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 sometime artist, economist, poet, trader, expat, EA, and programmer—writes on things of int­erest.

Reading Feed (last update: November 24)

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 | Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power — "[F]or now I’ll just note it is very much in the running for very best book of the year. It brings Native American history to life in a conceptual manner better than any other book I know."


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Favorite popular music listening for 2019


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Do social media drive the rise in right-wing populism? — "Overall, we do not find evidence that online/social media explain support for right-wing populist candidates and parties. Instead, in the USA, use of online media

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Remembering Aaron Swartz

including a review of The Idealist, by Justin Peters

You haven't seen a roomful of students' eyebrows shoot up simultaneously until you begin your CS50 section with a content warning for suicide.

content warning: suicide.


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It was the week we were covering web development and walking through a project that had students scraping an RSS feed to extract news stories geotagged as local. It was also Aaron Swartz's birthday.

And so it seemed wrong not to include, in that lesson, some words for the young visionary who was no older than some of my students when he invented the protocol we'd be using that week. It seemed wrong not to take the occasion to remind my students that the things they were learning could be used to literally change the world. And it seemed wrong not to tell the story about how federal prosecutors enforcing unjust laws hounded that young man until he took his own life.

And so I took

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Onward

attention-conservation notice: this is a personal-life-update post, not a deep-philosophical-commentary post.

I've finally left the environs of Cambridge to do...whatever comes next...in New York City. I really enjoyed my time at Harvard and was truly sad to see the community of friends that I'd come to love go their assorted and separate ways, but on a personal level, it was time. So I'm glad to be moving on to the next thing.

One piece of "the next thing" is that I'm beginning work as an trader at a small proprietary trading firm in downtown Manhattan. It's an amazing company that I'm incredibly excited to be returning to full-time -- one of the most intellectually stimulating environments I've found anywhere, with a double helping of diverse and varied day-to-day projects and a culture of social trust, intellectual humility, and collaborative truth-seeking.

In many (great) ways, I feel like I'm starting college again -- my days are long and full, all of my work is interesting and

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I'm Registered to (trade my) Vote

I'm glad to share that I've registered to vote in New York. I'm glad not just because I'm a West-Wing-watching sap who believes that voting is a civic responsibility as well as a personal privilege, but also because we live in terrifying times and face an election of terrifying stakes.

"But Ross," you might object, "isn't New York, like, 99% likely to go for Clinton anyway?"

To this I reply:

  1. It's still a closer race here than in Maryland, which FiveThirtyEight claims is 99.8% likely to go Clinton.
  2. I'm a West-Wing-watching sap who believes that voting is a civic responsibility as well as a personal privilege.
  3. I'm going to be trading my vote with a third-party voter in a swing state.

"I'm sorry, what?"


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Scott Aaronson laid out the case for vote-swapping exceedingly well in a recent blog post, so I won't re-hash the matter here. Suffice it to say (for those who can't be bothered to click through that link)

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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 flags on front porches
    and banners of unity
        spanning the bridges
      from the top of the fence—
as we
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Those Emails

If you hadn't heard: A group that was almost certainly Russian military intelligence stole almost 20,000 emails from the DNC and Wikileaks published them on Saturday. Personally, I doubt that there's anything in them, but---

---what's that?---

---they're literally the smoking gun of a plot to steal the nomination for Hillary Cl---

---no, no, I'm certain that they're not---

---um---

---okay, okay, I'll take a look and see what's there. Here we go.

attention conservation notice: This post is long. Like, 7000 words long. If you just want to skip to the executive summary at the end, I won't blame you. There, I go over the material that I cover below with convenient links back to the relevant section, if at any point you want to go back and check against source.


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Before we do this, I want you to ask yourself what you expect to

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I can't support the Green platform

In a conversation with an acquaintance about the political ethics of voting for Jill Stein, I realized that I had very little idea what the Green Party stood for. (Um...the environment?) So I spent a few hours today reading the Green Party platform. I can't say it was an exciting experience, but now at least I feel like I have some sense of what it means to be Green. I liked a good deal of what I read, but in the end, there were a few things that I just couldn't stomach.

note: At no point in this post am I going to discuss the political ethics of voting for a third-party candidate, in general, in a first-past-the-post race. If you want to read about that sort of thing, you're in the wrong place; this is a post unpacking what the Green Party specifically does and does not (claim to) stand for.


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1. There's actually a good deal to like about the Green platform. It's pro-UBI, (mostly)

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Review: Anathem

If you're looking for a short verdict on Anathem, you've come to the wrong place I thought it was excellent, and if you're the sort of person who reads this blog, you're highly likely to enjoy it, too. For reference, I enjoyed it significantly more than Snow Crash, the only other Stephenson I've read, which I would peg at "good, but not excellent". (Edit: I also enjoyed Anathem more than Cryptonomicon (excellent) and Seveneves (very good). Of these four, I enjoyed Snow Crash least.)

Proper review follows.


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It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that at one stage in my life, my favorite book was Ender's Game. This is, as I understand it, downright conventional for intellectually gifted children of a particular age, if not actually a rite of passage. As Orson Scott Card writes in the foreword to the 1991 edition of Game:

[A] woman who worked as a guidance counselor for gifted children reported that she had only picked up Ender’s Game to read

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