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September 12nd, 2013

上周六跑了二十英里之后被晒到差点昏死在Shoreline Park,结果今晚打球的时候已经凉到接二连三打喷嚏了。太阳公公啊,身材练好了之后还没时间去海边就到了九月,是不是辜负了整个夏天!

夏天过得这么快,就让人感叹人生。前两天和一哥们聊起人生迷惘,虽然说常拿此开玩笑,姑娘什么的都是再小不过的小事。脑子里整天想的,不过是为什么ICF训练要这么久怎么对齐convnet和调试CUDA为什么mosh不支持X11 Forward第二季度的经济复苏什么叫失业Fed的主席以及伊朗的核弹头和原来企业家都是有信仰这件事是真的为什么ultrarunner能够每周都有30多个小时的时间去跑步不能原谅。

现在才知道,Sigona's的最后一批樱桃卖光的时候,夏天就已经结束了。爸爸生日快乐,再过四年,就一个甲子啦。

「喂,冲浪的时候,就是要把小腹的线条露出来给大家看的啊!」

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July 28th, 2013

最近疯狂地迷上了跑步。

刚开始是4英里,6英里,8英里。跑完Tough Mudder之后就想跑更多。跑完half marathon之后又想跑更远。于是10英里,14英里,20英里,24英里,中间又去跑了一个30k。虽然明明知道跑多远都没有意义,也知道Scott Jurek说的素食菜谱不符合营养学,可是大脑控制不住身体的反应,那些多巴胺把身体骗得一愣一愣的,每周六的早上六点钟,身体就从床上自己蹦下来。直到洗漱完毕,穿好衣服出门,大脑才清醒过来,嚷嚷道:「S**t, why did I sign up for this?!」

可是一上路,就只注意到自己的pace了,大脑开始嚷嚷着,「快了!快了!」或「慢了!慢了!」,试图让身体调节。到两英里的时候,是身体首先不干了,跟大脑抗议:「股四头肌好酸!」。右脑开始找理由:「大概是周四的jump squat,早就告诉你今天不要出来,拖到周日养好身体再来!」可是自己继续跑着,跑着跑着,身体就不说话了,忙着调节各个器官做好准备呢。下一次它抗议,要等到10英里的时候,再下一次,要到19英里的时候,然后是22英里的时候。

有说过我喜欢做一些自己也不太知道怎么回事的事情么?这事完全体现了那点。于是直到跑10英里磨破了脚,才知道应该带点创可贴。直到跑16英里没办法移动腿了,才知道应该带点吃的。直到跑到21英里体竭,才知道应该买点盐片和带水。

可是我是有多喜欢那些分泌的多巴胺带来的快感啊。做一件事情,能够投入多少,就看到另一个数字往上跳多少,开心极了。这大概就是Yaniv说的上瘾型人格,应该离大麻,神奇小蘑菇之类的远点。

或许没有这么直接,或许只是大脑和身体玩一个小游戏,想看看在身体完全崩溃的情况下,靠意志力能让它继续行多远。我也好想看看。

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July 6th, 2013

Futurama这种动画片,反而有一些特别Geeky的小感动。比如Philip Fry的爸爸告诉他:「If I'm hard on you, it's only 'cause I want you to grow up strong and resilient. Someday, you may face adversities so preposterous, I can't even conceive of them.」 比如Fry 「moved the stars themselves to write her a love note in the sky.」

昨晚看完了Futurama的Cold Warriors那集之后,就躺在床上一直想父母对我的好。

想折纸,父亲就买了一堆的折纸书,带一大摞一大摞的A4纸回家,天天陪我叠各种小动物、飞机、机器人。想玩水,就有气垫船、快艇和潜水艇模型在后院的小水池里面试验,中心课题是不让它们进水。想要投影仪,母亲带了一堆的小电灯泡、透镜和反光镜,教我做了一个可以投影底片的小机器。想做飞行器,母亲又给了我一堆的马达和轻质材料,让我自己研究。自己搞了几周没有成功后,爸爸又给我买了一架动力滑翔机模型,它是真的可以飞的!父母带着我郊游的时候,他们总是能叫出各种花花草草的名字,可惜笨得我一个都没记住。和另一个朋友聊起来,说自己既不知道各种花花草草的名字,又不会搭帐篷,实在是看不到希望能够做一个称职的父亲。后来家里又有了一台显微镜,没事可以看好多有趣的东西,比如切片树叶,或者根茎,看起来光怪陆离的。也养过蝌蚪、小鸡仔和小乌龟,都没长大过。

