Author Archives: wombat

Protected: Air Freshener

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Because John Lennon Asked Me To

Concrete things that drive me to despair include: palm oil, plastic in whales’ stomachs, and crude oil. Abstract things that drive me to despair include widespread despair, divisive rhetoric, societal polarization, and the process of setting the price of light … Continue reading

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Vote, As If That Goofy But Nice Person From High School Is Running

I grew up very disenfranchised. My family emigrated from Hong Kong to Canada when I was five and a half, and it took a long time for us to get used to life in the new country. My father started … Continue reading

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Letter to a young artist (from mom)

Dear Young Artist, I was listening to the Sara Bareilles album based on her music for the Broadway show, “Waitress”, and remembering the movie by Adrienne Shelly, and the wonderful performance by Keri Russell, and suddenly I remembered a lot … Continue reading

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Prerequisite 1: Machine Learning

To get into any subject, there is a lot of jargon to wade through. I love simplicity but precise¬†terminology makes things much easier. In this post I’m going to establish basic definitions for these terms, which are necessary for deep … Continue reading

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PSA: What makes a good personal essay?

It’s college essay season again. As hard and annoying as they are to write, I’m a huge fan of the genre of which they are a sub: the personal essay. The personal essay, when well done, exploits tools of both … Continue reading

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The Band Trip To Reno

When I was a junior I played second alto sax in Senior Jazz Band B, and we went to Reno, in February, with Senior Jazz Band A. We were excited, because for the first time on a band trip, we’d … Continue reading

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My baseline hero

In 1976, a major earthquake struck in Tangshan, China. Because many of the buildings had not been built to withstand earthquakes, and because search and rescue infrastructure at the time was poor, the death toll was large: the official estimate … Continue reading

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What is deep learning?

Deep learning is a buzz phrase that refers to a branches of machine learning that involve multiple, interactive layers of nonlinear data transformations. It’s deep because there are multiple layers, and it’s deep learning because the layers can communicate with … Continue reading

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How I learned to stop worrying and love computer programming

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As a go-getting engineering student, I chose my first university elective to be Computer Science 101. I didn’t like it. The lectures put me right to sleep – and I’m a lecture lover. The exams were not a problem. But … Continue reading

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