The Five Best Clickhole Articles of All Time (Again)

The Five Best Clickhole Articles of All Time is my most popular post ever.

What would Clickhole do if they were me?

Obviously, they’d write a sequel, to get all those delicious clicks. Here you go!

 

The Five Best Clickhole Articles Since The Last Time I Wrote This Article

  1. Six Job Offers I Received After I Listed My Job Title on LinkedIn as “Treasure Horse”
  2. Almost Inspiring: This Woman’s First Post About Her Miscarriage Showed How Strong She Was, But Then Her Next 8 Posts Were Just Way Too Fucking Sad To Go Viral
  3. Disgrace: The CEO Of Beans Has Stepped Down Amid Reports That There Can’t Be A CEO Of Beans
  4. An Oral History of Pixar
  5. Wow: When Someone Graffitied Hateful Messages On This Mosque, A Group Of House Painters Came Together To Cover It Up For Free. But Then The Next Night The Hateful Guy Came Back And Wrote Even Worse Stuff, And The Painters Are Booked Through The End Of The Year. So Now Some Well-Intentioned Teens Are Going To Try To Fix It, Which Is Very Nice, But They Probably Aren’t Going To Do A Very Good Job And They Don’t Have A Ladder.

 

Almost Inspiring:

Within just a few hours of posting, Kelsey’s story had already racked up over 1,000 shares on Facebook and was well on its way to becoming the sort of viral sensation that inspires women all across the globe. Unfortunately, the eight statuses that followed were such a fucking bummer that there’s no way you’ll be seeing them shared across your feed anytime soon.

The CEO of Beans:

As of this morning, the board of directors of beans has accepted Mr. Buckley’s resignation, and then the members promptly stepped down themselves amidst reports that beans cannot have a board of directors, either.

Pixar:

Pete Docter (animator, Pixar): There was this unspoken agreement that films shouldn’t star human beings. They should star human beings whose souls are trapped in the bodies of smaller things, or bigger things. Souls trapped in fish; souls trapped in toys; souls trapped in cars. It’s just good storytelling.

John Lasseter: I vividly remember the moment we came up with the idea for Ratatouille. Brad Bird suddenly started scribbling down the words “rat Frenchman” over and over on a napkin. He must have written it hundreds of times. We all started nodding, because we knew this idea was going to make us a billion dollars.

 

 

The Other Four Best Clickhole Articles (etc.)

  1. If People Think There’s A Quick Fix To Illegal Immigration They’re As Misguided As The Scientists In My Screenplay ‘Chronotaur: Labyrinth Of Time’
  2. Not Good At All: This Charity Pays For Skydiving Lessons For Convicted Sex Offenders
  3. PR Disaster: The President Of Panasonic Has Been Forced To Resign After 60,000 Panasonic TVs Ascended To Heaven Without Warning
  4. I Put On A Fat Suit To Understand What It’s Like To Be Your Mom

 

Not Good At All:

The charity is shockingly well-funded, has tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization, and has already paid for hundreds of sex offenders to enjoy the excitement of skydiving for the first time. But it gets worse. Charity Navigator, a popular charity-rating site, gives Sky’s The Limit a four out of four star rating, citing its transparency and high percentage of donations going toward its programs.

Your Mom:

From the moment I put on the fat suit, it became clear that your mom’s life was way more challenging than I ever could’ve imagined. You can’t sit down without first checking for innocent bystanders. You can’t roll over in bed without getting your passport stamped. You can’t even take a selfie without using Google Maps.

 

Also:

If you liked this article, you should subscribe to Alpha Gamma! The rest of the blog is very different. Subscribe anyway.

 

The Best Books of My 2016

This was a good year for reading, since I spent it sitting with my Kindle on airplanes. (Kindles are great — like tablets, but without all those fussy little apps that distract you from reading.)

Of the ~150 books I read this year, these are the ones that come to mind when I think of the word “best”. They are very different, and you won’t like all of them, but they all do something well.

For a list of every book I remember reading, check my Goodreads account.

Best List of All the Books

In no particular order, save for the first four, which I liked most of all.

  1. Rememberance of Earth’s Past (series, all three books)
  2. The Steerswoman (series, all four books)
  3. Chasing the Scream
  4. Rationality: From AI to Zombies
  5. The Last Samurai
  6. Axiomatic
  7. The Fifth Season
  8. The Found and the Lost
  9. The Future and its Enemies
  10. Evicted
  11. On the Run
  12. Conundrum
  13. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage
  14. The Partly Cloudy Patriot
  15. Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air
  16. Machete Season
  17. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

 

Continue reading

The Best Music of My 2015

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

Thus, I’ll keep my writing to a minimum.

I listened to ~500 new albums and ~5000 new songs this year.

This means that I wasn’t paying enough attention to most of the music. But to make this list, a song had to catch my attention and keep my thumb on the replay button. Some of the best songs did for me what I imagine powerful drugs do for other people.
Continue reading

The Best Books of My 2015

I read about 125 books this year, and these are the ones that come to mind when I think of the word “best”. They are very different, and you won’t like all of them, but they all do something well.

