Missives

Newsletters and Changelog

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

New article on how much of our knowledge seems to come from just the easiest measurements. Two examples close to my heart: brain science and therapy.

In other news, I added to the site a symbol I drew to explain the credenda to someone. I like it. Do you?

A bit more streamlining of the various projects and blurbs and whatnot in response to reader feedback. Should be easier to work out what's on the site, and what it's for.

Fixed some issues in the layout that have bothered me for a while. Also, all the images on the site are now way better. They look the same, but trust me, back here it's way better.


January 12, 2023

New article: everything is choice architecture.

I removed the parrot from the home page. It lasted two months. I'll try something else another time.

All content titles now indicate what kind of content it is (e.g. article, marginalium, etc).

Marginalia will now be published at least daily, since it's easier to actually publish them.


December 30, 2022

New articles this month: abstractions as gods and obscuring banalities. A related set of ideas that extends states of mind, everything is ideology, and spirituality of mind to their natural conclusion. I'd prefer them to be more fleshed out, but a draft will do.


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December 29, 2022

November 25, 2022

November 23, 2022

New article: trans-opportunism is boring.

Over the past couple weeks:

  • restyled analects
  • finished up the site copy updates
  • added a little parrot to the home page (we'll see how long that lasts)

November 10, 2022

New article: the colour of the inhuman world

Also, some considerable work on the articles pages. All my articles are markdown files, and lots of features went unparsed when they get rendered as HTML. But now, we have linkable headings, a table of contents, a properly working footnotes feature, and the ability to see the ideology and summary at the top of each page. Very pleasing.


October 31, 2022

October 13, 2022

Now publishing the front-end changes---a little more dramatic. Most obvious would be a crude darkmode, with a toggle button at the bottom left. Lots here to be unhappy with, particularly the flicker on some page transitions. But it works well enough for viewing the site at night. Colourscheme changed slightly to better accommodate.

Also a scroll to top button at the bottom right---particularly useful when reading the articles!

Both are javascript only, unfortunately.


October 12, 2022

More backend site updates published. No more mailto links (too many bots, now with a new improved pretty Ukrainian refugee women flavour). RSS feeds split by type so you don't have to get everything. Donation links centralised. But the main thing was an auto-drafting of newsletters, pulling in new marginalia and articles (many tears shed---more, even, than extracting the marginalia from the database yesterday).


October 11, 2022

Finally published some substantial site upgrades that have been going on in the background for some time. Here's a summary:

Some streamlining of the site, largely in response to feedback. The old Anthologies page is replaced by the Analects in preparation for new kinds of content, and to be more coherently aligned to the manifesto. Missives (newsletters and changelog) are now combined wherever they appear, rather than split across javascript tabs (less javascript!). Articles tab on the home page now displays a random selection of two curated, and three latest articles. Home page about section provides more pointers around the site (and about what the site is doing). Projects updated.

Then, just for myself, extracted the Marginalia from the database and printed them as markdown files so I can add and edit them like the rest of the site content. The old way (entering via front end) was very time consuming and unpleasant, but the prospect of printing and messing with the database was extremely distressing. Yet through adversity we grow and here we are. Hopefully this will mean I actually curate the Marginalia properly now, and all my saved links will finally get published. We'll see.

Upgraded to TailwindCSS 3.0 (from 1.0!). Some subsequent new visual features and code tidying that will probably please no one but me.


September 22, 2022

New articles over the last two months:

Everything is ideology

Spirituality of Mind


September 19, 2022

July 31, 2022

July 31, 2022

New article: Useful Pharmacology


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June 23, 2022

Overhauled article: the value of social comparisons.


May 13, 2022

Overhauled article: The value of relationship control.


May 9, 2022

Updates to All Food is Toxic.


April 30, 2022

After the move of content from "the Armchair Collective" to btrmt, the articles were named "The Armchair Collection" so old readers would find familiarity there. After some (vocal) feedback, the interim 'Armchair Collection' is gone. Now the articles are just the articles. Membership to The Armchair Collective is still by invitation only (for now), but everyone will always have access to the articles.

Updates to four common causes of relationship conflict.


April 12, 2022

March 29, 2022

Overhaul of a most useful heuristic for mapping common group behavioural dynamics.


February 28, 2022

February 20, 2022

January 17, 2022

December 30, 2021


December 13, 2021

Now that btrmt is more than just a collection of articles, it's time to bring it all together.

