My Faults My Own

Any human’s death diminishes me,

because I am involved in humankind.

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

Reading Feed (last update: July 5)

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 | Spoiler-Free Review: Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (plus a Spoilerific section)

Blog: Popehat | The Fourth of July [rerun]

Blog: Tyler Cowen @ Bloomberg View | The NBA’s Reopening Is a Warning Sign for the U.S. Economy — "If so many NBA players are pondering non-participation, how keen do you think those workers — none of whom are millionaire professional athletes — are about returning to the office?"

Comic: SMBC | Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Holism


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Blog: Market Design | Job market technology is diffusing slowly through the armed forces

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Tales from Trinidad barter

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Which vaccine?

I wrote in January about vaccines and public health, and I wanted to retract my bottom-line recommendation about which vaccine to get -- if you have a choice -- in Hong Kong. Appointments opened to residents 16+ yesterday, so this post is coming a bit late, but oh well. Here we are.

If you're in Hong Kong and have choices, my personal recommandation is that you get an appointment for the BioNTech (Pfizer) vaccine as soon as possible. (If you are in Hong Kong and have a HKID, the link to book a vaccine in English is here -- click the red "Book Vaccination" box at the left.)

In the rest of this post, I'll describe how my thinking has changed on the argument I expressed in my January post.


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When I wrote in January, I was looking at a massive shortfall in vaccine demand in the US and assuming that it couldn't happen here in Hong Kong. In hindsight, I was extremely wrong.

In the first

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For whom it tolls

Another may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him;
but this bell that tells me of his affliction, digs out, and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another's danger, I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself...


I was talking with a friend the other day, and the topic turned to vaccines. It's expected that the Sinovac and Pfizer vaccines will become available roughly simultaneously in Hong Kong, and so the question was, which vaccine we'd would prefer to receive.

Two topics that came up were safety and efficacy...


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On safety, one can ask whether the Sinovac vaccine should be trusted quite as much as the ones developed in the West. (Hey, one can ask just about anything...)

Well, medically speaking, CoronaVac is a relatively conventional killed-virus vaccine, so if anything my prior would be that it's safer than the mRNA vaccines, just

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January 16 Links: Technologies, Games, and Play

Yes, the Friday linkwrap is, in fact, going out on Friday. We're living in the future!

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The Harvard Political Review reports that a Chicago nonprofit is scraping Twitter to pass on complaints about food poisoning in restaurants to the Chicago Department of Public Health:

Foodborne Chicago depends on human judgment in addition to computerized predictions. First, the algorithm "surfaces tweets that are related to foodborne illnesses." Next, "a human classifier goes through those complaints that the machine classifies, [...determining] what is really about food poisoning and what may be other noise." The Foodborne team then tweets back at the likely cases, providing a link for users to file an official complaint. In short, computers deal with the massive quantity of Twitter data, and humans ensure the quality of the result. According to its website, between its launch on March 23, 2013 and November 10, 2014, the Foodborne algorithm flagged 3,594 tweets as potential food poisoning cases. Of these tweets, human coders have identified 419,

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Salk!

It's Jonas Salk's 100th birthday (as commemorated in Google's daily doodle, above, which, ironically enough, enjoys more patent protection than does the polio vaccine it commemorates), which makes for a fine reminder that you should get your annual flu shot! By doing so, you're:

  1. much less likely to get the flu
  2. decreasing potential anxiety as a result of experiencing flu-like symptoms, which, annoyingly, are highly similar to the early symptoms of Ebola every disease ever.
  3. protecting your friends, family, the elderly, babies, and the immunosuppressed through herd immunity.

Comic: "And the evil Mr Vaccine played his flute of never getting polio or smallpox ever again, luring the children straight to the town of Notice How Nobody Gets Polio Or Smallpox Anymore"

On this last point (herd immunity), Vax is a neat online game where you try to shut down epidemics by vaccinating and quarantining people; my top scores are 94%/81%/76% in turn-based mode and 94%/91%/84% in real-time mode. It's addicting, but mercifully not that long, so you won't lose days of your life to it.

Anyway. Happy birthday, Dr. Salk. May the world always have scientists so visionary and daring. May your legacy as the man who killed a

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