Birthday Paradox

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What’s the probability that in a room of n people, at least two have the same birthday? It’s higher than you think.

Let $$p(n)$$ be the probability of at least two people having the same birthday. We’ll find $$\overline{p}(n)$$, the probability that no two people share the same birthday. $$p(n) = 1 - \overline{p}(n)$$.



How the Big Short Inspired Me to Make a Risky Bet in Tesla

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The most difficult subjects can be explained to the slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.

Leo Tolstoy 1897

In early February of this year, my roommate Ben recommended I read The Big Short by Michael Lewis. This book tells the story of individuals who foresaw the impending 2008 financial crisis and made off like gangbusters by betting against the housing market.


Good Comedy Is Serious

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I enjoy watching good comedians perform because they often address an underlying, serious issue and introduce me to different perspectives.

Dave Chappelle said he always enjoys scatological humor, but he also said, “I pride myself on saying real shit that people don’t even realize I’m saying.” Chappelle’s parents were professors, and he joked once during Inside the Actor’s Studio that he was “the first person in [his] family not to go to college who had not been a slave.” He moved at the age of 10 from the outskirts of Washington DC to live with his father in Yellow Springs, Ohio. While he was gone the American crack epidemic struck the city and transformed it into “murder capital.” Chappelle said it was as if a “crack bomb” had exploded causing almost everyone he knew to get involved in the drug trade.

For one job during his high school years, he wore a cookie costume with a big chocolate chip on his head and handed out flyers to earn $3.50 an hour while other black youth were making far more money dealing crack. Years later Chappelle filmed the HBO special “Killin’ Them Softly” in which he joked about being chauffered in a limousine by a driver who wanted to make a detour in the ghetto.

(starts at 1:36)


Modest Proposal, Let EasterCon Excuse More Public Inebriation

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New Yorkers don’t drink enough. Sure, the weekend begins Thursday night when people get hammered and stumble hungover into work on Friday and just phone it in until 5pm. But there’s not enough celebrations like SantaCon and Saint Patrick’s Day to excuse dawn-to-dusk pub crawls, revealing outfits, and public urination on Christmas trees. Therefore, I propose the addition of the following new -cons. It’ll be tough to initiate, but I know New Yorkers can do it.

  • ConCon – wear orange jumpsuits and commit felonies
  • LeperCon – dress up as lepers
  • KongCon – dress up in gorilla suits and grab girls while climbing the Empire State Building
  • CongaCon – the city becomes one big Conga line
  • EasterCon – celebrate the end of Lent and Jesus’ resurrection by getting shitfaced at 11am

Remote Pair Programming With Tmux in the Cloud

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I like to pair program with my fellow engineers from time to time when I’m stuck on a problem or want to ensure reviews for complex code changes don’t take a long time. Remote pair programming isn’t as high bandwidth as sitting next to each other, but the experience can be improved with the help of a telephony tool and a shared tmux session in a cloud VM.


How to Setup Ircd-hybrid With SSL on Ubuntu

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Spotify uses IRC (internet relay chat) for instant messaging with an SSL layer for encryption. Everytime I logon I get a (notice) *** You are connected using SSL cipher "RSA-AES-128-CBC-SHA1" banner. Here’s how I setup an encrypted IRC service on my home Ubuntu server. Installing the vanilla ircd-hybrid package is straight forward, but the package in the official repo isn’t compiled with SSL support. I needed to build it myself with the SSL patch.




Farts and Craps With David Xia – Waterboarding

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Waterboarding has been a controversial topic ever since the fall of 2007, when it was widely reported that the CIA was using waterboarding on extrajudicial prisoners and that the Justice Department authorized the procedure as an “enhanced interrogation technique.” Many consider waterboarding torture and a violation of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

I’m in no way trying to diminish the implications waterboarding with this personal experiment. I wanted to experience waterboarding first-hand in order to better understand the context surrounding the debate. I never truly feared for my life because my trusted friends administered the waterboarding and I held a wooden block which I would drop when I couldn’t take anymore. But I can say that when done right, I felt like I was drowning. I had no control over my spasms and gags.