My Faults My Own

One's ponens is another's tollens.

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: August 6)

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 | What I’ve been reading


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Blog: Yonatan Zunger @ Medium | So, about this Googler’s manifesto. — "Until about a week ago, you would have heard very little from me publicly about this, because my job would have been to deal with it internally, and confidentiality rules would have prevented me from saying much in public... [S]ince I’m no longer on the inside, and have no confidential information about any of this, the thing which I would have posted internally I’ll instead say right here, because it’s relevant not just to Google, but to everyone else in tech."

Blog: Overcoming Bias

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They're Not All Saints


Abbott Lawrence Lowell, as President of Harvard, attempted to impose quotas on Jewish students and ban black students outright.

Chester Greenough, with Lowell's ample support, presided over the Secret Court of 1920, which expelled eight students on allegations of homosexuality.

Benjamin Wadsworth was one of the first anti-abortion writers in America.

The Cabot family owned slaves.


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These are not pieces of our University's history that we should be proud of, but they are pieces of our history whether we acknowledge them or not. And it is disingenuous to object

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If I Ran the Zoo

content warning: Brief anecdote about inadvertent and nonmalicious -- but repeated -- misgendering. Discussion of moral-obligation-heavy social justice messaging.


While we were on finals-induced break...
(if you wish, skip over this news review)

College-Distributed Advice on Race Discussions Divides Students

At the close of a semester that saw a surge in racial tensions on college campuses nationwide, Harvard outfitted a number of dining halls with laminated guides printed with what purports to be advice for students discussing issues related to race and diversity with family members, but that some undergraduates decried as telling them what to think politically.

Adapted from a similar guide [link mine] published by an activist group called Showing Up for Racial Justice, the placemats address controversial topics including student activism about race at Yale and other colleges, the debate over whether the U.S. should welcome Syrian refugees, and Harvard’s recent decision to change

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Greenlaw and Morris for the UC

Bar "Issues of Varsity Athletics" on the varsity athletes' platform, the only difference between the three tickets' platforms this year is that the Rather/Banks ticket collapses sexual assault and mental health into the single issue "Open Dialogue", while adding the plank "Open the Yard", read "Freshman Life".

I'd be inclined to write this off as a matter of branding and rhetoric rather than ideology, except that at the Crimson-hosted UC Crossfire debate, Danny Banks tried to make hay out of it -- claiming proudly that "We are the only platform with a third of our platform dedicated to freshmen."

I don't think you can believe that those words mean anything if you don't also believe that they mean other planks holding less importance. The time, energy, and political capital of the UC presidency is limited, and if you believe that freshman social life deserves attention at the expense of

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Notes from the UC Crossfire Debate

This is not a faithful transcript of the questions or answers, since I can't actually type that fast. Instead, it's mostly loose paraphrase throughout. Again, I did not grab all of the rhetoric or issues that candidates nodded to, and most of this is not direct quotation. Nevertheless, it'll give you a bit more of a sense of what candidates' talked about than will the Crimson article you can expect tomorrow.


Opening Statements

Nick / Jeff

We were both disenchanted with Harvard as a whole...but then we realized how lucky we are, and how many things are wrong at Harvard. We can do better as a community, and we can do better as a whole.

Our platform stands on:

  • Mental Health
  • Sexual Assault
  • Social Spaces
  • Issues surrounding Varsity Athletics

Shaiba / Danny

Opening Harvard includes making truly inclusive social spaces, putting students in high-level administrative decisions, and re-imagining the first-year experience.

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On the AAU Survey and the Crimson

I've got an op-ed in the Harvard Crimson today, expressing my concern that an important narrative is missing from the discussions of the AAU sexual assault climate survey. Excerpt:

When male survivors are invisible, they face stigma against seeking help. Though male and female survivors of sexual assault seek out institutional resources at roughly the same (low) rates, male survivors are 60 percent more likely than female survivors to speak to no one—not even a friend—after an assault. (31.2% versus 19.3% for assault by force; 38.1% versus 23.3% for assault by incapacitation.) And so male students make up more than a quarter of silent survivors, in large part because we so rarely acknowledge that they exist at all. (...)

Those numbers, by the way, come from tables 3.1a,c and 3.5a,b in the full report. Below, I've got few thoughts that didn't

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Karim Pirbay is an Email Scammer


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If you haven't heard, the Harvard Class of 2016 elected Program Marshals for commencement (graduation) exercises this week. Basically, it's a popularity contest to determine who gets to sit on stage with Natalie Portman or John Oliver or whoever it is this year. At some point, I guess we'll hear the results.

Of course, in the post-Clark–Mayopoulos era, exactly zero of the campaigns were serious. I think the most serious policy proposal that made it through my spam filter was, verbatim, "P.S. Jon Stewart/John Oliver for Class Day??". But, of course, posters, facebook groups, and an infuriating flood of mass emails have made an appearance nonetheless. One in particular stands out, because I think it represents a lapse in judgment so egregious, the party in question should be lowered in public status.

Karim Pirbay sent two mass emails to the senior class. The first

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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

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