21 votes

What's something that has improved with age?

Following up on @kfwyre's post asking "What's Something That Hasn't Aged Well", I'm curious what's something that's improved with age?

I always hear the phrase "it gets better with age" in reference to wine, and sometimes it's true and sometimes it's not. Or at least, there's often a limit on how long it improves before it starts to decline again.

One odd thing that got better with age is the terrible Sandra Bullock movie "The Network." When it came out, almost none of the things in the movie were actually possible because not very many of us had much information about ourselves on computers that were actually accessible to the internet at large. Now everything about us is online whether we put it there or not.

27 comments

  1. [2]
    petrichor
    Link
    Education and the state of knowledge. Wikipedia. Stack Exchange. Sci-Hub. Khan Academy. All the various history and science channels on YouTube. Search engines, even. Just about the sum of...

    Education and the state of knowledge.

    Wikipedia. Stack Exchange. Sci-Hub. Khan Academy. All the various history and science channels on YouTube. Search engines, even. Just about the sum of humanity's knowledge is indexed, searchable, and at the fingertips of anyone with a connection to the Internet (an increasingly lower barrier).

    I have never not known a time where I cannot learn anything, at almost any time, from almost anywhere. And even if pure knowledge along isn't enough to understand a complex topic, very often, you can count on being able to find a high-quality explanation via YouTube, a blog post from someone in a relevant field, or what have you.

    It's not just knowledge that is more accessible - formal education is getting a bump up, too. Substantial amounts of college courses put together and taught by the best professors in the world have been released to the public for free. High school, similarly, has been supplemented by online teachers and curriculums, who again, are nothing short of the best (looking at you, Sal Khan and Grant Sanderson).


    Also, any movie starring Nicolas Cage.

    16 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      You just buried that tidbit at the bottom I see. I just recently watched Willie's Wonderland and it was hilarious. Cage doesn't say a single word in the entire movie, and it is hilarious. I think...

      Also, any movie starring Nicolas Cage

      You just buried that tidbit at the bottom I see. I just recently watched Willie's Wonderland and it was hilarious. Cage doesn't say a single word in the entire movie, and it is hilarious. I think he's aging like fine wine.

      7 votes
  2. [2]
    mrbig
    Link
    Inclusiveness. When I was younger, homophobia and sexism were the languages of masculinity. Any expression of acceptance was met with violent accusations. The things my colleagues said were so bad...

    Inclusiveness.

    When I was younger, homophobia and sexism were the languages of masculinity. Any expression of acceptance was met with violent accusations. The things my colleagues said were so bad I don't even want to reproduce here.

    I'm not going to say that remains entirely in the past, but things are visibly better. It is more common for young teenagers to express their sexuality with less fear of reprisal. And the young people around me are always giving me valuable lessons on how it is possible for us to evolve, love, and accept.

    My generation was taught to be violent and fear the difference. Our cartoons were all about violence. Our whole culture was about solving things with fists, guns, whatever. It is sometimes heartwarming to see how that is frequently not the case anymore.

    I'm not saying things are perfect and there is nothing to be improved. I'm saying things are better, at least in my social groups.

    12 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Wonderfully said, mrbig. And I agree wholeheartedly. When and where I grew up, masculinity meant outright relishing cruelty to others. It was defined by the relentless belittling of weakness and...

      Wonderfully said, mrbig. And I agree wholeheartedly.

      When and where I grew up, masculinity meant outright relishing cruelty to others. It was defined by the relentless belittling of weakness and uncompromising shows of dominance. My grandfather was the first person to ever call me a “faggot”, long before I ever came out or he knew I was gay, because I rode a bike intended for girls when I was six. I had no idea it was intended for girls; I just thought it was a cool bike. Also I was six.

      Masculinity where I grew up didn’t just allow but encouraged a grandfather to call his own grandchild a homophobic slur as a way of enforcing gender norms in himself and in me. The thought of it still makes my skin crawl.

      But, like you said, things have gotten so, SO much better. They’re certainly not perfect, but we have come a long way. I used to think, as a gay kid pondering long-term adulthood, that I was going to have to live my entire life in fear of other men — that the cruelty would be forever unending.

