My Faults My Own

One's ponens is another's tollens.

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

Reading Feed (last update: April 2)

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: Don't Worry About the Vase | On Automoderation -- Zvi concretizes much the the vague disease I was feeling around Automoderation, despite it being an eminently plausible approach to its design specification.


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Blog: JeffTK | Slack tool: predict -- Note that Jeff's implementation is of a market mechanism that's not budget-balanced, and rewards marginal improvements of the "last price", rather than marginal improvements of the "current best price". I suspect that these design decisions have the net effect of denoising the signal of predicter quality.

Blog: Schneier on Security | New Gmail Phishing Scam -- "The article is right; this is frighteningly good."

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The Baffling Politics

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Good-Adjacency (Examples)

content warning: Short descriptions of non-violent sexual situations where consent is unclear. (first block quote only)


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Leah Libresco asks: Is "Kindness-Adjacent" a Useful Category?, riffing off their previous post Avoiding Rape-Adjacent Sex. The latter (which came first):

I do believe them that there's plenty of sex happening now, that isn't experienced as rape by either partner, that doesn't meet the affirmative consent standards proposed. That could include sex where both partners kind of just leapt into the act, not checking in with each other, but not hitting any snags. Sex where one or both partners was somewhere past tipsy and within sight of "too impaired to consent" but no one pulled out a breathalyzer and both parties felt ok in the morning (aside from the headache). Sex with coercion/pressure, where one partner didn't back down after an initial "No" or "I'd rather not" but the reluctant party felt

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Xerox Xerox

On the advice of Bill Gates (GatesNotes | 6 Books I Recommended for TED 2015), I picked up this free-to-read chapter of John Brooks's Business Adventures, titled "Xerox Xerox Xerox Xerox".

What a fantastic read.

In a story reminiscent of the dot-com boom that would come forty years later, Brooks describes the meteoric and explosive rise of xerography in the American officeplace, and the group of inventors who re-mortgaged their houses and crowded into a workshop whose roof leaked tar on hot days to create the first office copier that could print on normal, untreated paper.

Two sections stood out as particularly spectacular, though the piece is fascinating throughout. (Note that Brooks is writing in the 60s about businesses that were operating in the sixties, and that his depictions of what would today be stunning sexism and racism were entirely the norm contemporarily.)


Apart from malfunctions, the machine requires a good

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Saving Citizens from the Theater of Capital Punishment

In good-things news, Martin O'Malley, term-limit lame-duck governor of Maryland, announced that he will use gubernatorial authority to commute the sentences of Maryland's last four death-row inmates to "life without possibility for parole".

He had previously spearheaded the successful legislative effort to repeal the death penalty in 2013 (which was not challenged by referendum, due to lack of signatures), which left the status of the five men then on death row in question, and by this action has ensured that my home state has (I sincerely hope) executed a human for the last time. (There were five men on death row when the legislature struck down capital punishment; one has since died of natural causes.)

But his rhetoric surrounding the action is the most interesting (to me):

The question at hand is whether any public good is served by allowing these essentially un-executable sentences to stand...

Gubernatorial inaction -- at

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