February 2017 Media Thread

post by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:02.548Z · score: 4 (5 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 41 comments

This is the monthly thread for posting media of various types that you've found that you enjoy. Post what you're reading, listening to, watching, and your opinion of it. Post recommendations to blogs. Post whatever media you feel like discussing! To see previous recommendations, check out the older threads.



Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by morganism · 2017-02-11T19:34:47.333Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Procrastination: Do Less, Deceive Yourself, And Succeed Long-Term."


comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:32:02.539Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Short Online Texts Thread

comment by morganism · 2017-02-02T22:55:48.315Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Bruce Schneier's article on the IoT, and the danger it presents. Hits the highlights of security, crypto, and economic drive.

"The world-size robot is less designed than created. It's coming without any forethought or architecting or planning; most of us are completely unaware of what we're building. In fact, I am not convinced we can actually design any of this. When we try to design complex sociotechnical systems like this, we are regularly surprised by their emergent properties. The best we can do is observe and channel these properties as best we can."


comment by morganism · 2017-02-10T22:25:28.563Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Schneiers IoT post this week, on the collection of papers of IoT sec.


comment by Strangeattractor · 2017-02-07T16:51:33.013Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's a good article. Schneier makes good points.

I like Cory Doctorow's perspective on the Internet of Things, including the EFF's Apollo 1201 plan to get rid of DRM within 10 years. Here's one place where he talks about it. http://craphound.com/news/2016/08/25/talking-about-the-pro-security-anti-drm-business-model-on-the-oreilly-radar-podcast/

I also read the Internet of Shit twitter feed to keep up with the latest security flaw-ridden monstrosities. :) https://twitter.com/internetofshit

comment by morganism · 2017-02-10T22:30:27.082Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

that is a fab twitter feed, thanks !

comment by MaryCh · 2017-02-26T18:49:58.892Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wallace's annotated copy of Darwin's Origin of Species

We hear about Wallace's courteousness in acknowledging Darwin's priority; this paper shows how Wallace kept reading the book, making valuable suggestions for future editions, and in general being the dream reviewer that so many people despair of ever finding. Even though there were matters on which Wallace and Darwin never agreed. They just rock!

comment by morganism · 2017-02-06T21:16:53.049Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why’s Beijing So Worried About Western Values Infecting China’s Youth?


"For years, China’s leaders have feared that they’re losing their grip on the ideological loyalty of the country’s youth. According to official rhetoric, the forces wresting away young minds are cultural warfare waged through alluring foreign pop culture and the infiltration of “Western values.”

In late 2013, China established a national security committee to focus on “unconventional security threats,” including Western culture. A senior colonel working with the committee said that Hollywood movies were dangerously altering the thinking and values of China’s youth.

President Xi Jinping gave his first signal that higher education would be a key battleground in this struggle. “University Communist Party organs must adopt firmer and stronger measures to maintain harmony and stability in universities," he reportedly told a meeting of university Communist Party officials. “Young teachers have many interactions with students and cast significant [political and moral] influence on them. . . They also play a very important role in the spread of ideas.” “This is big and dark,” Minzner said. “This is several years in the making and it will likely roll out in colleges over the next several years. We don’t know how far it will go.”

and http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/13924/china-s-post-1980s-generation-between-the-nation-and-the-world

comment by satt · 2017-02-11T16:35:22.646Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Relating to that, I have sometimes wondered whether recent government policies to lower the number of foreign students & graduates in the UK might backfire by degrading UK-Chinese relations in the long run.

There are ~100k Chinese students in the UK, which presumably translates to a flow of ~30k per year. Although small compared to China's population, reducing that flow might eventually have some impact on how the Chinese and UK states relate to each other, since those students are relatively likely to be China's movers & shakers of tomorrow, and relatively likely to have some Western Liberal Democratic Values™ rub off on them.

comment by morganism · 2017-02-12T19:40:53.361Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why Do DMT Users See Insects From A Parallel Universe?

"This is an informal collection of tales regarding the strangest of possibilities -- encounters with praying-mantis like entities which occur after ingesting enteogenic compounds. Why is this so common? Nobody seems to mention spiders or grasshoppers, always mantids!"


Robotic overlords beware, there is a preying mantis behind the curtain...

comment by morganism · 2017-02-11T20:21:22.536Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The 25th Amendment, explained: how a president can be declared unfit to serve"

"Yet that’s precisely why the 25th Amendment gives the power to the vice president and the Cabinet secretaries here. Their judgments won’t be skewed by political bias against the president’s party. They work with the president up close and see him in private. So if they see deeply troubling things, they are the ones who have the ability — and, arguably, the responsibility — to act."


comment by morganism · 2017-02-11T20:09:19.797Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Elon Musk Is Wrong. We Aren't Living in a Simulation

"Once more, embracing an all-encompassing massive world simulation defeats its very nature. If the simulated apple replicates all properties of the apple, the simulated apple is the apple. " "And a simulated world is a myth too. The fact is that all minds we know of, human minds and possibly animal minds, are embodied and situated: they have a body and they partake of the physical world. We have never met a disembodied mind. We always meet bodies in the world."


comment by Strangeattractor · 2017-02-07T16:54:03.071Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This paper by Kenneth Marcus describes a rhetorical technique called Accusation In A Mirror, which was used in Rwanda in the events leading up to genocide. Here's a quote which summarizes the technique.

