August 2015 Media Thread

post by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:46:53.469Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 66 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 · 2015-08-01T14:47:49.750Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Short Online Texts Thread

Replies from: gwern, moridinamael, Halfwitz, None
comment by gwern · 2015-08-01T17:55:14.222Z · LW(p) · GW(p)








Replies from: None, None
comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-01T18:28:07.178Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Re: those Ukrainians A trusted acquaintance of mine has worked for this same Bakhtiyarov and never had a single kind word to say about either his ethics or his brains. Do not summon him from wherever he is.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-05T18:31:19.299Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Would you mind sharing a list of all blog feeds you are subscribed to? Perhaps as OPML file?

Replies from: gwern
comment by moridinamael · 2015-08-02T02:51:01.508Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I found this awesome, brilliant analysis of the works of Neal Stephenson from a political and sociological angle.

Ok, it was me, I wrote this.

Replies from: None, NancyLebovitz
comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-03T04:34:36.989Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Would you prefer I leave comments on the page itself?

Replies from: moridinamael
comment by moridinamael · 2015-08-03T19:24:33.001Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for your comments, I appreciate your points. I've replied in the comments of the linked article.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-08-02T14:40:27.027Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The website seems to be down.

Replies from: moridinamael
comment by moridinamael · 2015-08-02T15:23:09.575Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the heads up. Should be working now.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-16T00:06:28.002Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

the way you think about habits is wrong

extinction bursts

Extinction burst

Supp 1

Supp 2

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:47:31.801Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fiction Books Thread

Replies from: Raziel123, gwern, None, Risto_Saarelma, Halfwitz
comment by Raziel123 · 2015-08-01T16:04:54.101Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have to recommend Phyl-Undhu from Nick Land (yes the guy from XenoSystems), yes is a little short, but if you like (or think you would like) Lovecraft then you should read it. I thought it was wonderfully written, and it get the cosmic horror/lovecraftian atmosphere very well.

comment by gwern · 2015-08-01T17:55:31.075Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-01T19:46:40.700Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

'Mental traveler', a poem by William Blake.

comment by Risto_Saarelma · 2015-08-05T18:44:49.659Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just found out that some comic books I read in Finnish in the 80s were originally published in English in 1976 in a magazine called Starstream. I re-read the comics, which are an anthology of comic adaptations of various golden age SF short stories. They also mostly stick to the source material, such as John Campbell's Who Goes There, which was also the basis for John Carpenter's The Thing. Generally it's quite a bit better than what you'd expect from "newsstand comic book from 1976", and a lot of the stories are quite weird, from the mix of outdated science and narrative conventions, source material from authors who sometimes were actually very good and the general mismatch with what you'd expect from the dated comic book format. Robert Silverberg, Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, Poul Anderson and Theodore Sturgeon are some of the more notable authors who get an adaption.

comment by Halfwitz · 2015-08-01T16:22:35.043Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Read The Martian - not bad I guess, but a sort of celebration of terrible ethics.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2015-08-01T17:58:27.336Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The ethical dimension is lampshaded at a few points and it's pointed out that it's not quite that clearcut as 'we are wasting billions of dollars to riskily save one volunteer'; I felt he implies that the death might also kill or set back the space program, which makes the choice a bit different. I'm not sure he's entirely wrong: the public has really weird beliefs and attitudes (as this absurd 'Cecil the Lion' dustup has reminded us yet again) and it's entirely possible things might play out as depicted in Weir's novel. The last shuttle deaths did kill that program, after all.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:47:27.799Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

TV and Movies (Animation) Thread

Replies from: Halfwitz, gwern, None, moonshadow
comment by Halfwitz · 2015-08-01T15:55:40.843Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Watched a lot of robot anime last month.

Rewatched RahXephon. I'd tie it with NGE at 9/10. I especially liked the first two episodes. I thought the romance in it was quite good, too. The animation goes off-model from time to time, but it's serviceable. The music is wonderful, especially the closing theme

I also watched Eureka Seven and found it vastly inferior to RahXephon - maybe 5/10 and that's pushing it.

