February 2013 Media Thread

by RobertLumley1 min read2nd Feb 2013100 comments

2

Personal Blog

This is the monthly thread for posting media of various types that you've found that you enjoy. I find that exposure to LW ideas makes me less likely to enjoy some entertainment media that is otherwise quite popular, and finding media recommended by LWers is a good way to mitigate this. 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.

Rules:

  • Please avoid downvoting recommendations just because you don't personally like the recommended material; remember that liking is a two-place word. If you can point out a specific flaw in a person's recommendation, consider posting a comment to that effect.
  • If you want to post something that (you know) has been recommended before, but have another recommendation to add, please link to the original, so that the reader has both recommendations.
  • Please use the comment trees for genres. There is a meta thread for comments about future threads.
  • If you think there should be a thread for a particular genre of media, please post it to the Other Media thread for now, and add a poll to the Meta thread asking if it should be a thread every month.

 

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Online Videos Thread

3NancyLebovitz8yThe Mystery of the Black Death [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs5Uh0Fah_k]-- evidence that the Black Death wasn't spread by rats (which weren't common in northern Europe at that time) and wasn't bubonic plague. It may have been some sort of hemorraghic fever. This is of interest to ratioinalists because it's about taking a second look at whether what everyone believes is actually plausible. Is there a closure bias which favors just choosing a theory so as not to leave open questions?
3syllogism8yA one hour informal lecture by Alexander Shulgin, the chemist who invented most of the modern "psychedelic" and "entheogen" drugs Part 1:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z14oZqon5NM [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z14oZqon5NM](others linked from youtube) He talks about how remarkable it is that a fairly simple molecule such as mescaline can be so transformative to our subjective experience. So what happens when you tweak the molecule in various ways? What do the variations do, in turn? Can we find any rules that govern this relationship? More generally, his idea is that if we want to study this thing we call "consciousness" --- our subjective experience --- then it's useful to be able to twiddle the knobs a little, and these drugs potentially give us a way to do that. He sees himself as a tool-maker, developing experimental apparatus that other researchers ought to be able to use productively.
0achiral8yA very good suggestion! For those who don't know, Alexander Shulgin is one of the foremost figures in psychedelic drugs in the last century. He discovered over 200 new psychedelic compounds himself and tested them on himself, his wife and a group of friends. He worked at Dow and invented a "green" pesticide that allowed him to retire comfortably to work on his personal interests. While he did not actually discover MDMA, it was due to his efforts that the drug was introduced to psychotherapists in the 70s and 80s. Some of his books are banned in Australia. He's a true hacker - although the HN crowd might not agree.
1[anonymous]8yA previous post [http://lesswrong.com/lw/dej/learn_power_searching_with_google/] on LessWrong mentioned an online course on Google power searching. There is a recent Advanced course on offer as well [http://www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com/course/aps].
5Larks8yShould we also have a rule saying, "Please avoid upvoting recommendations just because you personally like the recommended material; remember that liking is a two-place word. If you can point out a specific virtue in a person's recommendation, consider posting a comment to that effect." ?
4gwern8yI don't think people should be punished for posting unpopular or bad material, but why not let people be upvoted for either popular or obscure but good material? Then the karma points remain useful (and you can infer from your own recognition or failure of recognition whether they are indicating popularity or quality-despite-obscurity) but people don't feel afraid or threatened to post other stuff.
5Pfft8yIf the goal is that people should not be punished, how about the rule "do not downvote into negative score". That way it can never cost karma to post here, but people can still adjust the score of a recommendation downwards. If only positive votes are allowed, the scores will over-value controversial recommendations.
1DaFranker8yI think this almost cancels out. If a high-scoring, highly controversial recommendation gets in such a situation, it means it got enough attention to be controversial and reached quite a few people, and is giving us some nice data on who likes what and how the LW population stands on this, assuming there's some kind of written feedback. I think that data is probably worth the karmic difference.
0Larks8ySo to maximise karma I should just post links to every piece of media ever produced? People should be disincentivised from posting stuff that will harm the signal-noise ratio, here as in other threads.
6ArisKatsaris8yLet's use common sense. If I feel you deliberately post crap suggestions I'll downvote you, not because they're crap but because you deliberately harmed the signal-noise ratio.
1ahartell8yI don't think that would work if you tried (posting links to everything). It may naively seem like that is being incentivized but from my own intuitions about what I would do if someone did that and that fact that that hasn't actually happened, I don't think you need to be concerned.
0DaFranker8yI agree with both your points. I disagree with the premise that people should be encouraged to maximize karma, or that this will be a significant problem, or that karma votes will be given primarily on the basis of how much users enjoyed the recommended content.
0gwern8yI didn't realize that I was suggesting 'posting links to every piece of media ever produced'. Maybe we should be discussing an addition to the rules about that since apparently it's a problem.
0ShardPhoenix8yI don't think he was talking about you, just speaking hypothetically.

