This is the August 2018 edition of the Gwern.net newsletter; previous, July 2018 (archives). This is a collation of links and summary of major changes, overlapping with my Changelog; brought to you by my donors on Patreon.
- Nothing completed
- The Vaccinators: Smallpox, Medical Knowledge, and the ‘Opening’ of Japan, Jannetta 2007 (review)
- Low Aptitude Men in the Military: Who Profits, Who Pays?, Laurence & Ramsberger 1991 (on Project 100,000 and the ASVAB Misnorming)
- Confusion of Confusions, Joseph de la Vega 1688 (First long description of the Dutch stock exchange & market manipulation/
trading strategies. Amusing.)
- Memories of the Space Age, J.G. Ballard (some striking images let down by short stories padding them out; reading them in one sitting, I thought that only 6 stories seemed like a rather short anthology—but it was actually 8 and I had completely confused some of them so much did they overlap, especially the ‘time compression’ theme, which I struggled to see how it related to the Space Age at all and is overwrought. I thought it might provide some examples for my Scanners Live in Vain essay but it all comes off as more of a sublimated reaction to psychedelics than the Space Age. To invert The Martian Chronicles effectively, Ballard would have had to vary the topics much more, gone less into his inexplicable metaphysics of time, and made the stories leaner.)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018; while featuring some of the typically unnecessarily convoluted plotting of the Marvel movies and idiot-ball-holding, Ant-Man pleasantly surprised me with a steady fare of humor and action scenes showing that someone involved once thought for a few seconds about how to effectively use shrink-rays, and didn’t feel like it was 2 hours long)