Media Diet, February 2024

A roundup of noteworthy things I’ve played, read, listened to, or watched over the last few weeks.

It was a busy month, and I didn’t have much time for reading a book or playing some games. It happens. March is going better already. 😉

🎙️ “Socio” by Daniel Sloss – Funny stand up special by a funny Scotsman, a bit crass at times, enjoyable. I liked his earlier specials a bit more; I think it has something to do with him not being as professionally self-assured as he is now, if that makes any sense.

“Maps Distort How We See the World” by Tomas Pueyo – Absolutely mind blowing. The most-used map projection entirely distorts the size of continents, countries, the poles. Just take a look at the first correction (a GIF) in the article!

📚 “Acceptance” by Jeff VanderMeer – The eerie conclusion to VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach” trilogy. Good read, adding quite a bit of depth to many characters. I loved how he threw some curve balls with minor details, like the thing with the old cell phone. Good ending, all in all. (A)

📺 Halo, Season 2, by people who don’t give a shit about established lore, I think – I’m not fond of this “Silver timeline” at all (it’s called that because, holy shit, it sure ain’t gold). I do like Pablo Schreiber’s gruff MC, and he’s out of armor 90% of the time for some reason. Outstanding: Natasha Culzac’s depiction of Riz-028 growing from Spartan into an actual person, that was really good. I hate how they wasted some lore-important Key(es) characters for cheap drama. I don’t like the weird-ass “human part of the Covenant” bollocks. I’d love to know what Makee’s hair dresser thinks they are doing over there. This show is a bit of a train wreck, but I can’t seem to look away. If you have no idea what Halo is or how the original story went, it’s probably more enjoyable. (C-)

📺 Three-Body: 三体 – There is this supposedly very faithful 30-part Chinese TV adaptation of “The Three-Body Problem” by Cixin Liu. Each episode is over 40 minutes long. They sure take their sweet time with the show, and after four episodes I threw in the towel. It’s very well done, I think, but this show is not made for me.

Death, Lonely Death — Crooked Timber – A beautiful ode to the engineering marvel that is Voyager I. Godspeed, little one. You did great.

🎙️ “No Questions Asked” by Matt Goldich – He is one of the writers of “Late Night with Seth Meyers”, which is how I discovered this special. It’s not ROFL material to me, but I had a good time! I laughed, and that’s always nice. (B)

🎙️ “The Matt Goldich Guarantee” by Matt Goldich – His first album/ special. Good jokes, dry delivery, really liked it! (B+)

“The Tyranny of Convenience” by Tim Wu (Archived) – Well-written plea to choose your battles wisely:

What happens to human experience when so many obstacles and impediments and requirements and preparations have been removed? Today’s cult of convenience fails to acknowledge that difficulty is a constitutive feature of human experience. Convenience is all destination and no journey. But climbing a mountain is different from taking the tram to the top, even if you end up at the same place.

“Niuniu” by Baoshu, translated by Andy Dudak : Clarkesworld Magazine – Science Fiction & Fantasy – Novelette by Chinese scifi author Baoshu. What would you do if live took a person you loved, and you could “bring them back” in a way? A bit depressing.

Lone Echo | Full Game Walkthrough | YouTube – A VR game walkthrough. I had heard good things about Lone Echo, but don’t own anything that could play it, so I went to YT on a whim. Nice story, well presented.

“Don Putin and his enemies” by Krautreporter – Here’s a great “Russian govt” explainer article from one of my fave German journalist crews, Krautreporter. It was published in German, but Google Translate did a good job, so I wholeheartedly recommend reading and spreading it:

Russia has become a mafia state, with a powerful boss at the top: Vladimir Putin. Many of his decisions seem irrational, and many events in Russia seem completely insane, such as Prigozhin’s attempted coup. But if you understand Russia as a mafia state, then the coup attempt is a war between two rival gangs. And a lot of other things suddenly make sense.

German language stuff

Globaler Süden: Wieso der Westen seine Strategie ändern muss“Wenn der Westen weiterhin das Weltgeschehen mitbestimmen will, muss er lernen, dem Globalen Süden zuzuhören." Eine gute Zusammenfassung betreffend zu einem blinden Fleck, den wir in der “westlichen” Welt alle noch haben.

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Carlo Zottmann @czottmann