[Day 247] Tourists to Saigon: “Are you f**king kidding me?”

Ho Chi Minh City administrators just released a video that is supposed lay out some etiquette dos and don’ts for tourists. Wonderful idea in theory, but the universal reaction I’ve received from foreigners living in Vietnam is:

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[Day 247] Tourists to Saigon: “Are you f**king kidding me?”

[Day 69] Help me name my book

I have just finished writing a fun culture guidebook to Vietnam. I was thinking of naming it “Vietnam for Dummies”, but I realized that I had no legal rights to use the “for dummies” trademark. I need your help to choose a new name.

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Photo by Hung PM, originally seen on Vietnam Streetlife Photography

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[Day 69] Help me name my book

[Day 54] Things that Mykel Kochenderfer says

Mykel Kochenderfer is my professor for the course “Building Trust in Autonomy” and he’s hilarious.

“Our policy function depends on whether our time horizon is finite or infinite. For example, if you knew that the world was going to end tomorrow, you wouldn’t just go to Tesco and buy green bananas. You would be buying the candies we had at the zoo yesterday instead.”

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[Day 54] Things that Mykel Kochenderfer says

[Day 43] Of course my professor reads Wikipedia for fun

Before we go on, allow me to introduce my new favorite professor Mykel Kochenderfer. He did his BS and MS at Stanford, then did his PhD at University of Edinburgh (he finished his PhD in 3 years), then worked at that fancy lab MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and wrote this fascinating book called Decision Making Under Uncertainty. Other than being extremely smart, Mykel is also my professor and the father of my new four best friends. FYI, today, our class went to museums with his family and he and his wife left their four kids, aged 2 to 10, with me for an hour. They trusted me with their kids. Can you believe that?

When I found out that Mykel read Wikipedia for fun, I was fascinated. It’s like when someone asks you what you do for fun and you say: “I work on my PhD” or “I solve equations.” How amazing does it sound? So I asked him for the list of his favorite Wikipedia pages–I was procrastinating and was looking for something interesting to read over the weekend. He was very kind to give me his list.

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[Day 43] Of course my professor reads Wikipedia for fun

[Day 27] Short story: My posthumous collection of letters

The problem with emails nowadays is that how the hell my future publisher is going to scrape together enough hand-written letters by me to put into a book when I die? Look at the collection of letters by Saul Bellow, P. G. Wodehouse, Scott Fitzgerald and you will see what I mean. Now your natural reaction would be: “Why would any publisher at all want to collect your letters? They don’t even know that you exist.” That’s technically not true. Some publishers do know that I exist. The other day I went to a publisher in San Francisco to inquire about the status of my submission. The receptionist recognized me immediately: “Not you again.”

Continue reading “[Day 27] Short story: My posthumous collection of letters”

[Day 27] Short story: My posthumous collection of letters