Confessions of a researchaholic

March 24, 2020

Calming routines

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:14 am
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I usually found patent disclosure meetings a bit tedious. But the (remote) one held yesterday afternoon with two patent attorneys on a single-authored patent felt quite reassuring. During upheavals, routines can calm.

March 18, 2020

Life-long learning effects

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:12 pm
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The best part about attending a top school is not (just) the education, research, and networking, but the constant reminder to be humble and avoid underachieving for the rest of my life.

March 14, 2020

Uncertainty

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:34 pm
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In this podcast from a few days ago, Mervyn King made the point that uncertainty might cause anxiety but ultimately also makes life fun.

March 13, 2020

COVID-19 induced changes

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:20 am
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For about a zodiac round from 2005 to 2017, I have been working and living mostly alone in different parts of the world. So, the recent travel restriction and remote work policy simply put me back in my previous solo mode.

This business quarter (or maybe the next few ones) could shed light on whether and how working away from the office would affect productivity. I guess it depends on the job functions (e.g., research scientists versus sales manager), individual styles (e.g., introvert or extrovert), and family situations (e.g., young kids at home).

Like biology, diversity can be beneficial in political systems as well, shedding lights on how they fare under different scenarios.

It is not clear how much practical benefit the Trump EU travel ban has, but at least he is sending the kind of political message that is expected from him, and probably a less racist one compared to the Mexico border wall.

The team that is hurt the least from the NBA shutdown is the one I supported, which went from 3 championships and 5 straight final appearances until last year to the bottom dweller this year (largely due to a key player injured by a flagrant foul). I am personally not that interested in seeing other teams winning championships.

March 7, 2020

Information flow

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:11 am
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Watching the real-time electric power flow among the grid, solar, battery, and home, I like to be able to see similar flow visualizations for our buildings (e.g., heat, water, gas) and bodies (e.g., calorie, cholesterol, blood sugar) so that we can be more informed to take care of our internal health and external environment.

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February 21, 2020

When you feel like killing someone or something

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:14 am
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Just remember that it might be of use to you in the future.

February 8, 2020

Human library

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 2:47 pm
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I joined as a first-time “reader” for a human library event, and talked with two “books”.

The first one, titled “choosing failure and challenging success (mental health ADHD/ANX)”, was a young girl (at least relative to me) who looked and acted entirely normal during our conversation. She said that she has family-inherited ADHD and has always felt anxious about everything in her life, even just walking outside. It took her 10 years to get her college degree because she had to drop out for mental health issues.
To overcome her fears, she took on adventures such as scuba diving and jumping off waterfalls during rafting.
I picked this “book” partially because I am interested in psychology in general, and partially because I also had some difficulty focusing outside my own mind (one main reason why I ended up self-studying most of my course materials and skipping since I was about 10 years old).
The only telltale sign that she showed was the need to pick up a toy object to play around to keep her focus. (She kept another one on the table for me to play with, which happens to be a piece of clay, which I played with obsession in kindergarten.)
We discussed how the (American) society focuses more on being normal and demonstrating performance than the need for people to take care of their health, both mental and physical.

The second one, titled “suicide survivor”, was a 59-years-old man.
He grew up in an alcoholic family, started drinking at age 12 for socializing and dealing/escaping with family issues, tried to prove himself by taking on demanding (and thus stressful) tasks, got married and had children, divorced and lived with his girlfriend, broke up with the girl friend and lost both the house and his job (the girlfriend owned the former and also worked in the latter), and decided to kill himself after a week of drinking and drugging.
He first tried to drown himself by laying down into a river only to wake up a few hours later found himself floating and (thus) alive, overdosed on some drugs which still didn’t kill him, and cut his wrist (he showed me the scars and described in detail how to properly cut to really kill) only to wake up a few hours later soaked in a pool of blood.
He finally called a hospital and spent a few weeks (or months) in intensive care for recovery.

He has now learned the existence of God through his AA (alcoholic anonymous) gatherings and worked in suicide prevention.
He asked whether I ever thought about killing myself; I did not tell him that I am the type who would just kill all my opponents if the needs arise, but replied with other related thoughts.
One is the optimal age to die. Modern medicine is better at preserving life expectancy than maintaining life quality. Instead of waiting till the very end when one has lost both mind and body, an earlier death might be more optimal.
His replied is interesting, in that one could not judge the future self. For example, even though he has all these physical pains at age 60 that he would find intolerable at age 30, he felt he is awesome right now. So maybe a complete senile person might enjoy the existence that a younger version could not comprehend and thus unable to judge.

January 28, 2020

Obnoxious shared-ride passengers

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 2:03 pm
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I was in a shared Uber ride today, waiting for a couple heading for the SJC airport.
After the driver and I arrived and waited for a couple of minutes, the husband showed up waving at us, while tying his dog to a fence. The wife showed up after another couple of minutes, taking the dog to the car, while the husband went back to retrieve luggage, for a further couple of minutes. When both finally settled in the car, the wife said she could not find her wallet, and took another couple of minutes searching around.
After we were officially ready to take off, the husband said to the driver: do you know how to go to the airport? Turn right here, without even realizing that they might not have the first stop.

Meanwhile, the driver told me (in a language that the couple would not understand) that he could not understand why anyone heading to the airport would want to take a carpool, and (fortunately) ignored the husband and followed the Waze instruction to drop me off.

One best part about Uber/Lyft rides, especially carpools, is the chance to see different kinds of people that do not tend to show up in my usual social circles.

January 13, 2020

Working in a dream

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:53 am
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Since I have this habit of thinking about stuff all the time, even when I am dreaming, I sometimes could not tell if I have done something for real.
For example, earlier today when I looked at a comment I made in a paper draft, I found it missing a part that I thought I have added, but then I realized that I only did it in my dream a few days ago.

January 12, 2020

Meditation

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 2:33 pm
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The best way (for me) to relax is to tackle the source of the stress/pressure head on.

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