Channels I support on Patreon

A few months ago we decided to join the 764,000 other people who finally cut the cable cord in Q1 of 2017. We dropped our $160 a month DirectTV bill and decided to go with the following combo:

I honestly don’t watch TV much other than sports. My wife watches a lot of TV dramas that she records on DVR, and my kids usually have Disney or Nick turned on while they do something else in our playroom.

So far it has gone pretty well and other than adapting to the hardware needed now (Apple TV/Roku/Xbox One) we have moved on past cable companies for the most part. We also have moved past “time window viewing” (that’s just what I am calling it) so that 90% of the time the show we are watching has been time shifted with few exceptions (looking at you Jon Snow).

As I mentioned above, I don’t watch much TV to begin with, but over the last few months, I have found myself usually coding, researching, or general futzing around on the internet until about an hour before I go to bed. At that point, I usually make me an ‘Uncle Pappy’s Cough Syrup’ and head to the couch to chill and watch an episode of something on Netflix. Currently, my loves are Castlevania and all the seasons of Archer I have missed the last few years. After I watch an episode of something on Netflix, I have found myself turning to YouTube and watching videos for about a half hour. I have always used YouTube before we cut the cable to watch videos, but it was usually in a way to reference methods for something I needed to do. What I mean by that is that I would have some question about how to do something (for example install base cabinets) and I would watch a video or two on how to do it. I never really used YouTube for entertainment per se.

Now I find myself browsing and watching about 10-12 channels nightly. The amazing thing is that this is almost 50%+ of my “tv” viewing now. Most of these creators are making high quality stuff and putting a lot of time into the finished work. Since this is about half of my lazy sitting on the couch entertainment, I felt like I should contribute financially to these creators. Subscribing is good and creates more popularity for the channel, but I felt that donating to these shows monthly (and in some cases per video) was a better option to help the host more directly.

Here is my current list of who I give to via Patreon. I highly recommend all these shows.

1.) The Nerdwriter

Even before we cut the cable, I was donating to the Nerdwriter (aka Evan Puschak). Well researched essays + great editing of each video makes this a channel that I love seeing pop up on my feed. Usually, there are 2-3 videos a month that discuss mostly cinema but also other types of pop art including music, politics, etc.

2.) SciShow

Always entertaining and always not too long. The hosts get to the meat of a subject pretty quickly and each show usually initiates with a question to draw the viewer into the show. All the hosts seem very knowledgeable about the show’s subject regardless of host and the info provided is usually sourced well.

3.) Star Wars Explained

I have been a new canon geek since Disney made the purchase and love getting my monthly comic delivery in. I read most of the new canon books and try to keep up with all the different aspects of the Star Wars Disney juggernaut. This series is very well written/edited and comes out almost daily. Never too long and dragging, it gets right to the point. It is a bonus that they are from here locally in Atlanta. Great show.

4.) Binging with Babish

Oliver Babish has been a watch for a few months now. Always on the cusp of pop culture knowledge and then mixing with a fantastic recipe. I watch cooking episodes a lot on YouTube, and this guy is an amazing chef in his own right. Adding in the show/movie references just makes it even better. I also enjoy how sometimes he branches/splits the recipes and gives a full version and a shortcut version. My only complaint may be that if I were following along at home, there would be a ton of pauses because sometimes the show moves very quickly in what I think is stuff that is very easy for him but hard for us laymen cooks. +1 for being a beer guy also though.

5.) Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

Kurzgesagt is a very original style of YouTube channel. I started watching after someone sent me a link to the CRISPR show. There are a few imitators out there (doesn’t mean they don’t produce good info videos) but these guys seem like the original. I love not only the stylistic decisions made in the videos but also the info they present is excellent and seems well researched. I also have a small drinking game for when the presenter says “there you have it”.

Things I read while I drank coffee this morning (7.8)

I tried and failed to find newspapers and wire services who would purchase my photos. But the soldiers had fed me and given me a seat in their Humvees, and the refugees had tolerated my presence on some of the worst days of their lives. They very rightly expected that I would tell their story.

Amazing photoset and read by Kainoa Little

No One Would Buy My Photos, So Here They Are For Free: Mosul 2017

This album has been on my ‘to take to a desert island’ lists since it came out. (Holy shit 20 years ago). Palo Alto will always be my image of the valley.

