There was a recent discussion considering the idea of a monthly Book (later expanded to movies, links, etc) thread. The poll was pretty unanimous (Both before and after I was karmassassinated) that this was A Good Idea (tm), and daenerys's Janurary thread (from which I obviously stole a lot of this) was fairly successful, so let's see if we actually need one per month.

Post what you're reading or watching, and your opinion of it. Post recommendations to blogs. Post whatever media you feel like discussing!


  • Please avoid downvoting; this is a thread for sharing subjective experiences, and people should feel comfortable posting their personal opinion without fearing a karma backlash. If you disagree with a person's recommendation, please post a comment to that effect.
  • If you see something that 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, which I was apparently too dumb to do.

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Meta Thread

I'm So Meta, Even this Acronym...

Should we encourage posts that merely want to discuss what other people thought of a certain piece of media, but have no real recommendation or opinion either way? Some of that happened naturally in the first thread, and it seems like a natural extension of this, but it wasn't really the original purpose, I don't think. I'm not really sure we have enough volume in recommendations to hold a monthly thread, and I think encouraging this might make the thread more substantial.
This is more of a community thread than rationality training. (Suggest you add the "community" tag.) But that might be fine. Let's see what happens.
For anyone who hasn't read it, I just started Adventures of a Curious Character, by Richard Feynman. It's pretty fantastic - not much about rationality - but it's quite funny. He tells one story of how he made his fraternity brothers at MIT look really dumb. One of them asked if French curves were made in any special way. Feynman told them that French curves are specially made so that the tangent at the lowest point is always horizontal to the ground. Of course, this is obvious for any point that the tangent (derivitive) at the lowest point (minimum) is zero. But the guys didn't realize that this was definitional and raved as though Feynman had made a brilliant explanation of French curves.
We teach a lot more calculus in high school in America today than they did when Feynman was a student (my impression is that this changed in the 50s and 60s in response to Sputnik). As a result, the humor of Feynman's response might not have registered with MIT freshmen in the 1930s the way it would with MIT students (or even high school seniors) today.
He clarified in that section that he knew that the people he was speaking to were familiar with and had taken calculus.
While true, it might give the false impression that the amount of calculus taught in secondary in the States has stayed more or less constant since then. There's been a giant disaster of other economic incentives and disincentives that has driven what one might call "calcification", among them the widening gulf between public and private schools, the development of advanced placement classes, updating the GI bill, and so on. Sorry. I'll get off my bete noire now.
I read Principles of Product Development Flow recently and was very impressed. It gave me a mostly new, significantly orthogonal perspective with which to view the processes resulting in shipped code. The book, summarized, is: * Let's apply queuing theory to software development! * If you learn nothing else, remember to reduce/control/watch/cost your queue sizes before other things you think are bottlenecks * Translate benefits and costs approximately into dollars. Especially the delay costs of a product sitting in a queue. You will likely be surprised. * Also here are dozens of more fine-grained considerations and interventions like how to push costly variance to someplace less costly, keeping superstar developers at lower load so they can firefight at whim, and the fact that variance isn't always bad like it is on a factory floor.
I'm currently about half way through Pinker's "The Better Angels of our Nature", and I'm enjoying it very much, though I'm taking the exact numbers with a grain of salt after seeing some criticism of his scholarship that looks solid enough to me.
I fill my phone with books. (So yeah, I'm paying £20/mo for an MP3 player and book reader that occasionally annoys me with phone calls.) Mostly nonfiction. I've just finished Actually (the last collection of essays and reviews) by Christopher Hitchens. A doorstop, a lot of which is still available on the original magazines' sites. Patchy - quite a lot was clearly dashed off in half an hour after a boozy night out, and he was brilliant but skated by on brilliance rather too often - but ultimately worth ploughing through. I would recommend the curious start on better Hitchens (god is not Great, Hitch-22, Letters To A Young Contrarian in that order) where he wasn't phoning it in. The nice thing about books of reviews is pointers. So right now I'm on Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West, the 2007 Penguin edition with a lengthy intro by Hitchens. The book is a doorstop-sized travelogue of Yugoslavia in the 1930s, a subject I have little interest in; I'm bothering only because a literature fan like Hitchens raved about it. And so far it's page-turningly good. I've also just finished the audiobook version of god is not Great, read by the author. A book so clearly written to be read out loud. If you liked the book, I most strongly recommend the audiobook. Even if you dislike audiobooks, as I do.
I've been recommending it. I think it would appeal to most LessWrongians.
Not that I can think of-- that's why that book was so much fun.
Ha! Never heard of it, but yes, I suspect I would :-)
Homestuck. Four and a half thousand pages of it. I'm wondering if Andrew Hussie has somehow worked out how to make a manic phase last six years. I need to go back and reread it, when I have way too much time on my hands. And the Brainbent AU, which is just heartwarming.
This, this, a thousand times this. Homestuck gave me so much insight into human relationships merely by quadrupling my romantic vocabulary.
I've actually been wondering about the value of fictional evidence. Particularly reading a pile of Hitchens book reviews, wherein he strongly advocates good fiction for its power to explore and teach you how humans work. Off the top of my head I can think of more accurate methods, but stories are natural to humans so may well be a much more powerful vector than popularisations of psychological research. I'm not entirely convinced by the Hitchens line but was surprised to see him pushing it so vehemently. Edit: Wei Dai addressed this point a couple of years ago, with Fictional Evidence vs Fictional Insight.