To quote my book-review post from last year:

I’ve sorted this list into a series of “bests”: a Best Graphic Novel for people who like those, a Best Book About Selling Stuff for people who like those, and so on. Whoever you are, I’d probably recommend many of these books to you. And some of them are free!

For a list of every book I remember reading, check out my Goodreads account.

 

Best List of All the Books

These are in alphabetical order, save for the first four, which I liked most of all.

  1. Sapiens
  2. The Neapolitan Quartet (series, all four books)
  3. The Book of Disquiet
  4. Negima! Magister Negi Magi
  5. A Civil Action
  6. Azumanga Daioh
  7. Behind the Beautiful Forevers
  8. Digger (free!)
  9. Great (free!)
  10. Gone Girl
  11. Parable of the Sower
  12. Strangers Drowning
  13. Strong Female Protagonist (free!)
  14. The Road to Wigan Pier (free!)
  15. The Vision of the Anointed
  16. The Yale Book of Quotations
  17. Them: Adventures with Extremists
  18. We Learn Nothing

Continue reading

GQ Magazine Made Me Very Angry And Now I Am Complaining

It is not easy to make me angry, and it is harder still to make me angry enough that I feel the need to write about how angry I am. This is, I think, the first time I’ve written anything angry on this blog.

But GQ recently did a really good job of making me angry.

Not the entire magazine, but this story, which has inspired me to write my first post with a tag of “outrage”:

https://genius.it/www.gq.com/story/sugar-daddies-explained?

I annotated the story with the Genius Web Annotator, so you can see my notes in the original context, though the context doesn’t make the story any less terrible.

Continue reading

Annotate the Web: Phil Libin and Ezra Klein on Artificial Intelligence

I think that the year’s most amazing invention is Genius.it.

Right now — right this moment — you can turn any web page into a cross between a Kindle book and a page of lyrics on Rap Genius. Other people can read your annotations alongside the article, and add their own comments.

I plan to use this invention a lot. It’s the best way to deal with the fact that someone is always wrong on the internet.

Below is the first article I’ve “annotated” in this way. Read, upvote, and comment!

http://genius.it/8074392/www.vox.com/2015/8/12/9143071/evernote-artificial-intelligence?

* * * * *

Ezra Klein and Phil Libin are both remarkably smart people. But I think that they make some mistakes in their depiction of how experts on artificial intelligence think about the risk posed by this powerful technology.

Continue reading

Twenty-Four Quotations About The Yale Book Of Quotations

The Yale Daily News Magazine just published my glowing review of The Yale Book of QuotationsI also profiled the book’s creator, Fred Shapiro. This is my last piece of original journalism for any Yale publication.

The article includes an interesting call to action. Fred needs help writing the next edition. If you’d like your favorite quote to end up in a book that sells tens of thousands of copies, read until the end, or just read the pitch right now.

 

Twenty-Four Quotations About the Yale Book of Quotations

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

 –Francis Bacon, Of Studies

“Dictionary, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.”

–Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic’s Word Book

 

The Yale Book of Quotations (YBQ) is a magnificent beast of a tome, a rare creature found only in libraries and the homes of the most devoted litterateurs. Most books have one or two quotable lines. The YBQ has over twelve thousand. And though it is 1100 pages long, it remains, fundamentally, the project of a single man: Fred Shapiro, a librarian in the Yale Law School.

Continue reading

Alpha Gamma Reviews: Edge 2015

Each year, Edge.org asks a few hundred very smart people how they’d answer a certain question. The results are always a mixed bag, but it’s one of the most exciting mixed bags in the intellectual world.

This year’s question dug into one of my own interests: “What do you think about machines that think?” 

In other words: What does the increasing power of artificial intelligence (AI) mean for humans, for the universe, and for the machines themselves? What will happen if and when AI becomes “general” or “superintelligent”, outperforming humans at almost every task?

The answers to this question would fill a book (and will, since Edge publishes one book each year). But even if you don’t have time to read a book, you should sample the content, because there’s always a ton of interesting material.

This post is my attempt to gather up some of the best answers and individual quotes, while addressing some of the mistakes that many different thinkers made.

Continue reading

The Five Best Clickhole Articles of All Time

As I write this post, on February 13th, 2015, clickbait parody site Clickhole is the funniest thing in the world. They leapfrogged The Onion, their sister site, by starting off without 20 years of historical baggage. They produce absurd sketch videos and insane listicles with equal fluency.

I don’t know how long this period will last, because the media Clickhole mocks may not be around for long, and all good ideas inevitably lose steam. But I’d like to honor the art form of the Fake Buzzfeed Article while I can, in the most appropriate possible format — an arbitrary list. No commentary should be necessary.

 

The Five Best Clickhole Articles Of All Time

  1. Are You A Big Jazz Boy, Or A Little Jazz Boy?
  2. George R. R. Martin: “When I Started Writing Game Of Thrones, I Didn’t Know What Horses Looked Like”
  3. They Said He’d Never Walk Again. But Who Were They, And Why Were They Saying Stuff About Him?
  4. 10 Kicks You Should Know About Before You Watch The World Cup
  5. Which One Of My Garbage Sons Are You?

Continue reading