Enough of #TOTD (a tag that I had been using for "thought of the day"). Everything I post here is a "thought" anyways. Also, I quickly gave up on the "daily" aspect of it.
#TOTD running an entire data center to mine cryptocurrencies should be an environmental crime. If a rule like that were enforced globally, people would eventually innovate and come up with a "green" bitcoin.
#TOTD Four years into my graduate program and I just find out that inkscape has a "diagram connectors" feature. I've spent so much time designing block diagrams by hand!
#TOTD I hate how in the US we have to buy medical "insurance". Insurance makes sense for things likes cars and houses, not humans. Cars don't have chronic problems or syndromes. Cars don't have preexisting conditions (you normally get a factory warranty). If a car is beyond repair, you eventually get a new one and move on. I think making something as complex as healthcare fit the shape of insurance is dehumanizing.
#TOTD People say that capitalism has failed us, but capitalism's goal was never to please us in the first place. We failed to give capitalism the right cost function to optimize for. I think a good way to steer the optimization is to introduce penalties for undesirable behavior. That is, taxes! In the US we tax income, property, and profit. Unsurprisingly, the wealthy have found ways to hide all of those. We should tax wealth directly and carbon, sugar, empty apartments, etc
#TOTD two thoughts on existential crises. 1. I should feel lucky that I have the luxury of going down existential rabbit holes, contemplating my own existance and purpose; I don't have to worry much about food or shelter. It would be great if everyone could have that privilege. 2. Existential crises are extremely counterproductive given any sort of material goal. Want to go to Mars? Sitting there and contemplating your existence will not take you there.
#TOTD As an engineer you quickly learn to appreciate how any dynamic system is just a series of energy connections. For example: any driver knows what the brake pedal does; a technician understands how it works, with the caliper pressing the pads against the disc; an engineer, however, understands that deceleration is nothing but a conversion of energy: from kinetic to heat. The car will lose velocity by the same rate as the brakes heat up. Power simply has to go somewhere.
#TOTD I like the idea of exoskeletons for rehabilitation (e.g. make paraplegic people walk again) but I dislike human enhancement stuff. Why use an exoskeleton to lift 1000 lbs? Just use a remote controlled robot, or a fork lift! Want to run at 60 mph? Use a car! Just imagine if something goes wrong with the control system or the freaking battery connector fails while the user is lifting 1000 lbs above their head.
#TOTD it annoys me that I can at least pretend to intuitively understand springs and dampers (friction) but I don't get why inertia exists. Sure, it's a fundamental law, Newton's 2nd, D'Alembert's principle, varies kinetic energy, etc. No idea why the universe decided to work in that manner. If masses warp space, why does it take force to accelerate mass but not to keep it going?
#TOTD My native language, Portuguese, has a cool feature that English doesn't have. The word "ai" pronounced ah-ee means "there where you are". It pretty much can only be used in conversation. I like it because, unlike "there", it is completely unambiguous. Another cool feature: days of the week are just numbers. Monday is 2nd, Tuesday is 3rd, ... Friday is 6th.
#TOTD Op-amps (and by extension in-amps) are amazing devices. Recently, when debugging an analog circuit, I noticed that the output of a buffer was measuring half Vdd with the input floating. However, when I tried to measure the voltage at the input I could only read zero. The cool part is the output of the op-amp would also swing to ground when I was reading the input. It turns out the generic op-amp has higher input impedance than my multimeter, which pulled down the input.
#TOTD I really doubt we will have people on the moon by 2024, as is the current plan. And that's if they don't end up canceling the Artemis program due to coronavirus related budget cuts.
#TOTD I am very much in favor of UBI and I am confident it will be adopted in the future. My one fear is it will not be implemented with a strong wealth tax system in place. UBI would still work, but would have the unintended consequence of separating even further the capital owners from the renters / consumers. If we don't like how much influence the 1% have in politics today, imagine if they were 1000x wealthier. Under those optics, UBI is a poweful anti-revolution tool.
#TOTD This is a question that a colleague asked me a couple years ago, and it just keeps coming back to me. If one becomes informed about the damage that our meat consumption is causing on the planet, does it become immoral for one to consume meat? Say, if you watch a couple documentaries on Netflix and continue consuming meat, does that make you a bad person? I don't really have an answer. I think about it every time I eat a burger.
#TOTD An all-electric future would be great, but it gives me the feeling that we'd be putting all eggs into one basket. Electric energy is not as easy to store as chemical energy. Example: if there were a major power outage and all the vehicles that we need to use to go and fix the outage are electric, we could be in deep trouble.
#TOTD I've always been pro legalization of drugs. All drugs! It would reduce crime, mass incarceration, and save a ton of money. Also, people should be allowed to do whatever they want to their own bodies. More recently, I have come to realize that legalizing wouldn't solve the largest problem of all: why people get addicted in the first place. It would just make it easier for people that are addicted to obtain more and more drugs, potentially leading them to an earlier OD.
#TOTD If you are in grad school, take the time to do QUALITY work. Try to go down an extra level of abstraction; learn about every single component of your design or setup; read the docs; look up best practices; track those weird behaviors that only happen seldomly. You have the time, this is your job. Your future self will thank you
As an experiment, I have decided that I will try to post one lesson learned or thought per day. I am interested in the idea of keeping a journal, but I am not willing to fully commit yet. I am hoping this will will be like a lite journal experience, to help me ease into the idea. I will use #TOTD for "thought of the day".