Other Media Thread

3tgb8yGunnerkrig Court [http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/]: an entertaining, story-based webcomic. Not complete, but has a significant amount already and updates MWF. Wavers between the silly, the absurd, and the genuinely great.
2CronoDAS8yI've been playing Persona 4 Golden recently. It's essentially a murder mystery, and it's sort of interesting that, at one point, the game gives you a list of literally every named character in the game and challenges you to identify the killer. If you fail, you get a bad ending. Most mysteries are content to let the detective give the reader the answer; this game makes the player do the hard work, and it's not at all obvious what the answer is. I accidentally spoiled myself on the solution, though. I've been enjoying the game very much, and I'm pretty close to the "true" ending...
2curiousepic8y* iamamiwhoami [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUSwkbu1IjU] * Adebisi Shank [http://youtu.be/a36LAo4YxfA] * White Sea [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCuzz2qadHM] * The Bronzed Chorus [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=km9VI1R7QW4] * Emeralds [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38lsQKiIF7A] * Dum Dum Girls [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAFXFz4SQbc]
2gwern8yDoujin (chronological): * "泣かない蝶々" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I90Y8bBRnls] [vocal] (by MANYO; heard on '羽ノ亡キ蝶') * "Prologue" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf3E0x9uscU] [inst. rock] (by Tenmon; from 'CHRONICLE' {C82}) Touhou: * "Thought" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuM0yxwU1as] [vocal] (by 38BEETS; from 'Cause and Effect' {C82}) Vocaloid: * "Love It!" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxnx3HMN7wc] (Miku; by Clean Tears; heard on 'Love It!' [http://mikudb.com/16388/love-it-2/])
0Bill_McGrath8y* Shakey Graves (two [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUkSTnUK_T0] songs [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvWhxy7l8WQ]) - Texan folk/country singer. * Red Fang (three [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQPfQvLIseA] more [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VufilzHKTqk] songs [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgV7hnjoyt0]) - I guess you could call them stoner metal. They're like a less thinky Mastodon, but some of their more recent stuff (not linked) seems to be going down a more progressive route. * I found a neat little live studio album of Tower of Power recently. I can't find a good version of this album online, but here's two [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnUFVyt1dHQ] songs [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrxRJ9HlfZk] for anyone who doesn't know them, and the album is called Tower of Power Direct [http://www.amazon.com/Direct-Tower-Power/dp/B000008LO2]. * It's really clichéd for musicians to list her as an influence, but I'm currently deep in a Kate Bush phase. I must have listened to Never for Ever [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-p9K_Ieloo] about five times in the last few days.
0negamuhia8yChillstep [http://chillstep.info/] : I've found this online collection to be quite relaxing, as the genre name suggests. The Art Of Noise - The Seduction of Claude Debussy [http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEFA8C002E9BAF5DC] : I hadn't listened to any music by this super-group before this year, and now they're one of my favourite groups...I'm either fickle or these guys are awesome, and I'm not fickle. There's one song I liked in particular, Metaforce, and its remixes. It'll show you just how versatile this group is, with the rest of the album as a backdrop.