I've been enjoying Knights of Sidonia [slight spoilers] - a half-and-half mix of neat science fiction and annoying fan service. There was an interesting romance in the first season (and one wonderful scene of a couple stranded in space) but it's pretty ridiculous how every female (including the eldritch monstrosity) loves the oblivious protagonist. Also, Izana has the potential to be super interesting but zer potential is mostly wasted.

As for the animation, I know it is controversial, but I think it's quite good. It's also obviously the future of the medium - people will get used to it. I'll give it 7/10.

Replies from: ShardPhoenix, gwern
comment by ShardPhoenix · 2015-08-02T04:05:40.502Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Knights of Sidonia

I still enjoyed the setting and some of the fights but I thought the second season was a fair bit worse than the first due to (as you mention) too much focus on harem antics, combined with a reduction in the overall sense of urgency/plot momentum.

comment by gwern · 2015-08-01T18:03:50.184Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What I find interesting about RahXephon is that having watched it and NGE several times and read staff interviews for both etc is that in almost every respect, RX is clearly better thought out and more competently executed*, and yet, it's NGE which ultimately somehow turns out to be greater than the sum of its parts of RX and a part of anime history, while RX is 'merely' one of the best mechas around, especially from that era.

* with the exception of the music - RX's is quite good but Sagisu's NGE work is still considered one of the best, up there with Kanno's Cowboy Bebop.

Replies from: Halfwitz
comment by Halfwitz · 2015-08-01T18:35:29.935Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree, there is some magic to NGE that RahXephon doesn't have - but I'm not sure how much of that is caused by the fact that I saw NGE first and it was the first Anime I ever watched. I love Neuromancer, but much of my love for it comes from the fact that it was the first science fiction novel I ever read. I had no antibodies. If I had read Vinge first, it's likely I wouldn't have been too impressed with Neuromancer, which has as many flaws as NGE.

I can't justify giving NGE a higher score for the reasons you described, but I do slightly prefer it - though less so after re-watching RahXephon.

comment by gwern · 2015-08-01T18:00:07.740Z · LW(p) · GW(p) Replies from: Halfwitz, None
comment by Halfwitz · 2015-08-04T04:05:22.068Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I watched it based on this recommendation. I'll second it - great fun, great animation, but I don't mind CGI. I thought I detected some Hannu Rajaniemi influences, too.

Gubhtu V guvax vg fubhyq unir raqrq jvgu gur gjb wbvavat gur iblntr. Qvatb'f bowrpgvbaf gb fvzhyngvba jrer cheryl n znggre bs gur cbyvgvpf naq Natryn pyrneyl cersreerq yvsr nf na rz. Gur erny jbeyq ybbxrq cerggl pehzzl.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-03T04:28:20.907Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just from reading the wiki page: it has a critique of a transhumanist society?

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2015-08-04T20:35:41.388Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes; it's strongly implied that being an upload is great, but however Deva has been captured by a tyranny which deliberately keeps resources restricted in order to force ems to scramble for survival and compliance with the central government in order to stay alive, and which reacts to events by doubling down on control & liquidation of dissenters and outside elements. (So you could easily read this as a critique of North Korea, with Deva=Pyongyang.) Which is entirely true and I expect that an upload society could very easily tilt into an even more extreme totalitarian tyranny between the evolutionary pressures and direct modification of minds.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-04T23:10:29.082Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That sounds like a very badly done transhuman society.

Replies from: lmm, gwern
comment by lmm · 2015-08-06T07:42:38.416Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What's the point of comparison? Our best political theorists have not managed to make good societies. Look at real wages over the last few decades.

Replies from: Lumifer, None
comment by Lumifer · 2015-08-06T16:31:31.179Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Look at real wages over the last few decades.

Whose real wages?

I haven't looked, but I suspect that global real wages went up.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-06T12:41:18.698Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Before we even make this comparison, I find it extremely hard to believe that the fall in real wages over the past few decades was created by following the advice of our best political theorists. Neoliberalism has not been known for listening to theorists.

comment by gwern · 2015-08-06T21:14:15.736Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If it wasn't imperfect, there wouldn't be much of a story. I think it's a well done transhuman society simply because it's bad in a way that is not just possible but a pretty plausible extrapolation: someone is usually root.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-07T03:32:50.617Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah. So you're only really interested in bad things.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-24T13:37:05.112Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

a collection of collages from the Hobbit trilogy. Kind of like comics.

comment by moonshadow · 2015-08-01T21:20:29.994Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Things that we haven't dropped yet from the current season - there's a bumper crop:

  • Classroom Crisis - does for corporate politics what Shirobako did for anime production. I have had those conversations with management...