It's like Andrew Hussie has a list of the things I like, and decided to make to make something perfect with all of them included. The fandom is a bit crazy for me, but I think Homestuck is freakishly well written considering the pace that the pages come out. His characters are incredible, the little details of his descriptions are gems, and the art is nice to look at too. I know people who refuse to read it because they've only been exposed to it via over-zealous fans of the slash-yaoi shipping variety (not all yaoi shippers are crazy, but a lot of crazy fans are yaoi shippers), but it's really a clever and moving piece of unique artwork. For anyone interested in it, I would actually suggest reading Problem Sleuth first though. Ignore the earlier works until you have an appreciation for Hussie.
So, after some of the more recent updates, I was trying to figure out where Dirk's Auto-Responder falls on the Friendly/Unfriendly AI spectrum, but then it occured to me that he's more of a non-destructive mental upload that an artificial intelligence.
At least as friendly as any given human.
(I am assuming that comics can go here as well) Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" is incredibly well written, and also has characters with a positive spin on immortality. Beautiful art, great story, it's a gem. "The Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer" is a manga with a standard plot (group of mostly teens with magical powers must save the world) which subverts your expectations in a big way. If you like manga, anime, or just fantasy adventure stories, you will absolutely love this.
The Japanese stuff goes in the otaku saakuru. (Although to be fair, it said "Anime thread" when your comment was posted.)
It's old school, but Haruki Murakami's work is pretty much the best fiction I've read since American Gods. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle has a pretty good translation, and once you've read that the callbacks in Haibane Renmei start making more sense. Also 1Q84 (Q = kyuu = 9) is out, but I haven't read it yet.
David D. Friedman has written a bunch of blog posts promoting his novels Harald and Salamander. Both of these significantly draw on economic concepts, although in very different ways. Harald is a historical novel, albeit one which is set in a fictional universe. Salamander (available in a Kindle version) is especially interesting in that it realistically portrays both a form of magic and characters conducting empirical research to extend their magical abilities.
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's "36 Arguments for the Existence of God". Easily one of my top-10 favorite books ever. Beautifully written and hilarious (a particularly difficult combo for an author to pull of, IMO), a non-linear, recursive loop through the lives of several atheist characters who are inextricably tied to religion in one way or another. The author has quite an interesting life history: philosopher, biographer of Gödel and Spinoza, famous novelist, currently married to Stephen Pinker, among other things.
I'm reading some of the Nebula/Hugo award-winning SF novels of (mostly) the last few years; so in the last couple of months I read (lightly plot-spoiling, but not too bad): * Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl - a 'biopunk' novel, set in 23rd century Bangkok, in a world where a couple of mega-corps (mega-Monsanto's) have screwed the whole eco-system, and made the world dependent on their bio-engineered calories (where are very hard to come by). The story is interesting, switches between the perspectives of different sides, including the one of a come-alive Japanese love doll. While I liked that, the whole tech/bio background did seem very improbable. Still, liked the book * Scalzi's Old Man's War series. There are 4 books -- it starts with a bunch of old people that undergo some rejuvenation treatment, and end up in a whole lot of wars with alien races all over the reachable universe. The rest of the books discuss various aspects of the wars, the people involved, colonization, etc. Overall, I Iiked the stories, but I did not like the melodrama Scalzi put in at various places. And there were too many story lines (secondary, but still) that never got resolved. (e.g., the werewolfs). Tech-wise, of course everything is pretty advanced -- but then his weird limitations, very convenient for the plot... * Haldeman's Forever War (1974) is somewhat of a granddaddy to Old Man's War, following some guy's interstellar military career; it's inspired by the writer's Vietnam experiences. Overall, enjoyable (dated fairly well, although some of the 'future tech' is pretty common today...). * Just started with Connie Willis' Blackout); about a bunch of future historians time-traveling to various episodes in World War II. So far, the hints to the concepts behind time-travel seem a bit...questionable, but let's see what's still to come...
NB on The Windup Girl -- it's an excellent book, but if graphic depictions of sexual abuse aren't your cup of tea, you may want to pass on it.
I read a story set in that world, and it makes me crazy that they're using muscle power rather than burning the food.
It bothered me at first, but I think it's about greenhouse gas emission. For example, methane is another power source, with legal restrictions depending on the "cleanliness" of the gas when burnt. I don't remember whether biofuels are still used at the time of the story.
That still doesn't make sense-- if the food stocks were created without mining carbon from oil or coal, then they're carbon-neutral.
I'm hesitant to recommend this, since I'm sure everyone has heard it/likely started reading it when they were young adults, like I did, but I thought Inheritance (The final book in the series that spawned from Eragon, if you didn't know) was a pretty good ending to the series. Pretty light reading, and not too insightful, but very good, if you like fantasy type books (as is the entire series, of course). At the end, (Not really a spoiler, don't worry) there was a brief discussion about immortality, which was the only time an LW trope was really touched on. I was really hoping he would come out and take a strong pro-immortality stance, but he didn't really. It was something to the effect of "I wouldn't want to keep living after 2-3 thousand years".
I'm curious... I read the first of these books shortly after it came it out, not realizing when I picked it up that the author was only fifteen, and... it was appallingly badly written. Every character had the same, extremely stilted voice. I never considered finishing the series. (I've also never been more shocked to see a book get picked up by Hollywood.) Do you feel the books got better over time, such that I should reconsider that decision, or did you actually think Eragon was good, in which case I'll just leave it at de gustibus non est disputandum?
Don't really know what to suggest. I was never bothered by that, but I was younger when I read the first ones, and I'm always very good at suspending disbelief and ignoring things like that for fictional works. If you didn't like the first three, I wouldn't suggest trying to read the third.

