July 2016 Media Thread

post by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:52:43.557Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 30 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 · 2016-07-01T06:53:35.454Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Short Online Texts Thread

comment by gwern · 2016-07-02T20:11:35.586Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Everything is heritable:


  • "Wealth, Health, and Child Development: Evidence from Administrative Data on Swedish Lottery Players", Cesarini et al 2016
  • "Okhrana: The Paris Operations of the Russian Imperial Police" (The back and forth secret war of the Okhrana with the myriads of Russian revolutionaries across Europe, documented by the complete archives of the Paris Okhrana office smuggled to America after the Russian Revolution. When you see how easily and thoroughly the Okhrana had infiltrated the Russian revolutionaries, you start to see why the Communist leadership would be extraordinarily paranoid about spies - but also that the revolutionaries were, well before the Revolution, generally highly nasty folks; many of the mentioned revolutionaries would be summarily executed by their comrades.)
  • "The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus's Wife", King's response (The Gospel of Jesus's Wife is probably a modern forgery. But it gets weirder. And kinkier. Forgeries like this always raise troubling issues about religious scriptures: if this forgery had been kept in private collections for another century before becoming known, in all likelihood, most of the damning evidence would either have disappeared or become inaccessible, and all that would be left is a few worries over the appearance. Most scriptures have even more vexed provenances than does the Gospel of Jesus's Wife, with blackouts of centuries not uncommon, and known destruction of variants (eg the well-known destruction of all variants of the Koran). Of course, you might think, who would dare counterfeit the Word of God Himself? Yet, humans are strange and inscrutable and can talk themselves into anything - why did Fritz do it? Probably even he doesn't really know. Who knows how many Fritzes there have been throughout history...)
  • "My Four Months as a Prison Guard"



  • "Generalized Network Psychometrics: Combining Network and Latent Variable Models", Epskamp et al 2016
  • "Statistically Controlling for Confounding Constructs Is Harder than You Think", Westfall & Yarkoni 2016 (This is part of why results in sociology/epidemiology/psychology are so unreliable: not only do they usually not control for genetics at all, they don't even control for the things they think they control for. You have not controlled for SES by throwing in a discretized income variable measured in one year plus a discretized college degree variable. Variables which correlate with or predict some outcome such as poverty, may be doing no more than correcting some measurement error (frequently, due to the heavy genetic loading of most outcomes, correcting the omission of genetic information). This is why within-family designs are desirable even without worries about genetics: they hold constant shared-environment factors so you don't need to measure or model them.)
  • "Linear Programming: How Does It Work?"
comment by gwern · 2016-07-02T20:11:41.968Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW


  • "Ann Roe's scientists: original published papers" (One of the very few data sets, excluding TIP/SMPY, of extremely intelligent people. I am still reading through them but one impression I get is that the education system in America when most of them were growing up around 1910-1920 was grossly inadequate and unchallenging; many of them seem to only drift into their field when they happen to run into a challenging course in college. Quite a few mention incredibly little access to books and severe poverty (although interestingly, they all come from what are clearly middle/upper-class descent families, even if in some cases they are so poor as to be unable to afford shoes). Smart kids are so much better off these days with Internet access to anything at all they want to read. As I've noted in reading biographies of American scientists, the academic environment pre- and post-WWII is strikingly different than the pressure-cooker race to the bottom we are familiar with now. Relative underperformance in grades compared to females is also a running theme. With the chemists and physicists, home chemistry kits seem to have been nigh universal - which is something that sure doesn't happen these days!)
  • "Gifted Today But Not Tomorrow? Longitudinal Changes in Ability and Achievement in Elementary School", Lohman & Korb 2006 (Challenges in gifted education in elementary or earlier: IQ scores are unstable and so regression to the mean implies that few children in G&T programs will grow up to be gifted.)
  • "Is Education Associated With Improvements in General Cognitive Ability, or in Specific Skills?", Ritchie et al 2015
  • "Understanding the Improvement in Disability Free Life Expectancy In the U.S. Elderly Population", Chernew et al 2016 (Adult disability-free life expectancy continues to increase, due in large part to eye surgery improvements; vision is probably, like falling, the proximate cause of a lot of health issues.)
  • "Nicotine Contents in Some Commonly Used Toothpastes and Toothpowders: A Present Scenario", Agrawal & Ray 2012 (/not sure if harmful or helpful)
  • vision:

    • Orthostatic hypotension: when you stand up and feel like you are about to faint & your vision becomes totally obscured by silver mist
    • Visual snow: when you see the world slightly fuzzy and noisily, like very gentle translucent static on a TV screen
    • Closed-eye hallucination with phospenes: when you close your eyes and see a colored background with blobs and lights, especially in a pitch-black room or at night





comment by TheAltar · 2016-07-14T15:42:07.704Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I have visual snow from trying out a medication. I can confirm that it sucks and is annoying. It's not debilitating though and is mostly just inconvenient.