Television and Movies Thread

3ShardPhoenix8yIf you're like me, most media you consume is some combination of dark, violent, and/or ironic. Chihayafuru [http://www.crunchyroll.com/chihayafuru/episode-1-now-the-flower-blooms-585274], on the other hand, is sincere, heartwarming, and beautiful. It's also about an obscure Japanese card game about memorizing poetry, but don't let that put you off. It's exciting. Really. Click the link above to watch for free - an Adblock [http://adblockplus.org] browser plugin will skip the video ads for you.
1bbleeker8y"Sorry, this video is not available in your region due to licensing restrictions." :(
0ShardPhoenix8yDarn, I didn't know Crunchyroll suffered from such restrictions. Well, there's always piracy :P.
1gwern8yYou're far from the first person I've seen recommend Chihayafuru, and I even downloaded the OST (liked several tracks a lot) - but I still can't get over the premise. Playing karuta? Really? I read up on it long ago while researching Fujiwara no Teika (who happens to be the compiler of the anthology used), and it sounds dull as heck.
2Vaniver8yMy experience with creative works about sports is that they don't need to depend on the excitement generated by the sport so much as the excitement that the players have. One of the things that's fascinating about Chihayafuru is that it's totally self-conscious that karuta is totally uninteresting to the general public. I would describe the show's content as being roughly one third the excitement of karuta matches, one third the interpersonal drama of the three protagonists, and one third the protagonist's interactions with society at large, which thinks her interest in karuta is silly. The last two often combine, and I can't decide if the show is saying "Chihaya's situation is sad because society doesn't understand her" or "Chihaya's situation is sad because she doesn't understand society," or both. (Also, maybe her situation gets less sad, I don't know yet.)
1gwern8ySounds like a lot of otaku-centric anime, actually - Oreimo, Genshiken, Welcome to the NHK!, Otaku no Video, etc. Sometimes they swing from one extreme to another over an episode (although I think ONV is probably the most extreme due to its negative live-action segments interspersed in the positive anime).
2[anonymous]8yGet over the premise. I'm sure karuta is a pretty terrible game, but Chihayafuru makes it really easy to suspend disbelief there.
5gwern8yFine, I'll try it.
1ShardPhoenix8yThe biggest appeal of the show is the charming and well-developed characters, but a very common reaction among those who watch it is "wow, I can't believe that they made something so seemingly lame so exciting". Chihayafuru is proof that execution is everything. Also, it helps that the game is a bit more vigorous/physical than it might sound from reading the rules (eg: http://mizunoyukino.tumblr.com/post/42129944787 [http://mizunoyukino.tumblr.com/post/42129944787]), and that the show isn't afraid to have the protagonists actually lose important matches sometimes. There's also a character who uses detailed statistics on the team and their opponents' play to improve their strategy, which may be up your alley :).
0Vaniver8yFour episodes in: Exciting is definitely the word I would use- the competitive aspect of the game comes in early, and the third episode had delightful moments, but each episode is tinged with loss and sadness in a way that makes the show hard to call heartwarming (so far).