Anime & Manga Thread

Because why not?

Recently finished Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I thought was only slightly short of a masterpiece, but it did contain a lot of my personal superstimuli, so It's probably not actually as good as that.

12 episodes, and unfortunately it's almost impossible to talk about without spoiling. I don't even know if I ought to say what kind of story it is.

I just want to urgently gesture towards it :)

If anyone else has seen it, I'd love to get your take in rot13.

Alright, one teaser: It contains one of the better attempts at depicting an Unfriendly Optimisation Process I've seen in commercially-published fiction.

Got my attention there. Thank you for the recommendation. I barely got through the first episode (little girls), but ended up caring to a surprising degree starting with episode 3. The one thing that kept getting on my nerves, though, jnf ubj gur tveyf arire nfxrq nal onpxtebhaq dhrfgvbaf hayrff gur cybg erdhverq gurz gb. Rfcrpvnyyl "jub gur uryy ner lbh naljnl, Xlhorl?" juvpu fubhyq unir unccrarq cerggl zhpu vzzrqvngryl. Ohg V ng yrnfg cnegyl punyx vg hc gb uvaqfvtug ovnf, qhr gb zl univat fcbvyrq zlfrys ybat ntb ol ernqvat nobhg gur fubj ba GIGebcrf, abg gb zragvba univat orra jnearq nobhg travrf ol Ryvrmre. Gur guvat V rfcrpvnyyl rawblrq, ba gur bgure unaq, jnf abj aba-nagebcbzbecuvp (ernq: perrcl) Xlhorl jnf. Fbzr bs gur "jr qba'g qb guvf rzbgvba guvat" fghss jnf hapbaivapvat naq V guvax vg pbhyq unir fgvyy orra qbar zhpu orggre, ohg vg'f fgvyy fhcrevbe gb gur onfvpnyyl uhzna nyvraf V'z hfrq gb va cbchyne svpgvba. EDIT: Hah, I like this piece of Buddhism from fans of this show: "Vs lbh zrrg Xlhorl ba gur ebnq, XVYY VG JVGU SVER."
There's an invisible selection bias here, too: vg fvzcyl znxrf ab frafr sbe gur Vaphongbef gb bssre vagryyvtrag/zhapuxva-l tveyf jvfurf. N snzvyl be rira n pvgl'f jbegu bs punatr vf znantrnoyr, ohg n fhqqra punatr va fgnghf bs n angvba be gur jbeyq... jryy, ybbx ng gur Jbeyq Jnef. (Naq abj V jbaqre vs Uvgyre unq snatveyf...) Orgjrra gur Vaphongbef' zbenyf (oneryl-gurer gubhtu gurl znl or) naq gur snpg gung uhzna fbpvrgl vf pyrneyl n inyhnoyr raretl fbhepr gb gurz, gurl'q engure vafgnovyvgl or pbasvarq gb jung gurl pna pbageby, cynlvat vg fnsr jvgu rnpu evfx. Znqbxn'f cbgragvny pna punatr ragver fbyne flfgrzf naq havirefrf, fb vg znxrf frafr gung gurl'q znxr na rkprcgvba sbe ure, ohg bgurejvfr... Naljnl, cbvag vf: nyy fubja zntvpny tveyf qvq abg guvax gb dhrfgvba gur Vaphongbef be gel gb zhapuxva gurve jvfu orpnhfr gur Vaphongbef jbhyq abg bssre fhpu n tvey n jvfu.
Let me just say that PMMM was everything that was good about Evangelion without any of the bad.
Hmm. Actually, I love Evangelion for other reasons that Madoka doesn't have. Bokurano is the more appropriate comparison. I think Bokurano might actually be better than Madoka by a pure aesthetic of cosmic horror - there's no eucatastrophe in Bokurano, just staring-into-the-abyss-without-flinching. On the other hand, it's not actually any fun to watch. EDIT: OMG I JUST HAD THE BEST CROSSOVER IDEA. Vaphongbef irefhf Qhat Orrgyr'f pbagebyyref sbe gur hygvzngr hasevraqyl-havirefr-bcgvzvfngvba fubjqbja.
Don't forget about the clippies.
I nearly posted exactly this earlier today. It's an excellent show, though don't expect too much rationality. Madoka is no HP:MoR, but since there is very little rationality-relevant content in anime it does stand out. For me it was a case of two independent interests unexpectedly having some crossover. As a fan of SHAFT (the animation studio) and mahou shoujo in general, it was a given I was going to watch Madoka. Then fhcreuhzna vagryyvtraprf naq vasbezngvba-nflzzrgevp artbgvngvba? In a classic mahou shoujo setup like this, with magical powers and wish-granting etc, an obvious-to-LWers objection will be "Why doesn't someone just wish for no one to suffer/die ever again?". Certainly MoR!Harry would have handled this world a lot differently. I was expecting to just have to live with this oversight in an otherwise impressively coherent setting. But I think by the end of the show even that can be justified if you really want to, based on Xlhorl'f ercrngrq qrprcgvbaf (naq gurersber gur pbzcyrgr ynpx bs perqvovyvgl bs uvf pynvzf bs hayvzvgrq cbjre gb tenag jvfurf), gur rkgerzryl lbhat cebgntbavfgf, naq gur nccnerag "ehyr" gung gur zntavghqr bs gur jvfu qrcraqf ba gur qrcgu bs srryvat naq qrfver sbe vg. Madoka is not MoR!Harry, after all.
Actually, I disagree; Madoka's wish was pretty optimal. The cosmic horror in PMMM was abg gur Vaphongbef ohg gur snpg gung gur Znqbxn havirefr jnf aba-uhzna-bcgvzvfnoyr - gurve ynjf bs gurezbqlanzvpf nyybjrq ragebcl erirefny, ohg rafherq gung ubcr naq qrfcnve onynaprq gb mreb. Sbe n uhzna inyhr flfgrz, ab birenyy vzcebirzrag pbhyq rire unccra. Madoka explicitly oebxr guvf naq erjebgr gur havirefr gb fbzrguvat gung uhznaf naq Vaphongbef pbhyq obgu bcgvzvfr; vg'f abg pyrne gung fur pbhyq unir qbar nalguvat orggre. Vg'f dhvgr fvzvyne gb gur qvssrerapr orgjrra Abefr naq Puevfgvna zlgu gung Gbyxvra xrcg tbvat ba nobhg. Rcvfbqr 12 vf cher rhpngnfgebcur. I'm not sure why you're positing erfgevpgvbaf ba Xlhorl'f cbjre. Ur qvq rirelguvat ur pynvzrq gb or noyr gb qb, naq vg znxrf frafr sbe uvz gb tenag nal jvfu gung tvirf na raretl cebsvg. Am I forgetting something?

I mostly agree with you. In particular I really liked that Znqbxn'f jvfu jrag fb sne nf gb erjevgr gur havirefr. Gur fbhepr bs ure rzbgvbaf orvat sbe gur zntvpny tveyf naq gur pehrygl bs gur onetnva gurl znqr, V jnf npghnyyl n yvggyr jbeevrq va gur yrnq-hc gb gur svanyr gung ure jvfu jbhyqa'g or zbzragbhf rabhtu.

