Posts

  • Germs are small, sticky, and omnipresent

    The Apollo 11 astronauts spent 3 weeks in quarantine after returning to Earth. That’s because we didn’t know if moon germs existed. More than that, we didn’t know if moon germs could kill everyone on Earth. No matter how small the probability, the risk was big enough to enforce the quarantine. Scientists at NASA played...
  • A Better Birthday Gift

    If you believe the records, the origin of birthday gifts is closely linked to evil. The Pagans believed that evil spirits culminate on your birthday, and thus need to be warded off. Gifts purge evil. They are, or used to be, tools to support you for another year of life: charms, candles, and talismans. As...
  • If Influence were a blog post

    This is the psychology of compliance. Compliance practitioners - the people who need you to comply with their wishes - use the following principles to get what they want. Be it a salesperson trying to sell you a new car, or a toystore tricking you into buying things for your kids, or someone selling you...
  • The Dunning Kruger Effect

    A few years ago, my younger cousin beat me at Chess in 3 moves. I’m pretty sure Fabiano Caruana could beat me in 3 moves too. Using this data point, how do I figure out who is better? To me, my cousin is on par with Fabiano. However, Fabiano Caruana is currently ranked #2 in...
  • Things I Learnt from a Senior Software Engineer

    A year ago, I started working full-time at Bloomberg. That’s when I imagined writing this post. I imagined myself to be full of ideas that I could spit out on paper when the time comes. Just one month in, I realised it won’t be that easy: I was already forgetting things I learnt. They either...
  • A Guide to Climate Change

    Image by Pete Linforth What drives us to do great things? Purpose. It’s a fundamental need. If you’re a barista at Tesla, do you know how you’re accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy? We understand how important this is. We try to design companies around this. Simon Sineks life’s work is this. It’s surprising...
  • Where do analogies break down?

    At 13, I began tinkering with every random device around my house. I pulled apart hundreds of them - remote controlled cars, table fans, aquarium purifiers, and even my PS2 controller. Figuring out how the vibrate function worked on my PS2 controller was pretty awesome! I could visualize how things worked on the inside. I...
  • If Sapiens were a blog post

    I spent over 25 hours building a cut-down version of Sapiens. The goal? Future-me should be happy to read this once future-me forgets how we evolved. It’s massive for a blog post, just under 30 minutes, but that’s the best I could do, condensing 9 hours worth of material. I’ve tried to keep editing to...
  • A Short History of Capitalism

    Source This is the story of Capitalism. Almost all excerpts (with edits) from Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Not a part of the overarching book notes because it doesn’t fit in too well. But still, super interesting and thus warrants its own notes. Birth of Capitalism In the medieval era, money could represent and convert...
  • Taming Digital Technology

    “Dopamine Shot” by Kim Taylor, Redhorse Studio is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 I have a very intimate relationship with technology. Not only do I use it, I create it. It’s like a child to me. And I’ve come to accept that it’s not always good. It all began in high school. Status games determined...
  • Gameplan for a mediocre college

    Congratulations, you made it! … to the second staircase. Source If you heard that once you get into college, your life is set - I’m afraid that’s mistaken. It’s a motivation tactic to get you to work super hard right before getting into college. Are you shaking your head in disappointment? I was too. This...
  • How Ryanair can change flying

    Source I come from a middle class family. Most families belong to this group. For us, flying means one thing: get from Pt. A to Pt. B. Nothing else matters. Sure, I complain. Ryanair is bullshit - it doesn’t let me choose the seats for free! It doesn’t let me take more than one bag!...
  • Second Order Thinking - A Practical Guide

    Your friends’ mother passes away. You find out a week after it happens. How would you respond? First order thinking says, “Why didn’t you call me earlier!? Am I not your friend anymore?!” Second order thinking says, “I’m proud of you for being so strong. I’m there for you. Whatever you need, let me know”....
  • How To Understand Systems

    Source To solve a problem, you first need to understand the problem. Problems exist within systems. So, to understand the problem, you need to understand the system. By systems I mean complex adaptive systems. They are the most interesting kind, and difficult to deal with. Complex, because removing a part destroys the system. Each part...
  • How to Deal With Information Overload

