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May 2014 Media Thread

2 Post author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:49PM

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.


  • 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.

Comments (65)

Comment author: Stefan_Schubert 09 May 2014 09:42:41AM *  1 point [-]
Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:50:05PM 1 point [-]

Short Online Texts Thread

Comment author: gwern 02 May 2014 12:30:47AM 18 points [-]







Comment author: CellBioGuy 03 May 2014 03:55:48AM *  3 points [-]

"DNA methylation age of human tissues and cell types" (FAQ), Horvath 2013; mainstream overview of results: "Biomarkers and Ageing: The clock-watcher; Biomathematician Steve Horvath has discovered a strikingly accurate way to measure human Ageing through epigenetic signatures"

I printed out the original paper and read it with some labmates.

Very interesting. The age marker he has created is a simple linear combination of the methylation ratio of several hundred CpG sites (places that a class of methylating enzymes act upon in animals) from large public datasets. Some are positively correlated with age and some are negatively correlated.

I would be interested in people trying to decompose it into subsets of CpGs that have most of their change over childhood or adolescence versus those that change constantly or change only after adolescence.

It's interesting that muscle tissue and adipose tissue shows very poor correlation while blood and epithelium (two cell types which are constantly proliferating) and brain tissue (very little proliferation at least among the neurons themselves) all show very good correlations. The finding that tumors with few mutations showed major age acceleration while those with many mutations showed less is interesting and provides several possible models of what this could mean.

He proposes a model that methylation age represents the cumulative buildup of the results of an epigenetic maintenance system, but at this early date I would not trust any mechanism Ideas just yet. It leaves open the question if this is a biomarker for a functionally significant epigenetic state, or just a marker for time since cell diffferentiation uncorrelated to other functional differences - though cancer was generally associated with older DNA methylation inferred age in the tissue it arose from suggesting it is at least correlated with something important.

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 02 May 2014 03:50:18AM *  1 point [-]

(Weren't we being told 5 or 10 years ago that - sure, maybe chess is trivial for computers, but poker would be way harder?)

Multi-player No Limit Hold'em is supposed to be much more complex than the heads-up limit that the machine in the article plays, though I wouldn't be too surprised if that was solved within a few years as well.

Comment author: Strilanc 03 May 2014 08:28:17PM 0 points [-]

Every month you have a lot of interesting links, but it's so many all at once. Is there a way I can get them more gradually?

Comment author: [deleted] 09 May 2014 03:11:33PM 1 point [-]
Comment author: gwern 04 May 2014 04:43:14PM *  0 points [-]
Comment author: Vulture 03 May 2014 04:11:50PM 0 points [-]

The comments section of the real-life conspiracies article is the most profoundly disappointing thing I've read in a while.

Comment author: arundelo 02 May 2014 04:12:09AM *  0 points [-]

I found this pretty moving, and it shifted elephants yet higher on my "person" continuum.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 05 May 2014 07:29:10AM 2 points [-]

"Unique online experiments find success really does breed success"

In the first experiment, the researchers donated funding to 100 of 200 new, unfunded projects on the crowd-funding website kickstarter.com and monitored the level of later funding. 39% of projects without the initial experimental donation attracted future donations, compared with 70% of those given the experimental donation – almost two times more.

(the other three experiments are comparable).

However, when the research team carried out a second study to investigate whether success increases in proportion to the help given, they found that, for example, giving twice as much funding does not provide twice as much success.


Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:49:33PM 1 point [-]

Other Media Thread

Comment author: [deleted] 09 May 2014 04:33:13PM 4 points [-]

Comic about The Adventures of Fallacy Man.

I also love #27, #26, #23, and #3 (funny ones) and #1, #5, and #24 (serious ones).

Comment author: Nornagest 05 May 2014 05:08:36PM *  1 point [-]

I recently discovered the British Museum's online collection database, which looks like an amazing resource for anyone interested in archaeology or with a need to reference artifacts from obscure times and places. Though I expect that's a fairly small set.

ETA: The Smithsonian's got one too, although it doesn't look as well organized.

Comment author: Furcas 12 May 2014 05:58:26AM *  0 points [-]

Child of Light is a side-scrolling jRPG for PC and all non-portable consoles, made by Ubisoft Montreal. I haven't finished it yet, but so far the story and characters are great, and the hand-drawn graphics are so beautiful I want to cry.

Comment author: lmm 02 June 2014 06:28:52PM 0 points [-]

Have started it. Quite pretty. Horrible uplay nonsense. Reminded me a lot of Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, so you might like that too?

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 28 May 2014 08:52:23PM *  0 points [-]

Rhetorical and other fallacies as a nice infographic with nice icons:


ADDED: As embeddable link: http://infobeautiful3.s3.amazonaws.com/2013/02/iib_rhetological_fallacies_EN.png (embeding here is no good idea).