Ng gur fnzr gvzr, gubhtu gur jvfu raqrq hc ovt rabhtu gb or n fngvfslvat raq, V guvax vg'f cerggl rnfl gb jbaqre jul fur pbhyqa'g tb shegure. Gur arj havirefr vf arneyl vqragvpny gb gur byq bar, evtug qbja gb vaqvivqhny crbcyr. Gur zntvpny tveyf ab ybatre unir gb or chg vagb fhpu n ubeevoyr ab-jva fvghngvba, ohg gurl fgvyy unir gb evfx gurve yvirf. Naq sbe gur abezny crbcyr, gurer'f ab creprcgvoyr punatr ng nyy.

Gur bayl ceboyrz V unq jvgu guvf vf Xlhorl'f pynvz gb gehr travr-yvxr cbjref. Ryvrmre jebgr n cbfg frireny lrnef ntb nobhg guvf: Gehr travr cbjref znxr n fgbel vzcbffvoyr gb ernfba nobhg. Gur ceboyrz vf gung jvfuvat vf n irel vyy-qrsvarq vqrn. Jung vs bar jvfurq gb or vzzbegny? Gung jvfu vf irel pybfr gb Znzv'f, ohg fgevpgyl fhcrevbe. Ubj pbhyq gung jbex? Jbhyq gung fnir ure sebz gur sngr bs orpbzvat n jvgpu? G... (read more)

