Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.



Poker is a bad game for teaching epistemics. Figgie is a better one.


Asimov on building robots without the First Law

“Liquidity” vs “solvency” in bank runs

(Naïve) microeconomics of bundling goods


Metaculus and medians

The FDA on Fluvoxamine, round 1

Series I (April 2022 update)

So you want to work on biosecurity

Onward, again

[Meta] To Icosian Reflections


Donations 2021

What on Earth is a Series I savings bond?

Age and Covid-19 IFR in Africa

Age and Covid-19 IFR in India

Which vaccine?

How proper scoring rules are like order books

The Times on EU Vaccines, 2021-03-01

Metaculus has some issues

For whom it tolls


Donations 2020

2018-19 Donor Lottery Report, pt. 2

2018-19 Donor Lottery Report, pt. 1

Personal opinions on my Harvard courses H

Speculative preparedness


Donations 2019

Elasticities, revisited

Review: The Triumph of Injustice

Everybody knows

Adding HTTPS


Donations 2018

Review: Ready Player One

Review: Terra Ignota

Onward, abroad!


Donations 2017

Congratulations, Margo!

What I found in the desert

Chelsea Manning / HKS IOP / "Visiting Fellowship" H

The dark joke that was Shkreli's voir dire

Mass Ave, Mt Auburn, and a Tale of Two Schools H

Thoughts on "Be Reasonable" as a collaboration policy H

Is Patriotism A Virtue?

On “’till the stock of the Puritans die” H

Three Gifts from Penny Rheingans

Happy Housing Day! H

What is there to say?


Remembering Aaron Swartz


A Verse for the City 

Those Emails

I can't support the Green platform

Review: Anathem

Provide for the Common Defense

[Meta] My Faults My Own is now (happily) hosted by Digital Ocean

Thou then wert our parent, the nurse of our soul... (A thank-you post) H

A Verse for Commencement Day 

At What Price ‘Progress’? H

In the Crimson Again H

Oral Arguments from Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt

"Weedout" Courses Considered Harmful

Scariness and Self-Selection: A Shopping-Week Meditation

Godspeed Columbia

Devotional Songs

Godspeed Challenger

My Most-Read Posts of 2015 

December in Review 

If I Ran the Zoo H

As Allies

[Meta] New Year, New Face


Notes from the IOP's UC Debate

Greenlaw and Morris for the UC H

Notes from the UC Crossfire Debate H

Stand With Mizzou

A Verse for the Armistice 

10/28 Links: Thinkers, Statesmen, Economists, Doctors 

Ben Kuhn sums up how Scott Aaronson sums up my thoughts on divestment

For the Brave Sky-Travelers 

On the AAU Survey and the Crimson H

The Phone

9/23 Links: Affording College, Thinking Outside the Box, Papametrics 

Karim Pirbay is an Email Scammer H

A Verse for the Memorial 

Yes, you should hire college-educated computer scientists

Something's Rotten in the State of Facebook

Go in Peace

PredictIt Arbitrage

Good-Adjacency (Examples)

Quotable Candidates

CTY (and the Passionfruit)

A Verse for the Fourth 

Love Wins (in quotation)

Something About Bernie

The Garden and the Jungle

Parental Leave

John Nash, 1928-2015

Words for Baltimore

What is happening in my hometown

A Meditation on π

4/17 Links: The Ecuadorian Tourism Agency, and Other Air Travel Pranks 

False Flag Flyers H

4/10 Links: The Once and Future Friday Tradition 

I'm in the HPR!

Lower Tuitions at Stanford H

Notes: The Gender Gap in Math

Notes: Parallel Proofs for Parallel Programs

Xerox Xerox

Notes: Building a Better Web Browser

25 Quotable Things

Ted Cruz is Having a Bad Second Day

Three Modest Proposals, Instead of Divesting... H

A Bag Full of Books, a Cache Full of Blogs

Words for Social Justice

News I Don't Want to Read {Today, Ever}

Where I'll be spending my Thursday afternoon

Not Quite a Dissent: On Solidarity [Guest Post, Response]

Empty Declarations

[CS161] The Classic CV Error

[CS161] On Scheduling

Cultivated Publicy


2/6 Links: Photographs and a Cactus Doctor 



Class Notes

Culpable Priors

1/23 Links: Sciences from Soft to Hard; Eggs from Hard to Soft 

Crypto at Davos, or Harvard Profs vs. David Cameron

Changing the Stakes Sideways

1/16 Links: Technologies, Games, and Play 

On Charlie Hebdo

1/9 Links: Futures and Pasts of Things 

1/2 Links: '2015' 

Lynn Conway

Saving Citizens from the Theater of Capital Punishment


Facebook is Not Your Friend

12/25/14 #2: A Nontrivially Improved Future

12/25/14 #1: A Highly Improbable Peace

[Meta] A New Face

Burn the Man's Books!

Jon Stewart Vidwrap: Brown, Garner, and Race

11/28 Links: (Un)reality 


The only thing I'm going to say about Ferguson

11/21 Links: Languages, Language, and Words, Words, Words 

With sincerest apologies to Mr. Whitman 

{he,they} / {him,them} / {his,their}

Democracy! (Part 2: The Democratizing)


10/31 Links: Links, Explosions, and People Talking 

Sex: Statistics and Student Opinions


10/24 Links: Really Awesome Things 

10/17 Links: Back on the Wagon 

Happy Ada Day!

I Want to Major in Everything! H

Who goes to class, anyway? H

9/5 Links: Back to School 

8/29 Links 

Dear Brother: These are the friends I met H

Interlude: More Links on the Ivies H

Dear Brother: Here's How to Get Admitted to Harvard (if you want) H

Dear Brother: Go Wherever You Want for College H

The Manxome Foe

Today's Quote: Fallibility

Necessary, True...

Whose Voice? Whose Guide? H

Blogosphere Roundup: Q Difficulty Ratings H

[Meta] We're trying something new here

Oh, say... H

Good News in the World!

Some Friendly (College) Advice H

Quora Repost: CS/Math@Harvard? H

Quora Repost: CS and Friends?

Meaning in the Darkness


A Circle of Light

How Do You Spend the Darkest Night?

Impressions: Freakonomics

Headlines, News, Events H

Bad Graphs H


100 Thanks

[OGPS] A Letter Home

[OGPS] Faith

[OGPS] What I Learned from Jacob Lurie

Epiphany at the Petting Zoo H

A Day's Worth

[OGPS] [China] Week 2 Disasters

[OGPS] Impressions, Addendum

Eating (Food)

[OGPS] Impressions

[China] Regressing

Eating Animals II

Eating Animals I

[China] [Meta] All Posts

[Meta] Inferential Distances

[China] Looking Backwards

[China] [Meta] Internet

[China] Departure, Arrival

[Meta] Name Change

Bad Advice, Quantum Mechanics, Normalcy

[Polyphasic Sleep] Errata, Food, Reductionism

[Polyphasic Sleep] Tired, Dreams, Sunrise, BSG

[Polyphasic Sleep] Towards a Theory of Polyphasic Sleep, Reports From the Field

[Polyphasic Sleep] Greetings, Polyphasic Sleep, Chives