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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12/25/14 #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 could treat each other as humans. Do you think that the warriors of the right and the left could keep

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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 wanted to think about what sort of things a computer could do, if you instructed it right. If you think

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