  • Game of Laplace - trappings of a detective/mystery series, but more psychological thriller than particularly rational so far; still, has potential and the thriller is well done.

  • GATE - still not sure, but still watching. Fantasyland attempts to invade Japan, Japan retaliates, SDF starts a softly-softly invasion of fantasyland (after basically a massacre of their entire combined armed forces, medieval knights vs modern weapons isn't really a contest). It raises interesting issues, and could get very good if it actually follows them up - though it has not so far, and will be quite banal if it never does; will report back here either way.

Honourable mention: Shimoneta. I was expecting a series with this premise to fail the ten second fanservice test, but we ended up watching the entire first episode and it is surprisingly worth seeing an episode (no idea if it remains worthwhile, we have not been brave enough to try a second!). Laugh-out-loud funny, unexpectedly high production quality. Think Fahrenheit 451 crossed with Gurren Lagann crossed with a whole lot of WRONG and WTF and NSFW.

EDIT: have read ahead in the GATE manga. It doesn't quite ascend to the epic "The Irregular at Magic High School" Kim-Jong-Il-propaganda levels of Gary Stu, but that's sadly the direction it's firmly headed in and unless they've rewritten the script for the anime it looks like it's going to avoid any redeeming features it's raised the possibility of. Pity. Dropping.

Replies from: ShardPhoenix
comment by ShardPhoenix · 2015-08-02T04:10:06.044Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Gakkou Gurashi is by far my favorite show of the current season. For anyone who doesn't mind moe and wants to see a more exciting twist on the genre, I'd recommend watching the (entire) first episode with as little information/spoilers as possible.

I'm also enjoying GATE and hope that it plays to its original elements rather than being too haremy. I tried reading the manga but the only translation available in a readable resolution is very rough.

Replies from: moonshadow, None
comment by moonshadow · 2015-08-02T07:44:46.940Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Gakkou Gurashi failed the "you have five minutes to make me care about any of this" test initially for us; a friend later convinced us to watch the first episode all the way to the end - they were absolutely correct and it is now firmly back on our to-watch-more-of list, but haven't got round to confirming it stays good yet, good to have corroboration.

Another honourable mention: Akagami no Shirayukihime; strong, actually intelligent female protagonist in a misogynistic fantasy setting. Straight romance. It's a little self-aware initially - she tears up in surprise a bit too often when men aren't actively horrible to her - but gets better. Not as strong as Akatsuki no Yona though, would really like to see a second season of that.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-03T04:26:56.064Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Gakkou Gurashi is by far my favorite show of the current season. For anyone who doesn't mind moe and wants to see a more exciting twist on the genre, I'd recommend watching the (entire) first episode with as little information/spoilers as possible.

I picked it up on recommendation from /r/rational. Then I fell over laughing, having accidentally downloaded ep 4 instead of ep 1. Then I watched ep 1 and was so excited to get to the "flip".

Replies from: ShardPhoenix
comment by ShardPhoenix · 2015-08-03T09:10:30.136Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I picked it up on recommendation from /r/rational.

As much as I enjoy the show I'm not sure what makes it rationality material...

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-03T12:45:12.202Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, it was mentioned in the Friday Open Thread where things don't have to be rationality material.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:47:18.511Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Music Thread

Replies from: NancyLebovitz, None, None, None, gwern
comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-08-01T18:00:33.988Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Tandu Psychedelic trance-- very energetic and playful.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-06T12:22:26.724Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The act of killing by Joshua Oppenheimer. I just saw him in an ABC inteview, incredibly well-spoken.

Also, James Altucher on London Real.

Replies from: Username
comment by Username · 2015-08-07T12:48:29.328Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Great documentary, wrong subthread

comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-03T04:22:49.729Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I started listening to Dragonforce this past month. Their lyrics are fall-over-laughing funny.

