Confessions of a researchaholic

October 31, 2020

Epistemic dependence

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:16 am
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I found this article a nice read, which highlights the much faster growth of our collective knowledge (accelerated by computers and algorithms) than our individual brain capacities (constrained by biology and evolution). Each one of us knows a shrinking slice of the world, and this has profound implications on our society and civilization.

One, as mentioned in the article, is the increasing need of collaboration among researchers, especially for experimental science. (At this moment of writing, it is still feasible to single author a computer science paper.)
Even though the numbers of co-authors of my papers have not increased too much, I do find it increasingly harder to know exactly what is going on in every aspect of a project, notably detailed implementations and user studies.

Another timely topic is about politics.
The policies can become so complex that nobody really understands what is going on.
Thus, each voter knows only a tiny aspect of each political topic or candidate, and thus can form drastically different opinions from one another. This can be a scientific factor driving political polarization, even without other factors like social media. Fortunately, Monte Carlo sampling indicates that with enough (sufficiently independent) samples, the aggregate estimation can still be robust (low bias/variance).
For example, the US essentially has 100+ million votes for the presidency, which should give us confidence on the outcome, no matter how ridiculous it may look.

April 25, 2020

Virtual meetings

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:38 am
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I usually share my screen instead of my face during virtual meetings.
I believe people mostly care about my content than what I look like.


The reason Zoom calls drain your energy

April 21, 2020

Mimetic desire

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:21 am
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It takes intelligent and independent minds to desire what are really wanted.

March 30, 2020

The influence we have

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:37 am
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Both this NPR hidden brain podcast on the influence you have and this book on confessions of a sociopath point to the interesting aspects on how we know (and don’t know) about the psychological influences we can have on other people.

December 20, 2018

Time perception

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:59 pm
Tags: ,

I found drawing to be an excellent in-flight entertainment, especially long-haul flights that provide ample time. Aside from occasional turbulence that can shake my strokes (especially on glass tablet surfaces), drawing is pretty much immune to other distractions like engine noises and passenger commotions.
I had so much fun and focus that the plane landed before I realized.

These two drawings are from the same photo which I like a lot.

November 5, 2018

A bipolar city

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:43 am
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In a fancy restaurant, two guys in their early twenties were boasting about the funding of (their?) biotech startups, faces red with excitement boosted from their blood alcohol levels and profanity-filled conversations which, even without biotech background, I can detect nonsense from their tones, facial expressions, and body languages.

Meanwhile, on the streets scattered a few guys gathering manhole cover heat, and on a BART train, a guy was telling random strangers about his difficulty of finding jobs.

June 9, 2018

Suicide

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:34 am
Tags: ,

Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade;
Someone with my genetics and psychology will probably never understand;
I will just Kublai everything and anything that stands in my way.

May 19, 2018

Antisocial irrationality

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:18 pm
Tags: ,

In a recent party I attended I did not socialize as much as I should. I was either too arrogant to think talking to people is not worth the time compared to just idly walking around, or too lazy to chat which is not difficult for me at all.

If I am in a social gathering, I should talk to people; otherwise I should just go somewhere else to do something useful.

In a future party, if you find me antisocial (not abnormal, which is normal for me), please remind me that I am behaving irrationally.

March 18, 2018

Productivity, rest, and distraction

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:56 pm
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Recently, I read several good articles from World Economic Forum about
distraction, nap, and productivity.

Distraction

Sometimes when I needed a break, I went to Slack, email, or social networks, only to find out that I was simply context switching to another task: more work, less focus, no relax.
So now I forced myself to simply take a walk, look out the window, or causal chat with people; anything that will NOT fork another work thread.

Napping

I took naps all the time, and I plan to keep on doing it.

Productivity

Planning is important, but sometimes I found it much simpler to just pick something and do it to avoid over-thinking.
When I feel over-whelmed or hard to decide, it is usually a sign that all the tasks at hand are similarly important.

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