April 2017 news

31 March 201701 Jul 2020 finished certainty: log importance: 0

This is the April 2017 edition of the gwern.net newsletter; previous, (). This is a summary of the revision-history RSS feed, overlapping with my & ; brought to you by my donors on Patreon.






  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja (the long-running series comes to an end; having read it since ~2008, it’s surprising to reread the whole series and realize that in between all the humorous action drama like banditos riding raptors or surfing a robotic Dracula back from the Moon, was lurking a fairly complex & well-thought-out time-travel SF story with very long callbacks and a bittersweet ending, with writing that improves as much as the art does over its 2006–2017 run. In some respects, it’s a little dated—looking back, I recognize it as something of an artifact of the ’00s Western Internet culture in being part of a ninja fad along with , , etc—but I’m still impressed at how Hastings makes it all come together, suggesting either he planned it out much further back than I ever expected or is a master of retcons. It is not the greatest time-travel story ever, or greatest martial arts story, but I will always enjoy reading action with a brain. It is no surprise to me that I would enjoy Hasting’s later .)




  • DNA Dreams (short 2013 documentary on Beijing Genomics Institute and the research on IQ; the results still haven’t come out, having been pre-empted by Rietveld et al 2013 finding the first IQ hits, subsequent GWASes’ demonstration that the BGI bet on rare variants was wrong, and reportedly internal BGI disarray due to a disastrous bet on in-house development of DNA sequencers to try to break free of the Illumina sequencer quasi-monopoly; the documentary is fatally compromised by the lack of any actual discussion of genetics, instead settling for occasional ominous music, wandering BGI’s admittedly impressive facilities, and occasional idiosyncratic scenes of dating or family life.)