Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

Reading Feed (October 2015)


Neat: NYT Upshot | Ted Cruz as Beowulf: Matching Candidates with the Books They Sound Like -- The literary geek in me is pleased, but the critic in me is disappointed that both Confessions and Martin O'Malley ended up on the "negative" side of center.

Blog: Otium | Bacterial Infections and Cancer Remissions

Self: My Faults My Own | Links 10/28: Thinkers, Statesmen, Economists, Doctors -- Leah Libresco on learning to pray; Polarization in Congress; Budget deal details; Tracking the evolution of cities; Quotes about a few famous people; Eradication of polio.


Blog: Vox: Dylan Matthews | Study: Food stamps do much more to fight poverty than we thought


Blog: Minding Our Way | Come to your terms -- Typical Nate Soares warning here (though he puts it in the fourth paragraph, as well).

NYT: The Upshot | Surprise: Florida and Texas Excel in Math and Reading Scores -- ...when you adjust for demographic factors.

Blog: Interfaces of the Word | An assumed admixture -- I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again: The question of whether difference in ability level should determine quality of life is a separate question from whether difference in ability level is correlated along traditional axes of oppression.


Neat: Microsoft Research Debuts Autocomplete for Animation -- h/t Diane Yang.

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Romanian publish or perish -- "A change in the law in 2013 allows convicts to claim 30 days off their sentences for every work they publish while in prison."

Blog: Malcolm O. | Causal Explanations vs Normative Explanations


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Competition Compounded -- (1) Turing Pharmaceuticals, the sole licensed manufacturer of an off-patent generic antiparasitic drug, raised its prices from $13.50/pill to $750/pill. (2) According to the news, Imprimis Pharmaceuticals is now offering it for less than $1/pill. (3) But wait, didn't you say that Turing is the only licensed manufacturer? Well, yes. But this one strange loophole...

Paper: [When Organized Crime Applies Academic Results: A Forensic Analysis of an In-Card Listening Device] -- "This paper describes the forensic analysis of what the authors believe to be the most sophisticated smart card fraud encountered to date." Attacking a chip-and-pin card, the hack involves soldering a fake man-in-the-middle chip on top of the chip on the stolen card, and the entire work is utterly fascinating. h/t Schneier on Security.

Blog: Slate Star Codex | A Whiter Shade of Candidate -- in which Scott expands upon an explanation posited in Slate Star Codex | Black People Less Likely.


Blog: Marginal Revolution | If Uber works, you might be less happy with your transport options -- What does the endgame look like for consumers? What does the endgame look like for macro-level resource allocation? Are we or are we not stumbling towards dath ilani transportation networks?

Blog: MeyerWeb | Essential Tool: Firefox's Screenshot Command -- In all seriousness, this would probably be a deal-decider if I ever started writing about web design in a serious way; holy crap is this thing powerful.

Blog: First Things: Leah Libresco | How to Strengthen Catholic Community -- and Rod Dreher's response The American Conservative | The Libresco Option. I'm becoming convinced that, before I set foot into the real world, I should spend a few weeks studying the collected writings of Leah Libresco, in order to figure out how to make the patch of the world near me a good one. (Reading is recommended even for non-Catholics, were that not clear.)


NYT: The Upshot | What We Would Have Said if Joe Biden Had Run -- "Since then, just about every longer-term political development has gone his way—somuch so that he decided on INSERT DAY OF THE WEEK to start a presidential bid with less than four months until the Iowa caucuses."


Short: Does Divestment Work? -- It sounds like MacAskill is largely in line with Aaronson, Kuhn, and me here: it's better than nothing, but you shouldn't confuse that with meaning that it actually works on the object-level to harm stock price. h/t Marginal Revolution

Short: It's Harder to Empathize with People If You've Been in Their Shoes -- When you think about it, though, not particularly surprising. (If you do find it surprising, I recommend Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), by Tavris and Aronson. h/t Marginal Revolution.


Blog: Thing of Things | Kintsugi -- an excellent exposition of the difference between neurodivergence as a place you visit, and neurodivergence as a place you live.

Blog: Minding Our Way | Have no excuses -- As always with Nate Soares, mind the section of the article that goes "But if [X], consider ignoring this posts's advice." Still: "[W]e're not here to win a social game... You're playing Life with the universe, and the stakes are the entire future."