Then again, it may be slightly harming my ability to focus while reading books. Still checking that out.

comment by [deleted] · 2016-07-08T19:55:25.773Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Following insects around: tools and techniques of eighteenth-century natural history - how a Postmaster General of France promoted the shipping of live insects, a retired military man scoured countryside for cicadas, and M. Reaumur and M. Bazin kept in touch (for science! and chocolate).

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:53:31.351Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Online Videos Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:53:27.578Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fanfiction Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:53:22.368Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nonfiction Books Thread

comment by gwern · 2016-07-02T20:10:41.433Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:53:18.543Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fiction Books Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:53:14.705Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

TV and Movies (Animation) Thread

comment by gwern · 2016-07-02T20:10:14.487Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
  • Basilisk) (review)
  • Tonari no Seki-kun (Situational comedy: the straight (wo)man tries to avoid the distraction of her seat-mate but often winds up in trouble or missing lesson information, although other times she becomes drawn in and scores moral victories. Simple yet entertaining - the gags are varied and it's a fun light watch, especially since each episode is like 8 minutes so the premises don't wear themselves out. An excellent and well worth watching summary is the AMV "My Neighbor Figaro Kun" which, in the great foot-steps of Bugs Bunny, demonstrates why The Barber of Seville is the best opera. To the extent there is any larger meaning of Tonari no Seki-kun, it struck me around episode 20 that the mute Seki-kun is something of a gifted child, trapped in a worthless conventional classroom learning stuff which no one cares about and all the students will forget as soon as possible, and that only Seki-kun is awake, as he works on his self-directed projects and learns far more than any school would teach him. Notes: whoever animated the cat episode clearly is not a cat owner; Seki-kun pulled off the magic trick by having another ace and crumpling a spare card to replace the original crumpled ace.)
  • Michiko to Hatchin (review)
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:53:10.722Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

TV and Movies (Live Action) Thread

comment by gwern · 2016-07-02T20:10:05.787Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
  • Bridge of Spies) (overly earnest - painfully and ironically so given the War on Terror - Cold War Spielberg film about a lawyer defending a spy; becomes much better and tense when the primary plot begins and Donovan must carefully play off the East Germans and Soviets while not blowing the whole deal. Standard Hollywood polish, perhaps a bit too heavy on the deliberate symbolism like the cold passed from Abel to Donovan onwards or the train/fence pairings and the contrast between the film implying Abel would be treated as a traitor by the USSR compared to Powers, which was the departure from history I found most objectionable.)
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:53:06.940Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Games Thread

comment by Pimgd · 2016-07-01T07:45:28.938Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've been playing the 3rd release in the Zero Escape series, Zero Time Dilemma (3DS release June 28, PC release June 29). It's a mix of VN and "escape the room" in terms of genres.

In Zero Time Dilemma, 9 people are stuck in a simulated space ship, to test the effects of people flying to mars. Because the projected flight path puts the sun between the earth and mars, there will have to be radio silence for a few days. Several hours before the radio silence is lifted, the group is forced to participate in a game by an entity called 'Zero'. Each player has to wear (or rather, wakes up wearing) a bracelet, which functions as a watch and as an injector of sleeping & amnesia drugs.

Zero has a fascination with branching of time - near the start of the game he tells a story about a runner. She runs through the park every morning. At a particular branch, she usually always goes right. However, one day, she goes left. On the left path, she comes across an old man who she sees often when running in the mornings. The old man asks her "hey, this is different from your usual route. Why did you go left?" The woman answers "because there was a snail." Later that day, police finds the woman dead in the bushes of the left path. "Isn't it curious, how one snail can affect a life so much?"

Zero forces the players to participate in "Decision Games". The players are told that...

  • There is only one way out, and that's through the big door with the X
  • You need at least 6 X-passes to open the big door
  • When the door is opened, it opens for 30 seconds - afterwards, it doesn't open anymore, EVER
  • An X-pass will be revealed to the group if a person dies.

In other words... 6 people must die.

The players are split up into 3 teams of 3 members each (for maximum tribalism?) and then are told of their first decision game - a screen turns on, showing the names of the other teams. Each team is to vote which other team should be executed. If a team has 2 or more votes, it is executed. If a team does not vote, it gains 2 votes against it.