Comment author: Stefan_Schubert 05 May 2014 01:34:16PM *  0 points [-]

The finance industry is under attack on different fronts. The Economist and Financial Times, often wrongfully portrayed as dogmatic neo-liberals (not the least in Continental Europe) support the development:

The (too slow and belated, but nonetheless welcome) rise of index funds to the detriment of actively managed funds.

Martin Wolf, chief FT columnist, embraces the abolition of fractional reserve banking and private banks' money creation

Wolf's article has spawned a debate involving, e.g. Krugman. Positive Money has a good overview article of the debate here

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:50:01PM 0 points [-]

Online Videos Thread

Comment author: B_For_Bandana 03 May 2014 09:25:01PM *  5 points [-]

An old Ikea commercial gives an amusing example of the difference between fuzzies and utilons:


Comment author: Benito 04 May 2014 02:47:29PM 1 point [-]

Mwahahahahahahahahahaha. I see Spike Jonze directed it.

Comment author: [deleted] 09 May 2014 03:50:24PM 0 points [-]
Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:49:57PM 0 points [-]

Fanfiction Thread

Comment author: Schlega 02 May 2014 07:42:21PM 0 points [-]

I'm not a fan of Evangelion or Doctor Who, but I've been enjoying Shinji and the Doctor

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:49:54PM 0 points [-]

Nonfiction Books Thread

Comment author: gwern 02 May 2014 12:15:31AM 1 point [-]
  • Gleick, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (brief review)
Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:49:49PM 0 points [-]

Fiction Books Thread

Comment author: FiftyTwo 03 May 2014 12:56:17AM 2 points [-]

"The Martian" Hard scifi

Comment author: lmm 05 May 2014 05:04:31PM 1 point [-]

Look Who's Back; I have a soft spot for Hitler comedy (I feel it's good to mock rather than be solemn and respectful) and found that side of it very amusing, but it also works as a Nathan Barley-style sendup of media/hipster culture. For a translation it read remarkably smoothly, though I suppose German-English is a smaller linguistic distance than most.

Comment author: Transfuturist 06 May 2014 04:52:18AM 0 points [-]

Is the title an Eminem reference?

Comment author: lmm 06 May 2014 01:22:01PM 0 points [-]

I don't know. I'd be surprised if it was though.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 08 May 2014 07:41:13PM 0 points [-]

I'm reading World without End, by Ken Follett. It's the sequel to his superb The Pillars of the Earth, which is a marvel, but you don't need to have read the first to savor the second.

What surprised me about World without End is the amount of characters who openly defy the mindless obedience to dogma that you'd expect in a typical Medieval town. I've only read until the 100-ish page, and there's already a clever plotting mother, an aspiring doctor, a carpenter apprentice, all willing to question conventional wisdom and try new ways to do things. It's been refreshing so far.

Comment author: Nornagest 08 May 2014 07:51:01PM *  2 points [-]

If the Canterbury Tales taught me anything, it's that medieval people could actually get pretty creative and irreverent when it came to things they cared about. It's the institutions and the background assumptions that are different. Individual people often weren't all that dogmatic, and indeed enforcement of societal norms was weaker in a lot of ways than it is now; but above the individual level, almost every organization was narrowly focused on the status quo or on zero- or negative-sum games. There was nothing forward-looking in the way that science is, or even in the way that serious utopian politics is.

(It also taught me that fart jokes are perennial. A lot of those scenes wouldn't have been out of place in South Park.)

Comment author: [deleted] 08 May 2014 09:36:11PM 0 points [-]

I'm going through The Pillars of the Earth and quite enjoying myself. I expected something a little on the romantic side with a chance of dullness now and then from Follett being unable to control his "show off my research" that affects many authors of his class (like Crichton). However, the book is entertaining, the characters far more interesting than I expected, and his presentation of medieval thought life is very sympathetic without being romantic. These people think. Some well, some poorly. It is quite good.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 08 May 2014 10:03:08PM 1 point [-]

A couple of memories from The Pillars of the Earth-- it was a surprise to me that most of the misery was caused by social disorder rather than too much authority, though it did show the rise of Catholic power to affect daily life, and it had rather a lot (interesting for me, at least) about how the Catholic church managed to exist as a large institution at such a low tech level.

Comment author: gwern 02 May 2014 12:15:24AM 0 points [-]


Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:49:45PM 0 points [-]

Television and Movies Thread

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 03 May 2014 11:45:59AM *  4 points [-]

I just finished Shin Sekai Yori (aka From the New World), a serious science fiction anime series of 25 episodes (link is to a free stream). You could almost think of it as a (more) rationalist Warhammer 40,000, except that the atmosphere and aesthetic is a lot less heavy metal and more similar to, say, Speaker for the Dead. It's a little over-reliant on choppy flashbacks but generally well executed with likable characters and very strong world-building.

