The bureaucrats are running the asylum

This blog post generated a lot of discussion on Hacker News — many people have reached out to me giving more examples of the stagnation and more examples of projects avoiding it. Maybe I’ll add to this article or maybe I’ll write a new one, let’s see what happens. In the meantime if you can’t wait for me to stop staring at the ceiling and write something new, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy my e-book robotoverlordmanual.com

Machine Learning Researchers

Academics think of themselves as trailblazers, explorers — seekers of the truth.

Any fundamental discovery involves a significant degree of risk. If an idea…


We all reminisce about the good old office days — Office pranks, brainstorming on a whiteboard and furtive glances by the water-cooler. But our efforts to emulate a physical world in digital space is a Sisyphean undertaking that fails to recognize the respective strengths and weaknesses of in person vs remote work.

This is how we end up with digital team lunches with 20+ people where there are no side discussions. …


A intro to Game Objects, Components and the Entity Component System in Unity

Intro

This article is a sequel to my article on multiple dispatch.

The benefits of multiple dispatch become clearest when we talk about numerical or scientific code but the Entity Component System (ECS) is more popular and talked about in the game dev community.

While the scientific community and game dev community are very different, both of them share a common pain-point of working with “design patterns” that just don’t make sense to them.

Most design patterns you were taught, are design patterns to work around the shortcoming of Object Oriented Programming. They are not the “best” design patterns.

One important…


Is DnD a board-game or a video-game?

Dungeons and Dragons is a tabletop roleplaying game and while it does have its fair share of complicated rules, it’s not a board-game.

The distinction is important because in DnD you roleplay as a character in a world entirely created by your dungeon master (DM). The rules are mostly there to facilitate the storytelling and not to beat you down with minutia.

While some min-maxers which I like to call board game accountants may enjoy complicated rulesets where you add and remove points to a score to optimize winning, I personally don’t.

While DnD is amenable to board game accounting…


No CV required

The most common question I get asked on Twitch Streams and Twitter DMs is how do I get a good job?

This question comes in a few variations

  • “I didn’t study in the US, how can I get a job in the US?”
  • “Do you think I need a PhD? Or Masters?”
  • “I just need to start working at BigLab to work on X”
  • “I get too stressed in tech interviews, what should I do?”
  • “Isn’t it too late for me to switch careers?”

Thankfully, all these questions can be approached in the same way.

How writing saved my sanity

Earlier in my career…


On the necessity of “Strong States”

Beirut Port

Background

I felt somewhat compelled to write this article after a few discussions with friends who thought my views were borderline insane. The strong negative emotions reminded me a lot of the criticism I faced when I suggested that homeschooling would be superior to the traditional schooling system. What was inconceivable pre-COVID suddenly became commonplace post-COVID. The primary purpose of the schooling system as a babysitting institution became clear and the benefits of the internet as a homeschooling tool became even clearer.

I’d like to make another radical hypothesis that states aren’t as useful as people think they are. In the…


This is my second post on homeschooling, written almost 8 months after the first one Deschooling Society.

8 months ago when I talked to my friends and family about homeschooling they worried that I was “losing it”, that spending too much time working from home made me lose my grasp on reality.

Funnily enough, I never expected COVID-19 to be a catalyst for normalizing homeschooling. However, paying $200,000K+ for a bunch of videos over Zoom has made everyone I know reevaluate what they are actually paying for.

There are many excellent books written on the benefits of homeschooling and I…


Rhetoric from Disco Elysium

How can that idiot be the president? How are they so rich? They have 0 logic…. It’s the people that are gullible!!

At first glance it’s easy to dismiss the success of the corrupt as dumb luck, being in the right place at the right time. However, this viewpoint blinds us to how the corrupt become so influential in the first-place. It’s even more infuriating when we see them spout nonsense on the TV, change the subject, attack the person they’re debating and we think to ourselves “none of what they are saying makes any sense”.

But just because politicians…


Why do the Lebanese people suddenly care about Bitcoin?

I just flew in from San Diego to Lebanon for the holidays and a shocking number of my conversations with friends and family have been about Bitcoin.

Long story short, decades of government corruption and questionable policies by the Central Bank have led to a situation where depositors are not able to withdraw their money.

Small businesses are closing down, larger businesses are halving their workforces and salaries. All economic life has ceased while citizens wait for the ruling political class to come up with a solution which has so far been as timely as Godot.

To learn more about…


Suppose we’d like to design a humanoid robot, which data-structures do we need to represent the state of the robot at each point in time and how do we actually move the robot around?

We can abstract away the muscles and nervous system of a humanoid and only work with the skeleton, imagine taking an X-ray of the above image to get.

Mark Saroufim

Robots will save us

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