      I am so glad that is not the case. We have come so far.

      8 votes
  3. [10]
    Adys
    Link
    YouTube. For all the shit a lot of social media is getting, YouTube is the main one I can think of that has massively improved since its birth. Google actually succeeded with a product /...

    YouTube.

    For all the shit a lot of social media is getting, YouTube is the main one I can think of that has massively improved since its birth. Google actually succeeded with a product / acquisition.

    The content on youtube, and the quality and wealth of content especially, rivals wikipedia. Of course there's a lot of bad shit on it as well but YouTube makes curation easy.

    I hear a lot of flak from people who don't actively curate and i get it, but I really wish I could invite people to a well-curated youtube homepage so you can see how much is out there.

    In the mean time I'm doing the next best thing and posting the best videos i come across here on Tildes :)

    https://tildes.net/user/Adys/search?type=topic&q=Videos

    10 votes
    1. [4]
      petrichor
      Link Parent
      Really, this is surprising to me. I've gotten the distinct impression from just about every YouTuber I follow (and from the site itself) that YouTube peaked somewhere around ~2014 and has been...

      Really, this is surprising to me. I've gotten the distinct impression from just about every YouTuber I follow (and from the site itself) that YouTube peaked somewhere around ~2014 and has been going steadily downhill ever since.

      But my interests and the people I follow haven't much changed since then, and I do block cookies and stay signed out, so perhaps I'm the anomaly here.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        Adys
        Link Parent
        Do you mean your own impression or the impression of the youtubers themselves? Here's a few of my favourite channels which produce high quality content on a regular basis today: Technology...

        Do you mean your own impression or the impression of the youtubers themselves?

        Here's a few of my favourite channels which produce high quality content on a regular basis today: Technology Connections, Wendover Productions, Ahoy, Steve Mould, VSauce, Game Maker's Toolkit.

        Science youtube is where it's most visible IMO.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          petrichor
          Link Parent
          Both - my own impressions from the site itself, and from the remarks those I follow make about their relationship with YouTube and its behind-the-scenes system. I didn't mean that the content of...

          Both - my own impressions from the site itself, and from the remarks those I follow make about their relationship with YouTube and its behind-the-scenes system. I didn't mean that the content of individual YouTubers is getting worse, more that YouTube is getting to be a worse and worse place for these great people to be.

          3 votes
          1. Adys
            Link Parent
            Yeah I've … seen this sentiment. Veritasium has made a couple of videos about this on his off-channel: Quality vs. Quantity on YouTube (2013) Follow-up: Why YouTube used to prefer Quality (2017)...

            Yeah I've … seen this sentiment. Veritasium has made a couple of videos about this on his off-channel:

            Quality vs. Quantity on YouTube (2013)

            Follow-up: Why YouTube used to prefer Quality (2017)

            Also interesting: The reason for declining views on YouTube (2016)

            But to be honest, YouTube keeps chugging along. I keep seeing high-quality content. My watch time on youtube keeps increasing.

            Unfortunately, Veritasium is one of the victims of their own success IMO. He's gone into more "serious" productions and I'm very happy for him because he's very talented, but his full-length documentaries are uh… not great. And his channel has suffered as a result as well. But for example, Technology Connections I mentioned above recently hit 1M subs, is better than ever, and only started in 2016, having only improved since the channel's beginning.

            It's very hard to talk about the site as a whole, it's going to be lots of anecdotal channels either way. But that's kind of the point I make: There's a lot of manual curation involved, and if you do the work, you get rewarded with fantastic content.

            7 votes
    2. PhantomBand
      Link Parent
      Youtube itself is really great, but I wish things like PeerTube were the standard and had as much content as yt.

      Youtube itself is really great, but I wish things like PeerTube were the standard and had as much content as yt.

      4 votes
    3. joplin
      Link Parent
      I see what you're getting at. I do agree with you on some level. I remember a time when every embedded YouTube video was broken because they had some sort of limit on how many times a video could...

