Things That Didn't Suck 2011
← December 22, 2011 →
One of my friends suggested we each compile a list of things we enjoyed reading, watching, listening, or otherwise consuming in the past year. He titled his email “things that didn’t suck”.
Here is my list.
Basically in the order I read them, with quite a few books not making the list for being not outstanding
- The Soul of a New Machine - Tracy Kidder’s biography of the digital computer and the people who build it
- The Man Who Loved Only Numbers - the biography of Erdös, the most prolific mathematician of the 20th century.
- The Man Who Knew Infinity - the biography of the genius Ramanujan by My Close Personal Friend Robert Kanigel. Contains almost no math, and is an interesting story of an unusual mind.
- The Worthing Saga - if I had to recommend one sci-fi book that I read this year, this would be it.
- Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus - future- and past- historical fiction which is hard to describe but really masterly executed.
- Flowers for Algernon - I read this in less that 12 hours, and I cried at the end.
- Footfall - Space elephants conquer Earth.
- A crapload of not-the-usual Heinlein
- Game of Thrones and the rest of A Song of Ice and Fire - This was the fastest that I’ve ever burned through 2000 pages, and I loved almost every page of it. Valar morghullis.
- The Hobbit I reread this in about a week, because I had forgotten almost all of it but the broadest generalities. Now I am psyched for the movie.
- The Fighter
- The Adjustment Bureau - which only makes the list because Joe Biden was there, and I imagine him laughing at my laugh in response to this trailer for Paul.
- Bridesmaids - Did you know that air marshall jon and the woman who figures out he’s an air marshall are married in real life?
- Crazy Stupid Love - I really like Steve Carell.
- One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
- In The Heat of the Night
- Cool Hand Luke
Roughly in reverse chronological order.
- Lockhart’s Lament - a mathematician’s perspective on math education and the value of math as a human activity.
- African American Atheists
- Many of the written works of John Perry Barlow, EFF founder and Grateful Dead lyricist
- Steve Jobs’ eulogy, authored by his sister
- The Royal Society opened their historical archives
- The Food Bubble - Goldman Sachs plays with its food. It was in Harpers, but I think it probably needs a grain of salt. Because otherwise this should be an absolutely huge story, and I haven’t really seen it anywhere else.
- Is Shyness an Evolutionary Tactic?
- Could Conjoined Twins Share A Mind?
- The Document Which Used To Be Called The MIT Lockpicking Guide
- The $700 Million Yogurt Startup - The story of the ascent of Greek yogurt. It’s perishable, must be kept cold, &c, but this company is kicking ass and taking names nonetheless.
- Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity - This is a very long article. 50 pages, and it’s not all light. But Aaronson is a good explainer, and the essay is digestible in pieces, and harder parts can just be skipped.
- Gold Coins: The Mystery of the Double Eagle
- The Beer Archaeologist
- Carl Sagan’s Cosmos - Once you get over the hokey 80s graphics, the astronomy and philosophical considerations are timeless, and Sagan’s somber awe is enthralling.
- Louie CK in all his various instantiations
- It’s Fun To Imagine, with Richard Feynman
- Tales of Mere Existence
- Game of Thrones
Listening to these things in a serious way was new.
- David Gilmour
- Fiona Apple
- Harry Chapin
- Johnny Cash
- Joni Mitchell
- Warren Zevon
- Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind - 30 plays in 60 minutes. Some funny, some serious. Mostly funny. I laughed so hard the performers commented on it during the performance. If you are in Chicago or if the Neo-Futurists visit New York, I strongly recommend seeing it.
- The Story Collider - I’d never been to a story slam before. It was great.
- Various public lectures at the Air and Space Museum
- Company - the broadway show with Stephen Colbert + whats his name on the silver screen.
- You, Me, Them, Everybody - they live-record an improv, story-telling, stand-up, and music podcast.
I have become a podcast fiend.
- The Moth
- The Story Collider - The Moth, but about science in some capacity
- The Tobolowsky Files - The guy that Bill Murray hits in Groundhog’s day/the guy who forgets everything in Memento is a character actor with an exceedingly interesting life and a real talent for stories.
- In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg - 3 scholars and a moderator discuss a big idea, a historical figure, a cultural development, etc.
- A History of the World in 100 Objects
- NPR’s Sunday Puzzle
- Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
- This American Life
- Feb-run-uary, the sequel to Veganuary - Although running sucked at the beginning, by the end I could actually run. This achievement was quickly undone by the the trees conquering my sinuses for a month and a half, making it impossible to breathe.
- Race to the End of the Earth exhibit at AMNH.
- Vi Hart’s math doodle youtubes
- Great Migrations at the National Geographic Society
- Rock climbing twice a week during the summer. - I find rock climbing to be a giant puzzle where you coincidentally have to exercise, too.
← December 22, 2011 →