My Faults My Own

…beleaguered by the same

negation and despair,

show an affirming flame.

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: October 15)

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 | Is the World Bank lending too much to China? — "As I understand it, the World Bank makes money on these loans and there is a cross-subsidy of other Bank activities, most of all aid. A World Bank that stopped such loans would be poorer and less skilled, and over time could devolve into one of the poorer, less effective poverty-fighting parts of the United Nations, without much of a political power base at that."


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Blade Runner 2049 (some Straussian spoilers) — "It hardly makes any concessions to the Hollywood vices of this millennium and indeed much of the Tysons Corner

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October 28 Links: Thinkers, Statesmen, Economists, Doctors

As always, there's a lot more stuff that I enjoyed reading this month on Reading Feed. Do check it out!

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Leah Libresco is the single person who I believe has the best practical ideas about how to be a human being in this world.

(This video -- of her speaking about her new book -- isn't embeddable, but if you click, it will open in a new tab.)

It is something of an issue for me that certain significant bits of her deeply-considered epistemic beliefs disagree with my much-less-deeply-considered epistemic beliefs. When I put it that way, it sounds like there's an obvious, easy fix, and when you dereference what it is that I'm talking about, calling it "an obvious, easy fix" sounds...odd.

This was the beginning of a much longer post, but I realized that I have absolutely zero idea where that post is going, so

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Something About Bernie

warning: speaking from significant socioeconomic privilege.


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Scott Alexander, writing at Slate Star Codex, has some words:

So presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has proposed universal free college tuition.

On the one hand, I sympathize with his goals. If you can’t get any job better than 'fast food worker' without a college degree, and poor people can’t afford college degrees, that’s a pretty grim situation, and obviously unfair to the poor.

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But, well, when we require doctors to get a college degree before they can go to medical school, we’re throwing out [$5 billion], enough to house all the homeless people in the country... Senator Sanders admits that his plan would cost $70 billion per year. That's... enough to give $2000 every year to every American in poverty.

At what point do we say "Actually, no, let's not do that, and just let people hold basic jobs

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January 23 Links: Sciences from Soft to Hard; Eggs from Hard to Soft

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The first was going to be about my favorite Operating Systems professor ending up in the Financial Times for her quotes at Davos on David Cameron's proposed policies banning strong encryption, but then it passed 450 words, and I spun it off into its own post.

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Instead, (speaking of economics and expert opinions,) The Upshot asks how economists came to dominate the [public-policy] conversation, beating out historians, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and demographers:

Two hundred years ago, the field of economics barely existed. Today, it is arguably the queen of the social sciences.

These are the conclusions I draw from a deep dive into The New York Times archives first suggested to me by a Twitter follower. While the idea of measuring influence through newspaper mentions will elicit howls of protest from tweed-clad boffins sprawled across faculty lounges around the country, the results are fascinating. And not only because

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