      I see what you're getting at. I do agree with you on some level. I remember a time when every embedded YouTube video was broken because they had some sort of limit on how many times a video could be watched when embedded on another site (probably to keep their bandwidth costs reasonable). But it ended up being the case that every embedded video I ever ran into would just say, "This video cannot be played" because other people had watched it the maximum number of times allowed. It turned out you could click on something in the video and it would take you to the YouTube page for the video, but there was no indication of that, and I never thought to try it. I just ended up thinking YouTube was a completely broken site. That issue has long since been fixed and you can easily embed videos that work for everyone now. So I agree it has improved greatly in many ways.

      On the other hand, it used to be that the experience was about the same if you were logged in or not. (It would be less personalized, but that's about it.) Now if you're not logged in, half the page is covered in crap trying to get you to log in or to go with a paid plan. I have no interest in either. Ads have become much more invasive, often cutting off the video mid sentence, or covering important parts of the content so you can't see the thing you actually came to see. So for me, it's a mixed bag. There's been some improvement, and some worsening.

      4 votes
    4. [3]
      hamstergeddon
      Link Parent
      Yes! A well-curated subscriptions list is priceless. If anyone's interested in makers, educational content, and misc geekery, feel free to check out my subscriptions list (Not a self promotion as...

      Yes! A well-curated subscriptions list is priceless. If anyone's interested in makers, educational content, and misc geekery, feel free to check out my subscriptions list (Not a self promotion as I don't make videos myself!) -- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCB5yssZYkyQuT6Yw_nJ3XQ/channels

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Adys
        Link Parent
        Thank you!! And there's this list as well which I saved on HN the other day - I haven't gotten time to check it out yet. Edit: LOL at Cathode Ray Dude from your list, I may just subscribe for the...

        Thank you!! And there's this list as well which I saved on HN the other day - I haven't gotten time to check it out yet.

        Edit: LOL at Cathode Ray Dude from your list, I may just subscribe for the name.

        3 votes
        1. hamstergeddon
          Link Parent
          Holy crap I'm going to be spending so much time finding new channels on that site!! And yes, Cathode Ray Dude is great. The name's hilarious and his content is really cool. I just found him a few...

          Holy crap I'm going to be spending so much time finding new channels on that site!!

          And yes, Cathode Ray Dude is great. The name's hilarious and his content is really cool. I just found him a few weeks back (possibly through one of the various YT channel discussions here or on reddit) and I've learned quite a lot about analogue cameras, televisions, signals, you name it. Really neat learning about tech I grew up using, but isn't really relevant anymore.

          2 votes
  4. [8]
    drannex
    (edited )
    Link
    In the same vein as your "The Network" reference, I draw upon Thomas Carlyle's essay "Sign of the Times" from 1829. Especially this section, He also goes on to write about how the rich are getting...

    In the same vein as your "The Network" reference, I draw upon Thomas Carlyle's essay "Sign of the Times" from 1829.

    Especially this section,

    Were we required to characterise this age of ours by any single epithet, we should be tempted to call it, not an Heroical, Devotional, Philosophical, or Moral Age, but, above all others, the Mechanical Age. It is the Age of Machinery, in every outward and inward sense of that word; the age which, with its whole undivided might, forwards, teaches and practises the great art of adapting means to ends. Nothing is now done directly, or by hand; all is by rule and calculated contrivance. For the simplest operation, some helps and accompaniments, some cunning abbreviating process is in readiness. Our old modes of exertion are all discredited, and thrown aside. On every hand, the living artisan is driven from his workshop, to make room for a speedier, inanimate one. The shuttle drops from the fingers of the weaver, and falls into iron fingers that ply it faster. The sailor furls his sail, and lays down his oar; and bids a strong, unwearied servant, on vaporous wings, bear him through the waters. Men have crossed oceans by steam; the Birmingham Fire-king has visited the fabulous East; and the genius of the Cape were there any Camoens now to sing it, has again been alarmed, and with far stranger thunders than Gamas. There is no end to machinery. Even the horse is stripped of his harness, and finds a fleet fire-horse invoked in his stead. Nay, we have an artist that hatches chickens by steam; the very brood-hen is to be superseded! For all earthly, and for some unearthly purposes, we have machines and mechanic furtherances; for mincing our cabbages; for casting us into magnetic sleep. We remove mountains, and make seas our smooth highways; nothing can resist us. We war with rude Nature; and, by our resistless engines, come off always victorious, and loaded with spoils.