So the game starts off with a version of prisoners dilemma. Through plot an option (A votes for B, B votes for C, C votes for A) is suggested and passed along a side channel, turning it into a true problem rather than a random guess.

Pretty much every "Decision Game" is a cruel game of ethics - where failure is met with death, and success with continued survival.

The game is cut up into 90 minute segments - after these 90 minutes are up, players are put to sleep and have their memory wiped. It's sad that none of the players seems to try and game this gimmick (not that I've seen yet, but I'm only at 20% completion or so) by writing stuff on their hands or something. But what makes this interesting is that the game plays out in time-fragments, some on one timeline, some on another.

I've pretty much been on an adrenaline high whilst playing this game - whilst you should play the earlier releases in the series if you want to connect all the plot threads (and there are a LOT), you could get away without playing them. There's enough exposition to explain plot points covered in the earlier releases, although it sometimes feels like a noodle incident ("I've seen this before, it's just like that one time with the rabbits").

If you're still unsure, I'd recommend downloading an DS emulator and a rom for 9 hours 9 persons 9 doors - it's the first release in the series and has similar gameplay, although without the traveling to story fragments.

To me, it's an interesting game where my ethics are put to the test - it's easy to say "shut up and multiply", it's another to be faced with the choice for real.

comment by Pimgd · 2016-07-03T03:12:58.864Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Now that I've finished the game I can say that it's quite a blast - far more situations commonly discussed on LW are featured. I can't really say any more for the risk of spoiling a game which relies so much on story... My total playtime clocked in at 25 hours.

I have to say that the most annoying part of the game was that the sound kept cutting out; I frequently (I think a total of 50-100 times) had to go to the options menu and tap the BGM volume to get the background music to play again. More annoyingly, voices would sometimes also cut out, and the game doesn't continue until the line has been spoken, so it's required to enter the options menu and tap the voice volume to fix things. I think I had to tap the voice volume about 20 times in total. This did detract from my experience, but I still think the 37 euros I spent on it were worth it for the 24 hours of play.

The puzzles were of decent difficulty; I only googled for help once, and that turned out to be me just plain forgetting about an item.

comment by gwern · 2016-07-02T20:09:27.522Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

ANN also had a highly positive review: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/game/ps-vita/zero-time-dilemma/.103602

comment by MrMind · 2016-07-04T10:22:21.233Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Recently I've caught myself delving more into games that are basically programming puzzles.
This means games that have acceptable but not overtly superb graphics, and they all happen in stages, each a different and more difficult puzzle than the previous, all to be solved by programming the interactions of some basic components.
Here's the ones I like the most.

Windows / Steam:

  • SpaceChem (about producing chemical components in space)
  • TIS-1000 (computation to be done on a parallel grid, highly textual)
  • Infinifactory (constructing things for your alien overlords)


  • The sequence (just put the thing at point A in point B five times, with only these tiny simple robots).
comment by Pimgd · 2016-07-05T07:37:00.395Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

SpaceChem eventually became too hard for me - I don't really have a methodlogical approach to the game, I'm just very good at seeing where the atoms will go. As a result, it all looks like a jumbled mess that is not reusable. The final level is too hard for the slow approach, which means that due to the difficulty spike, I've never actually finished the game.

comment by MrMind · 2016-07-06T06:51:20.780Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Neither did I, and from the look of some solutions seen on Youtube, TIS-1000 seems to be even harder.
I suggest you though to look into The Sequence, it's easier but still manages to be challenging.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:53:02.934Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Music Thread

comment by polymathwannabe · 2016-07-26T14:22:36.129Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm happy to have found minimal music. It reflects perfectly the way my head sounds on the inside. Main examples:




comment by gwern · 2016-07-02T20:09:47.831Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW



A cappella:

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:52:59.319Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Podcasts Thread

comment by James_Miller · 2016-07-01T07:48:40.645Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I did interviews with three people last month on my podcast Future Strategist:

Steve Hsu, an expert on the genetic architecture of human intelligence,
Max More, the CEO of cryonics provider Alcor, and
James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention: AI and the end of the human era.

If you like my podcast please consider writing a review on iTunes.

comment by Thomas · 2016-07-07T05:39:32.143Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In that last podcast with James Barrat you are even more interesting to listen than him. I'll check other podcasts of yours if is it often so.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:52:54.706Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Other Media Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2016-07-01T06:52:49.531Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Meta Thread

comment by [deleted] · 2016-07-03T16:59:16.886Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps we could post here about book exchange (and other items we can offer others)? I am not sure if the idea will be interesting to other people, but why not try.