My Faults My Own

…willing to sacrifice something we don't have

for something we won't have, so somebody will someday.

IN WHICH Ross Rheingans-Yoo, a sometimes-poet and erstwhile student of Computer Science and Math, oc­cas­ion­al­ly writes on things of int­erest.

Reading Feed (last update: May 26)

A collection of things that I was happy I read. Views expressed by linked authors are chosen because I think they're interesting, not because I think they're correct, unless indicated otherwise.


(25)

Blog: Ben.Kuhn | Unintended consequences and GDPR (but not the way you think)


(24)

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Gonder, Ethiopia

Blog: The Unit of Caring | How often should you actually be honest about the fact it’s the just and humane policy? — "But on the other hand - I think sometimes it actually holds us back to be lying. It is not true that ADHD meds help everyone with ADHD and are useless to anyone who doesn’t have ADHD. There are lots of people with ADHD for whom meds are useless, either because they got unlucky brain wiring and the meds

READ MORE

Review: Terra Ignota Trilogy

i. e., Too Like the Lightning, Seven Surrenders, The Will to Battle

I have many wonderful friends who consume far more media than I can ever hope to keep up with, so I'm pretty much always inundated with recommendations that I know I'll never get to. But when the same book is independently recommended to me by a (grad student in philosophy) old friend from college and a (mathy, rationalist-y) work colleague, I'll sit up and listen. And shortly thereafter, buy the entire trilogy on my Kindle for airport reading almost on the spot. Which turned out to be a good choice.

My spoiler-free recommendation is that the trilogy is a brilliant feat of worldbuilding with a triple-helping of shockingly clever philosophy stirred in, clearly pitched at nerds by a dyed-in-the-wool nerd sci-fi fan. Its

READ MORE

Onward, Abroad!

attention-conservation notice: short personal-update post

Well, I've finally told everyone I wanted to tell in person, so here goes:

Tomorrow, I'll be moving to Hong Kong (for at least a few years). I'll be working for the same firm I've been working for in New York, doing roughly the same things, and still earning to give. Most of my worldly possessions are already on the slow boat to China, so there's no going back now...

I expect to be thrown back into learning-things mode for a while, but after that to have time to travel, to live in a new place, and spend some time off the well-trodden path. Expect either more blog posts, or fewer; I'm not yet sure which.

Meanwhile, feel free to send any travel recommendations my way, or let me know if you'll be in that part of the world anytime soon -- I honestly don't

READ MORE

Donations 2017

I don't write about it much on this blog, because it it's slightly awkward to talk about, and I'm a small little mind that isn't used to fighting against hyperbolic discounting. But I remain committed to donating at least 10% of my income to the organizations that I think best make the universe a better place, and to talking about it on this blog. Here are my thoughts for 2017.


(0)

These reflect a relatively small amount of thought, reading and discussion with people in the Effective Altruism community, and effectively no independent research. I don't expect that I'm particularly advantaged in evaluating charities, and so my opinion-forming strategy this year has mostly been to seek out the opinions of better-advantaged friends who I believe share my values, ask for their thoughts and reasons, and attempt to understand them.

However, I want to support a culture of sharing and building

READ MORE

Congratulations, Margo!

It's outside my typical poetic gamut, but as tradition dictates, and with apologies to Dr. Seuss...


She's got courage and brains
and a heart of great size,
and she's witty and clever
and patient and wise.
No fictional hero (though no challenge melts her),
she's our one and only Margo Ilene Seltzer!

She's taught 61, 161, and its 2---
she's taught so many courses, and flipped quite a few, too!
She's taught 50 and 51 -- really, it's true!
But really the one thing that matters a lot
is the incredible love for students she's got,
for it's no good at all to take a genius rare
and put them in a class for which they don't care.
But that's not our Margo!
No, our Margo gives
cooler lessons than any professor that lives.
And though it's said lecturers pump into sieves,
it's the flippers that give teaching new perspectives!

READ MORE

What I found in the desert

A month and a half ago, I took a plane to Reno, a bus out into the desert, and spent a week at Burning Man. This is an attempt to order some of my thoughts about that week.


(1a)

Surviving (even in relative comfort) wasn't as hard my pre-trip reading billed it as. Of course, it helped that I was camping with engineers who could reliably make a plan, ask themselves what would cause it to go wrong, fix that, repeat -- and then problem-solve when something unanticipated broke. Basic competence, responsibility, and leadership -- together with a well-adhered-to norm of "make sure you have everything you personally need, even things the camp has plans to provide" ('radical self-reliance' is the usual term) -- left us with a lot of slack.

From there, it was mostly just a matter of drinking enough water / electrolytes, noticing when I needed to eat,

READ MORE

Chelsea Manning / HKS IOP / "Visiting Fellowship"

Here are some Harvard Crimson headlines from this week:

So here we go...


(1)

One of the more annoying things about this affair has been the way the discussion has chased a dramatized, misleading version of the facts. To borrow a phrase, the commentators (in my social bubble) seem content with -- if not actively interested in -- framing the matter to produce heat, instead of light.

The easiest antidote for this is actually to read Dean Elmendorf's statement announcing and explaining the withdrawal of the IOP's Visiting Fellow appointment. I say this not because I agree with the decision or Elmendorf's justification, but because it at least explains what the decision was:

Some visitors to the Kennedy School are invited for just

READ MORE

The dark joke that was Shkreli's voir dire

Two things. First, these selected quotations from the voir dire of Martin Shkreli's trial for securities fraud are widely understood to be hilarious:

The Court: The purpose of jury selection is to ensure fairness and impartiality in this case. If you think that you could not be fair and impartial, it is your duty to tell me. All right. Juror Number 1.

Juror no. 1: I’m aware of the defendant and I hate him.

[Defense attorney] Benjamin Brafman: I’m sorry.

Juror no. 1: I think he’s a greedy little man.

...

The Court: Juror Number 1 is excused. Juror Number 18.

Juror no. 18: Both of my parents are on prescriptions that have gone up over the past few months, so much that they can’t afford their drugs. I have several friends who have H.I.V. or AIDS who, again, can’t afford the prescription drugs

READ MORE
1 / 28