About Me!

This is a bit of an unconventional about page. I'm always finding new interesting things to work on or enjoy, so this about page is just two sets of lists: what I'm working on and what I'm enjoying.

I swear, I'll update these regularly!

What I'm Working On

I'm always working on something. I don't know what is about programming, but I can never get enough of it. This list, like most of the lists on this site, is just triggered from a collection of markdown files. When a side project is completed, I'll move it into '/projects'.

government.py

I had a wild idea one day on the way to work: what if you used OOP to build a government simulator. You could test the relative conservativeness or liberalness of governmental structures themselves.

Everything is composed of Voters and Laws. Voters decide between Laws in elaborate structures we call "institutions". So I built a library that represents Voters and Laws as points in n-dimensional political space.

If a law's political position in that space is too far from the voters (i.e., the distance between the voter's point in political space and the law's position) is greater than the voter's compromise distance (a single number rather than an n-tuple coordinate point), then the voter votes no. Else, yes.

From there we build constituencies, offices (that are really just a voter elected by their constituency), political bodies (i.e., legislatures), and so-on, and so-forth. Run simulations, see what percentage of laws get passed.

It's been about a week since I hacked on it, and there's a bug that means the US passes every single law, but we're getting there. I'd like to run simulations on different distributions of political positions: right now it's Belle Curve shaped. I'd like to see what happens if political positions are Well Curve shaped (i.e., polarized).

icc2 / anno.wiki 2

This is the second iteration of the ICC (see projects), with improved data architecture and a single-page application front end based in React. Using Elasticsearch to store texts and PostgreSQL to store annotations and general application data allows for faster incremental searching. I also wrote more sophisticated text processors for breaking text into 100k byte chunks and annotating stylistic elements, while stripping all styling from the raw text.

Annowiki is something I've been working on for four years now. I'll probably never stop, and hopefully one day it will be more than just an intellectual exercise.

miscellaneous

Lately, I've been learning C. Or re-learning, since I learned it (badly) years ago. I went through the course work on learn-c.org and am now working through this cool tutorial on building your own editor in C.

I'm interested in scientific computing, and one opportunity I'm interested in would require me to learn C++, so I think I might start learning it (beyond the little I've gotten from Arduino).

That opportunity will also greatly benefit from more ML, so soon I'll start working through more of Kaggle's course work.

I was toying with the idea of learning Go or Rust, but Rust still seems pretty niche, and Go is not as useful as the Gophers make it out to be. Sure it's fast, but I think learning C/C++ may be more useful in the real world for a while. I went through the Go tutorial, but not much farther than that.

What I'm Enjoying

I have a lot of varied interests. I won't say I go through hobbies like butter, but they change, sometimes frequently.

These are the hobbies I'm enjoying right now.

Coffee

I was one of those young people that hated coffee. Hated it. Sometime in my late twenties that changed, hard. I discovered the pleasure of black, third wave coffee.

I once counted all the methods of coffee I have the ability to brew at a moment's notice and it was around thirteen. I mostly make V60 but on the weekends I'll do a nice Americano with my Flair or a pot of Syphon coffee.

I roast my own a lot these days, with a popcorn popper I rigged up with an Arduino for PID control (see my projects page) and Artisan Scope.

Have you ever tried dropping a quarter ounce of fresh espresso into a Negroni? Mein gott.

🍸 Mixology

I love cocktails. I used to love wine, but that gets boring because you just pay for other people's work. Right now I'm sipping a Frenchie Negroni with an orange wheel. It's just a Negroni spiked with a little St. Germain, but this is what I love about cocktails: I just concoct stuff from base recipes and google and there's a name for it. If there isn't, hey! I discovered a cocktail!

Aztec Old Fashioned (a riff on the Oaxacan)

  • 1½ oz. El Tesor Reposado Tequila
  • ½ oz. Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
  • 1 barspoon Agave Syrup
  • 2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura
  • 1 dash Lime Acid (94% water, 4% citric acid, 2% malic acid, 0.04% succinic acid)
  • 1 dash Bittermens Habanero Shrub

Stir over ice, strain onto a large clear ice block, flame an orange peel on top, and serve.

I really take all my hobbies to the nth degree. I've learned to make clear ice per the Camper English method, make syrups like Death & Co. does it, and use acids like Dave Arnold. I stir, shake, muddle, smoke, infuse, and filter. The only thing I haven't gotten to try yet is liquid nitrogen.

I wrote a 5000 word essay on the Negroni and Political Psychology if you're interested.

📖 Reading

I love reading, but I can't always manage it. Sometimes my attention span gets the better of me.

Lately I've been resetting by enjoying some guilty pleasures: science fiction. I grew up reading scifi like there was nothing else. Sometimes, when I have trouble reading, I just grab a scifi book to unwind and get back into the spirit of things.

Recently I've read Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (AMAZING) and Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (really pretty mediocre). I tried The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and maybe I'll try again to finish it but it's just nowhere near as good as Obama said. The ideas are cool, but it's just really a chore to read.

Much more interestingly than all of that, I've been devouring the Revelation Space trilogy. I finished the first 2 and am now starting the third.

I'm hoping to get back to some really good high-brow literature, the kind of stuff that inspired anno.wiki, but I'll give it some time.