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: June 25)

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.


Blog: Marginal Revolution | What is the proper penalty for scientific fraud the culture that is China what would Gary Becker say? — "In April courts approved a new policy calling for stiff prison sentences for researchers who fabricate data in studies that lead to drug approvals. If the misconduct ends up harming people, then the punishment on the table even includes the death penalty."

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Regulation of Charlatans in High-Skill Professions — "Although both standards and disclosure drive charlatans out of the market, consumers are worse off because of the resulting reduction in competition amongst producers. Producers, on the other hand, strictly benefit from the regulation,


CTY (and the Passionfruit)


Walking through the Yard yesterday, I commented to a friend that if I met myself of three years ago, I wouldn't know where to begin to explain how the past three years have gone, except to say one thing: "Ross, you'll the most wonderful friends you've ever known."

But today, as I've been reminded a few times via Facebook, is another important anniversary of a time my life took an unforeseen turn for the better, which deserves a few words, I guess. I really don't know what I'd say to myself of eight years ago, but here's something of an attempt.


Eight years ago today, my parents drove me to Carlisle, Pennsylvania to drop me off for three weeks at the Center for Talented Youth summer program. It was the first time that I'd be sleeping away from family for more than a few days, and


Oh, say...

A year ago, the school (and the city) was just getting off lockdown after the manhunt for the marathon bombing suspect(s). And looking backward, there's a few things I remember quite clearly:

  • the spreadsheet of students offering couch space, spare beds, and sleeping bags to 'stranded' students unsure if it was safe to be crossing campus
  • the Dining Services workers who crossed a city on lockdown (by bike, as I recall) to come in to work, and the students who volunteered to work the dining hall with them
  • the pre-frosh who came to Visitas Weekend despite its cancellation (including mine!), and the hosts who did everything they could to make their stay worth its while (in the fall, the school would announce record yield numbers...)
  • the sudden, temporary freedom from work -- afterward, a friend would recall "I've never felt so free as that day we were trapped inside!

[China] Regressing


This is the last post on my first try at polyphasia. For convenience, I've listed all four of my previous polyphasic posts here:

After missing two naps in a single day, I realized that this polyphasic thing wasn't going to work in China.

1. We didn't have breaks at the right times in the day.
2. I was incurring approximately 100% overhead on walking back to my dorm to nap.
3. The utility of my time was extremely phase-sensitive, which is to say that having extra hours during the night didn't help anywhere near as much as extra hours during


Eating Animals II

I'll reiterate that I'm not trying to evangelize for vegetarianism. While I don't eat meat, I have no problem with my friends who do. I suppose that, intellectually, I would prefer that people don't (though, that would probably hold true no matter which side of the fence I myself came down on), but it's not a strong enough preference for me to spend social capital, time, or any other resources spreading my vegetarianism, even to the people close to me. I simply don't care enough.

Aside: If you've ever asked me why I think industrially-produced meat is gross, and I grossed you out, it's not because I'm trying to convert you. I was only telling the truth. I won't campaign against the meatpacking industry, but I certainly won't spend any effort to protect them.

Yesterday I


(Not really) About Math

This post brought to you by a lovely dinner conversation with a non-biological aunt and a dear friend who I definitely don't see enough, given that we've known each other for almost precisely our entire lives.

note: this is not the post on vegetarianism that I promised. I got distracted in the middle of drafting that one. It's sort of complicated, and I haven't quite yet figured out how I want to put what I want to say, but I promise that I'll get back to it, and to China, eventually. In the mean time, just enjoy this ramble on a very important thing.

Girls are bad at math. It's a simple matter of statistics. Statistically sound double-blind studies done in the US in the last twenty years clearly indicates that girls perform significantly worse on tasks related to math and logical-reasoning than their male counterparts, controlling for, well, everything.


Eating Animals I

Three years ago, I attended my fourth year of the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth summer program. That year, my chosen course was Ethics (section B), and the instructor was Dr. Mark Ralkowski (which my have been a significant part of why I signed up for the course). The year was 2010, I was sixteen, and I'd been entrusted with the sacred laurels of the Poetry Goddess, organizer of weekly poetry-night readings open to all campers (and staff).

That year, Mark tried out a unit that he had developed for his college students (at U. New Mexico in those days...) on the ethics of agriculture. We read Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, talked about eating animals, and stopped eating animals. (Every one of us except one boy nicknamed 'Steaknife', whose real name I can't remember for the life of me.)

Our reasons, as I recall, were mixed. Some of


[China] Looking Backwards

Challenges in writing about events from the perspective of afterward: Getting things down while they're still fresh in the mind. And so, I figure I'll start with that which is most fresh: returning home.

On the morning of the 23rd, I woke up early enough to see my friends off on their trip to see the Great Wall. I never did get to see it, or the Forbidden City, or the Summer Palace, or the 798 District, or anything else of real cultural interest in Beijing. But that's probably alright; I'll be in China again in the not-so-distant future. It's not like I'm going to see (most of) any of these kids any other time in my life. And so I don't feel so bad about missing a few sightseeing opportunities if it means I got to spend more time with a crop of truly fantastic students.

People ask me

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