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Tag Archives: Television

Elon on SNL

He started by declaring that he speaks in a monotone and “has Asperger’s,” was funny and self-assured during the rest of the introduction, brought his mom on stage, and later played a variety of roles, including murderer, awkward guy at a party, a Mario character (Wario), and an Icelandic TV producer.  He played a financial analyst repeatedly asked to explain “What is Dogecoin?” (Dogecoin was down significantly during the evening).  The final skit was a...

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Who is the best-known, non-political American married couple?

With Bill and Melinda Gates divorcing, and Kanye and Kim doing the same, America now has a paucity of very well-known married couples, at least outside of politics, where Barack and Michelle Obama reign supreme. Who is the Lucy and Desi of our time?  The George Burns and Gracie Allen?  The Sonny and Cher? George and Amal Clooney are in the running, but is she so well known to most Americans?  Could they tell you her name from scratch, or cite what she is known for? Kurt Cobain has passed...

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How rational was Spock?

[Julia] Galef was curious to see exactly how often these predictions pan out. “I went through all of the Star Trek episodes and movies—all of the transcripts that I could find—and searched for any instance in which Spock is using the words ‘odds,’ ‘probability,’ ‘chance,’ ‘definitely,’ ‘probably,’ etc.,” she says. “I catalogued all instances in which Spock made a prediction and that prediction either came true or didn’t.” The results, which appear in Galef’s new book The Scout Mindset, are...

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My Conversation with the excellent Dana Gioia

Here is the audio, transcript, and video.  As I mention in the beginning, Dana is the (only?) CWT guest who can answer all of my questions.  Here is part of the summary: Dana and Tyler discuss his latest book and more, including how he transformed several businesses as a corporate executive, why going to business school made him a better poet, the only two obscene topics left in American poetry, why narrative is necessary for coping with life’s hardships, how Virgil influenced Catholic...

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The Best Movies and Television Shows about Invention

Anton Howes, author of the excellent Arts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation, asked on twitter about the best movies and televisions shows about invention. Here’s the collated list. Anton started watching Pad Man, which is on Netflix and loved it. It’s based on the true story of a man who invented a cheap way of making sanitary pads for women in India which I was familiar with, from the TED talk, but I didn’t know about the movie. It is excellent!...

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Classic Star Trek and rape (with spoilers)

With so few significant new movie releases to follow, I have taken to some strange pasttimes, including the viewing of old classic Star Trek episodes.  I was struck by two obscure episodes in particular.  One is Who Mourns for Adonais?, and the other is Metamorphosis, both from early in the second (and best) season. In Adonais, a crazed being, who is in fact the ancient Greek God Apollo, seizes control of the ship and of a landing party, consisting of Kirk and a few others, including a...

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*Queen’s Gambit* (no real spoilers in this post)

I’ve now seen a few episodes, and I have a few comments on the chess: 1. No player, including Magnus Carlsen, can become that good that quickly, without a lot of learning and losing along the way. 2. They show the players moving too fast, though for dramatic reasons this is easy enough to understand. 3. The Sicilian was indeed very popular in 1963, but not quite that popular. 4. It captures the feel of earlier U.S. chess tournaments very well, noting that my own participation came later...

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Against digitalized subscription services for the movies

Quality public taste is a public good, and right now we are taxing it: Another response to my whining might be to tell me that I live in a world of cinematic plenty, especially considering my various subscriptions and DVD collection. That is also entirely fair, but do keep in mind the original worry: that the future flow of movies is being broken up and that Hollywood is not regenerating the notion of a cinema with cultural centrality and import. “Star Wars,” “The Godfather,” and “Annie Hall”...

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From the comments, comedy vs. drama

I would say that many, if not most, comedies are “conservative” in their underlying messages or themes. Look at romantic comedies: the whole point is for characters to establish a committed relationship and either explicitly or presumably get married. The comedy is in watching characters who are notoriously bad at following tradition and institution find themselves desperate to follow tradition and institution. That’s a very conservative theme: happiness comes from family...

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My Conversation with Annie Duke

Here is the transcript and audio, here is the opening summary: Annie joined Tyler to explore how payoffs aren’t always monetary, the benefits and costs of probabilistic thinking, the “magical thinking” behind why people buy fire insurance but usually don’t get prenups, the psychology behind betting on shark migrations, how her most famous linguistics paper took on Steven Pinker, how public policy would change if only the top 500 poker players voted, why she wasn’t surprised to lose Celebrity...

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