    He also goes on to write about how the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting even poorer!

    What wonderful accessions have thus been made, and are still making, to the physical power of mankind; how much better fed, clothed, lodged and, in all outward respects, accommodated men now are, or might be, by a given quantity of labour, is a grateful reflection which forces itself on every one. What changes, too, this addition of power is introducing into the Social System; how wealth has more and more increased, and at the same time gathered itself more and more into masses, strangely altering the old relations, and increasing the distance between the rich and the poor, will be a question for Political Economists, and a much more complex and important one than any they have yet engaged with.

    I'll cherry pick a few more statements that are quite succinct with our current sign of the times:

    No individual now hopes to accomplish the poorest enterprise single-handed and without mechanical aids; he must make interest with some existing corporation, ".." Philosophy, Science, Art, Literature, all depend on machinery. No Newton, by silent meditation, now discovers the system of the world from the falling of an apple;

    When we can drain the Ocean into mill-ponds, and bottle-up the Force of Gravity, to be sold by retail, in gas jars; then may we hope to comprehend the infinitudes of man's soul under formulas of Profit and Loss; and rule over this too, as over a patent engine, by checks, and valves, and balances.

    While there are moments in this essay that drag and get quite religious and metaphorical (for quite a long time) almost everything written can be applied to today, more so than ever and when looking back you can see how minuscule it really was in his time compared to ours.

    9 votes
    1. [7]
      p4t44
      Link Parent
      Surely the poor are wealthier now, or at least have a higher standard of living, than in 1829.

      He also goes on to write about how the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting even poorer!

      Surely the poor are wealthier now, or at least have a higher standard of living, than in 1829.

      6 votes
      1. drannex
        Link Parent
        It's not an argument of how the poor are richer than his time, it's a point on the disparity of wealth between the wealthy and the poor. In all regards, the poor and the wealthy are separating...

        It's not an argument of how the poor are richer than his time, it's a point on the disparity of wealth between the wealthy and the poor.

        In all regards, the poor and the wealthy are separating heavily and quickly with massive disparities in ownership with levels unseen since before the great depression..

        As a result, the wealth gap between America’s richest and poorer families more than doubled from 1989 to 2016. In 1989, the richest 5% of families had 114 times as much wealth as families in the second quintile, $2.3 million compared with $20,300. By 2016, this ratio had increased to 248, a much sharper rise than the widening gap in income

        5 votes
      2. [5]
        Thra11
        Link Parent
        I think it's very hard to say. The thing about globalisation is that it effectively expands 'society' to the entire world. It's easy to look around a developed country and say, "yes there's...

        I think it's very hard to say. The thing about globalisation is that it effectively expands 'society' to the entire world. It's easy to look around a developed country and say, "yes there's massive inequality, but even the majority of the poor have clothes, food, access to clean water, and things like phones", but the real poor are in the developping countries which supply the developped countries. Have we really lifted everyone to a higher standard of living, or have we just pushed the poorest end of society out of sight?

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Based on the evidence, it's likely the former. See: New insights on poverty, How not to be ignorant about the world, or any of Hans Rosling's other enlightening talks on global statistics,...

          Have we really lifted everyone to a higher standard of living, or have we just pushed the poorest end of society out of sight?

          Based on the evidence, it's likely the former. See: New insights on poverty, How not to be ignorant about the world, or any of Hans Rosling's other enlightening talks on global statistics, poverty, health, etc.

          Not to say that things are perfect... far from it. But by most metrics, things have vastly improved for the global poor over the last handful of decades, thanks in large part due to globalization.

          7 votes
          1. [2]
            Thra11
            Link Parent
            I'd never heard of Hans Rosling, but he seems to have a number of critics who dispute his views as overly optimistic. For now, I'm staying on the fence.

            I'd never heard of Hans Rosling, but he seems to have a number of critics who dispute his views as overly optimistic. For now, I'm staying on the fence.

