January 2015 Media Thread

post by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:50:52.890Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 38 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 ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:51:41.154Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Short Online Texts Thread

comment by gwern · 2015-01-01T02:23:10.262Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW





comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2015-01-02T15:51:33.114Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Why is the Onion article under Philosophy?

comment by gwern · 2015-01-02T16:02:51.701Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I thought it was a nice example of status quo bias in ethics / deathism and reversal tests. I guess the point of the Onion article was not as obvious as I thought.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2015-01-02T21:39:22.767Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I saw how it was applicable to LW, no doubt. I just thought it would go under Rationality-related humor rather than Philosophy.

comment by gwern · 2015-01-03T03:56:52.623Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I see the core point as philosophical: criticizing an unjustified asymmetry in the way we think about things. It may be funny, but the humor is nonessential and the criticism is essential.

comment by gwern · 2015-01-01T02:23:03.573Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Everything is heritable:




comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:51:36.320Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Online Videos Thread

comment by advancedatheist · 2015-01-02T15:52:40.738Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Alcor's CEO Max More on "How to sustain an organization for over a century:"

Part 1 of 2: http://youtu.be/SEZoaNiMsho

Part 2 of 2: http://youtu.be/po91pP2VT4Y

comment by JoshuaZ · 2015-01-04T17:31:34.720Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'd be more interested in More's analysis here if he were from a company that had successfully sustained itself for over a century, but the basic points seem interesting.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:51:32.542Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Fanfiction Thread

comment by Leonhart · 2015-01-03T16:22:30.942Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It's pony time, I'm afraid.

My Little Economy: Economics is Science and its sequelae.

"It's the NGDP Targeting Festival in Ponyville," Twilight said. "I'll have a miserable time trying to explain monetary theory to a bunch of hicks and then come home. What's the worst that could happen?"'

Really good - perhaps the best compromise between the needs of characterisation, parable, and comedy I've ever seen. Seems like it should be accessible to people who haven't seen MLP.

ETA: The author seems to have randomly deleted all hir blog posts, made the stories inaccessible, and then returned them to semi-accessibility (possibly due to pleading in comments). This seems a funny response to people liking one's work, but eh, humans. The important thing is that I've downloaded them all as ePUBs. PM me for them if the source vanishes again. (I'm a bit upset about the demise of the blog posts, mainly because they referred approvingly to Scott Alexander as a "friendship blogger", which is just the best description of him, ever)

The Best of All Possible Worlds

Assuming he survived the next five seconds, Voltaire congratulated himself on finding the one topic liable to drive Princess Celestia into a homicidal rage, a very useful lever to have against your monarch and employer.

Epic Voltaire/Celestia friendshipping set against the backdrop of a Griffin reenactment of the French Wars of Religion. Extremely long, but worth it.

Mandatory Fun

It was six against an army, and even I knew the odds favored the half-dozen.

Cheese Sandwich conquers Equestria. Short and amusing.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:51:28.997Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Nonfiction Books Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:51:25.268Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Fiction Books Thread

comment by shminux · 2015-01-01T02:52:31.270Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Waylander book 1, a fantasy series. Readable, but meh. The world is a pretty standard fantasy setting, the sudden character development from selfish to self-sacrificing is not at all believable, the fantastic elements are run-of-the-mill. Relying on deux-ex-machina and coincidences doesn't help. Still, a way to pass the time without getting too bored.

Camouflage by Joe Haldeman: a disappointment. No idea how it won the Nebula in 2004. A mundane shape-shifter story, with no emotion, no reason for the protagonist to do what he does, and an idiotic ending.

