October 2018 gwern.net newsletter with 5 new posts, links on genetics/human evolution/AI/meta-science/history of tech, 2 book reviews, 2 movie reviews, 1 series review.
created: 23 Sep 2018; modified: 22 Mar 2019; status: finished; confidence: log; importance: 0
This is the October 2018 edition of the
gwern.net newsletter; previous, September 2018 (archives). This is a summary of the revision-history RSS feed, overlapping with my Changelog &
/r/gwern (which has replaced my Google+ account for link-sharing & also has an RSS feed); brought to you by my donors on Patreon.
- Like Engendr’ing Like: Heredity and Animal Breeding in Early Modern England, Russell 1986 (review)
- Donald Michie: On Machine Intelligence, Biology and More, ed Srinivasan 2009 (review)
- Shadow of the Vampire (2000) (a meta-fictional retelling of Nosferatu; Defoe kills it as the vampire, and the movie as a whole is a love-letter to silent-films & film-making)
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, seasons 1-8 (see my extended review)
- Incredibles 2 (14 years later—has it really been that long? yes, it has—Pixar returns to the 2004 The Incredibles. It hews close to the first one’s plot, instead inverting the protagonist roles: now Helen is the working mom hired by a shadowy employer for her powers, and Bob the house-husband. As promised by The Incredibles, the dangerously omni-talented family baby Jack-Jack is brought into the thick of things, serving to lighten the action with some slapstick humor. The action itself is sturdy but the only scene I think I will remember in years to come is the Elastigirl train sequence. The surprise twist of the villain is surprising mostly for being surprising at all, which highlights in a way the Hollywood political monoculture and likely confirmed many’s interpretation of the first movie. Not having watched it in a long time, much less side by side, I can’t assess how the graphics might have changed but I assume 2 has much better CGI than #1, benefiting as it does from 14 years of Pixar R&D, and it feels like it aimed for a more realistic and subdued esthetic. Overall, it felt reasonably enjoyable but lacked the snap and punch of #1: the villain is not nearly as fun to watch as Syndrome, the super-suit scene was not nearly as interesting as the snarky first scene with the critique of capes, and so on. Pixar claimed they’d revisit it only when they felt they had something to say which would justify a sequel, but I am left wondering what Pixar saw in this. It is fine, but it has nowhere near as much impact as #1 did—I can’t imagine in a few years anyone quoting a line from it the way that “when everyone is incredible, no one will be” went viral last time.)
Due to length, this review & essay has been split out to a separate page.