Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

Reading Feed (February 2015)


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Default Rates on Student Debt Increase with Lower Balances

Comic: Zen Pencils | A Lifetime of Learning

Blog: GiveWell | Thoughts on the Sandler Foundation -- GiveWell, re: its in-progress effort to explore opportunities for effective political advocacy: "...we see the Sandler Foundation as something of a proof of concept that high-impact grants can come from opportunistic generalists."

Self: Empty Declarations -- I have thoughts on the UC's response to the Chapel Hill shootings.


Self-CS161: The Classic CV Error -- It's a classic!


Blog: Fredrik deBoer | It Eats Everything


Self: A Place and a Role for Allies -- Thoughts on allyship.


Self-CS161: On Scheduling -- Common scheduler-design errors.


Blog: LessWrong: Val | The Galileo affair: Who was on the side of rationality?

Graphs: NPR | The Fall and Rise of US Inequality, in 2 Graphs

Strange News: Italian Bank's Piles of Edible Gold -- It's a bank. For Parmesan cheese.

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Links 2/15


Reddit-AMA: CS50


NYT: The Upshot | At Chipotle, How Many Calories Do People Really Eat? -- Recall also The Upshot | What 2,000 Calories Looks Like


Blog: Ben Kuhn | In Praise of Gradient Boosting -- In which Ben explains to me what, exactly, was in the secret sauce of my team's most recent CS181 practical.

Satire: West African Governments Consider Ban on Travel from United States


Self: Thinking About Publicy

Blog: Thing of Things -- Patriarchy means men do violence to men, too!

Blog: JeffTK | Distribution of Music -- When was music's printing-press moment? When was music's real printing-press moment?


Blog: Slate Star Codex | Drug Testing Welfare Users is a Sham, but Not for the Reasons You Think -- Your daily reminder that politics is not black and white.

Blog: Ben Kuhn | Spiders and Starfish -- An analogy I'll definitely use later.

Blog: Slate Star Codex | How Likely are Multifactorial Trends? -- If [social problem] is affected by many different factors, but suddenly started getting better in the mid-90s, isn't that evidence agains it being actually affected by many different factors?


Neat Things: NASA's wackiest expedition posters in all their glory -- Actually fantastic.

NYT: The Upshot | How Arizona State Reinvented Free-Throw Distraction -- Apparently, ASU's student section is responsible for a 1-2 point advantage per home game.


Quora: Why does the ISS have such a weird shape? : Robert Frost

Blog: Thing of Things | The Sexual Marketplace is an Anti-Man Idea -- Misandry exists! And is bad for men! And, surprising no one who's actually paying attention, is a byproduct of patriarchal sexual mores!


News: This Guerrilla Public Servant Forged an L.A. Freeway Sign to Help People Avoid Getting Lost -- Actually awesome.

Blog: Unequally Yoked | Ethical Sex: Paying attention to the consequences of "No" -- Against models of consent that resemble a Hobsons's choice.

Blog: Thing of Things | Who Cares About Men's Rights?

Blog: Shtetl-Optimized | Memrefuting -- another computing paradigm that, despite claims of grandeur, in fact fails to solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time


Blog: Unequally Yoked | Learning the Dragonslayer's Laughter -- Or, the most evocatively-titled thing I've read all week.


Self: http://dev/null

Comic: The Ping-Pong Theory of Tech Sexism

NYT: The Upshot | How to Prioritize and Save Young Lives -- How the Danes slept at night after neglecting to pass a measure improving cardiac-disease screening among young athletes.

Blog: Fredrik deBoer | what's really going on with the Beck-Beyonce thing -- "I'm not suggesting that there's no political meaning to be had in these various artistic affiliations. What I am suggesting is that these attachments cannot possibly substitute for a healthy, functioning racial politics. They are designed to be a way to hide out from exactly the kind of risk and personal investment that are a prerequisite of meaningful political advancement."

