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Topics I would read a deep dive on
Inspired by https://gwern.net/Questions.
This has been sitting in my drafts for a while, so some of it was outdated, but I tidied it up a bit.
Why do we have American Crime Story (OJ Simpson and Impeachment), Manhunt (Unabomber and Atlanta), Waco, The Looming Tower, Casting JonBenet, Richard Jewell, Tommy and Pamela, etc. all re-litigating the 1990s?
I can't think of comparable high-profile series for real-world events of the 70s and 80s (Watergate series White House Plumbers and Gaslit (the better one) didn't seem to hit, culturally).
Is it about fears of losing a millennial audience, re-invention of news networks in the 90s making the average person more opinionated about these cases, a fear that the wrong side of the story got told, the prolonged relevance of the Clintons, or something else?
Will network TV and the FCC concede profanity? Ever?
Boy bands were a thing, and so were duos for Broad City / Key & Peele / Mythbusters and some Disney shows. After the show you never see them together again, with Adam Savage being clear that the Mythbusters guys never got along off-camera. Were fictional BFFs a thing, and are we quietly accepting that they don't actually hang out after?
What happens next to the 'late night talk show' format? Even people who are good at it have tried to reformat. For a while the main innovations were 'game segments' or extended interviews (on YouTube, or making the whole TV episode an interview). Currently we have Colbert's 'cartoon president' spinoff, John Oliver doing one-topic episodes, Trevor Noah returning to standup, and Conan O'Brien moved to one-interview episodes, then a podcast, plus now a travel special.
If these shows simply have to exist after market and pandemic disruptions, it is weird that the position is still seen as inflexible and prestigious and not a talent-incubation platform or something…
- Corollary: also morning shows? To the point that the Apple TV series The Morning Show is absurd because it reminded us that these shows still exist and matter and make networks money?
The Disaster Girls podcast pointed out that they're the only people who talk about La Brea. Yet 5–6 million people watched each episode of Season 1, twice that of well-known Abbott Elementary (2.8 million). Viewership fell to 2 million during S2. Are people in my network secret La Brea fans? Do millions of elderly, offline people have NBC playing constantly in the background?
Stargate: SG-1 and Atlantis as a representation of 90s optimism / US military as police and peacekeeper.
How has Wildtype Foods developed such an excellent cross-platform media image (compared to other cultivated + alt-meat companies) without revealing that it likely costs thousands to build each serving of sushi (and Good Food Institute indicates these costs will not be readily fixed with scale). https://thecounter.org/lab-grown-cultivated-meat-cost-at-scale/
Does it seem like a lot of YouTubers come from fundamentalist Christian backgrounds? Is this proportional to the US population and just unusual compared to mass media? Is it the training from childhood to be multi-hyphenate public speakers and musicians?
Themes were thrown together on a shoestring budget for kids shows (Na-Na-Na-Na-Na Batman, Spiderman does whatever a spider can) and now it gets woven into orchestral scores for billion-dollar movies.
Given that K-pop and K-drama industries were supported by the Korean government, including outreach to Japanese and US markets, how are North Korea story arcs such as in Extraordinary Attorney Woo, Money Heist: Korea, and Crash Landing on You developed?
- Corollary: How did Taiwanese subsidization of animation (discussed in Finding Quantum Quest) fail, when Korean government subsidization of pop music / drama appears to have succeeded?
Is it notable that the lead actresses of young-woman-rebel-in-South-Asian-immigrant-home series We Are Lady Parts and Never Have I Ever are both Tamil?
Will Bill Clinton ever stop getting an invite to the DNC?
Could another country, region, or NGO create a credible war crimes organization? The early 2010s had the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission founded by a former Malaysian president. What networks have enough reach to restrict assets and travel on other countries?
At this point, can anyone in the White House or Congress refuse to appear in Congressional hearings? Does this make hearings just voluntary promotion?
Do Japanese travel groups actually work to prevent legalized marijuana in Hawaii, or is this just a rumor?
Will we see another constitutional amendment? 12 were passed in the 20th century, but at this point it sounds farfetched.
- Corollary: what goes on with the Senate's role to approve treaties? According to the US Senate, they do not "ratify" treaties. There was one approved this year, on double taxation with Chile. Weirdly this had been in limbo since 2010. A Senate page reads "since 1990, only about 6 percent of international agreements have been made through formal treaties" (and not "executive agreements").
If we had access to Iowa and Nevada caucus vote data, it would be interesting to see whose voters refused or did not understand changing their vote after their candidate did not make it through the first alignment. My memory is this was true of Yang and Gabbard voters.
Why would society (and intelligence agencies) still accept polygraph tests?
What is the trade-off between Reddit keeping /r/conspiracy, vs. the steps taken against /r/The_Donald and /r/NoNewNormal ? Is there evidence that fewer people discover or participate in conspiracy channels after they move off of Reddit? Is there evidence that current participants change behavior or become less intensely engaged?
If Chinese health experts knew that Covid is endemic and transmitted by droplet and/or airborne, had numbers on Omicron and vaccines, and quarantine facilities and suppliers could not keep up, why did they implement a national plan to spray streets, apply flash lockdowns (sealing people inside stores and factories), and city-wide lockdowns (mobilizing block wardens, distributing food, and people who left for the airport cannot return)?
I can't help but think that someone continued this system as some kind of bio-warfare drills.
Along similar lines, if US decision-makers believe that covid happened by lab leak, why renew funding in collecting bat coronaviruses through the same groups (EcoHealth Alliance)? I feel that there must be an unholy alliance between 'SARS 3 is coming' doomers and 'bio-warfare' people at DoD.
What happened to predictions such as "by July 2019, the bitcoin network will require more electricity than the entire United States" ?
If you put together a panel of experts, and show them a list of names plus 'some other unknown person(s)', is there any secret ballot consensus of who Satoshi Nakamoto was?
Is it agreed that in the Americas and Polynesian islands, writing only appeared in Central America and Easter Island?
Central / South American sweet potato was grown in the Cook Islands around 1000 AD, and Easter Island and Hawaii around 1300 AD. What was oceanic trade like in this time period, and when did it end? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato_cultivation_in_Polynesia
How did the French develop seemingly a caste system? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cagot
Why did Europeans believe that another continent existed in the southern ocean, and the deep Pacific had island chains such as Hawaii? From guesswork, from their understanding of other regions, or from early contact?
How far and how often did people travel long distances around Europe, Asia, and Africa in antiquity, like, the Bronze Age? (I kinda want to turn the existing info on this into a book).