Brainiac Academy (thread for interesting articles, blogposts, lectures and other stuff to expand ur mind)

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Re: Brainiac Academy (thread for interesting articles, blogposts, lectures and other stuff to expand ur mind)

Post by containercore »

Slatestar Codex is writing on substack now. I usually found his blog hit or miss, if you don't know he's one of those Less Wrong rationalist guys, which I think is an outlook that's supposed to give you greater insight by being as sound as possible in its reasoning, but isn't immune to its own forms of ideological blinders. But he's obviously a pretty smart guy, his review of Don't Look Up has been a pretty entertaining read.
Unfortunately, Don’t Look Up can’t stop contradicting itself.

It depicts a monstrous world where the establishment is conspiring to keep the truth from you in every possible way. But it reserves its harshest barbs for anti-establishment wackos, who are constantly played for laughs. “THE COMET IS A MARXIST LIE!” says the guy on the Facebook stand-in. Maybe not literally, but at least he’s genre-savvy.

It depicts elites as simultaneously incompetent and omnicompetent. There’s a great scene where Female Scientist is talking to some rioters. The rioters bombard her with conspiracy theories - the elites have built bunkers! They’re lying low, totally safe, laughing at the idea of the comet wiping out the hoi polloi. “No,” Female Scientist answers, “they’re not that competent”. It’s a great line, played completely seriously. But later we learn that Tech CEO literally built a 2,000 person starship in less than six months so he and the other elites could escape.

But the worst part is…well, basically every scientific institution ends up lying. Asian Scientist, the head of NASA, officially announces there’s nothing to worry about. Tech CEO parades a bunch of Nobel Prize winners who endorse his idiotic plan and say it’ll go great. Male Scientist, during his work-within-the-system phase, makes commercials reassuring people that the comet won’t hurt them. The media is complicit in all of this, systematically preventing the populace from hearing the truth. The only scientist telling it like it is, Female Scientist, has (by the end of the movie) been kicked out of grad school and ended up bagging groceries.

Take this seriously, and the obvious moral of the story is: all conspiracy theories are true. If some rando bagging groceries at the supermarket tells you that every scientist in the world is lying, you should trust her 1000 percent.

But for some reason, everyone else thinks the moral of this story is Believe Experts. Worse, I think the scriptwriter and director and people like that also thought the moral of this story was Believe Experts. I think they asked themselves “How can we create a polemical film that viscerally convinces people to Believe Experts”, and they somehow came up with this movie, where the experts are bad and wrong and destroy humanity.
https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/m ... nt-look-up
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Re: Brainiac Academy (thread for interesting articles, blogposts, lectures and other stuff to expand ur mind)

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Interesting news from the music industry: https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/ ... releases2/

According to MBW’s calculations using MRC’s numbers, ‘catalog’ records accounted for a stunning 82.1% of total recorded music consumption in the US in the second half of 2021.

You know what that must mean: ‘current’ records made up just 17.9% of US music consumption in the last six months of 2021… or less than a fifth of the market.

What’s more, total consumption (that’s sales plus streams) of ‘current’ music actually fell, in real terms, by 37.4% in the second half of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, two important caveats:

(i) Our 82.1% catalog figure refers to total music consumption across streaming and digital/physical sales; MRC doesn’t break out streaming-specific numbers on this topic.
(ii) ‘Catalog’ music in MRC’s eyes counts as anything released over 18 months before a consumer made a purchase and/or pressed play. ‘Current’ music is in the inverse: any music released within the prior 18 months of the moment a consumer made a purchase and/or pressed play.

Still, the sheer scale of the streaming-driven dominance of catalog music in the US during 2021 will come as a shock to many in the music business.
Whatever is driving older music’s mushrooming dominance of the US record industry, it’s not only affecting the market share of ‘catalog’ and ‘current’ records.

According to MRC’s report, sales/streams of ‘current’ records (i,e. those released in the previous 18 months) actually fell year-on-year in real terms, too:

Across the entirety of 2020, says MRC, total album consumption (TAC) of ‘current’ records amounted to 269.3 million.
Across the entirety of 2021, says the org, the equivalent figure amounted to just 228.1 million – a year-on-year decline of 15.3%.

Yet in the same 12 months of 2021, total on-demand streaming volume in the US increased 9.9% YoY to 1.13 trillion. And total album consumption (TAC) saw a YoY increase of 11.3%.

Set against the backdrop of this growing market, the shrinking presence of new music in the US record industry may leave some frontline record labels scratching their heads.
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Re: Brainiac Academy (thread for interesting articles, blogposts, lectures and other stuff to expand ur mind)

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Richard Hanania's substack is pretty good. He's a polsci facts & stats guy who usually draws some interesting conclusions. He's generally right leaning but is also a very good critic of the modern right's failings.

https://richardhanania.substack.com/p/l ... ives-watch
countries as a national calling, completely ignoring any domestic issue. A few years later, the Tea Party arose in opposition to bailouts, and conservative politicians started getting primaried for not being extreme enough in their support for small government and lower levels of spending. This was an era in which Republicans nominated for the Senate a guy who opposed the federal minimum wage, and another who opposed anti-discrimination laws. By the end of Obama’s presidency, nobody cared about small government anymore, and they nominated Trump, whose signature issue was immigration, and who thought all the human rights stuff in foreign policy was stupid. Today, somehow, Republicans are fundraising off of opposition to vaccine mandates, something that hasn’t ever been associated with the right.