            2 votes
            1. cfabbro
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              That's fair. And despite personally admiring him (he was a hero of mine), and linking to his talks whenever this subject comes up, I'm sure the truth probably lies somewhere in between. E.g. As...

              That's fair. And despite personally admiring him (he was a hero of mine), and linking to his talks whenever this subject comes up, I'm sure the truth probably lies somewhere in between. E.g. As @drannex mentioned below, despite all the statistical improvements showcased by Rosling, wealth inequality between the 1% and the rest of us is actually increasing at a rather alarming rate too (and not just in the US either)... so the reality is clearly not entirely as rosy as Rosling seemed to believe.

              p.s. Rosling died of pancreatic cancer a few years ago, which is why I am referring to him in the past tense. :(

              3 votes
        2. Sand
          Link Parent
          "Developing countries" are the ones that have seen the largest improvements. It's developed countries that are getting worse (in some regards, and obviously this depends on the country). Most...

          "Developing countries" are the ones that have seen the largest improvements. It's developed countries that are getting worse (in some regards, and obviously this depends on the country). Most developing countries aren't suppliers by the way.

          2 votes
  5. kfwyre
    Link
    This is somewhat debatable because it was already so good at release, but I’m going to say Super Mario 64. First and foremost, a lot of early 3D games have aged really poorly. Bad cameras, bad...

    This is somewhat debatable because it was already so good at release, but I’m going to say Super Mario 64.

    First and foremost, a lot of early 3D games have aged really poorly. Bad cameras, bad level design, poor graphics and draw distance, and just a sort of overall clumsiness defined so many of the 3D games of that time as developers were first grappling with how to incorporate that extra dimension in their games. It was a time of growing pains for the medium, many of which have gotten far worse with age, but Mario 64 is still relatively painless even by modern standards.

    It’s not just that the game didn’t age badly though, but that so much more has been done with it. It is a centerpole of speedrunning. Twenty five years after its release, people are still setting new world records. People have made an astounding amount of insightful content about the game’s functionality. People are beating it blindfolded. People have made romhacks with entirely new campaigns and even multiplayer. People have ported Super Mario Sunshine into 64’s engine. People have added raytracing to the game.

    This is all but a tiny scratch of the surface of Super Mario 64. There is so much more out there that has arisen since its release. It’s not fair to say that this sort of thing applies to Mario 64 alone, since there are other retro games that have been given comparable love, but I feel that Super Mario 64 is probably the one with the most noteworthy and persistent presence.

    7 votes
  6. [4]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    The internet makes publishing most things from games to animations to music (now you can make music without needing to learn instruments!) to old music to your thoughts on things (in the social...

    The internet makes publishing most things from games to animations to music (now you can make music without needing to learn instruments!) to old music to your thoughts on things (in the social media sense) to your thoughts on things (on an independent journalism/blogging sense) that today we have the problem of competition and verifiability of information rather than accessibility (at least in the major languages.)

    Also processing power and internet bandwidth. Videos from 10 or more years ago look far worse than videos today. Games look much better now and those that don't go for resolution still look much better because they do it for aesthetics rather than technical limitations.

    6 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      One thing I find problematic is the disuse of actual celluloid in film. I like digital as much as the next guy, but there's something very special about film, even its defects are somehow charming...

      One thing I find problematic is the disuse of actual celluloid in film. I like digital as much as the next guy, but there's something very special about film, even its defects are somehow charming and timeless. And digital, unlike film, has a fixed resolution. We still haven't met the limits of film.

      4 votes
    2. [3]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        True, but at least you need 1 program with probably a few extensions which might at the very most perhaps total 500 dollars. If what you're making needs lots of Instruments (and often people to...

        True, but at least you need 1 program with probably a few extensions which might at the very most perhaps total 500 dollars. If what you're making needs lots of Instruments (and often people to play them), it will be much more expensive than that.

        3 votes
      2. Sand
        Link Parent
        It takes all that practice and more when you use a real instrument. I've "made music" with software, but I could never play a piano or even drums.

        It still takes a lot of practice to make anything worth listening to in them.

        It takes all that practice and more when you use a real instrument. I've "made music" with software, but I could never play a piano or even drums.

        2 votes