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: July 28)

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 | How well is Germany dealing with the migration crisis? — "Whatever respite Germany may have gained this week is offset, and then some, by the arrival of a new and frightening political dynamic. Mr. Seehofer succeeded by going nuclear; chances are, he won’t be the last. The politics of fear and menace may be here to stay, undermining the foundations of democracy. In sound democracies, policies are the results of compromise between parties representing a majority of the voters. Through the politics of artificial crisis, minorities take the system hostage. They create policies redeeming fictional problems for fictional

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Putting money where my mouth is


To be clear: I have a huge problem with the fact that John Paulson convinced my school to deface its name for his own gratification; I don't actually have a huge problem that he gave $400M to Harvard SEAS instead of leaving it in his other sundry investments. (And I don't have a problem with the fact that he earned the money on Wall Street.) This post is a continuation of my thoughts, in something of a stream of consciousness.


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Lots of other people do have a problem with the donation, though. Matt Levine, writing at the Bloomberg View with his tongue firmly in-cheek, sums them up without taking much of a side:

It's possible that there's a secret club of billionaires competing to give tons of money to the philanthropies that make people angriest. The Koch Brothers and George Soros could be co-presidents, and John Paulson shot to the top of the league table in 2012 when he gave a $100 million

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The Garden and the Jungle


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I love the place I'm working this summer. (A smallish proprietary trading firm in lower Manhattan.) It has one of the most vibrantly intellectual atmospheres I've seen anywhere, and the problems that we're working on really are interesting, often novel, and eminently practical. For a place that aims to compete in international financial markets by hiring the best mathematical talent that (1) cool math problems and (2) money can buy, it's...just about exactly what you might expect.

In particular, I'm in love with my current research project, which is easily the coolest thing I've been asked to do yet. (I also interned for all of last summer there.) What exactly it is is proprietary (sorry), but it has me mixing machine-learning and stochastic calculus in some really cool ways that have me alternating between coding furiously and filling up whiteboard upon whiteboard with math. Also, I recently got yelled at for taking up too much computing power on the shared intern server, so I got upgraded to supercomputing-cluster

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Burn the Man's Books!

According MIT's Title IX Office, no-longer Professor Emeritus Walter Lewin acted in violation of the Institute's sexual harassment and misconduct policy while teaching an online MIT course open to the public. The Institute announced on Tuesday that it has stripped Lewin of Professor-Emeritus status, and will be removing videos of his physics lectures -- which have been called "legendary" -- from MIT OpenCourseWare and MITx.

I accept without question the reports that the charges were extremely serious and that "this wasn't a borderline case", and I agree with my current CS(@MIT) professor Scott Aaronson, as he writes in a recent blog post:

  • [S]exual harassment must never be tolerated, neither here nor anywhere else. But I also feel that, if a public figure is going to be publicly brought down like this (yes, even by a private university), then the detailed findings of the investigation should likewise be made public, regardless of how embarrassing they are.

  • More importantly, I wish to register that I disagree in the strongest possible

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November 21 Bucket o' Links: "Languages, Language, and Words, Words, Words" Edition

I'm going to continue calling these my Friday linkwraps, in the hopes that I'll (1) actually publish one on Friday someday, or, failing that, (2) not slip to a write-on-Saturday, publish-on-Sunday schedule if I call them my Saturday linkwraps instead.

I'm still running an updated-almost-daily feed of readworthy links at My Faults My Own | Reading Feed. Check it out if you're a fan of these BoL's!

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For reasons which may later become clear, I've written two subtly different versions of this post, for different audiences. Poets, dreamers, and readers who don't particularly care to erect walls between fantasy and reality, click here. Readers who don't have time for my mind games and just want to read a normal Bucket o' Links, click here.

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