2[anonymous]8yHouse of Cards, the American made-for/by-Netflix remake, is actually quite good. The original British version with Ian Richardson is probably better, if a bit dated by its post-Thatcherist setting. In a nutshell, Kevin Spacey plays Francis Underwood, the majority Democratic whip in an alternate reality where the Democrats won 2008 with someone other than Obama. After re-election, Frank is passed over for Secretary of State, and then starts using his connections to bring down the administration. There's a lot of sex, drugs, violence, backstabbing, and political intrigue. Some of the critics I've read are annoyed with the bluntness of the action and the occasional weakness of the writing. On the other hand, because it was written for the Netflix format, all of the first season is available at once, and each episode can be as long as it needs to be. There aren't any commercials, so what you get is a smooth, continuous plot from start to stop. The series' running gag is that Francis breaks the fourth wall on a rather frequent basis, so you'd have to like Deadpool-esque main characters, too. My main concern (I'm only two episodes in) is how the politics of England (which were kind of necessary to fill out the plot of the UK series) are going to translate to politics in the US version.
0Kawoomba8yI second that. I'm 10 episodes in, the quality seems to be sliding down. Either that or my attention span. Hmm, while he does look at the camera, to me it was more of a "enable / distinguish inner monologue" kind of trick.
1[anonymous]8yThe original also had this defect, IIRC. There were too many irons in the fire, as it were, to give any of them justice.
2gwern8yI watched Life of Pi in 3D. I thought the visuals were very beautiful, but the message sillier than ever and the ending seemed to pull its punch compared to the novel. I made some cynical jokes [https://plus.google.com/103530621949492999968/posts/5o3NDgBcCuk] about it on Google+. Anime [http://myanimelist.net/profile/gwern] (descending): * Monster * Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita * Thermae Romae * Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo * Upotte!!
2cousin_it8yI watched "Life of Pi" in 3D too. The message didn't seem silly to me, I thought it was a really strong anti-religion piece and might even deconvert some people. Maybe we interpret the message differently?
3TobyBartels8yI haven't seen the movie, but Life of Pi is easily one of my favourite books. Of course it could never make anybody believe in God, but its brilliance is that theists (at least of a certain sort) can easily be led into thinking that it would. As a metaphor for religion, it is beautiful and accurate. It is perfectly clear what (in the framing fictional world) actually happened, and yet you know what most people (in that world or in this) are going to believe. I only disliked the bit with the island. It was just too much, I thought; it gives the game away. But I was wrong. People choose to believe anyway! Preposterous but clung to: as I said, a perfect metaphor for theistic religion. The book also makes it clear what it means to choose to believe in a false story, and I only hope that the movie does as well. That is how people are responding to it. [http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20121230222952AAa7bzB] Beautifully accurate. This is the best writing on religion that I have ever encountered.
0TobyBartels7yFollowing up: I've seen the movie now, and while of course it's not as good as the book, it's pretty good.
2taelor8yI have niether read the novel nor watched the movie, but the tagline on the copy of the book that I briefly considered buying promised that it would "make you believe in God"; Whether this representative of the author's actual intent, or just the marketing is unknown to me.
2gwern8yI think you came away with an entirely unintended view (by the filmmakers, and probably, although I'm not 100% sure, the novelist); if you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_of_Pi [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_of_Pi] it doesn't seem like anyone quoted in it has any anti-religious point of view at all. Which is not to say that you can't extract a strong anti-religion message from the actual story! Doing so was in fact my first cynical joke (and a game we here have often played):
