My Faults My Own

…beleaguered by the same

negation and despair,

show an affirming flame.

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: April 14)

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 | The importance of local milieus — "We find suggestive evidence that co-locating with future inventors may impact the probability of becoming an inventor. The most consistent effect is found for place of higher education; some positive effects are also evident from birthplace, whereas no consistent positive effect can be derived from individuals’ high school location."

Blog: Shtetl-Optimized | How to upper-bound the probability of something bad — an algorithmist's guideline.

Blog: The Unit of Caring | Anonymous asked: you have the most hilariously naive politics i've ever seen... — "[in conclusion...] And I think anon is wrong about whether I need to grow a backbone."


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Blog:

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Mass Ave, Mt Auburn, and a Tale of Two Schools

Still, this report shows that Harvard could learn a lot from MIT about how to run a university.

Harry Lewis, "The Report Harvard Should Have Asked For", 2013


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Around the time I came to Harvard, both Mass Ave schools were dealing with the fallout of embarrassing, messy institutional mistakes. Both started with relatively small incidents, compounded by administrative decisions that were incredibly contentious during and after the fact.

Harvard's began with the Gov 1310 cheating scandal -- and it escalated when scandal erupted over the administration's search of faculty emails to find which sub-dean had spoken to the press, raising both privacy concerns and unease about the relationship between the faculty and the administration.

MIT's began with the arrest of Aaron Swartz for downloading academic articles from JSTOR -- and escalated over the Institute's complicity with the US Attorney's Office, which many members of the community felt betrayed

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Burn the Man's Books!

According MIT's Title IX Office, no-longer Professor Emeritus Walter Lewin acted in violation of the Institute's sexual harassment and misconduct policy while teaching an online MIT course open to the public. The Institute announced on Tuesday that it has stripped Lewin of Professor-Emeritus status, and will be removing videos of his physics lectures -- which have been called "legendary" -- from MIT OpenCourseWare and MITx.

I accept without question the reports that the charges were extremely serious and that "this wasn't a borderline case", and I agree with my current CS(@MIT) professor Scott Aaronson, as he writes in a recent blog post:

  • [S]exual harassment must never be tolerated, neither here nor anywhere else. But I also feel that, if a public figure is going to be publicly brought down like this (yes, even by a private university), then the detailed findings of the investigation should likewise be made

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