Complete 2014 Roundup

This entry is part 8 of 17 in the series Annual Roundups

Here’s the complete roundup of the year’s posts, in chronological order. New readers this year might want to check out the 2013 roundup. If you want to do some binge reading further back into the archives, there is a page for the Rust Age (2007-12) with both curated selections and complete roundups.

We had 45 posts this year, of which 16 were by residents or guest bloggers and 29 were by me.  I wrapped up one favorite bunny trail from previous years (7) continued some favorite old themes (1, 2, 25, 30, 40) and started what looks like several new ones. There’s a saints-vs-traders bunny trail (19, 20, 21, 22?), three major Grand Unified Theory type posts (15, 29 and 32) and a bunny trail involving crash-only thinking (39, 42, 45). Very appropriately, and entirely coincidentally, post #42 was heavily Douglas Adams inspired. I can’t help but think that means something. There was an ongoing series of what I can only call a series of reflective mid-life-crisis type posts (8, 9, 14, 22, 42, 44). Finally, there were two fiction experiments (27, 28). All in all, a very creepy-crawly, divergent year.

Happy holidays!

  1. Free, as in Agent
  2. Consent of the Surveilled
  3. The Poor Usability Tell (Jordan)
  4. Technical Debt of the West (Kevin)
  5. An Information Age Glossary
  6. From Cognitive Biases to Institutional Decay (Kartik)
  7. The Cactus and the Weasel
  8. Demons by Candelight
  9. Immortality in the Ocean of Infinite Memories
  10. Authors and Directors (Sam)
  11. Love Your Parasites (Jordan)
  12. Ritual and the Productive Community (Ryan)
  13. The Legibility Tradeoff (Kartik)
  14. A Life with a View
  15. Product-Driven versus Customer-Driven
  16. Replaceability and the Economics of Disequilibrium (Sam)
  17. Science! and Other Off-the-Wall Études
  18. Power Gradients and Spherical Cows (Jordan)
  19. The Logic of Uberreaction
  20. Saints and Traders: The John Henry Fable Reconsidered
  21. The Deliberate Practice of Disruption
  22. The Physics of Stamp Collecting
  23. Portals and Flags
  24. A Koan is not a Riddle (Jordan)
  25. Close Encounters of the Missing Kind
  26. Structure Follows Context
  27. The Heirloom Lounge (short story)
  28. Seoul Station (part 1 of a longer story, yet to be continued)
  29. The Economics of Pricelessness
  30. The Veil of Scale
  31. The Creation and Destruction of Habits
  32. How to Fall Off the Wagon
  33. Geopolitics for Individuals (Kartik)
  34. We Have Them Surrounded in Their Tanks (Jordan)
  35. The Rhythms of Information: Flow-Pacing and Spacetime (Ryan)
  36. The Political Hangover of Prohibition (Craig Roche)
  37. The Adjacency Fallacy
  38. Playing Games to Leave Games (Sam)
  39. Crash-Only Thinking
  40. Don’t Surround Yourself With Smarter People
  41. The Design of Crash-Only Societies (Ryan)
  42. Learning to Fly by Missing the Ground
  43. The Future of Tipping
  44. Striving, Surviving, Suffering and Slacking
  45. Learning from Crashes
Series Navigation<< Complete 2013 RoundupComplete 2015 Roundup >>

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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. I’d like to start by asking questions about your ideas.
    1. How can one follow the ideas outlined in your essays without falling prey to the trap of trying to copy your particular Sociopathy and personal morality or simply viewing it as another goal on their checklist ? After all, the whole point of sociopathy is to be the judge of your own morals.
    2. Can sociopathy permit for deep friendships/spouseships with other Sociopaths or does it force Sociopaths to be permanently on isolation mode, knowing deep down inside them that they can never love anybody or have any meaning in their lives?

    • Dude, you’re over thinking it. Read what you like, don’t take it too seriously, appropriate what you agree with, ignore what you disagree with. It’s not like this blog has nefarious subliminal programming embedded that you have to be wary of.

      Sociopath stuff is one small bunnytrail of exploration that’s like <10% of this blog. It does not permeate the rest like an essence or something.

  2. @Venkat: In 2007, you wrote that you’re cynical enough to believe that we’re overdue for a civilizational collapse. Are you still so pessimistic ?

    • I’ve switched to a Bayesian framework on this stuff now :) My prior probability for all collapse scenarios over the next 100 years seems to hover between 20% to 40% these days.

      It also depends on definitions. In some senses, we’re going through quite a rapid collapse right now, as we speak (Tainter’s “sudden decrease in complexity of institutions of a civilization” definition).

  3. @Venkat: How ’bout the probability of a Roman-style centuries-long collapse?

  4. When you have time, I suggest you do an unfamiliar perspective on this very odd book, The Codex Seraphinianinius. Despite the fact the link goes to ‘’, said book is not even remotely religious in nature. Enjoy and happy holidays to you and your wife!