This is the August 2016 edition of the
gwern.net newsletter; previous, July 2016. This is a summary of the revision-history RSS feed, overlapping with Changelog & /r/gwern; brought to you by my donors on Patreon.
- Fortune’s Formula, Poundstone 2005 (review)
- The Future of Machine Intelligence: Perspectives from Leading Practitioners, ed Beyer 2016 (short 80pg ebook of interviews with ML experts; some are notable, like Ilya Sutskever, some much less so (an evolutionary computation guy? what has that field done in years?) but all interviews are so short, ~5 pages, that they hardly get into any depth, and it’s a waste of time.)
- Marty (1955) (while extraordinarily lauded at the time, and one of the first American films to be officially shown in the USSR post-WWII, I had never heard of Marty. It is a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of an archetype which usually is excoriated and made the butt of all jokes in movies, the omega male—a socially awkward and unmarried loser. It also gives a strong sense of time, location, and community in making the main characters 1950s Italian-Americans in NYC’s The Bronx. The plot is simplicity: the awkward Marty is repeatedly hectored into socializing until by chance he encounters a shy woman who he gets along with, only for his friends & family to reconsider how Marty’s success would harm them, and Marty overcomes their opposition and his own fears to continue the relationship. The point is more to watch Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair act their way through it in an enjoyable fashion, although I think much of the humor is too dated to amuse now.)
- The Wind Rises (review)
- The Dog of Flanders (a classic anime children’s movie; aside from the unusual Belgian setting, not too much to recommend it for adults—cardboard characters and almost excruciatingly slow, with a few missteps like failing to establish chronology so the main character’s eviction “by Christmas” comes as a total surprise because the viewer still thinks it’s autumn)