Good post. Vs gur fgeratgu bs jvfurf vf eryngrq gb fgebat srryvatf, gura vg'f dhvgr cynhfvoyr gb zr gung Znqbxn'f jvfu ernyyl jnf gur orfg fur pbhyq qb rira nffhzvat nobir abezny engvbanyvgl. Orpnhfr gung znxrf vg n ceboyrz gung erdhverf zber guna /n zrer pbeerpg qrpvfvba/; lbhe vagreany fgngr znggref gbb. Naq Znqbxn vf uhzna, fb svkvat gur jbeyq va bgure jnlf jbhyq erdhver ure gb qrsrng fpbcr vafrafvivgl. V unir ab ernfba gb qbhog fur xarj, yvxr jr nyy qb, gung gurer ner na njshy ybg bs bgure ubeevoyr guvatf gung pbhyq fgnaq gb punatr, naq orvat n xvaq tvey fur pnerq nobhg gung, ohg gurer'f bayl fb zhpu lbh pna jbex lbhefrys hc nobhg nyy gung ab znggre ubj zhpu lbh gel gb fuhg hc naq zhygvcyl. Ohg jura vg pbzrf gb jvgpurf, Xlhorl ernyyl fubg uvzfrys va gur sbbg, orpnhfr ur /fubjrq ure/ nyy gubfr zntvpny tveyf sebz nyy npebff uvfgbel. Fur qvqa'g unir gb fuhg hc naq zhygvcyl - fur jnf cenpgvpnyyl zvaqencrq jvgu gur xabjyrqtr. Ba gbc bs gung, zntvpny tvey ceboyrzf jnf jung fur unq orra yvivat gur cnfg srj jrrxf, naq bar rknzcyr jnf evtug va sebag bs ure snpr (n arneyl oebxra Ubzhen). Ohg zbfgyl V guvax vg jnf Xlhorl'f yvggyr uvfgbel yrffba. Fb fur unq ab ceboyrz srryvat gehyl cnffvbangryl nobhg gung ceboyrz, naq pbhyq hfr ure jvfu gb nqqerff vg. V svaq gung n zber fngvfsnpgbel jnl gb guvax nobhg vg guna nalguvat vaibyivat gur sbhegu jnyy. :)
Gung vf abg n fhogyr nffnhyg ba gur sbhegu jnyy.
I dunno, I think it is. It took me several hours of reflection to realize that it could be framed in those terms. The show didn't do any breaking.
.... Sometimes, a blog post works better.
What is meant by "ylvat onfgneq^U^U^U^U^U^U"? Specifically the bit with the ^Us.
Yes, thanks. I wanted to use strikethrough but a) I couldn't figure out how to do it in LW's markdown and b) it wouldn't work anyway if you copy/paste to like I do.
Yeah, I wish we had strikethrough. Then I could get downvoted for abusing it for sarcasm purposes. sighs wistfully
Very good point; thank you for making me think about it. Gur jbeyq whfg qbrfa'g ybbx yvxr nyy jvfurf pbzr gehr. Vs gung jrer gur pnfr, gura guebhtubhg uhzna uvfgbel jr'q unir frra tnzr-oernxvat zvenpyrf naq jvfurf bs rabezbhf fpbcr. Sbe vafgnapr V'q rkcrpg ng yrnfg bar qribhg crefba jbhyq unir jvfurq gung gurve snibhevgr eryvtvba pbadhre nyy bguref. Vg frrzf gung qrfcvgr nyy gur zntvpny tveyf va uvfgbel, abguvat yvxr gung rire unccrarq. Vafgrnq, fbzrbar zvenphybhfyl erpbiref sebz pnapre; fbzrbar ryfr jvaf gur ybggrel; fbzrbar fhqqrayl nggenpgf gur nggragvba bs gurve pehfu; fbzrbar ryfr trgf snzbhf bhg bs gur oyhr. Yvggyr guvatf yvxr gung. Vg'f whfg vapbaprvinoyr gb zr gung, vs jvfurf ernyyl jrer bzavcbgrag, naq gurer unq orra zntvpny tveyf sbe uhaqerqf be gubhfnaqf bs lrnef, gung'f nyy