Comment author: knb 03 May 2014 12:35:16AM 3 points [-]

Person of Interest is a pretty good show. It starts as an above-average procedural about an AI that predicts premeditated murders and the people (both civilians and police officers) who try to stop them. Seasons two and three move away from the procedural aspect and start to deal more with conspiracies that try to control super-intelligent AIs, and how the AIs begin influencing and controlling humans to achieve their programmed objectives. Very good acting and a great visual aesthetic.

Comment author: [deleted] 03 May 2014 01:12:53AM 3 points [-]

I actually stopped watching half way through season one because they were completely ignoring the themes they could play with about balance of power, privacy, etc. If they've actually started to realize that potential, I'll have to pick it back up.

Comment author: lmm 05 May 2014 05:22:55PM 2 points [-]


Rewatched Ga-Rei Zero with friends and it holds up; be careful to avoid episode 1 spoilers. Fun supernatural fantasy/horror action, with character relationships that develop and make sense so that one is drawn into caring about them.

Knights of Sidonia is only four episodes in (so may yet turn bad) but it's the most interesting sci-fi I've seen since Shin Sekai Yori; spaceships that feel realistic, and hints of the social/political consequences of life on a generation ship. Animation is CG with these over-smooth faces which may be a deal-breaker for some; together with the used future aesthetic the early parts reminded me a lot of early Ergo Proxy.

Comment author: Nectanebo 02 May 2014 11:02:34PM *  2 points [-]

I watched Shiki recently. I have no idea what I was doing to miss it back when it was airing in 2010, but I'm glad I eventually got to it. The quality of writing is unusually good for an anime, and I think it touches on a bunch of lw-relevant themes which is why I'm mentioning it here. I would hate to spoil anything for anyone so I won't go into any details, but I definitely recommend a watch.

Some things you might be glad to be forewarned of before starting: a common complaint appears to be that this show has a slow start, so being aware of this might help. I would say that this is probably not a show you can make accurate judgements about based on only having seen a few early episodes. Also, the character design is a bit wacky. I like it and it helps to distinguish each individual in what is a large cast of characters, but regardless some may find it offputting. Finally, there are 2 bonus episodes (the 'specials') that originally came with the BD/DVD releases that you wouldn't want to miss if you really liked the show proper.

p.s. I watched the coalgirls release (Japanese audio, 1080p). It was acceptable, if a bit bloated in terms of filesize.

Comment author: lmm 05 May 2014 04:54:22PM 1 point [-]

It's worth mentioning that this show is quite violent. In particular there's the brutal onscreen killing of a tied-up woman by a mostly-sympathetic male character, which some people I know took issue with.

(I enjoyed the show and would also recommend it but figure this aspect is worth mentioning)

Comment author: gwern 02 May 2014 12:23:36AM 1 point [-]


  • Madoka: Rebellion (a must-watch for anyone who enjoyed the TV series; I am not certain in general what to make of it, and need to rewatch it. If you're going to watch it at all, I recommend avoiding spoilers.)
  • Ayakashi (3-part anthology; skip the truly wretched first part, watch the second if you have time for a mildly-interesting metafictional kabuki play, and enjoy the third part which started Mononoke)
  • Frozen (unobjectionable for a Disney movie although not without flaws - slangy dialogue will date it fast, plot made characters unnecessarily evil, snowman was the most hateful character since Jar Jar Binks)
Comment author: blacktrance 02 May 2014 05:24:10PM 3 points [-]

Madoka: Rebellion (a must-watch for anyone who enjoyed the TV series

I anti-recommend this. I loved the TV series, and think Rebellion ruined its perfect ending and makes me think less of the series as a whole. I am trying to forget its existence.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 27 October 2014 11:01:50AM *  1 point [-]

Agreed. It's hardly a "must-watch" for fans of the oiriginal. It's a "stay the hell away if you thought the original themes and character arcs were meaningful and well crafted".

Because it's what I call a Cannibalising Sequel: instead of easily flowing from, and enhancing the old story and making it better (think Godfather 2, or The Empire Strikes Back), in order to prop itself up a Cannibalising Sequel ruins the old story retroactively, taking away the importance of things that used to be meaningful (think Starcraft: Brood War, or Alien 3). Important sacrifices, past decisions which were supposed to have lasting repercussions, character arcs, lessons learned, and the prices paid for them... so much of that goes out the window in Rebellion.

It's also poorly paced as a movie and sloppily told as a story. The original Madoka had more of interest to offer in its first 2 minutes than this thing has in its first 20. I'm not exaggerating.

Comment author: taelor 05 May 2014 09:00:23AM 2 points [-]

Madoka: Rebellion

I am ambivilent towards this. It had some clever bits, and I think I understand what Urobuchi was trying to do with the ending, but the overall execution did not live up to the standards of the orignial series.

