May 2018 News

May 2018 gwern.net newsletter with 3 essays, links on genetic engineering/heritability/human evolution, politics, psychology, advertising, and 1 book and 1 movie review.
newsletter
2018-05-102020-10-09 finished certainty: log importance: 0


This is the May 2018 edi­tion of the gwern.net newslet­ter; pre­vi­ous, 2018 (). This is a sum­mary of the revi­sion-his­tory RSS feed, over­lap­ping with my & ; brought to you by my donors on Patreon.

Writings

Media

Books

Non­fic­tion:

  • The Cat in Ancient Egypt, Malek 1997 (some nice ful­l-­color images; Malek’s accounts are fairly spec­u­la­tive, and could have used a basic dis­cus­sion of the con­ven­tions of ancient Egypt­ian art, which he often appeals to in inter­pret­ing the cat images and explain­ing why some­thing is/isn’t impor­tant, but never explain­s.)

Film/TV

Live-ac­tion:

  • :

    Got around to watch­ing after read­ing an amus­ing tweet sum­mary: “An under­ap­pre­ci­ated thing about the Conan the Bar­bar­ian movie is how low-key informed it is by 1970s Cal­i­for­nia beach cul­ture. It’s basi­cally about a Mus­cle Beach body­builder & his hapa surfer buddy doing drugs, hav­ing casual sex & bat­tling a cult that exploits rich hip­pies.” Hav­ing already watched , which shows Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger not long before while still try­ing to tran­si­tion from body­build­ing to film and his , I was intrigued by the com­par­i­son. And Stentz’s sum­mary is… dead on. It’s so easy to see them as Cal­i­forn­ian body­builders bum­bling around, hav­ing a good time, smok­ing what is clearly weed togeth­er, until they are dis­tracted by a hip­pie Cal­i­forn­ian Asian/human-potential cult which brain­washes a rich man’s daugh­ter, who hires depro­gram­mers, I mean, bar­bar­ians to save her—­com­plete with long­haired acolytes twirling flow­ers and med­i­tat­ing, and hilar­i­ously homo­erotic dia­logue, which as “The Power and the Gory” takes pains to remind us, was a big part of the body­build­ing scene as even straight body­builders would whore them­selves out to gay men for money or con­trolled steroids/drugs. There’s no way this was unin­ten­tion­al.

    I was fur­ther sur­prised by how slow-­mov­ing and mild it is—it repeat­edly pulls punches and takes more peace­ful ways out than its bloody rep­u­ta­tion would sug­gest (even the Seven Samu­rai-homage set-­piece fea­tures pos­si­bly less blood­shed than the orig­i­nal), right up to the cli­max. Of course Thulsa Doom is going to trans­form into his giant ser­pent form and fight Conan, right? We’ve been wait­ing for that the whole movie—nope! And then all the cultists just qui­etly dis­perse. The End.

Music

Misc:

  • “Leonardo” (Il Gia­rdino degli Spec­chi; Oltremare {2018}) [post-rock]