jr'q frr. V orpnzr nphgryl njner bs guvf gur zbzrag V pbafvqrerq jevgvat snasvpf sbe CZ. Vg'f ernyyl, ernyyl uneq abg gb unir gur snpg gung /lbhat tveyf pna jvfu sbe guvatf/ abg oybj hc abg whfg zl cybgf, ohg nal ernfbanoyr cebterffvba bs uvfgbel, cnfg be shgher, jvgubhg cbfvgvat fgebat yvzvgngvbaf. (BTW, may I suggest that you do not mix rot13 and normal in the same sentence? I hope I'm not being unusually inept, but it makes it a bit of a pain.)
Frr zl cbfg nobir, ohg va trareny, gur Vaphongbef cebonoyl qba'g bssre jvfurf gb pyrire tveyf sbe cerpvfryl gung ernfba.
Zl pynvz vf jr qba'g frr /ovt/ jvfurf, abg whfg /pyrire/ jvfurf. Lbh qba'g unir gb or n zhapuxva gb jvfu sbe, fnl, jbeyq crnpr, be gb raq jbeyq uhatre, be gb orpbzr bzavcbgrag. Fbzr ovt jvfurf ner boivbhf. Jura V guvax nobhg ubj znal zntvpny tveyf gurer zhfg unir orra va uvfgbel (rirel gbja bs n pregnva fvmr cebonoyl trgf bar, naq gur gheabire vf uvtu fvapr gurl qvr/jvgpuvsl n ybg, naq guvf unf orra tbvat ba sbe gubhfnaqf bs lrnef), vg'f whfg vapbaprvinoyr gung abobql unf rire nfxrq sbe fbzrguvat yvxr jbeyq crnpr. Ubj cresrpg jbhyq Xlhorl'f fryrpgvba zrgubqf unir gb or? Orfvqrf, Xlhorl frrzf engure pneryrff gb zr, yvxr ur'yy tenag nal jvfu. Gvzr-erfrggvat, ernyyl? Ubzhen unq fgngrq jung fur jnagrq orsber ur bssrerq ure n jvfu gb npuvrir vg, fb vg'f abg yvxr vg fhecevfrq uvz.
Hm. I'll grant you that one. Abg gb or gbb ybtvpnyyl ehqr, gubhtu, ohg gubfr xvaqf bs ovt-ohg-abg-bcgvzvmrq jvfurf unir gur ovttre ceboyrz bs "cbgragvny": abg nyy zntvpny tveyf unir gur fnzr jvfu-tenagvat cbjre. Vg'f orra njuvyr fvapr V jngpurq gur fubj, fb V'z abg fher vs Xlhorl rire pynvzf gung gur jvfurf ner bzavcbgrag gb fbzrbar bgure guna Znqbxn, ohg V'yy org ur qbrfa'g (c=0.65). Npghnyyl, V'yy erivfr gung gb 1.0 - Xlhorl gryyf fbzrbar (Fnlnxn?) syng bhg gung jvfurf pna'g abeznyyl oevat onpx gur qrnq. Znqbxn, bs pbhefr, qbrf vg pnfhnyyl - fb gurer lbh tb. Gur jvfurf Xlhorl arrqf gb jbeel nobhg ner cevznevyl guvatf yvxr "V jvfu sbe anabgrpu:" fznyy fubeg-grez rssrpg (lbh abj unir n guvzoyrshy bs fzneg znggre), ynetr ybat-grez rssrpg (uhznavgl vf abj terl tbb.) Nf sne nf Ubzhen tbrf... jryy, ernyyl, cvpx n enaqbz sbhegrra-lrne-byq tvey jub whfg ybfg ure orfg sevraq. Tvir ure n punapr gb fnir ure, rkprcg gung fur qbrfa'g ernyyl orpnhfr Jnychetvfanpug vf whfg gbb fgebat. V'q tvir lbh n gra gb bar gung nal tvira tvey vf pncnoyr bs ynfgvat cnfg rnpu ybbc jvgubhg whfg tvivat va gb qrfcnve (guvf pbairetrf ng fbzr cbvag, orpnhfr nsgre lbh svavfu gra gur ryriragu vf cebonoyl rnfvre, ohg ng gung cbvag lbh'er nyernql cnfg gur pheerag cbchyngvba bs Rnegu.) Vs Ubzhen unq orra nal yrff urebvp (be yhpxl), fur'q'ir Jvgpurq bhg va gur guveq gvzryvar.
