Media diet for Q2 2020

Music

Spotify playlist for this quarter is here. Playlists for past quarters and years here.

Okay, music I most enjoyed discovering this quarter:

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Media I’m looking forward to, Q3 2020 edition

Added this quarter:

Books

bold = especially excited

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Media diet for Q1 2020

Music

Spotify playlist for this quarter is here. Playlists for past quarters and years here.

Okay, music I most enjoyed discovering this quarter:

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Media I’m looking forward to, Q2 2020 edition

Added this quarter:

Books

bold = especially excited

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Media diet for Q4 2019

Music

Spotify playlist for this quarter is here. Playlists for past quarters and years here.

Okay, music I most enjoyed discovering this quarter:

[Read more…]

Media I’m looking forward to, Q1 2020 edition

Added this quarter:

Books

bold = especially excited

[Read more…]

Media diet for Q3 2019

Music

Spotify playlist for this quarter is here. Playlists for past quarters and years here.

Okay, music I most enjoyed discovering this quarter:

[Read more…]

Media I’m looking forward to, Q4 2019 edition

Added this quarter:

Books

bold = especially excited

[Read more…]

Media diet for Q2 2019

Music

Spotify playlist for this quarter is here. Playlists for past quarters and years here.

Okay, music I most enjoyed discovering this quarter:

[Read more…]

Media I’m looking forward to, Q3 2019 edition

Added this quarter:

Books

bold = especially excited

[Read more…]

Media diet for Q1 2019

Music

Spotify playlist for this quarter is here. Playlists for past quarters and years here.

Okay, music I most enjoyed discovering this quarter:

[Read more…]

Media I’m looking forward to, Q2 2019 edition

Added this quarter:

Books

bold = especially excited

[Read more…]

Favorite media discovered in 2018

Hard to compare across media, of course, but here’s my attempt:1

  1. Dark Souls (2011) 🎮
  2. Eighth Grade (2018) 🎥
  3. The Favourite (2018) 🎥
  4. Celeste (2018) 🎮
  5. Better Call Saul, season 4 (2018) 📺
  6. Hollow Knight (2017) 🎮
  7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) 🎥
  8. The Death of Stalin (2017) 🎥
  9. Lady Bird (2017) 🎥
  10. Maniac (2018) 📺
  11. Incredibles 2 (2018) 🎥
  12. The Elephant in the Brain (2018) 📖
  13. Atlanta, season 2 (2018) 📺
  14. Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium (2017) 🎵
  15. Logan Lucky (2017) 🎥
  16. The Florida Project (2017) 🎥
  17. I, Tonya (2017) 🎥
  18. 4 Visions (1981) 🎵
  19. The Disaster Artist (2017) 🎥
  20. Adventure Time, season 10 (2018) 📺
  21. War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) 🎥
  22. All Melody (2018) 🎵
  23. You Were Never Really Here (2017) 🎥
  24. Dead Magic (2018) 🎵
  25. Blue Planet II (2017) 📺
  1. For media that can take a long time to consume, e.g. video games and seasons of television, I count them toward the year in which I finish them. []

Media diet for Q4 2018

Games

Ones I “really liked” (no star), or “loved” (star):

  • Dark Souls ★
    • The first “soulslike” I’ve played. It has its flaws, and it’s not as relentlessly fun as (say) Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey, but I found it pretty awe-inspiring, and I can see why it has been so influential. I’m tempted to write at length about what’s so great about Dark Souls, but of course that’s been done hundreds of times since its release in 2011, so if you’re curious I’ll just point you to these four video essaysDark Souls isn’t the very best video game experience I’ve had,1 but it is probably the one that feels most profound.
  • Guacamelee!
  • Guacamelee! 2
  • Diablo III
  • Hollow Knight ★
    • One of the best Metroidvanias.

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  1. That honor might go to SMB3Homeworld, or Breath of the Wild. []

Media I’m looking forward to, Q1 2019 edition

Added this quarter:

Books

bold = especially excited

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Media diet for Q3 2018

Books

  • Lukianoff & Haidt, The Coddling of the American Mind. Only adds a bit beyond the article, mostly additional horror stories that have occurred in the meantime, and precious little data. I’m broadly sympathetic to their concerns but hardly convinced.
  • Several books by Thomas Sowell. I do like him better in longform than shortform. In general I like his “basic economics applied to X” and “bunch of facts you didn’t know” books more than his “my rambly theory of culture” books (e.g. Conflict of Visions). His style is fun and easy to read but his analyses aren’t systematic/rigorous and so it’s often hard to know how much to trust the conclusions. He’s an economist, but in his books he writes like a historian (e.g. ~no identification strategy).

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Media I’m looking forward to, Q4 2018 edition

Added this quarter:

Books

bold = especially excited

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Media diet for Q2 2018

Books

  • Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. Interesting, albeit obviously not convincing. Just me trying to get a sense for how international relations debates work.
  • Rosling, Factfulness. Decent for what it’s trying to be. Similar in spirit and content to Enlightenment Now, but narrower in scope and written for a wider audience.

These days I finish fewer books than I used to, and prefer to skip around more.

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Media I’m looking forward to, Q3 2018 edition

Added this quarter:

Books

bold = especially excited

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Projects I wish I had time for

  1. Everyone Is Lying Again: A blog dissecting how, in response to the majority of even slightly controversial or partisanship-evoking news stories, all “sides” (right, left, etc.) grossly misrepresent the facts and/or their scientific, historical, or cultural context. Probably one dissection per week, allowing time for substantial research for each post.
  2. The Story of Rock Music: This podcast would guide the listener through the history of rock music, playing extended clips of >10 tracks per episode and helping the listener hear exactly how different styles developed, split off from their roots, and recombined later. For example in one episode I might explain what a raga is and play an example clip, then explain what modal vs. chordal improvisation is and play contrasting clips, then explain what blues rock is and play an example clip, then explain what post-bop jazz is and play an example clip, and finally talk through (with example clips) how these forms were fused together in the classic Mike Bloomfield track “East-West,” one of the earliest examples of “raga rock.” Episodes would proceed in roughly chronological order, so that the listener could “hear” the evolution of music over time, as later episodes build on the stylistic evolutions described in past episodes.
  3. Evolving Sounds: Relatedly, I’ve long wanted to research, compose, and record a many-hour continuous piece of music that recapitulates the entire history of “Western music” (which is better documented than other traditions). The piece would begin with sections composed in accordance with scholarly guesses about how prehistoric music might have sounded, eventually transition into the earliest styles from recorded history, then evolve into styles covered in e.g. Burkholder’s History of Western Music, up to the present day. This is a pretty obvious idea and I’m upset that nobody has attempted it yet.
  4. Everything is Awesome and We’re All Going to Die: This book would start off like a more thorough and epistemically scrupulous version of the empirical sections from Enlightenment Now, and would then proceed to explain in detail why global catastrophic risk is nevertheless increasing over time via Moore’s Law of Mad Science, inescapable asymmetry in the difficulty of creation vs. destructioninadequate equilibria, and related phenomena.
  5. Better Moral Judgments: Moral philosophy makes little attempt to estimate what our moral intuitions would be if we were smarter, better informed, etc. Works like The Righteous Mind and Moral Tribes1 are baby steps in the right direction, but still far less ambitious than what I sketch here, which could easily be expanded into quite a large research program. But I’d start with a book sketching out that research program and working through some initial examples.

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  1. I’d also list the methodology sections of Beckstead (2013) and these notes from a conversation with Carl Shulman. []