]
- John Derbyshire is a British-American mathematician and paleocon pundit. [/pol/-Alt Right]
- Linh Dinh is a Vietnamese-American repatriate, poet, and travel writer; second to none on this website as a chronicler of “lived experience.” [/soc/-Alt Right]
- Peter Frost is a Canadian evopsych professor. [/sci/-Alt Right, HBD]
- Glenn Greenwald [@ggreenwald] needs no introduction: Cypherpunk activist, critic of American imperialism and double standards. [/soc/-Libertarian-Alt Left]
- Richard Hanania [@RichardHanania] is an emerging American political scientist who champions anti-interventionism and wants no truck with either the Woke Left (SJWs) or the Woke Right (MAGA). [/int/-Center]
- Greg Hood has long been my favorite American Alt Right intellectual. [/pol-Alt Right]
- Steve Hsu (Information Processing) [@hsu_steve] is an American physicist who has since gone into psychometrics and human enhancement (e.g. idea of genetic spellchecks). Recently deplatformed by his university. [/sci/-Alt Center, HBD-IQ, H+, BB]
- The Inductivist [@Inductivist] is a good HBD blogger. [/sci/-Alt Right, HBD]
- Alex Kaschuta (Garden of Earthly Delights) [@kaschuta] is an emerging Romanian evopsych journalist – serious content underneath the blonde tradgirl aesthetics. [/soc/-Alt Right, HBD]
- Razib Khan (GNXP) [@razibkhan] is a Bangladeshi-American geneticist and former Unz Review contributor who blogs on a wide variety of topics on woke politics, religion, population genetics, and various intersections thereof. He recently set up a SubStack newsletter called Unsupervised Learning. [hist/sci/-Conservative, HBD]
- Sean Last (Ideas & Data) [@Sean__Last] is a data-heavy HBD blogger. [/sci/-Alt Center, HBD/IQ]
- Fred Reed is IMO the single funniest columnist on The Unz Review, he can make a 4,400 word essay on medical malpractice engrossing. Trigger warning for Alt Righters: Castizo nationalism. [/soc-Center, humor]
- José Luis Ricón (Nintil) is a polymath blogger known in particular for his studies of the Soviet economy. [/econ-Center]
- Aris Roussinos [@arisroussinos] writes for Unherd magazine about international relations through a civilizational lens. [/int/-Center]
- Steve Sailer [@Steve_Sailer] hardly needs an introduction on this site; he accounts for a third of The Unz Review’s traffic, and also writes a weekly column for Taki’s Mag. The Father of HBD, inventor of the Sailer Strategy, the World’s Most Important Graph, Invade/Invite the World, World War Hair, and a bunch of other, less well known aphorisms. That said, the sheer, machine-like pace at which Steve writes poasts makes it hard to impossible to follow everything. [/soc/-Conservative, HBD/IQ]
- Noah Smith (Noahpinion) [@noahpinion] … having some ideological diversity is important. [/econ/-Neolib]
- Erik Striker [@Striker05381540] is probably the single best Alt Right journalist writing today, both here and at National-Justice (Hood takes the crown for best opinion columnist). [/pol/-Alt Right]
- Peter Turchin [@Peter_Turchin] is a Russian-American biologist turned historian/cliodynamicist. [/hist/sci/-Alt Center, cliodynamics]
- Alexander Turok is an underlooked but very good rationalist/futurist blogger. [/pol/-Alt Center, LW/H+]
- Brian Wang (NextBigFuture) is a one man writing machine on all aspects of technology. Although some dismissed him as an Elon fanboy, he did successfully predict him becoming the world’s richest man. [/tech/-Libertarian?, H+]
Russia watchers. Additional tags: /rus/+ denotes they are marked Russophiles, whereas /rus/ denotes a more objective/middle of the way position. The Western MSM is systemically anti-Russian, so I don’t follow any specific Russophobes. (Life is short).
- Patrick Armstrong is a retired Canadian diplomat who has been tireless at identifying Western hypocrisy. [/rus/+]
- John Helmer is a Moscow expat with many interesting takes. [/rus/]
- Insomniac Resurrected [YouTube] is a Czech Russophile and Ukraine expert. [/rus/+]
- Bryan MacDonald [@27khv] is an RT journalist who provides a useful corrective to the inaccurate Western journalistic mainstream. (Unfortunately, RT does not provide RSS). [/rus/+]
- Paul Robinson is a Canadian professor, Russia expert, and perhaps the single best Russia blogger writing today. I strongly recommend his history of Russian Conservatism (which I will review one day). He has recently started contributing to RT. [/rus/-Conservative]
There are also some Russian language bloggers that I wish to briefly highlight for those who read (or are learning?) Russian.
- Liberal data/elections bloggers: Dmitry Kobak [@hippopedoid]; Alexander Kireev; pollotenchegg [website: datatowel]; Seva Bashirov
- Demographers: denalt; Alexey Raksha; stranger233.
- Patriotic (Russotriumph) stats/data bloggers: acer120; genby; zemfort1983 [@Ivanjv_I].
- Don’t usually follow him (posts too much), but I do check up on Colonel Cassad during active conflicts.
Social Media (incomplete)
Although listing everybody I follow on Twitter (or, very occasionally, other sites) is a task beyond reason (or meaning), here is a sample of the more prominent ones by category:
- “Celebrities“: Elon Musk, jack, Nick Szabo
- Intellectuals: Peter Turchin
- Intellectuals – HBD/IQ: Claire Lehmann (website)
- Data/Demographers: BirthGauge
- Alt Left/Anti-Imperialism: Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate, Alex Rubinstein, Matt Taibbi, Matt Tracey. (I would also follow Mark Ames, but he Blocked me years ago).