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 02 May 2014 12:54:38PM 0 points [-]

Madoka: Rebellion

I also enjoyed this. I thought the fake ending would have been more emotionally satisfying, but the real ending was more interesting and opens up more possibilities for the setting.

Comment author: FiftyTwo 03 May 2014 12:57:34AM *  1 point [-]

I've been enjoying "Suits." The characters are competent and ruthless. No idea how accurate it is for US law.

edit Its Slytherin competence porn

Comment author: [deleted] 03 May 2014 01:11:02AM 1 point [-]

Any law show is pretty much completely inaccurate. An accurate law show would be 90% about filling out paperwork.

Comment author: FiftyTwo 03 May 2014 01:40:33AM 1 point [-]

Very little is on scree but there are frequent references to all night paperwork sessions

Comment author: RobertLumley 16 May 2014 12:13:29AM 0 points [-]

Long time no see LW. Glad to see this is still going.

Anyway, after finding the first half of the premier season mediocre and giving up on it, I recently tried to get back into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and am happy to say that the second half was some of the best television I've seen since, well, Joss Whedon's last television show.

Comment author: Halfwitz 06 May 2014 05:54:57PM *  0 points [-]

I just wattched Tim's Vermeer. It was very good, fun Documentary.

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 03 May 2014 10:22:34AM 0 points [-]

I've been enjoying Un-Go. It's a detective drama with political plots in a near-future Japan after an unspecified war. Also, the protagonist has a shapeshifting magical girl sidekick whom everyone else seems to just take in stride without further comment.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:49:41PM 0 points [-]

Music Thread

Comment author: [deleted] 09 May 2014 03:29:10PM 2 points [-]
Comment author: NancyLebovitz 02 May 2014 02:32:26AM 1 point [-]

"Ghost" by Jeremy Messersmith

This song cheers me up tremendously, and I'd appreciate recommendations for other music that seems similar.

Comment author: Benito 25 May 2014 10:05:08PM *  0 points [-]

First things that come to mind, not all similar in the same way, mostly happy, simple songs, often with a good beat:

  • Mumford and Sons (e.g. album: Sigh No More)
  • Kimya Dawson (e.g. album: Remember That I Love You) Sample Song
  • Feist (e.g. album: Monarch: Lay Your Jewelled Head Down or The Reminder)
Comment author: gwern 02 May 2014 12:08:41AM 0 points [-]



  • "farce" (spctrm; historie {C78}) [instrumental]
  • "fable" (spctrm; historie {C78}) [instrumental]
  • "Dreaming Tonight" feat. Renko (ORANGE★JAM; Starlight {C85}) [trance/Jpop]



  • "Inverse Relation" (Miku; Clean Tears; Reverberations {C84}) [trance]
  • "Count Down" (Gumi+Gakupo; M@SATOSHI; Wakabairo D-i-s-k {VM17}) [Jpop]
  • "Mitasare" (Luka; もふ@, Tinkle-POP, 6人の君と僕の歌 {VM20}) [classical]
  • "Counterclockwise" (Miku; ryuryu; Homeland {VM14}) [trance]
  • "STEP" (Lily; maretu? Robot☆Anime VOCALOID War {March 2014}) [Jpop]
  • "Aqua" (Meiko+Miku; shu-t; AIMS {2010}) [trance]
Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:49:38PM 0 points [-]

Podcasts Thread

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 17 May 2014 03:21:50AM *  0 points [-]

Quality control vs. openness in advocacy movements

23:minutes. Possibly a good test of mental flexibility for left-wingers.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2014 09:49:29PM 0 points [-]

Meta Thread

Comment author: lmm 05 May 2014 05:33:44PM 2 points [-]

I think this may have come up before but couldn't see it in the archives: I'd like to see a separation of animation from the general Television and Movies thread.

  • I think there's a divide between people who watch animation and people who don't (whereas most people who watch tv watch movies and vice versa). I've met several people who I would place in the LW cluster but who "don't watch anime", and I don't generally watch non-anime tv/movies.
  • People are opening their comments by stating that something is animated, or dividing lists of recommendations between animated and non-animated, which suggests we consider this information important. Doing it in individual posts is less efficient than dividing by thread.
  • Categorizing animation as a distinct medium aligns better with the rest of the web (e.g. TV Tropes). For newcomers it may not be obvious that the tv/movies thread is the appropriate place for animation - ISTR a few months ago a newcomer creating an "anime thread" for this reason.
Comment author: ArisKatsaris 08 May 2014 01:25:08AM *  1 point [-]

Sorry for the delay to respond -- busy in real life...

I like the suggestion of splitting Animation into its own subthread. So if nobody has an objection, I'll be implementing this from next month -- if anyone objects, I'll set up a poll to gauge support for the move.