0cousin_it8yWow, that's pretty surprising. Thanks. But... the protagonist pretty much says "V'ir frra naq qbar fbzr ubeevsvp guvatf, gura vairagrq n cerggl fgbel gb oybpx gurz bhg. Naq fb vg tbrf jvgu tbq: jura crbcyr oryvrir va tbq, gurl'er qbvat gur fnzr." How can anyone consider this a pro-religion message? I guess I saw a really good anti-religion message while everyone else, including Obama, saw a pro-religion one.
2gwern8yThe pretty story could just be the narration itself, truthful or not; the true horror and suffering is not going to come through his narration, even if he tries to describe his thirst or boredom or fear of the tiger. As a counter-point, consider what we're told repeatedly by the narrator of the frame story and IIRC Pi as well: that it's a story which will make one believe in God. A story about cannibalism & murder with a cover-up lie to preserve one's sanity isn't really that sort of story.
2cousin_it8yI was under the impression that the frame story was supposed to convince you to believe in God, by presenting an argument that believing in God might be a lie but it's useful to keep your sanity and the facts don't matter anyway. The key phrase of the film, "and so it goes with God", uttered in a depressing tone, refers to that. That's the brilliance I saw in the film: in the space of one minute, it presents this rational case for the usefulness of belief, then turns around and shows you how hollow it is. No? (Sorry if I'm kind of over-explaining the point here, I'm a bit sleepy)
3gwern8yYes, that's what I thought you meant. And as I said, I like this interpretation better since I think the case for believing in God because of the story is so weak that it forms a sort of reductio so that you believe the opposite ('this is his best argument for believing in God - it's only a slightly useful Noble Lie?') But I don't think this is how the author takes the ending, or what he believes. If you look at one of Wikipedia's refs, this interview http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/july-dec02/martel_11-11.html [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/july-dec02/martel_11-11.html] - it comes off as your standard mushy-headed NOMA ecumenicalism. He talks about his own directionless life, admiring all religions, getting the idea in India, that sort of thing, and caps it off: To me, this makes the author sound like he's... what's that sarcastic phrase, 'spiritual but not theistic'? If I had to guess, I think he put in the twist as a trap for the cynical and atheistic which lets them (us) think they've solved the story and reduced it down to dreary rationality (unweaved the rainbow) but which serves as an opportunity for the spiritual to affirm that they believe the tiger story and that believing is important even if not all the facts seem to fit (belief in belief).
0[anonymous]8yI haven't seen the movie but what you wrote sounds like a big spoiler. If so please use rot13.
0Jayson_Virissimo8yI actually really liked Monster, but stopped watching because it was making my wife depressed. Oh well. In any case, if you are predisposed towards melancholy, you should avoid this one.
1Zaine8yShe should finish it, I think. The series negatively affected my mood at times. I could only bring myself to watch one to a few episodes per week ~ month, even. Stopping frequently, analysing assertions, and thinking about hard-to-process bits for long stretches at a time kept me occupied for the better part of more than a year. In the end it strengthened my ability to safely process uncomfortable ideas. Shortly after viewing the denouement ever-pervading thoughts about the series were silenced. In brief, mental security may be better served by watching the series in its entirety; I think stopping mid-way a potentially worrying decision. Only potentially, of course. She probably forgot about it already.
0CronoDAS8yThere's a certain style of story in which things are relentlessly hopeless and depressing... until they aren't. [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EarnYourHappyEnding] Once you start, not getting to the ending may not be a good idea. I haven't seen Monster, though, so I don't know if it's one of these.
