My Faults My Own

One's ponens is another's tollens.

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 9)

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 | China green energy projection of the day — "China’s energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade... Keep this all in mind the next time you hear someone tout China as the new leader of the global green energy movement."


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Cheer you up true story from Maine — "But in Maine, servers actively campaigned to overturn the results of a November referendum raising servers’ hourly wages from $3.75 in 2016 to $12 by 2024, saying it would cause customers to tip less and actually reduce their take-home

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A Verse for the City

From the top of the towers,  
    you could see past the narrows,
        past our lady of the harbor,
      to the broad, open sea.
See the curve of the earth  
    on the vast, blue horizon
        from the world’s greatest city,
      in the land of the free.

All the brave men and women  
    that you never would notice,
        from the precincts and fire halls---
      the first on the scene.
Storming into the buildings  
    on the side of the angels,
        they were gone in an instant,
      in the belly of the beast.

We are children of slavery,  
   children of immigrants,
      remnants of tribes and their tired refugees.
As they tumbled down,  
   we were stronger together—
      stronger than we ever knew we could be—
         as strong as that statue that stands for the promise
of liberty here in this city of dreams.

All the
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A Verse for Commencement Day

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,  
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,  
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,  
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;  
                         But O heart! heart! heart! 
                            O the bleeding drops of red, 
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies, 
                                  Fallen cold and dead. 

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;  
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,  
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,  
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;  
                         Here Captain! dear father! 
                            This arm beneath your head! 
                               It is some dream that on the deck, 
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead. 

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,  
My father does
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A Verse for the Armistice

Out there, we’ve walked quite friendly up to Death,—  
  sat down and eaten with him, cool and bland,—
    pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.

We’ve sniffed the green thick odour of his breath,—  
          our eyes wept, but our courage didn’t writhe.

He’s spat at us with bullets and he’s coughed  
                shrapnel. We chorussed when he sang aloft,
                  we whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.

Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!  
  We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
    No soldier’s paid to kick against His powers.

We laughed,—knowing that better men would come,  
          and greater wars: when each proud fighter brags
            he wars on Death, for lives; not men, for flags.
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For the Brave Sky-Travelers

...and now for some musings about exploration that doesn't involve wanton destruction, murder, theft, &c.


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But as soon as somebody demonstrates the art of flying, settlers from our species of man will not be lacking. Who would once have thought that the crossing of the wide ocean was calmer and safer than of the narrow Adriatic Sea, Baltic Sea, or English Channel?

Let us create vessels and sails adjusted to the heavenly ether, and there will be plenty of people unafraid of the empty wastes. In the meantime, we shall prepare, for the brave sky-travellers, maps of the celestial bodies—I shall do it for the moon, [and] you Galileo, for Jupiter.

h/t Abel Mendez at UPR; from an open letter from Kepler to Galileo (yes, those) in the Conversation with the Star Messenger, in 1610. Four hundred years later, space is far harder than ever

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A Verse for the Memorial

These kids have learned some history  
   and they know what warfare used to be:
tanks and guns and soldiers  
   that moved across the land—
with strategies and battlelines  
   converging at a place in time;
and lives were lost for reasons  
   that the world could understand

On the History Channel, war  
   can look exactly like before,
when you were certain it was over  
   by the ticker tape parade.
They could come back home to safety;  
   they could celebrate the victory;
and the landmines were all buried  
   ’cross the ocean far away.

But a different kind of war  
   has reached our shore,
and you never see it coming anymore.
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A Verse for the Fourth

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep (where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes), what is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep -- as it fitfully blows -- half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam; in full glory reflected now shines in the stream: ’tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


As a friend reminded me recently, the better-remembered verse is a question, which is almost always left unanswered.

But today, what is our answer to the question "O! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave?"

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With sincerest apologies to Mr. Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip now ends,  
The college stands another year, though still no more it spends,  
The Game is near, the Band I hear, the freshmen all exulting,  
While follow eyes the crimson flag, the Yalies we insulting;  
                         But O Tom! Bas! Rav!
                            O the year we have in store,
                               When Gus and Sietse have left us,
                                  To lead us now no more.

O Captain! my Captain! Gus, hear the Mem Church bell!  
Stand tall—for you Fair Harvard's sung—for you Ten Thousand trill,  
For you TP and TomBasRav—for you town halls a-crowding,  
For you they call, from Stillman still, for yet more club sports funding;  
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            Lead us forevermore!
                               It is some dream that you would leave,
                                 To captain us no more.

Not the Captain we deserved—the one we needed, true,  
In uniform and beard he served—and fought
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