Autonomous driving cars

One of the arguments that I have often heard is that in the competition amongst self driving cars, Tesla has an advantage because it has more cars on the road, thereby collecting a LOT more data than any of the other companies’ (Apple, Uber, Google) cars.

I don’t buy that argument.

Tesla surely has a lot more cars with consumers who have purchased cars from roadster onwards, but it sure doesn’t have the data that it needs to train the car to drive by itself. Having cars driven around every street of the world under all kinds of conditions is not all. The car needs to be able to collect data using *many* sensors (cameras, LIDAR, speed, road conditions, traffic sensing and so on). Only then would their computers be able to learn how to drive the car in the conditions that are presented to them.

To build autonomous cars, a *lot* of data needs to be collected about the road conditions and it might also be useful to have a person sit in the car and point out things that may not be obvious to all the sensors in the car. So Tesla’s argument that their cars will become autonomous sooner than others because they have more miles on them is not cool.

Sugar: Fine, white and deadly

The cynical me rarely finds something that is written by somebody else so moving. This is about an article on nutrition – one that describes sugar as a much bigger culprit than say saturated fat. It describes the macro-economic and political reasons behind fat being declared the villain and the massively negative effects of the nutrition guidelines set up government(s) on the population.

Got this from @limnephilidae and I have read it more than once and also took out a PDF version (just in case they decide to put it behind a paywall). So please go ahead, do yourself a favour and read this.

The original article is at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/07/the-sugar-conspiracy-robert-lustig-john-yudkin

PDF Version, readable. 24 pages: Sugar

We over value patience

Can we call this piece below by Meryl Steep the patience manifesto ?

Source.

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” _ Meryl Streep

Making money

So here is an idea.

For some really popular, outstanding products that make you drool and want to buy them right away, you may occasionally also have the opportunity to earn more money by purchasing equity in that company. Two such companies come to mind: Apple and Tesla. They both make products that are experiencing massive demand and this only means good profits for the company.

I did a retrospective calculation where I listed every product of Apple that I have purchased so far and calculated what would happen if I had also purchased Apple stock worth the same money at the same time.

I started with my first Macbook (May 2008) and iPod (December 2008) all the way to my most recent one, an iPhone 5 (Dec 2012). I pulled out historical stock data from Google finance and figured that if I had also put in the same amount of money in purchasing Apple stock, the value of my stock today would be about 2.6 times that of the money I invested in.  It is roughly 17% IRR. If you’re really curious send me a note and I will send you the calculations.

So the point is this: Mortals (like me) who are not frequent investors in stock have this very good way to find out which stock is a good one: Just by observing demand in the environment around you. Does the Micromax A110 sell for a premium at the shop, or is there are several months worth of backlogs in the delivery of the latest Ford vehicle that just launched ? Buy that stock if you can!

I badly want to own a Tesla. I also am unable to afford it – unless, well I buy Tesla stock and it earns me enough to buy it!

Shhh! don’t tell anyone. 

 

Now for the disclaimers:

1) I am not suggesting that purchasing stock is an alternative to purchasing the product. The above is just a tool to measure

2) This doesn’t always work though as is the popular case of Oculus Rift, the company that raised its’ seed money on Kickstarter and later on sold out to Facebook for a couple of billion dollars while the original ‘seeders’ did not have any upside from those billions. (To be fair to Oculus, they did deliver on what they said they would to their initial backers, so no harm done by them deliberately – it just isn’t the right money earning forum for backers who should look elsewhere).

Thomas Was Alone

UnityPlayer.175x175-75

There was a time when this awesome little game was only available on Steam for just under $2. It has an amazing soundtrack to it, is very playful in its’ narration (reminds you of Portal series).

They’ve realized their under-pricing now and launched on the Mac App Store for $8.99.

It is still worth twice more than that. So go ahead, download the game and HAVE. A. BALL.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/thomas-was-alone/id859229050?mt=12

On marriage

I learnt this from a big bro I respect-a-lots! These words, mark them down, tattoo them on your arm.

the key is not to marry the right person but, to be the right person

I think  I am going to absorb this for a bit more time.

your addiction cycle

I am rarely two minutes away from my phone at any point in the day. No other object comes this close to me. So obviously I have developed a fondness for it and it leads me to pick it in my hands.

Sometimes I don’t know why I have held it in my hand though and I find myself fiddling with it. I do a series of things with it:

press the home button, slide right to unlock it
look for whatsapp and sms messages
check my email
check facebook
open twitter
open instagram
open zite, decide not to click on anything because those articles are too long and I don’t have time to read.
same for pocket
see what my friends are doing on foursquare and path
open kindle, see the list of unread books, close it.
check the temperature and forget why I needed to know it.
scroll past to the next page of apps and look for something important there but don’t find anything.

The above is what I call an addiction cycle. James Altucher also mentions about his addiction cycle in one of his blog posts. These are dangerous routines because I estimated that I do it about twice every waking hour. Sometimes even when I wake up in the middle of the night for water.

Your time goes to this dungeon of unproductivity and is never going to come back. So learn to overcome this.

Like most bad habits, this one can be overcome by looking for cues that tell your brain you are now in to this addiction and then have a series of mechanical responses programmed into your head that you blindly follow.

For instance, every time I now unlock my phone, I ask myself

What specific task do I want to accomplish when I unlock this phone ?

If the answer is not satisfactory, I stop there.

A peeve about Linkedin

When I search for a name on Google the linkedin profile does come often as a first option. Which is great. But I hate that when I click on that link, linkedin only shows me a short summary of the profile even when I am logged in to linkedin.
The Googlebot I am sure sees the entire profile of the user in all its’ glory because that information is indexed and retrieved by Google for it to show the right result.

So it is just Linkedin that decides to show a page of partial information to the logged in user making them click an extra button, possibly upgrade them to a premium plan or whatever it is their super smart product managers think is worthy.

It is my peeve as a user of linkedin though and I hope they provide information to me who is a user in the fastest way and in a way that the Googlebot sees.

#100happydays

From Rhea Malvai (link) I learnt the meaning of the hashtag #100happydays. Matt Cutts too, in his TED Talk (link) speaks of a way to form habits by repeatedly doing things for 30 days. His point is that if you can sustain a good habit for 30 days, your chances of holding to it are much higher after that.

One of the important and regular things I want to add in my life is the feeling of gratitude and happiness. Many people and events have inspired me to do so but one that stands out is the episode of This American Life (link). This one was narrate by Michael Lewis and tells the story of a guy who has a story about how he got in to college which is quite a romantic story and is one that re-inforces your faith humanity. Except that it is not true — all of it. He has this way of adding his perspective on regular events that make the world around him look much brighter. That episode is a life changer to me.

So I started this little experiment some time back.

I spend a few minutes every day thinking of at least one thing in the day that is a reason to be happy. Not a lot, just one thing. Even on a shitty day when you have a lot of things not going the way you want, you can always look for one thing to be happy about.

This is the 21st day and I can tell you that it is a good idea and has changed my thinking if not at all times at least for some time in the day.

Now on to making this a habit – Should be easy.