一直就这么被父母宠着不知天高地厚,于是在十六岁离家出走的时候,已经会使用电烙铁、补鞋订扣子熨衬衫,还有写代码。之后还仗着被父母宠着,做了好多不靠谱的事情,哪怕到十七岁十八岁了,还给自己买各种昂贵的玩具。过年的时候买个步行机器人,过生日的时候订做了一个Mars Rover的仿品。

奇奇怪怪地活到现在,总觉得自己什么都懂也什么都会做,其实那是因为被两个人溺爱着,看不到世界的尖酸刻薄罢了。

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June 14th, 2013

People know that I talked about this two for quite some time. Since I won't work on either of them commercially (the self-driving vehicle is more like a hobby project than anything else), it is probably better to write it down than talk it repeatedly to friends until made myself boring.

Self-driving

"Top Gear" is a pretty entertaining show until it went offensive. In a recent episode, James May went to Nevada and tried to compete with an autonomous vehicle. Jeremy Clarkson apparently didn't understand self-driving vehicle and claimed that was no use for day to day life: because you were in it, when it transports you. But then, in London, you have a real issue when comes parking your classic luxury cars.

Self-driving vehicle would be the affordable private driver for everyone. Take a step back and think about parking. A car with a private driver would never worry about parking. It drops you off, and it is someone else's (driver's) problem. For self-driving vehicles, the driver is the computer. It can drop you off at the exact location you want to be, and then park itself a few miles away. When you need it to pick you up, send a message and it will be there in minutes.

When you start to consider the machine from utilitarian perspective, there are two contradicting thinkings. On one hand, the ownership over the vehicle would not be as important as of now. It is a machine that brings you from one place to another, and that's it. Why own it if you can use it wherever you are, whenever you want? On the other hand, it could be extremely personal, because a vehicle is not for a whole family any more. It is for you, and yours only. It carries you around, like you carry your smartphone around. You don't need to drop your kids to school, and then your wife to work. The vehicle carries them around, on their schedule.

In a self-driving vehicle world, these vehicles can get awkwardly small, think about SMART. There are some interesting aspects to urban planning. But other than we will get rid of all parking structures in the city, I haven't explored much (or have any experience in urban planning).

Glass

When people think about Glass, now it always involves privacy. Privacy is a solvable problem. Companies or unions can mandate a chip into Glass and then you have devices that can disable Glass in certain areas (like restroom, poker room etc.). Putting that aside, at its basic, Glass is a neat and affordable head-mounted display (HMD). We were under the impression that Glass should be a hand-free device, and cornered ourselves in the imperfect world of speech recognition. Talking to HMD is a very awkward situation. Even Bluetooth headphone is there for a good 5-year, the world is still not ready for out-of-place conversation between man and air.

Glass is intriguing because it is the first commercialized everyday head-mounted display. You can take a casual 10-mile run with it, and Glass will tell you how fast you did, how far you've covered, and where is the next turn, you can even compete with your previous self, in real-time.

When is the last time you ordered coffee? What if a barista can remember your preference perfectly and smoothly because Glass recognizes you from a month ago?

When dreaming up these applications, we usually are taken to a futuristic direction far, and naturally, stretching Glass from a display interface to a new interaction interface. Misled by Javis in Ironman, we want it to listen to us, and that seems to be the only reasonable way to interact with such a futuristic device. It doesn't have to be. There is nothing wrong with a small pocket size physical keyboard, as long as it works reliably. Is that not "natural" any more ("natural" in the same sense of now-dominate touch-screen interface)? A touch-screen interface creates a dynamic surface that gets mapped on to physical objects. A head-mounted display creates a dynamic surface in a fixed position of your view. There won't be a direct interaction because it doesn't map to a physical object.

Transformative Technologies

There are three kinds of transformative technologies. 1). The technical transformative one: things like smartphone, LED, or color film. Once these things are invented, it almost takes no time to get adopted and wide-spread. 2). The cultural transformative one: things like electric vehicle, TV or mobile phone. It replaces old cultural symbols (petrol station, news distribution, or public telephone), sometimes even delivers temporary social shocks (people can find you 24x7!), but given 10 to 20 years, its superiority will convince majority. 3). The institutional transformative one: things like online education, printing machine, or spinning jenny. These transformative technologies are most disruptive ones, they rendered the old institutions that we set up obsolete. It takes a good long time struggling, and the best people of our time, to make these institutional changes, I have nothing but only admiration to them.