Jryy, lrf. Gung vf n tbbq rkcynangvba bs jul Xlhorl pna bayl tenag fznyy jvfurf (hayrff lbh'er Znqbxn), bar gung V nyfb unccra gb oryvrir. V qba'g dhvgr frr lbhe cbvag. (V'z haqre gur vzcerffvba lbh'er qvfnterrvat jvgu zr va fbzr jnl.) V qba'g guvax guvf unccraf. Fbhepr? (V pna bayl guvax bs n fvzvyne pbairefngvba ur unf jvgu Znqbxn, nobhg oevatvat onpx Fnlnxn, ohg vg qbrfa'g dhvgr fnl jung lbh whfg fnvq.) Hayrff - vg'f na vagrerfgvat gurbel V'ir rapbhagrerq - ure bja jvfu jnf cebgrpgvat ure (cnl nggragvba gb gur jbeqvat). Ohg gung'f whfg na vagrecergngvba, naq lbh znxr n tbbq cbvag. Gb zr, n gvzr-erfrggvat cbjre frrzrq xvaq bs n erpxyrff guvat gb nyybj, vs bayl orpnhfr lbhe ynfg zbagu bs zrzbevrf vf nobhg gb trg jvcrq. Ohg V fhccbfr Xlhorl unq tbbq ernfba gb or pbasvqrag va obgu gur ebohfgarff bs gur flfgrz, naq va uvf bja vagryyvtrapr - ur qbrf raq hc orngvat Ubzhen gvzr naq gvzr ntnva qrfcvgr ure orvat va cbfvgvba gb tebhaqubt-qnl uvz. Gubhtu V fhccbfr fur'f orngra ol ure bja rzbgvbany ceboyrzf, naq ubj gurl pnhfr ure gb or hanoyr gb trg crbcyr gb gehfg ure, nf zhpu nf ol uvz... (Edited twice.)
Ah, I see. Vs V erpnyy pbeerpgyl, Znqbxn jnf bayl noyr gb znxr gur zrgn-jvfu orpnhfr ure crefbany zntvpny cbgragvny unq orra znffviryl nzcyvsvrq ol Ubzhen'f ercrngrq Crttl Fhr plpyrf. V qba'g erzrzore vs guvf n pnhfngvir, fgnpxvat rssrpg, be vs Ubzhen vf whfg npgvat nf na Bhgpbzr Chzc naq qrfgeblvat nyy havirefrf jurer Znqbxn vfa'g cbjreshy rabhtu gb fnir gur qnl ol cher punapr :) Vs gur bevtvany Znqbxn unq fbzrubj znqr gung jvfu, V nffhzr Xlhorl jbhyq unir fnvq "Abcr; vafhssvpvrag whvpr." naq erzvaqrq uvzfrys gb fgvpx gb abezny puvyqera jub qba'g guvax gung ovt. But it's a good point and I suspect I'm just making fanwank excuses for something I like.
V erpnyy gurer jnf na rkcyvpvg be vzcyvpvg yvzvgngvba gung n jvfu zhfg pbafvfg bs bayl n fvatyr (uggc://cflpubybtl.jvxvn.pbz/jvxv/Cebcbfvgvba)[cebcbfvgvba]. Guvf vainyvqngrf nal jvfu nybat gur yvarf bs, "[Znqbxn'f jvfu (V sbetbg gur fcrpvsvpf)] naq sbe rirelbar gb abg qvr!" Ubjrire, V'z fher gur ynggre cebcbfvgvba UC:ZbE!Uneel jbhyq ybir. Lrg va beqre gb fhpprffshyyl ranpg UC:ZbE!Uneel'f qrfver, bar jbhyq arrq gb jvfu sbe fbzrguvat yvxr, "Va nyy irefrf, V jvfu sbe crecrghny lbhgu nsgre qrirybczrag gb bar'f culfvpny cevzr juvyr qrngu rkvfgf abg." V'z abg fher ubj bar pna sbezhyngr gur jubyr pbaprcg vagb bar cebcbfvgvba - bar nyfb arrqf gb pynevsl gung pbzcyrgr vapvarengvba jbhyq fbzrubj nyybj sbe erpbirel; bgurejvfr bar jbhyq fbzrubj rkvfg nf nfurf va gur jvaq. Znlor, "V jvfu sbe anabgrpuabybtl." Rira gura bar zvtug jnag gb fcrpvsl gung gurl jvfu sbe vg gb unir orra qrirybcrq fbzr zvyyravn ntb, gung gurl jnag vg gb or va hfr gbqnl, naq gung gurl jvfu sbe vg gb or va hfr ol uhznaf - abg whfg Vaphongbef.