"The basic idea of AiM is deceptively simple: propagandists must “impute to enemies exactly what they and their own party are planning to do.” In other words, AiM is a rhetorical practice in which one falsely accuses one’s enemies of conducting, plotting, or desiring to commit precisely the same transgressions that one plans to commit against them. For example, if one plans to kill one’s adversaries by drowning them in a particular river, then one should accuse one’s adversaries of plotting precisely the same crime. As a result, one will accuse one’s enemies of doing the same thing despite their plans. It is similar to a false anticipatory tu quoque: before one’s enemies accuse one truthfully, one accuses them falsely of the same misdeed.

"This may seem an unlikely means of inciting mass-murder, since it would intuitively seem likely not only to fail but also to backfire by publicly telegraphing its speakers’ malicious intentions at times when the speakers may lack the wherewithal to carry out their schemes. The counter-intuitiveness of this method is best appreciated when one grasps that its injunctions are to be taken literally."

From: Marcus, Kenneth L., Accusation in a Mirror (2012). Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Vol. 43, No. 2, pp. 357 - 393, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2020327

comment by Strangeattractor · 2017-02-07T16:55:10.130Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Marcus 2012 paper references a 1999 Human Rights Watch report that has a few more details:

"The propagandist proposes two techniques that were to become often used in Rwanda. The first is to "create" events to lend credence to propaganda. He remarks that this tactic is not honest, but that it works well, provided the deception is not discovered. The "attack" on Kigali on October 4-5, 1990 was such a "created" event, as were others – the reported discovery of hidden arms, the passage of a stranger with a mysterious bag, the discovery of radio communications equipment – that were exploited later, especially during the genocide.

The propagandist calls his second proposal "Accusation in a mirror," meaning his colleagues should impute to enemies exactly what they and their own party are planning to do. He explains, "In this way, the party which is using terror will accuse the enemy of using terror." With such a tactic, propagandists can persuade listeners and "honest people" that they are being attacked and are justified in taking whatever measures are necessary "for legitimate [self-] defense." This tactic worked extremely well, both in specific cases such as the Bugesera massacre of March 1992 described below and in the broader campaign to convince Hutu that Tutsi planned to exterminate them. There is no proof that officials and propagandists who "created" events and made "accusations in a mirror" were familiar with this particular document, but they regularly used the techniques that it described.

From: Human Rights Watch, Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda, 1 March 1999, 1711, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/45d425512.html

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:58.245Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Online Videos Thread

comment by morganism · 2017-02-01T23:13:08.975Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Leaked video shows new ‘nightmare-inducing’ wheeled robot from Boston Dynamics"

"experiment in combining wheels with legs, with a very dynamic system that is balancing itself all the time and has a lot of knowledge of how to throw its weight around.” He adds that using wheels is more efficient than legs, although there’s obviously a trade-off in terms of maneuvering over uneven ground.



comment by MrMind · 2017-02-02T08:32:11.508Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's some impressive manoeuvre!

comment by morganism · 2017-02-11T22:22:33.640Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

John Gustafson presents: Beyond Floating Point – Next Generation Computer Arithmetic

"“A new data type called a “posit” is designed for direct drop-in replacement for IEEE Standard 754 floats. Unlike unum arithmetic, posits do not require interval-type mathematics or variable size operands, and they round if an answer is inexact, much the way floats do. However, they provide compelling advantages over floats, including simpler hardware implementation that scales from as few as two-bit operands to thousands of bits. For any bit width, they have a larger dynamic range, higher accuracy, better closure under arithmetic operations, and simpler exception-handling. For example, posits never overflow to infinity or underflow to zero, and there is no “Not-a-Number” (NaN) value. Posits should take up less space to implement in silicon than an IEEE float of the same size. With fewer gate delays per operation as well as lower silicon footprint, the posit operations per second (POPS) supported by a chip can be significantly higher than the FLOPs using similar hardware resources. GPU accelerators, in particular, could do more arithmetic per watt and per dollar yet deliver superior answer quality.”



comment by James_Miller · 2017-02-01T14:31:06.496Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

For new readers of LW, I have 29 part series of videos on game theory.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:53.712Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fanfiction Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:49.232Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nonfiction Books Thread

comment by Strangeattractor · 2017-02-07T17:09:08.501Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And The Weak Suffer What They Must by Yanis Varoufakis https://yanisvaroufakis.eu/books/and-the-weak-suffer-what-they-must/nation-books-us-edition/

This is the book that Yanis Varoufakis wrote after resigning from being Greece's finance minister in 2015. It gives his perspective on the events he was part of, attempting to negotiate with the European Union and other creditors on behalf of Greec, and also on the history of the failed policies leading up to those events.

comment by Strangeattractor · 2017-02-07T17:01:09.231Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Women Who Love Psychopaths by Sandra L. Brown, Liane J. Leedom is a book that I wish I'd had years ago. It might have saved some of my friends from learning about what it's like to date a sociopath the hard way. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3234469-women-who-love-psychopaths

