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.


Blog: Marginal Revolution | PredictIt seems to be closing?


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."


Adding HTTPS

My Faults My Own (and other rossry.net and r-y.io subdomains) are now available over HTTPS, with certificates from Let's Encrypt. (cf. https://blog.rossry.net/https)

The setup took nontrivial effort, so I've narrated it here for my or your future reference. I don't think there's anything technically novel here, and there may even be an HTTPS-setup guide for 2019 somewhere else that dominates mine for usefulness, but there wasn't one easy-to-find enough that I found it, so here we are.


First, the dramatis personae:

Let's Encrypt (hereafter "LE"), a project of the nonprofit Internet Security Research Group, issues free TLS (née SSL) certificates; they recommend that site administrators with shell access use the LE client Certbot, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

My Faults My Own, and other rossry.net and r-y.io subdomain services, are happily hosted by Digital Ocean (this turns out not to matter), running nginx on Ubuntu 14.04. (Certbot supports many other servers and OS setups as


[Meta] My Faults My Own is now (happily) hosted by Digital Ocean

discount code: If you sign up for Digital Ocean with my referral link, you get $10 of credit and I get $25 of credit after you've spent your first $25. This link should be good indefinitely, and I'm getting no compensation for this review.

Amongst all of the large transitions happening in my life about now, I found it necessary to move my blog server from "some borrowed machine on the Harvard network" to a real-adult location, like "the cloud". After asking a few friends for recommendations, I decided to rent server time from Digital Ocean, at least as a stopgap measure until the end of the summer, when I'd be able to pick out my own internet plan.

I'm glad to report that I couldn't be happier with DO's service. Spinning up a new virtual server and migrating Faults to it was probably the easiest piece of system administration that I've done. I gave them my credit card number, told them that I wanted


My Most-Read Posts of 2015

I published 72 posts in 2015, with the first on January 1 and the last on November 18, for an average of 1.6 posts/week on that interval, up 70% from 2014's 0.9 posts/week. These 72 posts accounted for about 47% of the 152 posts published through December 2015.

According to Google Analytics (which ignores my pageviews), I saw an average of 57 views per day, with non-homepage views-per-day up 97% from the last half of 2014 (before which I don't have GA records). September 18 (when 2015's overall most-viewed post was published) was the single-day high, with more than a thousand more views than any other day in Faults history. GA thinks that 41% of all sessions originated from Facebook.

tl;dr I am writing posts and people are reading my blog. I'm pretty happy with these numbers.


The ten My Faults My Own posts published in 2015 with the most total pageviews were: (in ascending order)


[Meta] New Year, New Face

Unless you're using Lynx, you've probably noticed a new theme for the site. Love it? Hate it? Let me know in the brand-spanking-new comments section! (If the comments are broken, let me know by email.)

It's my own design, built from the ground up, and I'm still tweaking it around the edges, so I appreciate any general feedback on the visual design, whether positive or negative, as well as bug notices. I've been hacking at it for long enough that you should assume that any bug you find is not something I'm aware of yet.

Known bugs so far:

  • Scrolling on mobile is jerky. If your browser refuses to scroll at all, or if your scrolling is messed up in a desktop browser, do let me know.
  • The site icon has reverted to the Ghost default. I'll eventually put a new one up, once I get around to drawing it.
  • I'm still working on optimizing load/render time, so consider that a known issue.

...and with that, we're back from


[Meta] A New Face

As you may have noticed, the front page of the blog has changed. Ever since the transition to Ghost in May of last year, I've been using Sheet by Brian O'Keefe as a theme, but I decided recently that there were a few little tweaks I'd like to make.

So, here we are, about three days of hacking later. Two columns, a few special boxes in the upper-right, and a whole mess of responsive layout design (thanks, Pure.css!) -- let me know what you think! Sound off in the comments below, drop me an email, or whatever. I'm pretty happy with the individual post/page layout in Sheet, though, so I think I'll leave it be for the time being.

Happy holidays, all, and may you always have projects to keep your fingers busy.


[China] [Meta] All Posts

I've got a few not-China-related posts drafted that I'd like to have out there sooner rather than later. Specifically, I'd like to have them posted before I touch on one China-specific topic in particular, and no I'm not telling you what it is.

In case you only want to read about my China posts, and don't care about anything else I care to write about, I'll keep an (approximately) up-to-date list of posts I've tagged [China] running here.

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