[Day 636] Instant karma

Last week, I was being a bad person.

  1. A girl living in my house wasn’t very nice to me and my friend. She wanted to talk later to explain herself, but I just walked out on her mid-conversation. I wasn’t even that mad at her. I didn’t like people who aren’t nice to my friends so I decided to be not nice to her in retaliation.
  2. There’s that one American English teacher in Vietnam whose story has been upsetting me for a long time. First, he made a condescending video showing how his parents react to the way Vietnamese people speaking English to prove that Vietnamese English teachers can’t teach English, together with another video instructing Vietnamese people on how to dine with westerners. Dude, if you make your living in Vietnam, you’d better learn to dine with us, not the other way around. Second, he made a joke about American soldiers bombing and raping Vietnamese daughters – he must have meant it to be satire, but it wasn’t funny. Third, he made another joke, comparing the head of a deceased Vietnamese war hero to a testicle. What upsets me isn’t him — you can find assholes everywhere — but the fact that many Vietnamese people idolize him. A long history of being dominated power has taught us to look up to foreigners, no matter how offensive they are.

Continue reading “[Day 636] Instant karma”

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[Day 636] Instant karma

[Day 630] Updates about my upcoming books and projects

I’ve recently had a talk with professor Mykel Kochenderfer about possible career paths for me after graduation. I told him that I want to stay in academia — I love doing research — but I also want to pursue writing seriously. He smiled and said: “Why not both?”

Continue reading “[Day 630] Updates about my upcoming books and projects”

[Day 630] Updates about my upcoming books and projects

[Day 628] When breath becomes air

For a long time, I’ve been struggling with the idea of getting old. I know that I’d one day die. I know that every living, breathing moment is a step closer to death. The weight of an inevitable demise occasionally throws me into an existential crisis. If everything will become meaningless in the end, why should I even try? Will I ever be able to make a dent in the universe, or will I just pass away like a drop of dew in the morning sun? Continue reading “[Day 628] When breath becomes air”

[Day 628] When breath becomes air

[Day 627] A Song of Ice and Fire

This morning I woke up, saw this image, and tears welled up in my eyes. Tropical boys fighting in a snowstorm. Red flames burning on the white ground. They played a splendid game that brought hope to the hearts of millions of Vietnamese people who need it more than anything right now.

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“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King

I have no doubt that the Vietnam team will play even more beautifully in the future, and that inevitably, they will be the champions.

[Day 627] A Song of Ice and Fire

[Day 626] I just gave a lecture to 400 students

Today, I was invited to give a guest lecture for the Stanford class CS224N: Natural Language Processing with Deep Learning. I was pretty excited about the opportunity. First, I’d never given a lecture to such a big audience before – there are 400+ students in the class. Second, it’s Richard Socher‘s class. He’s hands down one of the most chill professors I know. For some reason, he always looks like he’s just got out of bed and we occasionally catch him biking down the stairs to the classroom. Third, I’d always heard that speaking at NVIDIA Auditorium is lit and I want to try it out before graduating. Continue reading “[Day 626] I just gave a lecture to 400 students”

[Day 626] I just gave a lecture to 400 students

[Day 622] Is your life parallelism or just mere concurrency?

Today in our parallel computing class, we learned about two concepts that people often confuse for one another: parallelism and concurrency. Concurrency is when you deal with a lot of things at once, while parallelism is doing a lot of things at once.

For example, concurrency is when you switch between doing homework and chatting on Facebook with your friends. From your perspective, you’re making progress in both things and it feels like you’re achieving parallelism – doing both things at once. However, the reality is that you’re merely doing concurrency. You do one thing at the cost of not doing another.

Parallelism would be to have two copies of you, one doing homework and one chatting on Facebook at the exact same time. Which is, of course, not possible. And that’s why multitasking is just a myth.

[Day 622] Is your life parallelism or just mere concurrency?

[Day 619] And then we ate lemons and drank vinegar

Maddy generously got us some Miracle Fruit Tablets today. They are supposed to turn sour into sweet. So we each took a tablet and experimented with different types of food.

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  • Lemon: just as advertised, lemons tasted sweet but not too sweet. We all liked miracle-enhanced lemons a lot so we each had several wedges.
  • Grapefruit: also great, but not as good as lemons
  • Balsamic vinegar: sugary balsamic vinegar apparently tastes like a hipster cocktail sold for $15 a pop at a bar in San Francisco
  • Sriracha: fucking gross
  • BBQ sauce: actually pretty good
  • Seaweed: fishy with a sugary aftertaste
  • Oreo: tasted like Oreo
  • Coffee: meh
  • Water: tasted like h2o
  • Strawberry: like a ball of sugar. extremely sweet
  • Avocado: tasted really good, but it could just be because I really like avocado

That was a good distraction for half an hour.

[Day 619] And then we ate lemons and drank vinegar