    Source My web browser is like a hydra - every time I close a tab, three more come to take its place. There are 10 million blog posts everyday.1 Every minute, 400 hours of video content is published on Youtube. And this isn’t everything we consume - podcasts, tweets, images, pins and newsletters. In such...
  • Psychology of Human Misjudgment

    Charlie Munger - Source Charlie Munger gave a speech to Harvard University in 1995. It was about how he built his own curriculum for Psychology. He’s an ace investor - dealing with psychology everyday to make money in the market. However, this curriculum is not just about investing psychology. It’s about everything. Key takeaway There...
  • The Human Log

    Source The log is an interesting invention. It began with 16th century ships – surrounded with water, no land in sight, no sense of direction, and no sense of speed. What did you have to compare your speed with anyway? The sailors were ingenious. They used a log - a real piece of wood -...
  • Averages are Meaningless*

    “On average, every 14 minutes someone finds love on eHarmony.” or so said the ad on the tube to Westminster. Does that mean I’ll find love on eHarmony in 14 minutes? Not quite. Maybe someone else will? I don’t care. A few years ago, I tried to learn to swim. I read online, “On average,...
  • How not to be afraid of Javascript - Part 2

    This is Part 2 of Javascript mastery - and probably the most exciting parts of the language. ( Until Part 3 comes around, anyway ;) ) Part 1 covered the language basics, here we’ll cover iteration protocol(s), their use in for loops, and generator functions. Why generator functions in the mix? If you think that’s a random...
  • Algorithms to Live By

    Key takeaway You can use solutions from computer science to solve problems in real life. These can be wide-ranging: from how to choose your soulmate, to when to choose a new restaurant vs your favourite. How to choose your soulmate The Optimal Stopping Problem Be it looking for a soulmate, or a secretary, or a house...
  • Computational Kindness

    Also known as, How to create plans with friends without feeling like shit ( Source ) Do you wonder why? Why your plans don’t materialize? Why everyone is so unenthusiastic about planning? Why you don’t get appropriate answers to your questions? “Hey guys, let’s go to Goa.” “Totally, sure.” “Cool.” “I’m in.” “When should we...
  • How not to be afraid of javascript anymore

    ( Created using Source ) Have you been there before? Where Javascript just doesn’t seem to work. Where the functions you write don’t do what you expect them to. Where this just doesn’t make sense. What is this? This is this. I have. So, I wrote this. It covers everything from closures and classes to...
  • Playing the long term game

    Build your shuttle to take you to the stars (Source ) Have you seen this before? People worrying, stressing and obsessing over outcomes. Outcomes that felt so important at the time. Outcomes that have since been forgotten, collecting dust on the list of inconsequential outcomes. I’m no better. Where people chant “Om, Om, Om” to calm...
  • A Framework for First Principles Thinking

    Originally published on Medium Improve your thinking, become smarter and pioneer the future (Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash) “Elon Musk used first principles thinking to design a cheap rocket from scratch, re-use it by landing it back on Earth, and on the side — also revolutionised the electric car industry.” That was the first time I read about...
  • The Personality Loop

    I was timid. Happy in my special corner, away from the “cool kids”. I had zero ambition to be someone. No expectations, no responsibilities. Just me and my small friend circle. We’d occasionally get tricked by the “cool kids”. That sucked. High school changed everything though. It came with its dose of puberty and I...
  • How not to live life

    Originally published on Medium No bullshit, no advice (Source) I’ve come across a million bullshit posts across the internet telling me how to live my life. Wake up at 6 AM. Don’t drink. Never snooze. Keep grinding. Buy this course. Decide to live your life. The heck? I hate being told what to do. Specially by...
  • How the medium earning algorithm works

    Originally published on Medium Debunking popular myths (From Grow Your Blog Movement) Given all the misinformation and guessing going on in medium discussion forums, like Medium Mastery and Grow Your Blog Movement, I figured it was time to put in some effort and make things clearer for everyone. I come from a background in computer science, which...
  • How not to be afraid of python anymore

    Originally published on Medium A dive into the language reference documentation (Source) For the first year or two when I started coding, I thought learning a language was all about learning the syntax. So, that’s all I did. Needless to say, I didn’t turn into a great developer. I was stuck. Then, one fine day,...
  • How to see systems in everyday life

    Originally published on Medium (Thor Alvis) Leveraging feedback loops to solve almost any problem I was the fat kid. Then puberty hit and I shot up. I started playing basketball, slimming down in the process. Just as my body got used to that, I entered the study-all-day-to-get-into-college phase. Mixed with comfort feeding, I was back to...
  • Is your writing missing the touch of the greatest writers ever?

