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.

Headlines, News, Events

Monday, Harvard saw an unfounded bomb threat from a student who tried to postpone an exam in American Government. Four buildings in Harvard Yard were evacuated and that day's morning exams were, indeed, postponed. Students were given options to take them later that afternoon, in February, or not at all, either electing to be graded on the remainder of the course's assigned work, or on a Pass/Fail scale. But Eldo Kim '16 confessed to sending the emails, and will appear in US District Court tomorrow.


content warning: domestic terrorism, this section only.

A headline like "Harvard Student, 20, Arrested in Connection with Campus Bomb Scare" (from a local paper) feels strangely alien. Of course, I've seen several "XYZ College senior charged with ABC" headlines, and it always felt distant, not like it was real life. In the Harvard Crimson, I'm used to seeing headlines like "Early Action Acceptance Rises to 21 Percent" and "Donning Hats, Capes, and Little Else, Harvard Students


Bad Graphs

In the wake of the announcement of Harvard's first wave of '18 admits, the Harvard Crimson is reports on the high-school demographics of Harvard's student body. The investigative article sheds some sunlight on just how much inequity exists between privileged "Harvard feeder schools" and the rest of the downtrodden teenaged proletariat.

Graph featured on The Crimson

That is, surprisingly little.

Oh, sure; the graph is concave. That means that...some schools sent more kids than other schools. Huh. How many more? Well, just reading the graph, something like 45% of Harvard students were the only admit from their school, and something like 78% are one of three or fewer kids from their high school. By contrast, the top schools send...15. A whopping five times more. Um. Right.

For contrast, this is what real inequity looks like:

Things on the right are people with obscene amounts of money. For reference, poverty-line America is ~95%tile.

(Yes, they're graphing different things, but the mathematical point remains valid.)

Or, on a brighter note, the cost-effectiveness


Bad Advice, Quantum Mechanics, Normalcy

(The title of this blog post brought to you by "potential romantic comedy plots in five words or less")


A few months ago, Harvard's George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Mathematics recommended a movie to his freshman Real Analysis class -- on some tangent in class, he noted that "it's a fantastic movie; you should all watch it."

The movie was Spring Breakers. So, the other day, a few friends and I borrowed the Jefferson 250 lecture hall (where we had once-upon-a-time taken RA with GVL Prof. Gross) and threw the movie up on the giant projector screen.

We turned it off after thirty minutes of nauseating dialogue, uncomfortable soft-core pornography, and implausible montages of "college kids" drinking "beer". It was bad. Really bad. I'm really not sure how Prof. Gross managed to sit through the movie himself.

But really, the problem here is that I still don't know why we were told to watch this vapid, gratuitous, teen-star nonsense. What I've


[Polyphasic Sleep] Tired, Dreams, Sunrise, BSG


After today's core, I feel tired. Not sluggish or droopy (yet), just a vague sense that I might rather be asleep than awake. It probably doesn't help that my naps yesterday were mixed up and haphazard, or that I went to bed with too much on my mind (which likely increased the amount of time it took to fall asleep. Of course, it's entirely possible that the higher-order bit is that I'm tired because I'm still not getting enough SWS.

Though, it's suspicious that I often feel very much better after my 8am nap. Perhaps it's simply circadian.


I've noticed a recent change in the subject matter and timbre of my dreams. Warning: extreme pointless navel-gazing ahead.

Typically, I'm used to abstract, 'feeling-focused' dreams, where real people that I know appear as characters only when my brain needs to put a human face on something -- people I know tend not to appear as reasonable models of themselves. The scenarios, in general, are unrealistic, often

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