Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

Reading Feed (January 2017)


Blog: Thing of Things | Atheists With A God-Shaped Hole -- I identify.

Blog: What's New | Open thread for mathematicians on the immigration executive order

Blog: Rodney Brooks | Unexpected Consequences of Self-Driving Cars -- h/t Tyler Cowen


Blog: Schneier on Security | New Rules on Data Privacy for Non-US Citizens -- The rules are basically, there are no privacy protections for non-citizens. I'm sure this will end just great.

Blog: A.Critch | Start following conservative media, and remember how agreements between people and states actually work -- "[I]f you’re not conservative, your demographic needs to understand conservatives now in order to thrive, and consuming conservative media is a good way to do that. Understand what conservative leaders want and represent. Understand what their constituents need and demand. And then, using some of your most creative thinking and problem solving, start thinking about how to give them what they want in a manner that you find maximally agreeable."

Blog: Bits and Pieces | Withdrawing the Motion -- "Of course, the principle articulated in the motion is no less important today than it was a few days ago. But with the immediate threat of injury and trespass on faculty rights somewhat tempered, it would not be a good use of Faculty time to debate a matter which may become operationally moot. If the policy is reaffirmed without adequate revision, however, I expect that the motion, or one similar to it, will be reintroduced."

Comic: ZenPencils | The Note Taker

Comic: PHD Comics | My Writing Style -- Mine, incidentally, is even further towards "Keep pressing random buttons and hope something coherent comes out."

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Book Review: Eichmann in Jerusalem -- "On the spectrum from 'totally ungovernable' to 'vulnerable to Nazism', I think that we've erred in the right direction."


Blog: JeffTK | Costs of Foods -- "It's hard to get a sense of how expensive different foods are. For example, compare bread and pasta: which is cheaper? What's the right way to compare them? At a general american meal where you have a starch, a protein, and a vegetable, the role of the starch is mostly to provide calories, so comparing pasta and bread on a cost-per-calorie basis seems right. Similarly the role of the protein is to provide, well, protein, so cost-per-gram-of-protein makes sense there. On this basis, what do different foods look like?"


Blog: Meyerweb | A New Online Course: Design for Humanity

Comic: xkcd | Telescopes: Refractor vs Reflector

Blog: Marginal Revolution | A new idea -- "The key intuition is that the rise in relative earnings of wives increased competition between spouses for the love and affection of their children while the decline in family size reduced competition between children for resources from their parents. The combined effect has empowered children within the household and allowed them to capture an increasing share of the household surplus over the past hundred years."


Video: Conversations with Tyler | Chef Mark Miller on food as the ultimate intellectual exploration -- transcript, pull quote

Blog: Thing of Things | On Male Feminists -- "Sadly, cute buttons about smashing the patriarchy have very little effect in smashing the patriarchy. What will smash the patriarchy is a bunch of individual people individually making the decision not to be sexist, and then doing that again and again, for the rest of their lives, until it isn’t even a decision anymore it’s just automatic. And that’s not something you have to identify as feminist to do."

Blog: Schneier on the Security | Security Risks of the President's Android Phone -- "That Android has a microphone, which means that it can be turned into a room bug without anyone's knowledge. That's my real fear."

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Criminal Politicians -- "Vaishnav’s main explanation for the continued electoral success of criminally tainted politicians is quite simple: They provide services the state does not."

Blog: WCS | Why Hillary’s Emails Mattered, but Bush’s Didn’t (And Neither Will Trump’s)

Blog: Brian Braun-Duin @ TCGPlayer | Being Correct Vs. Being Right -- "When we care about being right, we take challenges to our rightness personally. The most important thing to us is being right and being recognized for being right, and when someone challenges us on that, they are introducing to others the idea that we are actually wrong. We don't want to be wrong, because we conflate being right with being smart, so we reject implications to the contrary, regardless of their validity. We assume malice in someone challenging our ideas instead of taking those confrontations at face value. We think someone calling us wrong is the same as someone calling us stupid." h/t Daily Magic Update


Blog: Scott Aaronson | First they came for the Iranians

Blog: Thing of Things | It’s Your Fault I Hit You Because Your Face Is So Hittable

Comic: xkcd | Sad -- "All the functions you've written take everything passed to them and return it unchanged with the comment 'No, you deal with this.'"


Blog: Tyler Cowen @ Bloomberg View | Why Trump's Staff is Lying

Blog: JeffTK | Iduced Housing Demand -- "In most places, increasing supply by one housing unit induces some demand but less than one unit's worth. San Francisco is not most places, however, and here building one more unit induces more than one unit of demand. So building more only makes things worse. If you accept this, then all things being equal you should favor destroying existing units, say when the current tenants move out."

Comic: xkcd | Phone Numbers -- I'm actually guilty of this one.

Blog: FXRant | The Death Star and the Final Trench Run -- The trench that Luke flew down in Episode IV runs north-south, not east-west! h/t Matt Levine


Blog: Ben Kuhn | Reading Lately II


Blog: Marginal Revolution | How to organize your first day in a new city when you are traveling

Blog: Thing of Things | Monogamous People Are Stupidly Oversensitive


Blog: Thing of Things | Why I Promote the GWWC Pledge

Blog: MeyerWeb | Passages -- cw: beautiful writing about death.

Blog: Status 451 | Days of Rage -- "Fanatics got into the Capitol building and committed a mass shooting on Congress while it was in session, and you’ve never heard of them…people have completely forgotten that in 1972 we had over nineteen hundred domestic bombings in the United States"


Blog: GiveWell | GiveWell Incubation Grants


Blog: MeyerWeb | Element Dragging in Web Inspectors -- As someone who sometimes gets dragged down rabbitholes of web design and re-design for days or weeks, this is awesome.

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Watch New Health Picks -- "So far most of Trump’s appointments have been ordinary conservative hardliners or ethically-compromised rich people. But there’s a chance that some of his health care picks could be really interesting..." see also Marginal Revolution | Will Trump Appoint a Great FDA Commissioner?

Blog: Tyler Cowen @ Bloomberg View | This Economic Phenomenon Is Making Government Sick -- "All of the various sides may be correct in their major claims, but none will have a workable solution. This actually isn’t so far from where the health-care debate stands now, and where the retirement and nursing home debate is headed as America ages."

Blog: Krebs on Security | Who is Anna-Senpai, the Mirai Worm Author? -- h/t Brian Schneier.

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The polity that is California -- "As of the date of this notice, the States of Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee are on the prohibited travel list..."


Blog: Marginal Revolution | A bit of context on Trump, NATO, and Germany -- "The sorry truth is that some of what Trump is saying is true, though his current rhetoric probably will end up making it worse."

Blog: JeffTK | Transcript: making sense of long-term indirect effects

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Did 18th century prizes really stimulate innovation? -- "Maybe not, possibly patents were more effective..."


Blog: When a Foreign Government Interfered in a U.S. Election — to Reelect FDR -- h/t Tyler Cowen


Blog: Marginal Revolution | What are the most important unsolved problems in your field? -- "It sounds like a huge question, and maybe it is, but my answer is pretty simple, which is not to say the problem is simple to solve..."


Blog: FiveThirtyEight | NFL Coaches Yell At Refs Because It Freakin’ Works -- h/t Tyler Cowen.


Blog: Cloudflare | Cloudflare’s Transparency Report for Second Half 2016 and an Additional Disclosure for 2013 -- Primarily on Cloudflare's experience with receiving a National Security Letter, h/t Schneier on Security