Report: Harvard | Lecture attendance research: Methods and preliminary findings -- i.e. that thing that we had a mini-scandal over this past fall. Actually fascinating.


NYT: The Upshot | How Elementary School Teachers Biases Discourage Girls from Math and Science -- See also: (1) duh (2) I've been saying this since Faults was at Blogspot (3) a good instance of the Culpable Prior.

Blog: GiveWell | Putting the problem of bed nets used for fishing in perspective -- tl;dr AMF is really good at ensuring this doesn't happen to theirs; others, less so.

Long-Form: After years behind bars, can prisoners re-enter a digital society?

Blog: Unequally Yoked | When it's illegal to live with your friends... -- [you finish the sentence]

Blog: Less Wrong: Anna Salamon | Attempted Telekinesis

Blog: Unequally Yoked | Cultivating Opennes to Truth During Fights [Radio Readings] -- Pointers to background reading for Leah's "Fights in Good Faith" broadcast, fascinating throughout.


Self (Links): Photographs and a Cactus Doctor


Self:Not Actually Evil, pt. 1 (Anti-vaxxers)


Blog: Unequally Yoked | Love and Real Estate, All About Location, Location Location -- Leah Libresco on that NYT article about the group of friends who managed to live in the same NY apartment building.

NYT: The Upshot | Coming to Your Facebook Feed: More Political Videos

News: As Parents Get More Choice, SF Schools resegregate -- If, like me, you didn't lottery into USW35, still remember: public education is a hard problem, and if you think you understand it because you were in the system once, you're dead wrong.


Blog: Thing of Things | In Praise of Reformism -- Thesis: If most randomly-organized worlds are worse than the hill we've currently climbed to the top of (and they are), then "shake things up" is more likely to be harmful than helpful.

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Links 2/15: Linkconceivable! -- Scott Alexander's link-fu is so much massively stronger than mine, I can't even. Easily half a dozen of the most brilliant things I've read all month.

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Practically-a-book-review: Dying to be Free -- Scott Alexander (remember: a practicing mental health professional) on "There's a treatment for heroin addiction that actually works; why aren’t we using it?"

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Meditations on Moloch -- An instant SSC classic. Related: poem Howl, by Allen Ginsberg.

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Living By the Sword -- Summarizes with "Given infinite freedom of association, most people end will up in more or less the community they deserve." Yes, I'm on a bit of a Slate-Star binge.


Blog: Unequally Yoked | When Public Religion is Rare, It Gets Weird

Interview: Adriano Mannino | Trying to Make the World a Better Place With REG Co-Founder Adriano Mannino -- Raising for Effective Giving is a community of poker players dedicated to donating a set percentage of their tournament winnings to effective charities; the interview is an interesting profile of an unconventional EA idea.

Blog: Unequally Yoked | Books that Change the Way You Think [Radio Readings] -- Leah touches on "reading out of your depth", "mapping the limits of what can be known", "saying 'dayenu' when you read", and "steering towards joy" as background reading for her weekly radio stream.

Interview: Gillian Jacobs | Q&A: Gillian Jacobs On Directing Her First Film And The Myth Of The Male Computer Geek -- pursuant to FiveThirtyEight's The Queen of Code.


Self: Godspeed

Blog: EA Blog: Peter Hurford | EA is the best choice I've ever made -- "Many people think of effective altruism as some sort of sacrifice -- you have to give up income and time in some sort of moral obligation to make the world a better place. I think this approach is misguided. Instead, I think being an EA is the best choice I've ever made for myself, personally and selfishly."

Neat Things: Daily Overview -- stunning satellite pictures of the Earth.

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Patriots Used to be Skeptical of the Military

Paper: Quantum Machine Learning Algorithms: Read the Fine Print -- Scott Aaronson, debunking myths about quantum computation. So basically just another day at the office.

Blog: AMF | Net use and the importance of data-driven distributions and monitoring -- AMF responds to concerns that mosquito nets are being used as fishing nets.