Currently reading: The Blade Itself, Pretty amazing so far. Great characters, great dialogue, a quality world. The author does an admirable job of self-consistently and believably describing the inner dialogue of the major characters, which are all multidimensional and interesting, not just good or evil. Reminds me of the Song of Ice and Fire, only a PG version. The trilogy has not won any awards, so I am afraid that the quality will drop off.

comment by drethelin · 2015-01-02T02:44:07.890Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Huh, I loved Camouflage. Different strokes I guess.

comment by shminux · 2015-01-04T00:01:58.337Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Could be the difference in the medium, print vs audiobook.

comment by lmm · 2015-01-01T10:23:31.073Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I felt the writing quality wasn't good enough, even in The Blade Itself; I think I might have read the second one but certainly gave up before the third. If you like that kind of world I found The Straight Razor Cure to be a more enjoyable/better-plotted example of it.

comment by lmm · 2015-01-01T10:27:27.472Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The Peripheral; very readable, very Gibson. Felt if anything like a reworking of Pattern Recognition into a more explicitly sci-fi story; the same style, the same kind of arc, but with an explicit premise that requires a bit more suspension of disbelief. I liked it for being a vision of the post-scarcity future that at least took a few stabs at telling us what ordinary people do all day (in contrast to e.g. the Culture novels, where I never had any sense for what non-special-circumstances people did with themselves). Though part of that is probably just being set in London.

comment by gwern · 2015-01-01T02:21:32.994Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW
comment by lmm · 2015-01-01T10:35:38.532Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I felt Un Lun Dun was weaker Miéville. Kraken is better (by which I mean I remember some of it rather than none of it), but still relies overmuch on a lazy, conventional kind of magic. The works of his that I'd really recommend are The City & The City (shorter, clever, and in some sense not even sci-fi) and the Bas-Lag series (Perdido Street Station et al) (long, high but non-tolkien fantasy, plot that was clever enough (at least for me). Mostly I love the worldbuilding so maybe not for people who don't value that as much as me).

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:51:21.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

TV and Movies (Animation) Thread

comment by lmm · 2015-01-01T10:20:43.766Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Just watched the film version of Macross Frontier with some friends (i.e. The False Songstress and The Wings of Goodbye), and really enjoyed it. Not something I'd defend as particularly intelligent or rational, but really beautifully animated, ridiculous amounts of visual detail (particularly the concerts), and certainly doesn't have the slow pacing problem of the series. If anything it's too fast; not enough breathing room around some events, and what different parties are doing doesn't always quite connect up. But good Macross fun, singing and robot fights.

On visiting family I was reminded again how good The Legend of Korra is (haven't seen all of it yet). I love seeing a world that's changing, evolving, noticeably different from that of the previous series. And the central conflict has taken a very interesting turn, putting those who were the unambiguous heroes of the first show into a different light; it's shaping up to make a case for either noblesse oblige or nonintervention, either of which would be interesting. By creating a world where some people really are better than others, it's going where few media would dare - think X-men, but rather than having cool powers and being oppressed by society, our protagonists have cool powers and wealth and power as a result. The big villain gets some slightly unsubtle presentation, but his cause is still one we can be sympathetic to.

And at the same time as all these big issues, the show's having human drama, but hitting the balance where it doesn't take over. Where Aang was an enlightened monk at age ten, Korra comes off as a real teenager - with all the cringe-inducing things that sometimes means. I'm constantly afraid that the romance or sports sides will derail the main plot, but so far it's walked the tightrope beautifully, managing to be interesting on every level, without anything trivializing anything else.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:51:16.642Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

TV and Movies (Live Action) Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:51:12.848Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Music Thread

comment by spxtr · 2015-01-01T05:53:00.735Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Best songs of 2014.





comment by gwern · 2015-01-05T04:12:24.148Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ariel Pink - Put Your Number In My Phone. Eclectic as ever. If anyone figures out what's going on in the video, I'd like to know.