On ‘OK Computer,’ Radiohead Saw the Future: Ours

The human race, West says, has been saved by innovation and innovation thrives in cities. Unlike countries, companies and humans, cities seem to be immortal. In the last century cities have been de-industrialised, starved and some have even been attacked with nuclear bombs. And yet they always seem to survive. Ten years ago humanity passed the point by which those who lived in cities outnumbered those who didn’t. Every day a million more people move into cities, and this shouldn’t worry us.

The cities will save us all. Good read on the pace of change and why groups of people slammed together are needed for minds to create and build upon each other.

Are our cities immortal?

Things I read while I drank coffee this morning (7.7)

Use of Wolfram Alpha is difficult to trace, and in the hands of ambitious students, its perfect solutions are having unexpected consequences. It works by breaking down the pieces of a question, whether a mathematical problem or something like “What is the center of the United States?”, and then cross-referencing those pieces against an enormous library of datasets that is constantly being expanded. These datasets include information on geodesic schemes, chemical compounds, human genes, historical weather measurements, and thousands of other topics that, when brought together, can be used to provide answers.

I bought Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science about 10 years ago and it still sits on my shelf. Huge tome. Never read. Neat to see his ideas starting to come together with enough data.

A.I. is making it extremely easy for students to cheat

If you want to talk about the history of immigration in America, or urbanization or the expansion of transportation networks, really any subject that you want to explore, you can talk about it through beer

How The Story Of Beer Is The Story Of America

A Japanese approach to watchmaking, executed by hand.

Simply amazing and beautiful work on the watches and the photography set on this.

Portrait: Masahiro Kikuno, Japanese Independent Watchmaker

Things I read while I drank coffee this morning (3.15)

If I had to pick the critical technology for the 20th century, the bit of social lubricant without which the wheels would’ve come off the whole enterprise, I’d say it was the sitcom. Starting with the Second World War a whole series of things happened–rising GDP per capita, rising educational attainment, rising life expectancy and, critically, a rising number of people who were working five-day work weeks. For the first time, society forced onto an enormous number of its citizens the requirement to manage something they had never had to manage before–free time.

And what did we do with that free time? Well, mostly we spent it watching TV.

Interesting take on how the industrial revolution produced, frankly, a ton of alcoholics. We, as a society, had to come up with more formalized entertainment structures to keep people from binging, and over time we moved into spending a lot of our cognitive surplus by watching sitcoms.

Gin, Television, and Social Surplus

More than a century after their discovery, we still don’t really know what blood types are for.

Why do we have blood types?

The accelerators all brag about the total valuation of all their bets. Hey, companies we gracefully allowed to sign our deal are now worth $100 billion!! Rarely do they brag about the distribution of outcomes, and never do they dwell on whether the individuals who went through the sausage factory liked the smell.

Good read from @DHH

Don’t accelerate your startup

“What we are finding it’s much easier to use social engineering to trick people into installing malware than to exploit a vulnerability,” said Proofpoint’s Wheeler. “What attackers have done is replaced the automated exploit with (socially engineered) ploys to get people to click.”

Good read on the changing landscape of exploit delivery.


Things I read/saw while I drank coffee this morning (3.13)

The government-prepared return would estimate your taxes using information your employer and bank already send it. Advocates say tens of millions of taxpayers could use such a system each year, saving them a collective $2 billion and 225 million hours in prep costs and time, according to one estimate.

The original part of this article is an NPR report from 2013; it was updated yesterday for 2016.

How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing

A must hear if you are into the advances (and mistakes) as humanity (via scientists) advance at an amazing and scary pace with CRISPR. The Radiolab recording is 3 I think in one, where the first two are reviews, and the last portion is the new update.

For this reason, I will do my best to share inspired drinks in all four parks beyond the standard sugar-water-with-a-shot. Think of me as your intoxicant informant.


I have an on and off again relationship with the Instant Pot. Sometimes we get into a mode where we make 2+ meals a week with it, other times it sits on our shelf for weeks at a time. I see the advantages of it for sure; I guess I just need to find some more recipes. Interesting read on it’s creation and cult that seems to have formed around it.

How the Instant Pot cooker developed a cult following