December 13, 2013
Building Upon Human Judgment: Using Machine Learning to Predict Performance


The human brain is exceptionally good at many things: conscious thought, emotions, memory, control of movement, not to mention the five senses that let us take in the world around us. It’s also good at detecting patterns in the countless signals that come in through those five senses. But the…

December 13, 2013
Using python/tweepy to build TwainBot: a twitter-bot that will tweet all of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer over the next year! [reddit]


Reading this sub has been helpful/inspiring, and so I thought I’d post the project here. It’s been my excuse for finally getting my hands dirty and learning some python! The full code (using tweepy, nltk, dropbox SKD) is on github if anyone wants it! The bot runs on a RaspberryPi, and lives…

May 12, 2013
Mother’s Day Call Reminder

Here’s a quick script I wrote to remind myself to call my Mom. It’s a very simple python script (only 40 lines) that I run via a cron job. Just add your credentials and the relevant phone numbers and run the script to get started. It’s designed to call you, from your mom’s number, and then automatically connect you as soon as you press 1.

Here’s the code:

Note: You may need to verify both numbers with Twilio in order to ensure the calls go through.

9:30pm  |   URL:
Filed under: mothersday 
November 20, 2012


The second movement of Shostakovich’s second piano concerto is one of my absolute favorite pieces of symphonic music. It has an approachable, natural minor melody, but with the occasional deviation to keep the attuned listener guessing. Overall, the piece has a cinematic and moody quality to it, making it a great introduction to classical music.

September 15, 2012
At #qs2012 w/ @danieltriip #quantifiedself (Taken with Instagram at Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center)

At #qs2012 w/ @danieltriip #quantifiedself (Taken with Instagram at Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center)

June 18, 2012
Peter Thiel’s discussion with Sonia Arrison, Michael Vassar, & Dr. Aubrey de Grey

I really enjoyed reading the latest post by Blake Masters and wanted to share some of my favorite excepts.

Aubrey de Grey made a great point about how people tend to be wrong when they project the future because they rely too heavily on linear trends. 

Aubrey de Grey: I try and dispose of this by pointing out that if you were to ask someone in 1900 how long it would to cross the Atlantic in 1950, they would make a prediction drawing from ocean liner speed trajectories up to that point. They wouldn’t be able to foresee the airplane. And so their calculation would be off by orders of magnitude.

I also liked Aubrey’s comment about potential visionaries being held back by social pressure. 

Peter Thiel: Who is going to forge the technological future?

Aubrey de Grey: My answer is Oprah Winfrey.

Yes, there are a few people like Peter. There are a very few visionary people who can make a real difference at the formative early stage. But there are also many people with Peter’s net worth who aren’t doing this. It’s not that these people don’t understand the issues or the value of technology. They understand these things very well. But they are held back by social opinion. They probably can’t articulate this well to themselves, let alone to others. But they face viscerally emotional blockades that the people around them erect. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you don’t fear people laughing at you. Many potential visionaries are held back by little more than social pressure to conform.

Michael Vassar made a great point about the importance of both engineering and scientific approaches to solving the problems of the future.

Question from the audience: Will the future be a science problem or engineering problem? 

Michael Vassar: Science matters much more than engineering does. But it’s easier to talk about engineering. So one should use engineering to discard the 99.9% of people who have no clue what’s going on. But then one should get into the science with the remnant. That is where the upside will come from.

The notes from Peter Thiel’s class at Stanford have been consistently stimulating. I hope I have a chance to hear him speak soon.

June 13, 2012
Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, discussing the future of education.

This was a very interesting keynote speech at LaunchEDU 2012. Nolan’s predictions seem aggressive but not unreasonable. I liked his pitch about his new adaptive learning startup, but I’m not quite sure if he is the person to pull it off. He certainly has the resources, but I don’t quite understand why he was so guarded about the actual analysis.

June 13, 2012
"The affiliate revenue model is broken… Charge monthly" - @thomask Judging at #launchedu  (Taken with Instagram at Microsoft Conference Center)

"The affiliate revenue model is broken… Charge monthly" - @thomask Judging at #launchedu (Taken with Instagram at Microsoft Conference Center)

1:18pm  |   URL:
Filed under: launchedu 
June 12, 2012
Dinner post #LaunchEDU (Taken with Instagram at Antonio’s Nut House)

Dinner post #LaunchEDU (Taken with Instagram at Antonio’s Nut House)

10:38pm  |   URL:
Filed under: launchedu 
June 12, 2012
#launchedu judges @wadhwa @aplouie @christine_tsai listing to @kno (Taken with Instagram at Microsoft Conference Center)

#launchedu judges @wadhwa @aplouie @christine_tsai listing to @kno (Taken with Instagram at Microsoft Conference Center)

7:44pm  |   URL:
Filed under: launchedu 
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