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May 21st, 2013

七年前的时候,听说小学时候的一个同学疯了。五年前的时候,他从家里跑出来,在马路上被车撞死了。

小学五年级的时候,班主任夸我和他说我们都是能考上北大清华的孩子。结果我们都没有高考。

前两天加州下雨的时候,坐在阳台上吃早餐,突然想到了这段往事,就打不住地想,当时他的脑子里都在想些什么,是一些记忆的片段吗?还是在自己思维的牢笼里面,不能自拔。

我二十六岁的时候,他却被定格在了二十岁的那年。远远地看着我庸俗的活着,自己被谈不上崇高的理想所背叛,只能毫无意义的死去。

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March 28th, 2013

居无定所。几周前,吃饭的时候,Kate表示很惊异我十六岁就离家出走了。我自己也一惊,算下来,一年就一两周见父母的日子已经过了十年了。周一晚上十二点回到住处,把打包的衣服都挂起来,又把房间打扫打扫,就用了半个小时。坐在沙发上的时候,才突然有一股安定下来的家的感觉,吓出了一身冷汗。

十年前的时候和某人说总有一天会到斯坦福,两个月前站在校园里的某个塔上,想到这件事,突然觉得很好笑。脆弱的自信大概就是这么来的,虽然计划漏洞百出,时间一再延期,也靠着运气八九不离十地能完成一些。想到这点,平时没道理的自信,就突然害怕起来:害怕这样的好运气没办法持续下去,害怕自己的下一个十年计划出错了再没有补救的机会,害怕被大家讨厌,害怕有一天没有意义的死去。

上周在纽约的时候,见了好几个十年八年没见的朋友。放心地到处漂泊,从来不担心不会再见,因为人在江湖,后会有期嘛。但是和某个朋友吃饭的时候,当我问他,最近有什么好玩的事情,他却说,都在看一些学术的东西,才知道,当年躺在床上聊女人和中国经济的日子再追已经来不及了。另一个朋友,也反复跟我说,只有每天想得乐观点,才有动力活下去啊。当年如此相似的两人,怎么就变得这么不一样了。

我想我最大的问题,是自己想做的和自己能做的之间的巨大鸿沟。瞧,那个人挥着剑骑着马从远方冲来,叫嚣着要打败时间。

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March 27th, 2013

上周见了几个七八年没理的朋友,大家纷纷表示我已经长老了。为了表示不服老,决定开始写几篇素描的文章,提起笔好久,却总也写不出来,只好放弃了。

人物素描

最近一个月脑子里老有两个形象不时浮现出来,但是又想不出来一个合情合理的故事,又怕过段时间忘了,于是抓紧时间写下来。

1). 一回到家,他立刻把头盔给摘了下来,满脸的油污也不顾,打开冰箱就找。酒呢,酒呢?冰箱里,橱柜里,大瓶小瓶的都不见了。翻遍了橱柜,衣柜,储物室,一点酒精也没有了。又气又恼,他一下瘫倒了在地板上。半晌才爬起来,去洗手间洗了把脸,却发现了一旁的漱口水。漱口水也是有酒精的。想到这点,他拧开了瓶子,给自己倒上了一杯,一饮而尽。趴在洗脸台上剧烈地咳嗽了好久,才感觉到酒精的味道,大脑晕晕的。

2). 她坐在桌子的后面,

时刻

1). 快到11点的时候,才从办公室里出来。裹着厚厚的大衣,在路边吃了两串烤鸡肉串,喝了一杯清酒,和卖烤串的老头说笑了几句,就匆匆跳上了午夜的地铁。右手抓着栏杆等着地铁启动的时候,眼睛开始无聊地打量车厢,余光却瞥到她就坐在面前的椅子上,身体前倾,也在无聊地四处张望。于是我开始仔细地偷偷看她:双手把大衣紧紧抱住,好像一松手,半夜仅有的一点力气就会泄了出来。玛瑙一样的眸子,胡乱转着。发现了我在看她,刚一对视,就互相把目光转向了别处,过了两秒,却又忍不住都转了回来。就这样到了59街。