As such, all my articles and content are now here, as a project of btrmt. The Armchair Collective too, has been rehomed here but now is just the home for the membership community. Membership to The Armchair Collective is still by invitation only, for now, but the articles will always be for anyone to read.

In addition to the manifesto, also launched Neurotypica: a guide to brain and behaviour. Updates to follow as it develops.



November 30, 2021



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September 21, 2021

New article on Neil Postman's amusing ourselves to death now and then.

Updates to the predictability of humans.


September 21, 2021

September 8, 2021

New article on Voluntary Censorship.

A little more clarity in the purpose of the site: a project in betterment is a project about choosing ideologies, not adopting the ones thrust upon you. We've always really been about this, but it's pleasant to finally have the elevator pitch. Only took a year and a half to get there since the relaunch of the site in April last year.

In that vein, putting together summaries of the ideologies we explore on articles. Currently we have Voluntary Censorship and Predicting Human Behaviour. See what you think.


August 25, 2021

August 24, 2021

July 21, 2021

An article in praise of the sage and less in praise of other things.


June 2, 2021

On the difference between the heart and the head: emotions and the mind.



April 30, 2021

April 28, 2021

Updates to On Emotion, and added curated articles to the anthologies.


April 21, 2021

A bit of a follow on from Varela's Gestures, that's dense enough to be its own article: insight and the sciences.


April 10, 2021

New article on Varela's Gestures.

Part of a series, I suspect.


April 4, 2021

New font and colour palette. Reorganised collections around the actual collections from our credenda as the anthologies.


March 28, 2021

Published our credenda, as a manifesto for this project. Time to start arranging this site around what it's arranged around.


March 22, 2021

March 22, 2021

New article on the myth of the millennium.


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March 12, 2021

New series on the concept of from zero.


March 1, 2021

New articles in the Digital Architecture series:

Server 101: Digital Foundations

Server 102: Access Everywhere

These are probably only going to appeal to those who are motivated by the premise I set out in Digital Architecture. More, they're just drafts—it's difficult to remember what concepts I found difficult when I started these projects myself, and at points do a bad job explaining them. Thank you to everyone who has already provided feedback. These are for you, so I welcome any feedback in future.


February 24, 2021

New article about Karl Popper's solution to his own paradox of tolerance.


February 24, 2021

February 21, 2021

New articles:

Autopoeisis: the origin of thought.

New project on nutrition, to combat my impulse toward biohacking. First segment is on how everything is poison.

From a letter to a friend, an article on the [merits of existential therapies]/articles/existential-therapy).


February 2, 2021

Updated Stages of Change.

RSS feed back up and running after the changeover to the new backend. It's here No longer an atom feed, just basic RSS, so update your readers accordingly.



January 31, 2021

Sorry for the hiatus. Site is no longer static. I made it into a web app. It might take a while to straighten out the kinks because I'm hanging on by the seat of my pants coding this thing. That said, look forward to more fun features.

The first fun feature is the Marginalia. See also the new sections on the home page, updated now with the latest content.

Updated: why, much like the cupboard under the stairs, your brain might be nothing more than a happy accident.


January 16, 2021

New article on the value of Duckworth's narrative about motivation, community, and success—Grit.

Update to the loneliness epidemic.

Update to IQ is meaningless.

Donation process formalised---no more long email conversations about how to do that, unless you actually want to. Accepting bitcoin and paypal. Links scattered around the place.

RSS feed moved to here. Redirects in place. Hopefully not too annoying for you all.

Google Analytics removed from the website. Privacy policy updated.

Newsletter.



January 11, 2021

The nature/nurture debate is entirely misleading. Genetics is nurture.

Update to the impact of social isolation on our genetics.


January 3, 2021

January 3, 2021

Updated the forer effect article: the reason why astrology is so sexy to us.

Move newsletter from mailchimp to Sendy. Took bloody ages.

Happy new year.


December 30, 2020

By request, merge changelog and newsletters into RSS feed.


December 26, 2020

Updates to States of Mind.



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December 14, 2020

Goatcounter instance launched for the site for testing against current Google Analytics. Privacy information added to site.


December 5, 2020

Monster article on states of consciousness, from the mundane to the drug-induced.

Updates to Female Zealots.


December 5, 2020

November 25, 2020

New article on how unimportant the self really is.

Built the alpineJS library into the website, rather than pulling it in from CDN so users with uMatrix (you masochists) can use the site properly.