Replies from: Username
comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-03T01:27:36.060Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Artists I've been listening to recently:

comment by gwern · 2015-08-01T18:00:29.249Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:47:44.719Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Online Videos Thread

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-16T06:38:10.986Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Power of Having Nothing to Lose. I'd like to add that I don't enjoy these kinds of videos when I'm in a good mood and free from dysfunctional anxiety. But when they are a factor, it's really... soothing. I identify with the narrator's complex of narcissism, wishful thinking, avoidance coping, fear of failure, perfectionism and learned helplessness. I'm impressed that he's a preeminent executive coach now and I'm a socially anxious LW geek. Throughout my life I've had a fear of criticism that has kept me, like many others, from getting shit done. Now I fear all the criticism I haven't got received and all the mistakes I haven't made. Oh god I hope I'm not turning into one of those people on psychology forums or support groups that just self-victimise and moan, groan and complain all day like hypochondriacs.

Breathe into your balls. This is my favourite video. It's explicitly antirational and paradoxically rational.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:47:40.073Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fanfiction Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:47:35.885Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nonfiction Books Thread

Replies from: advancedatheist
comment by advancedatheist · 2015-08-01T19:12:31.727Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

New cryonics book coming out later this month:

Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment

by D.J. MacLennan (Author)

Paperback – August 31, 2015

How far would you go to avoid death? Frozen to Life is the true account of the author's extraordinary answer to this question: If he cannot escape the constraints of a 'natural' lifespan, he will, upon his death, have his severed head cryonically preserved in a vat of liquid nitrogen in the Arizona desert. This book illuminates the astonishing science behind his decision, and the transformative power of the patternist thinking that carried him to it. From the initial confusion and isolation of his upbringing on the Scottish islands of Benbecula and Skye comes a curious inkling that collides with dominant religious dogmas and alters relationships: What am I? What is a 'self'? Must selves die? Neuroscience - including the latest theories about the way mind emerges from the architecture of the brain - interweaves with philosophy, Buddhism, and personal testimony to create a fascinating and emotionally-charged insight into the psyche of a 'cryonaut' in waiting. Written with empathy, searing insight, and dark humour, Frozen to Life is both cutting edge and bleeding heart: a postmodern experiment in falling in love with life while preparing for death, in ways we can change ourselves radically without losing our treasured humanity, and in coming to understand that neither life nor death is what we think it is.

This book might serve as an updated introduction to the cryonics idea. Cryonics organizations badly need some new expository literature any way. They can't depend on books written a generation or two back because these writings don't incorporate the experience base of the real, existing practice of cryonics over the past 50 years. This literature doesn't explain the bearing of current neuroscience, cryobiology and biotechnology on what cryonicists want to do. And it doesn't address the criticisms directed towards the project, even ones I consider a bit foolish, like "But in the future you won't know anyone!"

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:47:23.459Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

TV and Movies (Live Action) Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:47:14.102Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Podcasts Thread

Replies from: ahartell, Halfwitz
comment by ahartell · 2015-08-02T05:45:37.008Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hello Internet is a fun "two guys talking" podcast made by two popular youtubers including CGPGray, the guy who made this great video about the future of automation and employment. Low (almost no) informational content, but really enjoyable, and CGPGray will often say things that make it sound as if he's read at least some of LessWrong/Overcoming Bias. At the very least he's a transhumanist.

comment by Halfwitz · 2015-08-02T21:03:16.029Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've been looking for a good Anime/Manga podcast? The one's I've found have been ok but not exactly what I'm hoping for. Anyone know of one?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:47:08.497Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Other Media Thread

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-03T09:51:01.745Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by ArisKatsaris · 2015-08-01T14:47:03.754Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Meta Thread

comment by jnagel1000 · 2015-08-03T00:02:41.814Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


Replies from: NancyLebovitz
comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-08-03T00:55:30.134Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why did you recommend this?

Replies from: jnagel1000, jnagel1000
comment by jnagel1000 · 2015-08-03T06:54:01.187Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by jnagel1000 · 2015-08-03T03:34:37.326Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

because it is visionary?

comment by gaelgouma · 2015-08-09T06:24:29.355Z · LW(p) · GW(p)