- Alt Right/NRx: Indian Bronson, quackocracy, Wyvern of Herzegovina,
- Alt Right/NRx (Russia Focus): PraetorPeregrinus, TsarPress
- HBD: HateGraphs
- Russia Watchers: Ben Aris (website), Sean Guillory, Alexandre Latsa, Mark Sleboda
- Sino Watchers:
Notable Russian language accounts:
- Russians (in Russian!):
I am not big into podcasts, but there’s a few of them that I occasionally listen to while walking or commuting.
- *** The Duran *** [Alexander Mercouris & Alex Christoforou] have highly detailed politics/geopolitics discussions about European politics and Russia. In particular, Mercouris was IMO one of the best Russia bloggers back during his writing days, before he transitioned to podcasting. [/int/-Conservative]
- *** Edward Dutton*** (Jolly Heretic), now at Bitchute having been driven away from YouTube, is an HBD popularizer most famous for the “spiteful mutant” hypothesis. [/sci/-Alt Right, HBD/IQ, PT]
- Red Scare [Dasha Nekrasova & Anna Khachiyan] is a fun listen. I discovered it recently and have only listened to a couple of episodes, would characterize them as non-Woke dirtbag left. See Anna’s interview with Niccolo Soldo. [/pol/-Alt Left]
- *** Russians With Attitude *** [@diogen_tv & @Noetic_Pirate] is an excellent English-language podcast by two actual Russians from a sort of relaxed vibe nationalist perspective. (One of the co-hosts previously @pigdog, and was one of the three co-hosts – along with Kirill Nesterov and myself – of the erstwhile ROGPR podcast, which launched the era of Russian political podcasting in 2017). As a starter, check out their launch interview with Bronze Age Pervert, my own discussion with them about Russian demographics, Russian tourism, known Twitter anthropologist/Udmurtology expert @Nemets interview, and their translation of Galkovsky’s classic text on Soviet “noviops” (pro tip: any English language writeup of Russian nationalism that includes Dugin and doesn’t mention Galkovsky isn’t worth the paper it’s written one). [/pol/-RuNat(Alt Right), PT]
- *** The Stark Truth *** [@StarkTruthRadio] is hosted by Robert Stark, a Bay Area-based blogger and podcaster who interviews various “oddballs” from across the ideological spectrum, with a pronounced interest in Alt Left-Alt Right intersections (e.g. on UBI) and in California politics and demographics. I am on The Stark Truth a few times a year. He has also interviewed Ron Unz, and pens an occasional column for this webzine. [/pol/-Alt Center.]
Finally, some of the more notable Russian language podcasts that I occasionally tune into:
- Egor Prosvirnin (editor of the old Sputnik & Pogrom) [@czartube] now specializes in podcasting and streaming at CzarStream and CzarTalks.
- Russian Highlights [@FunnyDog1552] maintains a very helpful archive of old Russian nationalist podcasts/lore.
- Other podcasts/projects: Nikolay Kolosov; Rozanov Club; Robert Wright; Sergey Zadumov
Stats: Although I don’t typically visit “news”/”journal” websites as such (see reasons above), I do occasionally browse through statistics websites to update my mental world-state. This is by no means supposed to be exhaustive.
- Politics & Elections
- Economic History
- The main ones: IMF, inc. World Outlook, World Bank, OECD, Trading Economics… Wikipedia also very good on this.
- Living standards: Numbeo, Big Mac Index
- Institutions: Doing Business index, various other measures
- Manufacturing: Observatory of Economic Complexity, OICA (vehicles)
- Finance I try to keep an occasional eye on various metrics indicating recession likelihood, stock market overheating, cryptos
- For detailed numbers: Human Mortality Database, Human Life Table Database, The Human Fertility Database
- Wikipedia is really good for this: wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_[insert country]
- The big international organizations, e.g. the UN is best for future national/global demographic projections
- National statistics websites (obv. not listing all of them)
- As concerns coronavirus mortality, I have separately collated links here: https://www.unz.com/akarlin/corona-resources/
- Russia Resources
Opinion Polls: I would like to emphasize that just familiarizing oneself with polling data is often a lot more useful than reading lengthy journalistic or even academic analyses. For instance, if the ruling President has a 65% approval rating, there is not going to be a color revolution against him in any halfway serious country – no matter how much the “international community”, the “CIA”, etc. does or does not support it.
Predictions Markets: These are highly useful as a corrective to excessive ideological tilt (though it won’t help really far out people). I also maintain a page of my own predictions here (yet to be filled out): https://akarlin.com/predictions/
- *** Metaculus *** hosts very high quality participants and discussants. I quietly participate there myself and certainly the questions generate many blog post ideas. As of Feb 2, 2021 I have a Brier score of 0.041 and a player score of 65.4 .
- PredictIt is pretty boring these days for reasons outlined by Scott Alexander – too much dumb money, but hard to profit from it due to fees and most of the questions being about boring political horseraces.
- Hypermind polls only superforecasters. Bad predictors get eliminated over time.
- There are various crypto markets at early stages of development: Augur; Catnip.Exchange; Gnosis. In my opinion, the most prospective of these is Polymarket.
Additional Russia Resources:
- *** Johnson’s Russia List *** (JRL) is a daily digest of Russia news from diverse sources. Highly recommended. [/rus/]
- Demoscope is popular demographics journal.
- Kremlin website features briefing and translations from the Russian Presidency, which we have to make do with as Putin doesn’t have social media accounts. One reason I love Mercouris’ work is his strong emphasis on this as a primary source.
- Salo Forum run by Niccolo Salo [@Progrockfarmer] is widely regarded as a major node for intellectual Alt Right-leaning discussion of Russia and Eastern Europe, though I don’t participate there myself.
This concludes the “blogroll” for the time being. I might update it a bit further in the next couple of days.