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.

Impressions: Freakonomics

On my flight Boston-Keflavik, I picked up Freakonomics, by Levitt and Dubner. It was a fun read that I highly recommend. But a few things struck me about it, so I figured I'd write them down rapid-fire.

There's also a much longer about-Christmas post in the works, but it might not be out until tomorrow.

(1) "Despite [his] elite credentials, his approach is notably unorthodox."

I'm not sure what bothers me more: the widespread stereotype that eliteness is inextricable from orthodoxy, or my sinking suspicion that it's not entirely false.

(2) "He is ... an intuitionist."

In mathematics, "intuitionism" is a bit of a dirty word. In layman's term's, an intuitionist rejects the idea that a double negative is a positive, and so considers as invalid the logic:

1) Either A or B is true.
2) A is false.
3) Therefore, B is true.

It's appealing, because disallowing proofs by contradiction of the negation (i.e. the above form) means that every proof of "X exists" necessarily gives a mathematical

1 / 1