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: December 15)

A collection of things that I was glad 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 | A social credit system for scientists? — Chinese scientists, that is, and fraudsters at that. What, would you rather be soft on fraud?

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Comic: xkcd | arXiv — "...invaluable projects which, if they didn't exist, we would dismiss as obviously ridiculous and unworkable."

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Blog: JeffTK | Not losing things — "I almost never lose things, especially important things like my keys, laptop, or ear warmers. Here's an attempt to write up the system I use, in case it's useful to others..."

Blog: Tyler

Stand With Mizzou

I was asked on Monday by a friend if I was going to write about the goings-on at Yale. I will at some point, but now's not the time.

A little more than two and a half years ago, our school spent a day on lockdown after a twenty-one-year-old shot a police officer at MIT and drove through our campus on his way to Watertown, where he would eventually be captured by police.

We stayed in our dorms, not knowing whether he was just outside the door. He probably wasn't anywhere near campus, the rumors went, but better to keep the doors locked, just to be sure. I lived just next door to my friends, but I didn't dare to step outside for the ten seconds it would have taken me to get from my door to theirs.

I've written before about the moment that we raised our voices together, after the campus had begun to open up again, but I haven't said much about the terror of that day

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

Empty Declarations

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Context: The Crimson | UC Passes Act of Solidarity in Light of UNC Shooting. But first, Scott Alexander writing in Slate Star Codex | I Can Tolerate Anything Except the Outgroup (himself quoting Chesterton):

There are a lot of people who say "I forgive you" when they mean "No harm done", and a lot of people who say "That was unforgiveable" when they mean "That was genuinely really bad". Whether or not forgiveness is right is a complicated topic I do not want to get in here. But since forgiveness is generally considered a virtue, and one that many want credit for having, I think it's fair to say you only earn the right to call yourself 'forgiving' if you forgive things that genuinely hurt you.

To borrow Chesterton's example, if you think divorce is a-ok, then you don't get to "forgive" people their