It doesn’t work like that on the left! Sure, they don’t believe the exact same things they did 20 years ago. They are more militant about race and LGBT and more left-wing on economics. Yet going from pro-civil unions to pro-gay marriage to pro-trans is not the same as going from democratizing Iraq to not caring about Iraq and opposing universal vaccinations. What we see on the left is ideological evolution, pushed forward by an activist base. When Al Gore was running for president, they were pro-redistribution and in favor of government interventions to help designated minorities. Now, they are more left wing on these issues, and have debates within the party over how left wing they should be. Some are under the impression that Democrats are now the pro-war or anti-civil liberties party, but that’s a myth, although foreign policy is the one major area where they have not really moved left.

One good way to understand the differences here is by looking at the 2020 Trump campaign, which was sort of a reductio ad absurdum of the general trends we see on the right. Republicans simultaneously attacked Biden for being woke and wanting to let BLM burn down cities, and also for being “racist” because he was once tough on crime.
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Re: Brainiac Academy (thread for interesting articles, blogposts, lectures and other stuff to expand ur mind)

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Paul Cockshott is pretty interesting to listen to. He's basically an orthodox Marxist who argues for stuff like the labor theory of value. Unlike most modern leftoids who call themselves communists he is very invested in the autistic and literal minded pursuit of theory, videos cover topics like how many kilowatt hours of energy draft animals produced prior to the industrial revolution. The parts about interpreting various events in the history of labor through a staunch Marxist lense are good, however he very seriously believes in a couple leftist fairy tales like the nonexistence of patriarchy, and by extension warfare, prior to mankind discovering surplus AKA commodity. But these are entertaining detours that can easily be ignored, it's fun listening to him explain stuff like why, through a Marxian lense, feudalism is more economically rational than capitalism.

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Re: Brainiac Academy (thread for interesting articles, blogposts, lectures and other stuff to expand ur mind)

Post by rocko »

containercore wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 8:48 pm Paul Cockshott is pretty interesting to listen to. He's basically an orthodox Marxist who argues for stuff like the labor theory of value. Unlike most modern leftoids who call themselves communists he is very invested in the autistic and literal minded pursuit of theory, videos cover topics like how many kilowatt hours of energy draft animals produced prior to the industrial revolution. The parts about interpreting various events in the history of labor through a staunch Marxist lense are good, however he very seriously believes in a couple leftist fairy tales like the nonexistence of patriarchy, and by extension warfare, prior to mankind discovering surplus AKA commodity. But these are entertaining detours that can easily be ignored, it's fun listening to him explain stuff like why, through a Marxian lense, feudalism is more economically rational than capitalism.

I wasn't expecting to find a video about the gender pay gap on this channel! I appreciated his perspective on it, he takes the historical context into account, which I haven't seen anyone else talk about.

This post by Resident Contrarian on Substack made a big impact on me recently: https://www.residentcontrarian.com/p/on ... g-poor-ish . It's a combination of personal reflection, budgeting math, and psychology. Plus, it's got really helpful life advice too.
Rich person tip: Unless you really, really need everything in your house to clearly be part of a unified set, you are a sucker if you buy furniture new; this is especially true for non-upholstered wooden furniture. Antique furniture is prettier, studier, has more street cred and can be had for a song compared to retail store prices; let other people pay those and look average while you put in a minimum effort, save money, and get cooler older furniture that makes you look like a person of taste rather than an every day jive-turkey retail sucker.

Poor people tip: Stop buying spatulas on Craigslist. Just work some more overtime. Yes, I know it’s a lot of overtime already but spatulas cost $5 new - a $2 spatula is not a deal and the savings don’t pay for even minimum-wage time spent driving to talk to a guy named “Pastor Dave” about used discount cookware in a Circle K parking lot.
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Re: Brainiac Academy (thread for interesting articles, blogposts, lectures and other stuff to expand ur mind)

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Been listening to these lectures on ancient Egypt, really good stuff.



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Re: Brainiac Academy (thread for interesting articles, blogposts, lectures and other stuff to expand ur mind)

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Various articles on some figures from the music industry.

https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2021/0 ... ent-lower/
Did Spotify and music streaming really save the music industry? Not according to inflation-adjusted recorded music revenue data.

Despite endless talk of a music industry comeback, total recorded music revenues are still nowhere near their earlier peaks, according to recently-surfaced data. In fact, total recorded music revenues are still drastically lower than levels roughly 20 years ago.

According to inflation-adjusted data from the Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA), total recorded music revenues in 2020 were $12.2 billion, which is approximately 46.2% lower than the industry’s 1999 peak-year total of $22.7 billion.

