Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

IN  WHICH Ross Rheingans-Yoo—a sometime economist, trader, artist, expat, poet, EA, and programmer—writes on things of int­erest.

Reading Feed (last update: August 6)

A collection of things that I was glad I read. Views expressed by linked authors are chosen because I think they’re interesting, not because I think they’re correct, unless indicated otherwise.


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | PredictIt seems to be closing?


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | How many times are we going to make this kind of mistake? — I am old enough to remember the claims that we had a strategic national stockpile of poxvirus vaccines large enough to vaccinate every American. Now: "The shortage of vaccines to combat a fast-growing monkeypox outbreak was caused in part because the Department of Health and Human Services failed early on to ask that bulk stocks of the vaccine it already owned be bottled for distribution, according to multiple administration officials familiar with the matter."

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The Manxome Foe

At work, for the past week or so, I've been wrestling with a complicated-ish thing, born of a conversation over lunch about something completely different, and taking me deep into some statistics and algebra that I don't really understand (yet). It's awesome.

But (more than once), I've been explaining the thing to someone, and had them offer helpful advice: "Isn't this problem basically [this simpler thing]?" My response has consistently been along the lines of "No, of course not! Can't you see that it's obviously more complicated than that?" I even had a version of this exchange with myself recently, where I thought for a moment that it was actually trivial after all, and then (with some relief) reminded myself that it was, in fact, hard. Whew, what a relief.


...except that, if the point was actually to solve problems in the world, that's entirely the wrong attitude to take. This problem either:

  • actually isn't complex, in which case rooting for it to be harder is
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