The dynamic described in the book also seems sadly relevant to what's going on in the political realm these days.

comment by James_Miller · 2017-02-01T14:36:51.049Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If after reading SlateStarCodex's post BOOK REVIEW: EICHMANN IN JERUSALEM you want to learn more about how other European nations "did or didn’t protect their Jews" I suggest reading Beyond Hitler's Grasp which discusses how Bulgaria saved many of its Jewish citizens.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:44.087Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fiction Books Thread

comment by morganism · 2017-02-12T19:22:14.363Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Slow Catastrophes, Uncertain Revivals: Stories Inspired by Project Hieroglyph

Optimistic scifi stories with approaches to stabilizing or repairing the environment.

Project Hieroglyph is the brainstorm of Neal Stephenson, with a home at ASU in Az.


comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:39.385Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

TV and Movies (Animation) Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:35.440Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

TV and Movies (Live Action) Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:30.431Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Games Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:25.693Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Music Thread

comment by Viliam · 2017-02-01T13:23:58.997Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There was a debate about Esperanto in an open thread about a month ago, so here are some songs in Esperanto.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:18.187Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Podcasts Thread

comment by moridinamael · 2017-02-01T15:38:49.488Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I co-hosted a podcast discussing the three act story structure that I think was pretty good.

comment by James_Miller · 2017-02-01T14:29:08.261Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I did a podcast discussing my academic paper "The Fermi paradox and existential risk management."

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:14.027Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Other Media Thread

comment by morganism · 2017-02-12T19:23:51.483Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Deep learning handbook from MIT, online html format only. Good maths overview.


comment by morganism · 2017-02-12T19:36:53.739Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Edge question for 2017 is out, with 206 essays in answer already



"The extensive collection of answers includes contributions by several Long Now Board members, fellows, and past (and future!) SALT speakers:

George Dyson, who spoke at Long Now in 02013, says the Reynolds Number from fluid dynamics can be applied to non-traditional domains to understand why things might go smoothly for a while, and then all of a sudden don’t.

Long Now Board Member Stewart Brand says genetic rescue can help threatened wildlife populations by restoring genetic diversity.

Priyamvada Natarajan, who spoke at Long Now in 02016, describes how the bending of light, or gravitational lensing, is a consequence of Einstein’s re-conceptualization of gravity in his theory of relativity.

Samuel Arbesman, who spoke at the Interval in 02016, says “magical” self-replicating computer programs known as quines underscore the limits of mathematics and computer science while demonstrating that reproduction isn’t limited to the domain of the biological.

Michael Shermer, who spoke at Long Now in 02015, says the very human tendency to be “preternaturally pessimistic” has an evolutionary basis. Negativity bias, which can be observed across all domains of life, is a holdover from an evolutionary past where existence was more dangerous, so over-reacting to threats offered more of a pay-off than under-reacting.

Long Now Board Member Brian Eno sets his sights on confirmation bias after a particularly divisive election season playing out on social media revealed that more information does not necessarily equal better decisions.

George Church of Long Now’s Revive and Restore says that while DNA may be one of the most widely known scientific terms, far too few people understand the DNA in their own bodies. With DNA tests as low as $499, Church says there’s no reason not to get your DNA tested, especially when it could allow for preventative measures when it comes to genetic diseases.

Brian Christian, who spoke at Long Now in 02016, argues that human culture progresses via the retention of youthful traits into adulthood, a process known as neoteny.

Long Now Board Member Kevin Kelly argues that the best way to steer clear of failure is by letting go of success once it is achieved, thereby avoiding premature optimization.

Seth Lloyd, who spoke at Long Now in 02016, explains the accelerating spread of digital information using a centuries-old scientific concept from classical mechanics called the virial theorem.

Long Now Board Member Danny Hillis unpacks impedance matching, or adding elements to a system so that it accepts energy more efficiently. He predicts a future where impedance matching could help cool the earth by adding tiny particles of dust to our stratosphere that would reflect away the sun’s infrared waves.

Steven Pinker, who spoke at Long Now in 02012, argues that the meaning of life and human purpose lies in the second law of thermodynamics. Pinker believes our deeply-engrained habit of under-appreciating the universe’s tendency towards disorder is “a major source of human folly.”

Long Now Board Member Paul Saffo says that at the heart of today’s biggest challenges, from sustaining mega-cities to overpopulation to information overload, are hidden laws of scale described by Haldane’s Rule of the Right Size.

Martin Rees, who spoke at Long Now in 02010, says we may be living in a multiverse.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2017-02-01T08:31:09.949Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Meta Thread

comment by morganism · 2017-02-24T22:17:15.405Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Google AI tool to combat trolling


"Google said it will begin offering media groups an artificial intelligence tool designed to stamp out incendiary comments on their websites.

The programming tool, called Perspective, aims to assist editors trying to moderate discussions by filtering out abusive "troll" comments, which Google says can stymie smart online discussions.

comment by Lumifer · 2017-02-25T01:09:04.455Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


It also doesn't seem to be very sophisticated.