2). 我在Piet Mondrian的画前足足站了一刻钟。好喜欢他画里的淡蓝底色,看着仿佛都能闻出来的味道。身后的那个男孩不知道什么时候也矗立过来的,随便地穿着一个套头衫,双手插在牛仔裤的裤包里,也目不转睛地看着这幅画,清亮的眼睛里发着光。他喜欢的是什么,又为什么站在这,透过厚厚的镜片,我怎么也看不清楚。

3). 在天台的吸烟区,他点燃一支烟,

据说每个人都有一个半径一米的安全圈,只有完全信任的人才进得来。可是在城市里的来去匆匆间,总有一些陌生人,生生闯进了我们的安全圈,又没有一句话地离开,在两眼的对望间,彼此分享了片刻的宁静时光。

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March 6th, 2013

今天突然有友人说看了我最近在Facebook的大放厥词之后也开始悔恨人生。其实虽然说得狠毒,恨可能还有一点,但却没什么可后悔的。这两天没事就在看Wikipedia的List of fallacies,真是随时都值得复习,否则就陷入Historian's fallacy了。之所以不后悔,因为从小到大对自己有影响的决定都是自己做的,有冲动的,比如前一天还在家游泳吃火锅吃拉面,第二天就飞到上海去考试;有不计后果的,比如跟Ellen吹牛B说要从清华辍学,就真辍学的;但是没有一个决定是靠抛硬币或者完全听从他人的意见。这样,就算有时间机器把我放到同样的环境下,依旧会做出同样的决定:决定去偷懒,决定去迟到,决定去辍学,决定去睡懒觉,然后到25岁的时候决定回顾过去仍然一事无成。

我想最近和生活最大的妥协是承认了自己是这么一个懒惰软弱多嘴爱发脾气和崩溃的不完美的胖子,但是仍然固执地相信努力和时间可以改变基因的不良。

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February 27th, 2013

The only place with a free sweet shop is the kindergarten.

One year ago today, dragged the two luggages with me for seven years, officially moved to the Bay area. Many told me that this year would change me quite a bit, to summarize, "in big corp, it is either becoming a schemer or being schemed". Yes, in terms of life style, I changed a lot: leaner, stronger, and haven't had a slice of pizza for 11 months. But no, I am neither becoming a schemer nor schemed, and am still that kid who knows the only way to play the game is to brute-force and all in, the kid who is crazy in love with all the beautiful things and wants to lick them.

It is not that one is foolish enough to be blind of the brutally cruel world with too much personal inconveniences. One cannot. But in the kindergarten, I am given the freedom to choose either developing my own sophisticate rules to adapt it, or to be shielded and being simple, therefore, focusing mental energy on important, bigger, common, human-shared inconveniences. The kindergarten treats me comfortably to make a deal with my nomadic while annoying life that dominates the past 10 years.

But the best bit in the kindergarten is that I am no longer the only kid with crazy impractical ideas, and adults took them all seriously to discuss and put in motion if possible. Oh, these amazingly cool, handsome and knowledgeable adults, so eagerly trying to learn as much from them I am!

While running faster, asked myself, what would be like in the kindergarten for the next 6 months? Cannot wait.

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February 19th, 2013

记得小时候还是普通的小孩,怕老鼠,怕蟑螂,过年天天吃好吃的,打牌,玩游戏,看动画就高兴得不得了。长大之后反而变得倔强,六七年过年都不曾回家。其中还有一年是在北京,钱包里只有十几块钱,孤独地一个人啃着四分之一只冷的烤鸭,围着电脑看春晚,躺在一张气垫床上度过的,那大概是我人生的最低点了。之后,笃信着春蚕到死丝方尽,语不惊人死不休的我便发誓说任何节日对我再无任何的意义,私人的,或公共的。幻想着要是没有情绪该多好,偏偏却是个情感过剩的胖子,咬一口脆脆甜甜的烤鸭皮就能激动得掉眼泪,呷一口故乡的苦丁茶就能半天打不起精神的感伤。只好说更多不知轻重的话,仿佛就能大大方方地生活在语言编制的牢笼里了一样。理想中的我自己,没有情绪,只会一往无前地做重要的事。现实中的自己,却懒惰任性,任凭感情泛滥还不知检点。

记得在我人生最低点的那年除夕,在凌晨的几点钟,有朋友捎了一个饭盒过来,里面有五六个饺子,两根香肠。