    Originally published on Medium Aggregated advice from the best books on how to write (Photo by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash) I read two of the best books on writing. On Writing by Stephen King, and On Writing Well by William Zinsser. Looks like Zinsser was playing a joke on King, but Zinsser published first. There goes my...
  • How not to be afraid of vim anymore

    Originally published on Medium A curation of the most popular commands and how to use them (Source) If you’ve ever used Vim, you know how difficult it can get to reach the same speed as in a “normal” GUI editor. But once you do, the payoff is exponential — you get much more efficient at writing code. Of...
  • How to hack your life like a video game

    Originally published on Medium (Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash) Do cheat codes only work in games? I’ve been playing video games since I was 10. It started with Age of Empires which loaded my brain with strategic thinking. Then I went into MMORPGs like Runescape, which taught me interaction and supply-demand economics. I advanced to some...
  • How to get noticed in the javascript world

    Originally published on Medium (Firefox? Source) Getting started with the MDN documentation Mozillas Developer Network boasts the best Javascript documentation on the planet. What I didn’t know was that it’s community driven, and anyone can contribute to it. I’m amazed how they’ve managed to keep the docs so pure, given anyone can edit things. What...
  • Now that you're not afraid of git anymore, here's how to leverage what you know

    Originally published on Medium (“One does not simply walk into Mordor” from LOTR) The first part of this series looked at the inner workings of GIT and showed you how not to be afraid of working with Git. Now that we understand how Git works, let’s get into the meaty stuff: how to leverage what we...
  • How to learn anything quickly: leverage the vocabulary

    Originally published on Medium The 80/20 principle applied to learning (toine Garnier on Unsplash) Mental models caught my attention a few months ago. Selling the promise of becoming smarter and efficient. I was sold. Thus began my journey towards mastering my brain. Every month, I choose to master a new mental model. Here’s numero uno. The 80/20...
  • How to break through the trap of consumerism

    Originally published on Medium Do you really need that new dress? (Rema Rozay on Unsplash) Premise 1: Humans, being social, like to be accepted in society Premise 2: Individuals build the society. However, not everyone gets an equal say. It’s the high worth, influential components of society that determine the rules. Premise 3: Individuals who became high...
  • How not to be afraid of git anymore

    Originally published on Medium Understanding the machinery to whittle away the uncertainty (Been here before? ( https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/git.png )) What is GIT anyway? “It’s a version control system.” Why do I need it? “To version control, silly.” Alright, alright, I’m not being too helpful, yet. Here’s the basic idea: As projects get too large, with too many contributors,...
  • Why keeping things in a mess is the most optimal algorithm

    Originally published on Medium Conventional wisdom is wrong (by John Weinhardt on Unsplash) If you’re after efficiency and productivity in your life, it’s time to ditch the conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom is wrong. I started on this journey a little over 3 months ago. Armed with a degree in computer science, practical experience, and great books, I’m...
  • Writing isn't about more

    Originally published on Medium A manifesto for writing (by Jane Palash on Unsplash) Writing isn’t about more, it’s about less. Can you get your point across with the least amount of fluff? Can you ignite emotions without wasting words? If what you write makes sense, if you can create the flow from one word to the next,...
  • How to escape mediocrity

    Originally published on Medium A Commencement Speech for myself (Source) It’s time for my convocation and my birthday too. A week from now, I’ll be a post-graduate. I’ve decided not to attend the ceremony — partly because I’ve lost respect for degrees and partly because I don’t want to make the effort of going back to India so...
  • Making the most out of college

    Originally published on Medium Advice from someone who just graduated from IIT (Photo by Vlad Shapochnikov) Last week, I visited my mentor one last time before I leave India to begin my first-ever full time job at Bloomberg in London. He’s in the education industry, teaching kids like me to have an extremely happy life first,...
  • A simplistic explanation to mental models

    Originally published on Medium A few months ago owing to the immense hype and glorification of mental models, in no small part through Elon Musk, I was finally introduced to the idea of Mental Models. Having read through countless “What exactly is a Mental Model?” posts, exploring several mental models, I’ve come to realise that...

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