November 18, 2020

New articles on the nature of personality:

A historical perspective on the fundamental role of elements in personality study.

How your personality is forced upon you.


November 18, 2020


October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

New article on what might be the oldest and most universal religious impulse, and the crucial role of female zealots.


October 17, 2020

Newsletter signup form made less obtrusive but scattered in more places around the site in response to a couple emails noting they couldn't find it.

Query string parameters implemented so javascript tab navigation remembers what tab you're on. Had quite some wine before doing this so do let me know if it's messed up somewhere.


October 16, 2020

October 10, 2020

Article on how we choose our psychic predators and the ancient tension between natural law and social law.

Update to the article on Bandura's famous bobo doll experiments, about how children model violence.


October 2, 2020

New article on hydraulic despotism.


October 1, 2020


September 20, 2020

New article on the loneliness epidemic.

More updates to ranking search results—the psychology of needs and a primer on psychological theories.


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September 15, 2020

New article on the predictability of humans.




September 10, 2020

New article on folie à deux.

Large extension to Successful Prophets.

In response to questions and a general amazement that we don't take this very seriously, a new project on protecting our digital selves started, with step one complete.


September 4, 2020


August 27, 2020

New article on repressed memories. Follow up on therapeutic perspectives toward detailing traumas in response to reader questions. New article on the false narrative of teenage brain development.

Site is even thinner again. No more cover images anywhere. Vastly different styling on home and articles pages to eliminate clutter.



August 19, 2020

New project article: successful prophets. A couple other new standalone articles too. All links in newsletter. Newsletter will now print articles in full, in response to feedback.

Moving to a lighter version of the site, which means getting rid of cover images. So much time spent finding images for articles just to adhere to convention. Why not try to be visually interesting in a less conventional way? So far, I like it. See what you think.



August 8, 2020

Some major changes to the site composition. It's difficult to produce little self-contained articles when the more interesting ideas are so sprawling, and they also aren't the most popular content. Long form articles are preferred.

Articles now have a status, indicating how complete they might be. Some will be more iterative, reflecting my thinking on a particular topic to date. These might get broken out into smaller articles over time.

The newest of these iterative articles is On Emotion and isn't finished, but is coherent. Whereas, On Attraction and Love has been updated to satisfaction and I think that's going to remain fairly stable for a while. You can sometimes find a list of all the articles tagged for inclusion in more sprawling pieces at the bottom of the artice.

This will allow a more focused and project-oriented approach to ideas. To help draw attention to the interesting changes on the site, I'm now publishing my changelog here.

All previous newsletters since the new site launch can now be found here.

There have been minor updates to quite a few articles, and a major update to one. You can find those in the newsletter.

Many of the changes are inspired by gwern.net. Worth a look if you're into rabbitholes.

Also, some site speed updates, including image compression.


July 27, 2020

Big effort on Chompsky. Detailing his media model with Herman, and then applying it to current trends. Helps to identify the means of finding more sensible sources of news. A number of old articles updated also for an upcoming piece on emotion.

Some behind the scenes work on the site also, to speed both the site and the publishing process up.




June 18, 2020

A bunch of articles updated. Three of note. Two new articles. All of which, you can find in the newsletter. Reporting on the coronavirus pandemic and the US election is highlighting the tensions inherent to media reporting. Worth revisiting Chompsky, I think.


May 14, 2020

Plato excursion has led us down a little democracy rabbithole. Our democracy is most certainly not like his.


May 14, 2020


April 23, 2020

A big dig into Plato the last couple of weeks, and by extension Socrates. Some preliminary notes here. His Republic will have to wait for another time.



April 13, 2020

Facebook relaunched. Still almost 2000 followers after a year or more of neglect. My apologies.

First newsletter sent in over a year. Mailchimp forced me to delete all subscribers and invite them to subscribe to a new list. I'm glad so many of you resubscribed.

In the newsletter I point out a new article and a couple of old updated ones, but really quite a few have been updated in the process of relaunching the site. All the old articles can be found in the archive for The Dirt Psychology.


April 2, 2020

Website relaunched. Seven years on and The Dirt Psychology has become something more.

Turns out that brain science isn't always really psychology, and often both are philosophy. When the goal is to turn scholarship into wisdom, we need to cast the net a little wider.

Several old articles were also updated as part of the upgrade for the launch article On Attraction and Love in an effort toward more project focused research.

Using a static site generator (tightenco/jigsaw) since accessibility was a problem for readers with slower internet.


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