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.

Reading Feed (last update: July 28)

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 | How well is Germany dealing with the migration crisis? — "Whatever respite Germany may have gained this week is offset, and then some, by the arrival of a new and frightening political dynamic. Mr. Seehofer succeeded by going nuclear; chances are, he won’t be the last. The politics of fear and menace may be here to stay, undermining the foundations of democracy. In sound democracies, policies are the results of compromise between parties representing a majority of the voters. Through the politics of artificial crisis, minorities take the system hostage. They create policies redeeming fictional problems for fictional

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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 make it into the published version.

disclosure: I am, at least on paper, still a Crimson editor on the Design

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Sex: Statistics and Student Opinions

This week, MIT released Survey Results: 2014 Community Attitudes on Sexual Assault, making them one of the first schools to release such broad survey data on sex crimes. These are the results of a survey emailed to MIT undergraduate and graduate students last April, which had a response rate of 35% from 10,831--3,844 total responses.

I wish to be clear: Without good reason to believe otherwise, I'm taking these statistics as probably representative of MIT's peer institutions as well, and in no case do I mean to critique MIT specifically by citing them. If anything, the school deserves praise for its dedication to transparency by publishing such detailed statistics.

Now, MIT is clear that the document they've published should be taken as initial, not final, results:

"This document is a summary of the most pertinent results corresponding to questions asked in the survey; it is intended to be an initial summary of survey results. Throughout the upcoming academic year we will work with the community to use the

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Bad Graphs

In the wake of the announcement of Harvard's first wave of '18 admits, the Harvard Crimson is reports on the high-school demographics of Harvard's student body. The investigative article sheds some sunlight on just how much inequity exists between privileged "Harvard feeder schools" and the rest of the downtrodden teenaged proletariat.

Graph featured on The Crimson

That is, surprisingly little.

Oh, sure; the graph is concave. That means that...some schools sent more kids than other schools. Huh. How many more? Well, just reading the graph, something like 45% of Harvard students were the only admit from their school, and something like 78% are one of three or fewer kids from their high school. By contrast, the top schools send...15. A whopping five times more. Um. Right.

For contrast, this is what real inequity looks like:

Things on the right are people with obscene amounts of money. For reference, poverty-line America is ~95%tile.

(Yes, they're graphing different things, but the mathematical point remains valid.)

Or, on a brighter note, the cost-effectiveness of different

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