- "The Crying of Lot 55: The Unsolved Mysteries and Alternate Realities of Andrew W.K.":
- Andrew W.K. is a hard rock musician known for hits like "Party Hard", with lyrics like, well, "party hard, party hard, party hard" - I happen to like some of his albums quite a bit. However, if you scratch just beneath the surface, you unveil a Lynchian nightmare of surrealism - why are all his lyrics so weird ("The face that you see when you look in the mirror / It won't be the same shape when you look at it hours from now")? Did he really hire impersonators to perform as himself? What's with his weird motivational speaking tour? Who's this Steev Mike guy he keeps referring to? Is it all just one big performance art piece? This pairs nicely with the video essay "What IS Nathan Fielder?", which similarly plumbs the depths of persona and personal identity from the perspective of comedian Nathan Fielder.
- "On Thud and Blunder":
- Poul Anderson, one of the big names of early fantasy (Three Hearts & Three Lions, The Broken Sword), complains at length about the historical inaccuracies of the fantasy genre of his day, most of which are still true today! Some of his historical assertions are outdated, but the overall gist - that many fantasy writers don't even seem to bother using common sense while writing - is as true as ever.
- “The MIT License, Line by Line”:
- Lawyer and open-source programmer Kyle E. Mitchell walks through the iconic MIT License for open-source software and explains, in a legal sense, what each individual line means. He has a few grumpy observations but otherwise this should be required reading for anyone using the MIT License.
- “What We Can Learn From Software History”:
- Hillel Wayne shows the power of the historical method by trying to answer a seemingly-simple question: why do software engineering interviews often ask “reverse a linked list”?
- “The Thing Chinese Dramas Can’t Get Right - Qin 古琴 V2.0”:
- I love nothing more than video essays where a nerd goes deep, deep down a rabbit hole that should matter only to them but somehow manages to find something interesting at the bottom, and this is one of my favorite examples. This channel typically reviews Chinese dramas, which often present characters incorrectly playing the classic Chinese instrument 古琴 (guqin) - much to the host’s frustration, as she’s actually a practicing guqin player. So, in this 16-minute video, she presents how a guqin is actually performed, which ends up being a tidy musicological lesson about one of the most popular instruments in history.
- "Take Me Home, Country Roads" in Minor Key:
- It turns out that if you transpose John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" to a minor key, it transforms from a meme song to an all-time-great nostalgic lament for a long-lost home. This version is far from perfect - you can tell the song is straining against its autotuning - but I still find myself drawn to it on a regular basis.
- "Pyramid Song" 800% Slower:
- "Pyramid Song" is not my favorite Radiohead song - it feels slightly too clever for its own good - but if you slow it down 800% it reveals one of the greatest ambient works of all time.
- "Get Ready for the Grave" Mashup:
- Look, it's a mashup of The Temptations' "Get Ready" and Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave", and it's just... a really, really good song on its own merits?
- "If I Can Dream" from Elvis' '68 Comeback Special:
- So hey, turns out this Elvis guy is a pretty good singer?