[Day 495] A few things about Copenhagen

Thing 1: We knew that our AirBnB was exactly downtown when we saw downstairs a drunken girl trying to hail a cab and the driver trying not to run her over. Then she screamed at him.

Thing 2: People cycled to pubs. We were wondering if it was legal to drink in public when we saw two guys casually pedaling by with beers in their hands.

Thing 3: It’s possible to accidentally walk into a sex bar. We were happy to finally find a bar without indoor smoking when we realized there was something odd about it. There were only old white men and young Thai girls. Everyone was staring at us. Men were thinking about how Dani lucky was (at least I’d like to think that) and women were probably mad at me stealing their customer.

Thing 4: All the travel guides that tell you about the 10 things you must eat in Copenhagen are lying. There are only three things that people in Copenhagen eat: Chinese box, Doner kebab, and crepe. I think they might have potato and bread too but I’m not so sure. Continue reading “[Day 495] A few things about Copenhagen”

[Day 495] A few things about Copenhagen

[Day 490] Working minimum wage jobs

When I lost my bike key, I went to the campus bike shop to ask them to cut my lock. It was a fifteen walk to my bike. To avoid the awkward silence, I tried to make small talk with the guy assigned to help me.

“Are you a student?” I asked.

“Nah.”

“How long have you been working here?”

“Nine months.”

“Do you like it?”

“As much as I would like any minimum wage job.” Continue reading “[Day 490] Working minimum wage jobs”

[Day 490] Working minimum wage jobs

[Day 412] What it is like to intern at Netflix

When I was interviewing with Netflix, I reached out to my friends to see if anyone has experience interning there. The universal reaction I got was:

“What? You’re interviewing with Netflix? I thought they didn’t have an internship program. They don’t even take recent graduates.”

Continue reading “[Day 412] What it is like to intern at Netflix”

[Day 412] What it is like to intern at Netflix

[Day 408] My experience with Stanford’s Honor Code

The first time I learnt about from Stanford’s Honor Code, I thought it was something too good to be true. “You mean to tell me professors let students alone during exams? How’s it possible that the students don’t cheat?” The honor code is bilateral. If students sign the code to commit to not cheating, professors must show that they trust students by not watching students during exams. It gives students abundant opportunities to cheat, while keeping the probability of being caught low.

I come from Vietnam — a country where cheating in the exam is a challenge rather than a sin. Continue reading “[Day 408] My experience with Stanford’s Honor Code”

[Day 408] My experience with Stanford’s Honor Code

[Day 290] Did Viraj Mehta really flip off American people on TV?

Being off Facebook, I’ve been entirely oblivious to my friend Viraj’s famed middle-finger. I knew that he has been on Jeopardy and I knew that he’s had some impressive win — the rock I live under isn’t that big — but I wasn’t aware that there was more to that. When I ran into Viraj this afternoon, he was excited:

“Chip, I’m famous now!”
“What? Did you win that $100k?”
“I can’t say, but google my name!”

So I googled “Viraj” and saw this:

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 6.26.24 PM.jpg

Continue reading “[Day 290] Did Viraj Mehta really flip off American people on TV?”

[Day 290] Did Viraj Mehta really flip off American people on TV?

[Day 282] The pressure of impressing new people

Some of the cool things that happened today:

  • Jeff Dean high-fived me! I was having a drink with Brennan Saeta at the TensorFlow after-party when I looked up and realized that standing right next to me was Jeff Dean. “OMG that’s Jeff Dean,” I said, slightly freaking out. “I’m just going to act casual. No big deal.” Brennan laughed: “Would you like to say hi to him?” “Maaaybe.” So Brennan introduced me to Jeff and Jeff thought that teaching a TensorFlow class was cool.
  • I guess my *new* best friend just got on the cover of Nature. Brett Kuprel was featured on the cover of Nature before he turned 25. PhD students these days (shaking head).

Continue reading “[Day 282] The pressure of impressing new people”

[Day 282] The pressure of impressing new people

[Day 276] Detailed instruction on how to do Style Transfer

If you don’t already know, style transfer is the cool, hip thing that has been taking the recreational AI community by storm. It’s so cool that even Kristen Stewart co-authored a paper about it. To quote one researcher who has done extensive work in style transfer that I’ve got a chance to talk to, “it is an utterly unremarkable paper that wouldn’t have been published otherwise [if Kristen Stewart’s name is not on it]. That’s a publicity stunt.”

kristen stewart style transfer.jpgSome background on why I’m doing this: I’m teaching the course CS 20SI: “TensorFlow for Deep Learning Research” and for the assignment about convolution neural networks, I thought it’d be fun for students to do style transfer as their exercise at home. They, after all, showed a lot of enthusiasm when we did Deep Dream in class.

Continue reading “[Day 276] Detailed instruction on how to do Style Transfer”

[Day 276] Detailed instruction on how to do Style Transfer

[Day 235] I need your input to write a bad-ass book about Vietnamese culture

Over the years, I’ve noticed three things about books about Vietnamese culture:

  1. They are all written by foreigners. A guidebook to a country written by a foreigner is like a cookbook written by someone who has only had experience in looking at the food. There needs to be a book about Vietnamese culture written by a real Vietnamese.
  2. They all start with the war. Come on, the war ended 4 decades ago! There are so many more cool things in Vietnam.
  3.  They all read like textbooks at best and phonebooks at worst. I believe that books should be not only informative but also entertaining.

I’ve spent the last two years interviewing many people: foreigners who have traveled in Vietnam, foreigners who have lived in Vietnam, foreigners who have never been to Vietnam, Vietnamese who have lived overseas, Vietnamese who have never been outside the country, etc. I’ve combined their opinion into a book called “How to not get your ass kicked in Vietnam: The native’s guide”. But I still need more input to make the book as comprehensive as possible. So please help me through this short survey:

Survey for non-Vietnamese

Survey for Vietnamese

Thank you very much! The prologue to this book can be find below.

Continue reading “[Day 235] I need your input to write a bad-ass book about Vietnamese culture”

[Day 235] I need your input to write a bad-ass book about Vietnamese culture