I thought it was pretty straightforward? The protagonist/singer has some sort of crippling medical condition, and is lonely and seeking female companionship (disabled men need love too; see also Neutral Milk Hotel's “Two-Headed Boy, Pt. 2”). So he's boned up on PUA, and he's hired a young guy to assist him, appropriately peacocked up with the hair and hat and lipstick etc, and they've gone to the mall to hunt for phone numbers (one of the key steps). He fails dismally, as one would predict. This is a mix of sad/pitiable and optimistic: it may seem hopeless, and he has indeed failed, but there is always tomorrow, and if they make enough approaches, who knows? Maybe one day they'll succeed.

(I realize that watching it, you might think the scenario is that it's a young PUA forced to drag along his crippled older brother, completely ruining his chances, but this does not fit the tone or lyrics too well, and if you watch carefully, there seems to be hints that the wheelchair man is in charge; consider the phone tapping at 2:10 - it's not the young guy's phone which is the subject of the title, but the wheelchair guy's phone.)

comment by gwern · 2015-01-01T02:22:10.430Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW



Kantai Collection:


comment by pinyaka · 2015-01-02T21:59:16.618Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Music for Programming - Several downloadable mixes of electronica meant to be background music while you're doing something that requires attention.

comment by Halfwitz · 2015-01-06T20:50:45.904Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

After reading a biography of Hugh Everett, I checked out his son's music and was pleasntly surprised. I especially liked this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYvj7oeIMCc

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:51:08.356Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Podcasts Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:51:03.731Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Other Media Thread

comment by ShardPhoenix · 2015-01-01T08:39:03.322Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I've been playing Endless Legend and enjoying it a lot. It's a Civilization-style/4X PC game in a fantasy/post-post-apocalypse setting, but with some nice changes that elegantly improve on Civ in some ways. Also has good art, pretty decent world-building, and 8 unusually varied factions to choose from. On the downside it still doesn't solve all the late-game issues with Civ and the tactical combat is not very compelling (but can be skipped). Like any game in this genre, be warned that it can consume a lot of time.

comment by Vaniver · 2015-01-02T20:49:56.015Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Endless Legend has some improvements over Civ, but also some specific things that rub me the wrong way; as a lot of the changes I dislike are closely tied to changes I like, I expect this might be a taste thing.

  1. Cities automatically work every adjacent hex; population can be allocated to any of the resources at some rate adjusted mostly by the hero governor, and cities can be expanded to be adjacent to more hexes. But there are predefined regions and cities can only work hexes inside their region, and there can only be one city per region- and so many spots which would be great places for cities simply cannot be settled, and settling a region without completely exploring it sets you up for regret later. (This also applies to your starting region!)
  2. Heroes have potent effects as governors- but those effects are determined by their traits and race, both of which you have very little control over. You might have a great city placed on a river in a region with lots of river hexes, but not have access to a Broken Lords or Drakken hero who could greatly magnify the amount of dust or food produced by that city, because there's a random set of 10 heroes to choose from in the marketplace.
  3. Terrain produces four different resources instead of three (science can come from land instead of people or an offshoot of wealth like in Civ), but hex production tends to be a huge component of overall empire wealth, and so you may have very limited ability to specialize your empire's resources. (If you're in a tundra, you're going science-heavy; and if there's not a nearby tundra, you may be science-deprived.) This is partially offset by the ability to allocate population freely to any resource, and not as bad as it is in Endless Space (a very similar game made by the same people).

It seems like most of the changes from historical / fantasy 4X games are inspired by space 4X games; the regions seem to me to be the analog of planets in Endless Space, the hero system is basically the same, and so on.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-01-01T00:50:58.867Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Meta Thread

comment by [deleted] · 2015-01-23T17:37:34.657Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is a good one. I tried to put it into words but I can't. But instead of stringing together some words from an epic novel to describe my feelings, I'll just say this song reminds me, or makes me feel my life, or just sounds like a description of my life. Can't say I remember my life clearly, but ya know, when someone recites an event that you've completly forgotten (more like never consciously remembered it) and it just clicks. Oh well, enough wannabe sequences now, here's the holy grail you've been waiting for: