[Day 691] What PhD students do on the weekend

Breaking news: grad students do have friends.

I was pretty lost at TensorFlow summit last year when I met David, Frederik and a few other grad students at lunch and decided immediately that I’d follow them both on Twitter and in real life. Continue reading “[Day 691] What PhD students do on the weekend”

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[Day 691] What PhD students do on the weekend

[Day 683] It must have been love …

.. but it’s over now.

I finished the last exam of my Stanford career today. Halfway through the last exam, I kept checking my watch to see how much longer I had to pretend to care. Looking at the tense, sweaty faces around me, I had that strange out-of-body experience of looking at my past self. “Whatever is happening now, it’s already in the past.” The outcome of this exam wouldn’t affect my future self one tiny bit. It was over. I’d already checked out. Continue reading “[Day 683] It must have been love …”

[Day 683] It must have been love …

[Day 678] My post went viral

I’m not even going to pretend to be modest or less vain. A post that I wrote a few weeks back suddenly went viral. It reached 1.2 million Vietnamese, has been read by 175k people. It’s probably been read by more people since a considerable number of newspapers and magazines in Vietnam reprinted it, both with and without my permission. A couple of publications had the authenticity to copy about 90% of my post, edited the other 10%, and innocuously put someone else down as the author. Oh well. Copyright in Vietnam. What can the farmer do? Continue reading “[Day 678] My post went viral”

[Day 678] My post went viral

[Day 673] So long, and thanks for all the fish

I haven’t blogged for a while because I’ve been preoccupied with my writing project in Vietnamese. But today, the news of Stephen Hawking made me incredibly sad. Why must amazing people have to die?

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

You lived true to your words. You have been and will remain, one of our brightest stars.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

[Day 673] So long, and thanks for all the fish

[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”

[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