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 …”→
One, a girl living in my house wasn’t very nice to me and my friend. She wanted to explain herself, but I just walked out on her mid-conversation. I wasn’t even that mad at her. I just don’t like people who aren’t nice to my friends.
Two, 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. Continue reading “[Day 636] Instant karma”→
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.
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!”
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.”
Some 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.
I’m reading the Aziz Ansari’s book “Modern Romance: An Investigation“, in which he accused men of being bozos for asking a girl out by texting instead of calling her. According to Ansari, calling a girl is a sign of courage and seriousness, while “texting facilitates flakiness and rudeness.” His observation is consistent with the advice I often see in dating columns (yeah I’m that kind of girl who reads dating columns), and I think it might as well be the most outdated advice ever, at least where I live.
So guys, I’m back in the Bay Area, and here are some updates about my life at the moment.
I work in San Francisco, room in Berkeley, party like it’s 1920s because it was the Prohibition period and I don’t drink.
I live in a beautiful house on top of a hill, overlooking the bay and several of its bridges. My three roommates are all competitive chess players–they became grandmasters in their early teens and naturally all they ever talk about is chess. They refer to me as their “non chess player friend” in the same loving manner the Malfoys do when they talk about the Muggles.
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.”