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: June 21)

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.


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Which technological advances have improved the working of autocracy? — The big innovation in authoritarian governance has been this: subsequent autocratic leaders, most of all in China, have found ways of both liberalizing and staying in power.

Blog: Schneier on Security | Free Societies are at a Disadvantage in National Cybersecurity — "I do worry that these disadvantages will someday become intolerable. Dan Geer often said that "the price of freedom is the probability of crime." We are willing to pay this price because it isn't that high. As technology makes individual and small-group actors more powerful, this price will

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Not Quite a Dissent: On Solidarity [Guest Post, Response]

A friend and classmate offers the following anonymous guest post in response to yesterday's post on (empty) declarations of solidarity. Their post follows with no edits by me.


The internet is a great and terrible thing. I say this often. We are inundated with a dramatically larger \(N\) of events to process and, thanks to social media, a larger audience to say it to.

I don't claim that the UC does a good thing by spouting largely empty declarations of support. I agree that it's trivializing, condescending, and mostly devoid of meaning, particularly when we seem to stand in solidarity with every cause that comes our way to demonstrate that we are caring, compassionate, and informed citizens of this world. I remember back in April when the #bringbackourgirls hashtag in support of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls exploded on Twitter--for two days. We offer our solidarity when it is easy, convenient, and painless, and move on with our lives.

All the same, I think there is something valuable in the exercise

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On Comets and Commentators [Guest Post, Dissent]

Our second guest author (writing anonymously) is an undergraduate studying physics at Harvard, and I'm happy to count her as a friend. She's offered the following response to my original post about the Philae landing / Dr. Taylor's tacky shirt affair and Dr. Christine Piatko's response. The full index is here.

Her post follows, with minor edits proposed by me and okayed by her. The opinions presented are -- I hope, obviously -- not necessarily mine, but I do believe the proliferation of viewpoints to be useful.

With this, I'm going to close the call for dissents. It's been fun, though, and I'm excited to do it again. Stay tuned!


I work very hard to define myself as a physicist first and a woman second. Maybe this already speaks to a stereotype that I have internalized, since it should ideally be the case that "physicist" is a gender-neutral term instead of one that implies a male. It shouldn't be the case that I feel like my gender makes me an asterisk.

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