0Zaine8yAssuming you're empathic, MONSTER will harden you through trying vicarious experiences.
0ArisKatsaris8yI believe Upotte!! to be the crappiest series I've ever watched to its full length(10 episodes), though from the 5th episode onwards I think I was only watching for the purpose of completion. Given it only a 4 in my anime list [http://myanimelist.net/animelist/ArisKatsaris&show=0&order=4], and thought to give it a 3. And I speak as someone who doesn't really mind the excessive fanservice-ness, which you named as your primary objection to it... My own objections to it is that it doesn't bother with world building, I couldn't care about any of the characters, and it has no real story. One of the ultra-fanservicey scenes (gur sberfg cfrhqb-encr ol gung cflpubgvp tha/tvey) was actually one of the only memorable things, and thus one of the few things that is placed in my "pluses" column regarding the show. On the other hand, I heartily recommend the first three suggestions.
0gwern8yI enjoyed the gun battles, and I too enjoyed that 'ultra-fanservicey scene' once I got past my sheer incredulity; but yeah, the world-building in Upotte! is a repeated series of WTFs. That said, I did consider ranking it above Evangelion 3.0 because that was such a disappointment.
0ShardPhoenix8yDoes something being at the bottom of the list mean you don't recommend it at all, or that you cautiously recommend it? edit: the ratings on your anime list suggest the latter.
2gwern8yI don't really do recommendations at all. For most people, I'm not sure I'd recommend any of those - Monster is too huge a time investment for most people, Jinrui is just too odd, Thermae Romae too Japanese and eccentric, 3.0 is probably the worst Eva movie so far on top of making hardly any sense even to people who have watched the preceding movies, and Upotte!! is so fanservicey & otaku-oriented that I felt uncomfortable watching much of it.
0CronoDAS8yWhy would you expect Evangelion to make sense?
1gwern8yI'm hardly a neophyte; 1.0 and 2.0 made plenty of sense to me on the first viewing and I correctly inferred many of the goals that motivated apparent flaws in them, for example. So I was not expecting 3.0 to be what it was.
0CronoDAS8yDid you watch the series? Because the series starts out making sense and doesn't go into full-blown insanity mode until near the end. ::reads plot summary of Eva 3.0 on Wikipedia:: Yeah, that's definitely based on the insanity mode stuff...
0gwern8yOf course I watched the series; and I didn't start enjoying it until it went into insanity mode, so I don't think that's it.
1CronoDAS8yAh. Well I haven't watched any of the Rebuild, so I don't know much about that version of the story.
0RomeoStevens8y2nd Monster but be prepared for depressing. It's funny, I managed to read Life of Pi and enjoy it purely as an adventure tale and ignore the stupid metaphor, but could not do the same for Dune.
1philh8yI thought The Imposter [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Imposter_\(2012_film\]) was a great illustration of various human thought patterns, such as the desire for narrative. E.g. ng bar cbvag gur qrgrpgvir qrpvqrf Obheqva vf cebonoyl n fcl, orpnhfr jul ryfr jbhyq fbzrbar sbervta cergraq gb or n zvffvat puvyq? Yngre ur qrpvqrf gur snzvyl xvyyrq Avpubynf, orpnhfr jul ryfr jbhyq gurl unir npprcgrq Obheqva?
0AngryParsley8yI liked the movie, but I was annoyed by the misleading editing near the end. Gur vagreivrjf gnyxvat nobhg gur snzvyl xvyyvat Avpubynf vagrefcrefrq jvgu gur cevingr vairfgvtngbe qvttvat va gur onpx lneq ernyyl fhttrfgrq gung gurl jbhyq svaq n obql. V xrcg guvaxvat, "Gurer'f ab jnl ur'f tbvat gb svaq n obql... ohg ubj ryfr jvyy guvf raq? Gurl jbhyq bayl neenatr gurfr fprarf gbtrgure vs vg jnf tbvat gb cnl bss." Gura bs pbhefr, vg qvqa'g cnl bss. I'd say it's worth a watch, although I'd never heard of the disappearance of Nicholas Barclay. I'm not sure it'd be as interesting for someone who already knew the story.