Long: All About the Hamiltons -- An old piece in the New Yorker that I have only now gotten around to reading through, but a great profile of LMM and the show that is his (mostly legitimate) child.


Blog: Ben Kuhn | I apparently got 50% better at my job last month -- To quote: Is that true? I wasn't aware that was something a person could do... I'm perplexed.


Blog: Things of Interest | We had a unit test onces which only failed on Sundays

Blog: Schneier on Security | Breaking Diffie-Hellman with Massive Precomputation (Again) -- Just trying to reverse-engineer what the capabilities of the NSA are is a fascinating task, apparently.

Blog: MeyerWeb | A More Compassionate Facebook -- ...writes Eric Meyer, though I have my own problems with the tyranny of the Like which aren't being addressed in this shift.


Fiction: Slate Star Codex | It Was You Who Made My Blue Eyes Blue -- Some days, I wish I could write fiction as beautiful as the titles of Scott's. Other days, I don't even bother to hope.

Blog: Unequally Yoked | How Do You Lance a Festering Resentment? -- Some days, Leah Libresco makes me want to become Catholic.

Blog: Giving Gladly | Sample menus for EA gatherings -- veg*n friendly and affordable for groups!

Blog: GiveWell | Charities we'd like to see

Blog: Zeldman | A Helvetica for Readers -- Apparently, one thing which passes for praise from designers is "Enjoying [this font] is like developing a taste for exceptionally good water."


Blog: Unequally Yoked | The Pitiful Princedom of Hannibal -- I think it's the shape of Catholic theology, more than anything, that I find fascinating.

Self: My Faults My Own | Ben Kuhn sums up how Scott Aaronson sums up my thoughts on divestment


WaPo: Paul Ryan’s big speaker hangup is reportedly his family. For a male lawmaker, that’s unusual.

Blog: Unequally Yoked | Beginning the Benedict Option Today -- Emphasis on the 'today'.

Self: My Faults My Own | For the Brave Sky-Travelers

Blog: Malcolm Ocean | The patterns that we're made of -- also Malcolm Ocean | "What's it like to be you?"

Paper: Naik, Kominers, Raskar, Glaeser, Hidalgo: Do People Shape Cities, or do Cities Shape People?

Blog: Otium | Aesthetics are moral judgments -- It's possible (likely) that I've linked this before, but it crossed my radar again, so here it is.


Blog: Minding Our Way | Simply locate yourself -- It's (1) disconcerting and (2) cool when someone you've never met manages to put their finger on a strange thought you've felt for some time. I'm getting this from Nate Soares a lot, though.

Blog: Otium | Chemotherapy, Then and Now -- and Otium | A note on protocols.


Blog: Marginal Revolution | The future is here, just not evenly distributed -- Note that the "everyone else" curves are actually going down.

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane -- Words are fascinating, and language more so.

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Lawrence Dennis on what is wrong with economics -- It's not clear that I understand all of these words, but meditating on them is interesting.

Blog: Overcoming Bias | Masking Design Competence -- Classic Hanson, {and, but} interesting ideas {therefore, nonetheless}.


Crimson Op-Ed: Here's How I Was Raped


Crimson Op-Ed: Forty-One Words -- Me, in the Crimson; more thoughts at My Faults My Own | On the AAU Survey and the Crimson

NYT: The Upshot | Gun Deaths are Mostly Suicides -- And there's evidence that making them harder to acquire would lower the suicide rate.

Blog: Thing of Things | Assorted Thoughts on Polyamory

Comic: SMBC | Box


Comic: SMBC | Most American Movies

Blog: Popehat | This Royal Throne of Feels, This Sheltered Isle, This England


Blog: The Geekess | Closing a door -- and The Geekess | What makes a good community?

Blog: FiveThirtyEight | Hamilton is the Very Model of a Modern Fast-Paced Musical -- with additional footnotes by Leah Libresco at Unequally Yoked | Hamilton is Blazingly Fast and I Can Prove It


Blog: A.Critch | Deliberate Grad School


Neat Things: The U.S. Web Design Standards -- Like, web design standards for the government. h/t Jeffrey Zeldman.

Blog: A.Critch | The Problem of IndignationBot, Part 1 -- I think I get it, and I think I have a perfectly fine resolution, but I'd like someone to bounce ideas off of.

Blog: A.Critch | Willpower Depletion vs Willpower Distraction