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: October 15)

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 | Is the World Bank lending too much to China? — "As I understand it, the World Bank makes money on these loans and there is a cross-subsidy of other Bank activities, most of all aid. A World Bank that stopped such loans would be poorer and less skilled, and over time could devolve into one of the poorer, less effective poverty-fighting parts of the United Nations, without much of a political power base at that."


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Blade Runner 2049 (some Straussian spoilers) — "It hardly makes any concessions to the Hollywood vices of this millennium and indeed much of the Tysons Corner

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12/25/15 #1: A Highly Improbable Peace

Today is the hundredth anniversary of the World War I Christmas Truce, where a hundred thousand German and Allied soldiers left trenches, ventured into no-man's-land, played football, and sang carols.

Illustration from the 1915 London News: Allied and German soldiers fraternizing in no-man's-land.


This year, one of the speakers at the university Carols Services mentioned this fact, and attendees were provided with both English and German lyrics, to sing their choice. The resulting mess didn't have much in the way of distinct words, but the tune was unmistakeable and powerful, and there was something profoundly humbling about singing it in the Memorial Church, erected in honor of the men who gave their lives in that war and the next.

(Crimson photo gallery of the service -- you can spot the back of my head in the first photo if you look hard.)


There's something otherworldly about the idea, isn't there? -- that there was a day of the year where (literally) mortal enemies

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Happy Ada Day!

For reasons which are pretty opaque to me, apparently today has been designated Ada Lovelace Day? Which is kinda weird, since "October 14" appears nowhere on her Wikipedia page, but well, okay. At least it makes a convenient excuse to write a blog post, since she was a pretty damn cool person.

If you've never heard of Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace before, there are much better places to read about her life than on my blog. (Like what, Ross? Well, uh, this piece on The Mary Sue? Is kinda over-excited, or maybe just adequately excited. In any case, probably go read it and come back.)


So yesterday, when a friend asked me the other day what exactly "theoretical computer science" was, if not programming, I thought a little bit and said something like:

Well, imagine that, instead of actually sitting down and telling a computer to do something, you

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