Fiction Books Thread

2gwern8yDescending: * Danielewski, House of Leaves (review [http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/507574892]) * Jordan/Sanderson, A Memory of Light (review [http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/369881195]) * Shaw, Back to Methuselah (review [http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/467608314])
0NancyLebovitz8yThe Mysterious Benedict Society [http://mysteriousbenedictsociety.com/] by Trenton Less Stewart-- it's been mentioned here [http://lesswrong.com/r/all/lw/cde/book_suggestions_summer_reading_for_younglings/6kqp] once, but I'm amazed it isn't extremely popular here for rationalism and famous in general as a delightful book. It's about four orphans who are recruited for a mission against a terrifying organization full of well-dressed people who talk in bafflegab and is led by a vain man who has mind control technology. Not only does the book have appreciation for high intelligence, it has appreciation for different kinds of intelligence. It's in the romantic tradition (Victor Hugo, not modern romance) of disguises, secret tunnels, and sudden turns of fortune. It has a lot of respect for updating and for checking on whether things make sense.

Nonfiction Books Thread

4negamuhia8yLanguage in Thought and Action, by S. I. Hayakawa. It goes without saying that this book is highly recommended. To those who've read the sequences, and have therefore had just a bite of the hearty meal, you should really get it. An anecdote about how I came to find this gem: My grandfather is a retired linguist, and in his library, in a house I grew up in, he keeps, and still has, a gigantic collection of books. A member of that distinguished class of "books older than me", this book is a part of his linguistics collection, and I didn't even know he had it until a few weeks ago when I was having a conversation with my uncle in said library. The title jumped out at me, and I haven't been this happy about finding a book in that room since I found my mother reading Kahneman.
3BerryPick68yYour family is awesome.
2djcb8yLinguistics are interesting, and this book is a classic of the field, but could you explain why you think it is so great? Haven't read the book yet, but I'm interested to know if I should give it some extra priority in my reading queue.
2djcb8y* I finished Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise; I liked it. Very accessible view into the world of predicitions in very different field (earthquakes, poker, elections, stock market, ...). Nice book to introduce people into quite a few of the LW-themes. One weakness I found that while Silver got to interview Donald Rumsfeld, he succeeds in not getting anything interesting out of him. * Also, I finally finished Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow, a great book that discusses many of our cognivitive biases. A whole subgenre of irrationality-pop-psy has arisen in the last few years, but this is really the book that makes much of those superfluous. Book gets a bit tedious in the end, but I'd still consider it near-mandatory reading for people interested in LW-themes.
2lucidian8yLouder than Words by Benjamin K. Bergen is a new (published October 2012) book on embodied cognition that summarizes research supporting the idea that we understand language by mentally simulating the events described, using the same parts of the brain that perceive such events. I'm in the middle of the book right now; it's a quick read. I haven't read any of the original research, so it's difficult for me to comment on the book's quality. I don't necessarily recommend the book, but it seemed like the sort of thing LW should know about if no one's mentioned it already.
1syllogism8yStrongly recommend: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has DeclinedSteven Pinker You've likely heard of this; if you haven't you absolutely must at least watch bis TED talk or find an article summary. I'll add my high recommendation. Weakly recommend: The ancestor's taleRichard Dawkins I got what I wanted from this, which was better knowledge of the phylogenetic tree. Still, it wanders around quite a lot, and it makes it seem like he doesn't really understand the probability models being used for the sequence-based evidence that's challenging a lot of the old assumptions. Micro-motives and macro-behaviourThomas Schelling I really only bought this because The Art of Strategy wasn't in the Kindle store. It's an okay set of game theory/group dynamics teasers to sharpen your intuition, but far from essential.
1David_Gerard8yWorlds Of Their Own: A Brief History of Misguided Ideas: Creationism, Flat-Earthism, Energy Scams and the Velikovsky Affair [http://worldsoftheirown.com/] - a collection of skeptical works from the '70s-'90s. Old-style skepticism, but he's quite kind to his subjects - interviews with Velikovsky, flat earthers, free-energy cranks. Not so kind to creationists, particularly Duane Gish. Has an excellent chapter describing the pseudoscientific method in detail, which I need to summarise.
0CellBioGuy8yDebunking Economics, by Steve Keen.
0lukeprog8yI've been reading parts of Pseudo-Problems: How Analytic Philosophy Gets Done [http://www.amazon.com/Pseudo-Problems-Analytic-Philosophy-Gets-Done/dp/041509464X/] . It introduced me to this nice Boltzman quote:
0Larks8yThe Problem of Political Authority, by Michael Huemer. review [http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2013/01/the_problem_of_1.html] amazong [http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Problem-Political-Authority-Examination/dp/1137281650] . Best book on political philosophy I've read. Clear writting style, doesn't appeal to massive conjunctive reasoning - unlike much philosophy. Even mentions GiveWell.
0gwern8yDescending order: * Takeda, The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax and the Men Who Created Evangelion [http://www.gwern.net/docs/2002-notenki-memoirs], (review [http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/513412440]) * Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (review [http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/370558611]) * Manzi, Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society (review [http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/398771559]) * Friedman, Legal Systems Very Different From Ours [http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Course_Pages/legal_systems_very_different_12/LegalSystemsDraft.html]
0Jayson_Virissimo8yThe only one I'm interested in is the one without a review. What didn't you like about Legal Systems Very Different From Ours (or were the others exceptionally good?)?
1gwern8yLegal Systems was extremely derivative (I knew pretty much everything Friedman was writing about) and failed, I thought, to derive the insightful comparisons and contrasts I expected of Friedman.
0Jayson_Virissimo8yVery disappointing. I have been looking forward to this book since he mentioned he might write it (years ago). Thanks.
0gwern8yWell, you can always read it yourself, it's online. Unless you know as much as I do about Saga Iceland law and American Amish/Mennonite communities etc, you probably would get more out of it.
0taelor8yI can recommend The True Believer.

