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

# 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

# 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.

# A Shirt, Counterpoint [Guest Post, Dissent]

Dr. Christine Piatko is a Research Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. After we had a lively discussion on Facebook about my post last Saturday on the shirt Dr. Matt Taylor wore for the Philae landing, she offered the following dissenting opinion in response to my call for guest-post responses. The full index is here.

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

I have since closed the call for additional responses, but see the second response on this topic, submitted by an anonymous reader, for a third opinion.

I admit this is feeling a bit meta -- offering a counteropinion adding to the firestorm over a blogpost about a firestorm... about a shirt?

But thanks for the opportunity, so I wanted to chime in and say -- as a member of the gender in question, I respectfully disagree with Ross.

Yes, women in STEM do need