Icosian Reflections

The crisis through which we are passing

is only part of our day’s work.

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

Reading Feed (last update: May 17)

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: Don't Worry About the Vase | Formula for Dying Babies


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Ask and they shall deliver — "Companies in the [EU] would be allowed to build wind and solar projects without the need for an environmental impact assessment, according to draft proposals obtained by the Financial Times that call for the fast-track permitting of renewable projects in designated “go-to” areas."

Comic: xkcd | Health Data

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Infant Formula, Price Controls, and the Misallocation of Resources

Blog: In the Pipeline | Personal Paxlovid Update


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | I favor bird consequentialism — Environmental conservation opposes radical climate

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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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