Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

Reading Feed (February 2017)


Blog: Thing of Things | Vegetarianism: The Easy Way

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Akshardham Temple -- "Although hardly unknown, tourist guides typically don’t give it pride of place because it isn’t old, having opened in 2005 after just five years(!) of construction... The Taj Mahal was new once, but that shouldn’t have deterred people from seeing it at the time."


Blog: Ben Kuhn | Don’t run code at import time

Blog: Schneier on Security | Adm. Rogers Talks about Buying Cyberweapons -- "Already, Third World countries are buying from cyberweapons arms manufacturers. My guess is that he's right and the US will be doing that in the future, too."


Blog: Don't Worry About the Vase | Metrics in Everything: “Human Lives”

Blog: Marginal Revolution | &pizza -- "Living in my own strange ethnic bubble, I had never heard of it before. In fact I don’t think I have had fast food pizza since I was a kid. “This will do,” and I thought of the anecdotal value I would reap, albeit at the expense of a good meal. For all my hesitation, the gleaming metal of the interior started to exercise a strange hold over my imagination. I walked out once and then back in again." Dare I say, peak...Tyler?

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Brazil pension facts of the day

Blog: Overcoming Bias | When Does Evidence Win? -- "Instead what matters most is: how plausible does the evidence for a view offered by its advocates seem to those who know little about the area. I see far more advertising than debate. This suggests that most intellectual progress should be attributed to the arrival of strong and clear evidence..."


Blog: Don't Worry About the Vase | The AI Paper with The Best Title Ever


Blog: Otium | Strong AI Isn’t Here Yet


Blog: Don't Worry About the Vase | Book Review: How Asia Works by Joe Studwell -- Excellent book review, of the genre "well, now you don't have to read the book".


Blog: Thing of Things | Effective Altruism For Broke People

Blog: Marginal Revolution | What is the most multicultural city in the world? -- spoiler alert: the short list goes "Toronto, Montreal, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Geneva, Brooklyn..."

Blog: Schneier on Security | Research into the Root Causes of Terrorism -- "approximately three-fourths of those who join the Islamic State or al-Qaeda do so in groups. These groups often involve preexisting social networks and typically cluster in particular towns and neighborhoods..."

Comic: xkcd | Bad Map Projection: Time Zones -- The weirdest part about this map is how not-weird it ends up seeming. Though maybe that's a metapoint about bad map projections, that they're subtle like that...


Blog: Slate Star Codex | Links 2/17: Site Your Sources --


Blog: xkcd | Box Plot -- Surrealist statistics is the best statistics.


Blog: Marginal Revolution | So much of social science is in this paragraph -- "Saradhu Dhivar, 57, an unemployed villager, said he had daily spats with Mr. Koshle’s associates, arguing that Nimora had ample space to go 'freestyle.' His food entitlements were withheld for a month, he said, until he built a toilet. It took days 'to get used to this style,' he said."

Op-Ed: The Guardian | I accidentally bought a giant pig -- Your feel-good story of the day, h/t Tyler Cowen


Blog: Don't Worry About the Vase | Trio Walks, Duo Talks

Blog: Overcoming Bias | Why We Mix Fact & Value Talk

Blog: Thing of Things | Seven Troubling Questions About Transgender Theories, Answered


Blog: Thing of Things | Why Is All Pregnancy Advice So Bad?

Comic: PHD Comics | Wasted Time


Blog: Slate Star Codex | Considerations on Cost Disease

Blog: Don't Worry About the Vase | Things that want to be posts -- My coworker is resolved to begin blogging again, and I'm leaving this here in the hopes that it'll kick me to start writing again as well!


Blog: Overcoming Bias | Neglected Big Problems


Blog: GiveWell | Why we’re considering No Lean Season as a potential 2017 top charity -- "In recent years, we’ve added a new source for potential GiveWell top charity recommendations: GiveWell Incubation Grants. This post will highlight a GiveWell Incubation Grant recipient, No Lean Season, that we see as a top charity contender for 2017."


Blog: Thing of Things | Why Be Vegetarian?

Blog: Slate Star Codex | [Guest Post] The International Refugee Assistance Project -- Fun fact: I recommended IRAP to a family member looking to donate to "a charitable organization doing anti-Trump work" back in December, and I'm feeling pretty good about that recommendation now.


Op-Ed: Ross Douthat @ NYT | How Populism Stumbles -- h/t Tyler Cowen, "Mostly I agree with Ross Douthat here."

Blog: Schneier on Security | Security and the Internet of Things -- "We're building a world-size robot, and we don't even realize it." Also, when Bruce effing Schneier is calling for more government regulation, I sit up and pay attention, because my Wednesday has taken a very strange turn.

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Fredrick Douglass on Immigration -- "I submit that this question of Chinese immigration should be settled upon higher principles than those of a cold and selfish expediency... I reject the arrogant and scornful theory by which they would limit migratory rights, or any other essential human rights to themselves, and which would make them the owners of this great continent to the exclusion of all other races of men."

Comic: xkcd | Soda Sugar Comparisons -- What is it with Randall and sugar?

Blog: Gates Notes | A Conversation about Friendship, Failure, and the Future -- video here. (Note: I basically only link videos in this section if I've actually watched them through, so this is a pretty strong signal of a link.)