Movies Thread

* Limitless: intelligence enhancement as a positive factor in life improvement * Colossus: The Forbin Project: superintelligent AI done right * Last Night (1998): existential risk from a personal perspective
Colossus was surprisingly good, thanks.
Unthinkable - consequentialism examined with unflinching honesty.
I assume you mean the extended version? I wouldn't have described the original this way, but the one additional scene makes a difference.
Yep, the one I've seen is the extended version. It's hard to say what I would have thought of the original cut, but this is one movie that took me somewhere I wasn't expecting, pretty much all along - I'm not sure the final scene made all or even much of the difference.
They just released the Iron Sky theatrical trailer. I'm having high hopes for this movie - with Space Nazis From The Moon, you can't go very wrong. And it looks awesome, too.

Other Media Thread

If it doesn't fit anywhere else, put it here! Blogs, links, games, music, whatever floats your boat. If we get a lot of a specific genre, then next Media post, it can have it's own sub-thread.

In the TV show Bones, one of the main characters, Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan, is portrayed as a genius intellect and very rational. They use the word 'rational', 'rationality', and 'hyperrational' nearly every episode, always in an attempt to show its failings along the lines of Spock; classic Straw Vulcan. In discussing this with my family (my mom and aunt watch the show), I tried to explain that what they're showing isn't rational, that emotions are capable of being part of a rational decision, that whenever they try to portray the character as being rational they're meaning something different, that social skills can be learned, that people with intelligence should be better at figuring this stuff out than others, etc. I got so frustrated that I mocked those who might enjoy such a script by assuming a 'low class' voice and saying, "Stupid smart people! Huhuh!" Everyone started laughing hysterically and agreed that I had hit the nail on the head: most people are entertained by realizing how "stupid" such "smart" people can be. I was merely frustrated. This sort of thing is why the word "rational" has such a bad image.
Music: * The complete works of Capsule. They started as annoying indie hipsters and have slowly turned into a sort of Japanese answer to Daft Punk. They appear all but unknown outside Japan, and that's just wrong. I got into them after suffering sufficient repeat exposure to "PONPONPON" (which is very big with the 4yo demographic in my house) and determining to track down the people responsible. Yasutaka Nakata also turns out utter cheese (Perfume and Coltemonikha make Kyary Pamyu Pamyu look like Motorhead), but is nevertheless clearly brilliant. * Lots of old stuff I liked in the '80s and am now listening to in high quality on decent headphones. Hearing detail I wasn't aware of from my memory and with the benefit of twenty-five more years' experience listening to music. This is why there's a market for reissues.
Many have probably already heard of this game, but Dominion is an excellent strategy card game that I quite enjoy. You can play it online for free. The basic premise if that you start with three estates, which are worth one victory point each, and seven coppers, which are worth one dollar each randomly shuffled into a deck, like Magic: The Gathering. Each turn, you draw five cards. The game (and all of it's expansion sets) consist of specific cards, of which you randomly pick 10 for each game. Most of these cards are action cards, and will do special things. You can buy these cards with your money, putting them into your deck or you can buy better money, (Silver - $2, and Gold - $3) that will let you buy more expensive cards, or you can buy Victory cards (Estate - 1 VP, Duchy - 3 VP, or Province - 6 VP) that will help you win the game. The person with the most victory points in his deck at the end of the game wins. The game ends with you run out of three of the cards you can buy OR when you run out of provinces. (As a note, each victory point deck starts with 8 cards in the pile, and every other deck starts with 10, except coppers, silvers, and golds, which for all intents and purposes, don't run out.) For a more detailed explanation of a turn: Each turn, you start with one action, one buy, and you draw five cards from the top of your deck. (Technically, you draw at the end of your previous turn, but that's largely irrelevant for understanding.) Action cards can give you additional actions, letting you play even more action cards that might let you, for example, draw more cards. This allows you to build very powerful decks based on the synergies between different cards. Once you run out of available actions or available action cards, you can automatically play ALL of your treasures. Lets say you played a Silver, Gold, and a Copper, for a total of $6, and had an action card that had given you $2. This would give you $8 total to spend, so you could buy one $8 card, o
I started playing this game thanks to you and was addicted immediately. I just woke up after having dreams about Dominion, after playing 35 straight games in a row with no breaks. I may have gained the ability to play basic games subconsciously.
We should play together sometime.