Showing posts from 2021

When Practice Meets Opportunity, Magic Happens

"Ah I've been learning and practising and it feels so futile! I really don't want to learn to play the piano anymore. What's the point anyway?", she complained over the phone as she went on "there'll never be a time when I will think I'm actually proficient, it's just so time consuming and I don't even know why I'm learning this anymore". A year ago at the start of the lockdown, she started learning to play the piano. And as the usual pattern of picking up a new hobby goes, her enthusiasm shot up the day she decided she would learn to play, skyrocketing with every day she had to wait, until finally peaking on the day it was delivered to her house. Then came the heavy sinking feeling the moment she put on a YouTube tutorial and tried to follow along. She whispered under her breath with her motivation crumbling, "man, this is actually very hard". "Okay, picture this", I started to respond. "The lockdown is final

On Things Seeming Obvious Once You Know Them

There's a complicated mess of wires, most connecting several of the five metal boxes, amongst others which are just loose ends dangling, that together make the system you're working on. There's a phone connected to this complicated mess that puts the system in configuration 1. Your task is to put the system in configuration 2 by reconnecting the phone to a different port. The problem is, no one is around and you don't know how or where it's supposed to connect. But as soon as you have the right connection, the system will tell you it is in configuration 2. So you go on your journey to figuring it out: Hit and trial You start off by disconnecting the cable connecting the phone to the system. So now you have a phone connected to a cable with a loose end, and you have to figure out where it fits.  You start looking around. You have no idea where it goes, so you make a quick scan of all the ports, but find nothing that the wire could connect to. Break it down You grunt

We're Always on an Exponential & Human Psychology

"We're on the tipping point of the technological evolution scale! The graph of technological advancements drawn against time is an exponential curve. And we're right at the point where the line skyrockets upwards. This is *the* inflection point!", I said to my brother right after we talked about how the Starlink satellites are being deployed.  I made a gesture with my finger indicating the point of the inflection, right when he dropped a deeply profound line just very casually and said  "that's the magic of an exponential curve; you're always at the inflection point where things are just about to skyrocket".  Initially, that made no sense to me. He is right (and I am fairly embarrassed to say it took me some Excel-ing to really prove it to myself) - and it is all about the scale you choose.  But on the other hand, I couldn't help but stop feeling that this is it. Look, we're at the point where everyone relies on supercomputers in their hands

On Why it's so Hard to Find Love & Forrest Gump

You're on your usual 6:30pm run. The wind's blowing strong on your face, it's freezing, but you've dressed appropriately. You remember this podcast on scientific reasoning as to why people have "aha!" moments when they're out in the wild, or running, or taking cold showers.  A runner passes by.  You keep running, with nothing much going on in your head, other than the fact that you're not really having much of an "aha!" moment.  Another runner passes by.  You're about 2.5km in, and you've crossed 4 runners running on the opposite side, but you haven't yet seen anyone running in your direction. That's funny, you think to yourself. Another runner passes, and now it's bothering you. Why are there always so many people running in the opposite direction, but only old and slow people running in yours.  It takes you a minute, but you figure it out, and then it seems obvious. It has to do with the relatively equal average speeds o

Meaning is a Photograph That You Have to Click Yourself

You move to a new city, and this is the first time you're walking around, taking in these streets you've never seen before. You walk by this cathedral-esque structure which feels a bit out of place from its surrounding environment, but you realize it's a school, seeing all the school buses and kids in uniforms. It's an old stone constructed building whose exterior shows it's lived through and seen generations of human life. It vaguely reminds you of a place you might have seen before, but you pay no heed to the thought, as you've just walked by a couple thousand buildings and another hundred streets through the day, and it might just be your minds way of making things feel more familiar. You continue listening to the song you were listening to, happily humming along because it is your favorite song. Your day goes on, and nothing special happens for the rest of it. Later that day your brother calls you and you have your usual conversation. He asks you how your d