Fanfiction Thread

3BlackNoise8yI've been reading a lot of fanfiction recently, starting with HPMoR then going recursively through Eliezer's 'favorites' list, eventually branching to various TVTropes recommended lists. It's in the latter that I found Destiny is a Hazy thing [http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7421841/1/Destiny-is-a-Hazy-Thing], a Naruto AU fanfic with major Lovecraftian themes and (currently, at least) minor crossover/shout out elements to Evangelion. The author page [http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2869569] has a rather good description. Personally I like this story because it combines a lot of elements I seem to enjoy in fiction, mainly a 'large world' feel and Anehgb univat Lbt Fbgubgu nf n sngure svther (minor spoiler). I'm currently reading another story by Calanor, Harry Potter and the Puppet of Time [http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7733386/1/Harry-Potter-and-the-Puppet-of-Time] Seems to be worth reading as well. If someone is interested, I can probably spare the time to go over the fics I've read and recommend what I liked, but right now I'll limit myself to Calanor due to his works being sufficiently obscure as to not be easily noticeable otherwise (and maybe other obscure but good authors I find).

Short Online Texts Thread

6lukeprog8yFor 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of WWII [http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/For-40-Years-This-Russian-Family-Was-Cut-Off-From-Human-Contact-Unaware-of-World-War-II-188843001.html]
2lukeprog8yIf Free Will Doesn't Exist, Neither Does Water [http://www.usfca.edu/fac-staff/mrvargas/Papers/NoFWNoWater.pdf]
2lukeprog8yWhen Books Could Change Your Life [http://www2.citypaper.com/special/story.asp?id=16743]. Here's a snippet: I would amend this to say there are a few grownups, and that the next step after noticing one's ignorance should be to extinguish it if possible. Another snippet:
1ChristianKl8yWhat will the billion dollar brain projects do? [http://mindhacks.com/2013/02/24/what-will-the-billion-dollar-brain-projects-do/] Excerpt:
1lukeprog8yPosner, Thinking about Catastrophe [http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Posner-Thinking-About-Catastrophe.pdf] .
1lukeprog8yDave Hitt, Name Three [http://www.davehitt.com/2004/name_three.html] (h/t Qiaochu).
1lukeprog8ySome Alternatives to Bayes' Rule [http://www-stat.stanford.edu/~cgates/PERSI/papers/AltBayes.PDF].
1lukeprog8yCommunication and Deception in 2-Player Games [http://case.ku.edu.tr/sites/case.ku.edu.tr/files/realtalk_Jan8_2013.pdf].
1lukeprog8yA General Theory of Scientific/Intellectual Movements [http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Frickel-Gross-A-General-Theory-of-Scientific-Intellectual-Movements.pdf] .
1lukeprog8yHow Much Tech Can One City Take? [http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/how-much-tech-can-one-city-take]
1lukeprog8yThe Weatherman is Not a Moron [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/magazine/the-weatherman-is-not-a-moron.html?_r=2&ref=magazine&pagewanted=all&] . Snippet 1: Snippet 2:
0lukeprog8yMontibeller & Durbach, Behavioral Analytics: A Framework for Exploring Judgments and Choices in Large Data Sets [http://www2.lse.ac.uk/management/documents/Behavioural-Analytics-WP-LSEOR-OR13.137.pdf] .