That strongly challenges assumptions that the music industry has already completed its return to glory. Instead, the latest data — which is, importantly, inflation-adjusted — tells an entirely different story. While U.S. recorded music revenues are certainly ramping upward from sub-$10 billion lows experienced just five years ago, they are nowhere near the robust revenues witnessed in the mid-1990s and early-2000s.
https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2022/0 ... 21-report/
Catalog releases – or tracks that debuted more than 18 months ago – experienced a 24.8 percent year-over-year consumption hike in the U.S. in 2021 and accounted for nearly three-quarters of domestic listening, even as total stateside audio streams grew by nearly 10 percent YoY.

These and other interesting stats came to light in MRC Data’s newly released 2021 yearend report. In addition to the 9.9 percent boost for stateside on-demand song streaming (which finished at 1.13 trillion streams), global on-demand audio streams (not including video) jumped 26.3 percent YoY, to 2.74 trillion, according to the analysis.

Notwithstanding the improvement – and particularly the audio streams growth in the U.S. – catalog releases’ stateside consumption share surged 24.8 percent YoY, as noted, to 74.5 percent, the report states.
And despite the strong streaming performances of 2021 tracks from Olivia Rodrigo, Adele, and BTS, to name some, non-catalog consumption, covering releases that are less than 18 months old, dropped from 33.6 percent in 2020 to 25.5 percent in 2021, per the breakdown.

Regarding the 2021 growth of both U.S. streaming volume and catalog consumption, it bears highlighting that some older tracks have found younger audiences after going viral on social media. Predictably, a full 99 percent of the U.S.’s Gen Z residents use streaming services to enjoy music, against 98 percent for millennials and 96 percent for Gen X, according to the report – with each total easily topping those of other nations.

Perhaps the most telling data on this front, however, pertains to U.S. baby boomers, a full 89 percent of whom stream music weekly, the text relays. Mexico placed second in the category, with 75 percent of residents between the ages of 56 and 74 using streaming services to access music “in a typical week.”
It seems that the growth in revenue attributed to streaming is exaggerated,the non-inflation adjusted numbers give the impression that it is back to late 90s/early 00s levels, despite really being at about half. The growth in revenue from streaming appears to mostly be boomers adopting streaming and podcast listeners.

The Atlantic put out an article on this topic the other, which I've not read yet.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... ic/621339/
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Re: Brainiac Academy (thread for interesting articles, blogposts, lectures and other stuff to expand ur mind)

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https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 2021000670
This is an interesting article to read in the light of today's misinformation hysteria and 'trust the experts' rhetoric. The author, a senior scientist at the CDC, and two statistician co-authors published a study in 2005 which found that being overweight was not associated with a higher risk of mortality and that while obesity was still deadly, the mortality rate was lower than previously thought. These findings upset the traditional narrative in the field and sparked a massive backlash from scientists, especially a group associated with the Harvard School of Public Health, who repeatedly tried to refute the study without apparently having read it, spread lies about the CDC retracting the study and demoting the author (the CDC's obesity mortality statistics are based on this study), dismissed the author's credentials despite often not having any more expertise in this specific area themselves, and frequently used non-academic channels, such as Wikipedia, to cement the narrative that the article was discredited. Some highlights from the article:
I fielded dozens of press calls as soon as our article was published. To my surprise, after the first few hours, many of the journalists who called me had already spoken to a professor, Walter Willett, (let's call him Professor 1) from a prestigious school of public health (PSPH). He was not a statistician and had no expertise in estimating the number of deaths associated with obesity. Our article was not intended to have anything to do with his work. He had apparently begun pre-emptively contacting the press, inserting himself into the discussion, positioning himself as an expert, and providing negative and antagonistic comments on our article before reporters had spoken to me. He used strong language to disparage our article, describing it as “really naive, deeply flawed and seriously misleading”.
Further attacks, many but not all emanating from PSPH and its alumni, continued over a number of years. These ranged over a broad gamut: criticisms that we repeatedly refuted, generic minor criticisms that would apply to most articles in this general field (for example that, like the 2004 Mokdad et al. paper, we had used body mass index instead of a more precise measure of adiposity), misinformation, content-free insults and name calling, and sometimes outright falsehoods. It took me far too long to understand that our findings were being treated by some as a partisan issue rather than as a topic of scientific discussion. Our work was attacked in a surprising variety of non-scientific forums, including internet blog posts, social media posts, in-house newsletters, widely distributed fact sheets, and Wikipedia entries. Trying to get errors corrected was stressful and time-consuming. We repeatedly demonstrated that the criticisms being raised would have little or no effect on our results, but these demonstrations were ignored or dismissed.
For example, a laboratory exercise for graduate students in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University compared our results unfavorably to those of Mokdad et al., stated four different times that our study had only used a single measure of BMI and then asked students to “Discuss the appropriateness and effect of using a single measure of BMI in attributing subsequent deaths to obesity” without noting that Mokdad et al. had also used a single measure of BMI.
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Re: Brainiac Academy (thread for interesting articles, blogposts, lectures and other stuff to expand ur mind)

Post by LongJohn »

Here's a youtube link to Century of the Self if everyone hasn't already seen it.
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