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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Ben Kuhn sums up how Scott Aaronson sums up my thoughts on divestment

Aaronson:

I’m sensitive to the charge that divestment petitions are just meaningless sanctimony, a way for activists to feel morally pure without either making serious sacrifices or engaging the real complexities of an issue. In the end, though, that kind of meta-level judgment can’t absolve us of the need to consider each petition on its merits: if we think of a previous crisis for civilization (say, in the late 1930s), then it seems obvious that even symbolic divestment gestures were better than nothing.

What made up my mind was reading the arguments pro and con, and seeing that the organizers of this petition had a clear-eyed understanding of what they were trying to accomplish and why: they know that divestment can’t directly drive down oil companies’ stock prices, but it can powerfully signal to the world a scientific consensus that, if global catastrophe is to be averted, most of the known fossil-fuel reserves need to be left in the ground,

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April 10 Links: The Once and Future Friday Tradition

Back after more than two months, the Friday linkwrap!

(Does anyone else get as excited for these as I do? No, right?)

So, I've been pretty delinquent about these, but at least I've had the decency to keep stashing things I found worth reading at Reading Feed, with backlogs at Reading Feed (March 2015) and Reading Feed (February 2015).

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WSJ | China to Start Keeping a List of Badly Behaved Tourists sounded pretty scary -- until I read the article and realized that the measures are directed at Chinese citizens abroad, not visitors to China. And then it all sorta made sense, conditioned on China being, 'yknow, China.

Said Chinese president Xi Jinping:

Don't throw water bottles everywhere, don't destroy people's coral reefs and eat fewer instant noodles and more local seafood. (...)

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On the topic of environmentalism, I'm on the record opining that pressuring the Harvard Management Corporation to divest from fossil fuels is a red herring, but that doesn't mean that digging up all of the of

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Three Modest Proposals, Instead of Divesting...

The modest proposal comes after a bit of serious economics, because, well, you have to eat your vegetables before you get any dessert.

Also: Global warming is real and anthropocentric; we're going to need to stop it; we're going to need to stop using fossil fuels. If you don't believe these things, then I'm not going to try to convince you here. If you do believe these things, and also think that I'm wrong here, I'd be really, really, glad to hear it.

All of that said, the majority of this post is either intended as satire or double-satire; the only thing that I'll admit to honestly believing is that no one, not even Divest, is above a little tongue-in-cheek mockery.

Also, despite my use of the narrative first person, I am in no way involved with the Divest movement, at Harvard or elsewhere, except that sometimes I give them unsolicited financial advice.

Recently, Milo King, on Gains From Trade, asks: What is the economic impact of divestment? A few

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