Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

Reading Feed (September 2015)


Comic: PHD Comics | "Go Over"


Blog: Minding Our Way | Choose without suffering -- Reading this post was a little like stumbling and waking up, while hitherto unaware that you had drifted off. At last, it became clear why I've been finding his stuff so appealing and intuitive recently -- he's been describing exactly the sort of stoicism I've found myself trying to cultivate in the past year or so. Unfortunately, though, it's exactly the sort of stoicism I've been increasingly concerned about, given that Leah Libresco, whom I respect an awful lot, now describes herself as a "recovering stoic". More to come in a future blog post, once I've figured out my own mind.

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Helping Bryan Caplan homeschool his children -- Also leaving this here with the intention of posting more on it in the future.


Blog: Overcoming Bias | Beware Intuitive Econ -- Despite the title, Hanson's drawn distinction of early quantity-commitment vs early price-commitment is fascinating.

Blog: Ben Kuhn | Autocomplete as an interface


Links: Affording College, Thinking Outside the Box, and Papametrics -- Life lesson h/t Mike Yu; NYT's college-affordability rankings; out-of-the-box chess puzzle; smartwatch surveillance; "dislike button"; cell phones in Indonesia; quantifying the impact of a Pope.

History: Justia | Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
347 U.S. 483 (1954)
-- Reading the SCOTUS decision for class, I realized that the Court found that (1) black and white schools "have been equalized, or are being equalized, with respect to buildings, curricula, qualifications and salaries of teachers, and other "tangible" factors", but that, even so, (2) the mere action of separating students created a psychological burden on minority students, and that (3) it was for this reason that segregation violated the Fourteenth Amendment. This is...not what I thought the court ruling had been.


Blog: Unequally Yoked | Ridiculously Over-Engineered Approaches To Empathy -- "Werewolf Post", and using connections with others to fight the impulse toward self-denial.

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Beware Systemic Change -- see also Marginal Revolution | Left-wing critique of effective altruism


Neat: NPR: First Listen | Cast Recording, 'Hamilton' -- Two hours of musical and historical genius.


Blog: Minding Our Way | See the dark world

Comic: SMBC | Feelings


Blog: Vox: Dylan Matthews | Anti-vaxxers like Trump aren't just wrong: they promote bigotry toward people with autism

Blog: Schneier on Security | The War on the Unexpected -- Written when Ahmed Mohamed was in second grade, but relevant all the same. Ken White, of Popehat, is also livid.


Blog: Marginal Revolution | What Was Gary Becker's Biggest Mistake? -- Alex Tabarrok suggests that increasing punishment for crime is unlikely to be much more of a deterrent if it comes from harsher punishments, rather than higher probability of punishment. Also, maybe teaching kids to think about making better choices causes them to make better choices.

Blog: Interfaces of the Word | slice of American life -- A white man writes about being black on the Internet.

Blog: Schneier on Security | Anonymous Browsing at the Library -- Live Free or Die, indeed.

Comic: SMBC | Too late to explore the world; too early to explore the stars.


Blog: Unequally Yoked | A Sondheim Song for Your Papal Mixtape -- "One of the themes of our discussion was what Pope Francis terms 'the technocratic paradigm' where we increase our power to shape the world, without our knowledge of the world or our wisdom in how to shape it keeping pace."

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Links 9/15: Linker Tailor Soldier Spy -- science, crime, fire tornadoes, base φ arithmetic, schools, the Iliad as a rap, racial profiling, US industry is shifting from public to private corporations, and the Greater Male Variability Hypothesis, first salvo

Neat: List of slatestarcodex articles sorted by the number of Facebook shares


Blog: GiveWell | Journalists report on deworming program supported by Deworm the World Initiative in Kenya

Blog: Interfaces of the Word | man is the most dangerous game hardest variable to control


Blog: Minding Our Way | Being unable to despair -- I'm developing the impression that reading Nate Soares gives you wings, or at least superpowers.

Blog: Random Short Posts | Abstraction escape hatches

Blog: Interfaces of the Word | a few (dozen) notes -- I disagree in places, but Freddie makes good points, as always.


Blog: Nothing is Mere | Library of Scott Alexandria -- If you're trying to read a greatest-hits of Slate Star Codex...buckle in for a lot of reading.


Blog: Popehat | It's Not Politically Correct To Say, But People Who Say "It's Not Politically Correct To Say, But..." Are Generally Assholes

News: Maine lobster turf war led to shooting

NYT: Upshot | New Data Gives Clearer Picture of Student Debt -- Includes the phrase "with identifying details removed, to preserve privacy", so...your personal finances are probably exposed to the world online if you graduated college in the last five twenty years.

Blog: Thing of Things | On Supporting Borderlines

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Which words in the English language most reliably mean their opposites? -- Tyler's got a fantastic list.

Blog: All Websites Look the Same -- see also Design Machines

Blog: Agenty Duck | The Mirror Dance Dilemma -- cw: cloning, moral dilemmas involving birth and death


Blog: Inclusion and Diversity at Slack -- 45% of Slack employees are female, and 41% of Slack employees have a female manager. Pardon my French, but holy shit.

NYT-Ed: Fredrik deBoer: Why We Should Fear University, Inc.

Blog: Popehat | OMG! Broad, Flexible, Plaintiff-Friendly Law Used In Unanticipated Manner!


Blog: Unequally Yoked | Starting Conversations During Francis's Visit -- "I think [when discussing religion] it helps to think in terms of symmetry -- how would you want to be approached by a nonbeliever who passionately thought it would also be best for you to be a nonbeliever? What would be the easiest way for you to start that conversation? And it doesn't usually start with a 'Guess how wrong you are!'"

Short: NYT | Restaurant of the Future? Service with an Impersonal Touch -- I, for one, even enjoy the brief human interaction of Seamless deliveries, so it's not my cup of tea.


Blog: Minding Our Way | Residing in the mortal realm -- "My suggestion for dealing with guilt, roughly speaking, is to first focus your guilt, by dispelling the guilt that comes from not doing what other people think you should or from from false obligations, and shifting all your guilt into guilt about the fact that you have not yet made the future how you want it to be. Then, once your guilt is focused there, remember that you are a denizen of the mortal realm."


Blog: Random Short Posts | Blog recommendations -- about 40% of Ben's list appears in my (yet-to-be-published) blogroll, and I look forward to looking into the rest of them when I've got the time.

Blog: Overcoming Bias | Monster Pumps -- "This seems yet another reason to think that biology will soon be over.", as is, it seems, pretty much anything else that Robin Hanson sees on his way to work.


WaPo: Before YouTube and online classes, there were the Great Courses -- h/t Marginal Revolution.


Short: Google's self-driving cars won't have windscreen wipers -- h/t Marginal Revolution, though if the comments section is to be believed, Google may well be forced to cave on this one.

Short: China set to parade its 'carrier-killer' missile through Beijing -- h/t Matt Levine.


Blog: Unequally Yoked | Workplaces Make Terrible Monasteries

Blog: 80,000 Hours | What do leaders of effective non-profits say about working in non-profits? -- Will MacAskill interviews GD, DtWI, DMI, SCI, and AMF.
Paper: Jay-Z's 99 Problems, Verse 2: A Close Reading with Fourth Amendment Guidance for Cops and Perps

Paper: Scott Aaronson: The Ghost in the Quantum Turing Machine