Go, Starcraft and AI

MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2016

It's been approximately a week since the showmatch between DeepMind's AlphaGo and Lee Sedol came to a close. As someone who recently started playing go (around a year ago), I couldn't help but take some interest in the game. AlphaGo won 4-1, marking a moment that people thought would be coming a decade from now.

This was my first time watching a televised go match, and I have to say that the official DeepMind stream, as well as the AGA stream both did a great job of explaining what was happening. Whenever I thought a play was insane, one of the 9d pro commentators would explain how reasonable of a response it was.

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Years ago, when I started this blog, I just assumed that eventually this site would end up as the top search result. From what I understand about the basics of SEO, having the domain counts for a lot. The site is also relevant to me, and I have links from various social media accounts back to this site. After about a year, I toppled the formidable "Lee Ainsle Maverick Capital" results. Further below would be my social media accounts, and then LinkedIn and Facebook generic profile searches.

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Living in South Bay Without a Car

THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015

I've now been living in South Bay, or more specifically Mountain View for almost two years now. For anyone not familiar with the area, South Bay is essentially one contiguous block of suburbia, and an area in which they also fit many of the world's leading technology companies. The low desnity housing combined with mediocre public transportation options leads most people to cave in and eventually buy a car. I've remained steadfast in my decision to not buy a car, but occasionally someone will ask me how I do anything, given how far apart things are spread.

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Retirement Savings as a Canadian in America


Disclaimer: I'm not a tax person. Some of this may be wrong. This is a summary of what I've found and researched, but if you see anything wrong, please leave a comment and I will update it.

Various people have been asking me recently about this sort of stuff and what they should do, so I decided to write something that will hopefully clarify what options are available to Canadians.

A little background...

In Canada, there are two primary account types used for retirement. First, you have the RRSP, which is a tax deferred account. An advantage of this is that any amount you put into the RRSP reduces your taxable income now, and instead pay income when you withdraw from it. If you anticpate having a lower income in retirement (which is a typical case) you would pay less income tax over your lifetime overall. Another advantage is that any amount saved in income tax in the present can be used for additional investment. The second type of account is the TFSA. In this account you put in post-income tax money, but any investment gains in this account are no longer taxed. The yearly contribution limit for this account in $5500.

In America, you have the 401k and the IRA. These both come in two forms: Roth and traditional. The traditional forms are tax deferred accounts, so contributions are deducted from present income, but will incur income tax upon withdrawal. The Roth forms require post-tax deposits, but any gains will not be taxed, assuming you withdraw at age 59.5 or above. As far as I understand, not every employer gives access to a 401k, but you can always create an IRA on your own. The maximum contribution for 401k in 2015 is $18000 and $5500 for IRA. Rf your income is over $114k, access to Rotth accounts starts to phase out, stopping completely at $129k. If your income is over $129k, you can still contribute to a traditional IRA / 401k.

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One (Work)Week Vegan Challenge

SUNDAY, JUNE 15, 2014

This past week, I engaged in a work week vegan challenge along with a few coworkers. This was actually something I had wanted to do for a while, but I was too afraid to do it alone, and none of my non-vegetarian coworkers would join in. Luckily, my team has been very health concious recently, so when I brought up the vegan challenge once again, there were finally some people who would do it with me. In truth, I had wanted someone to suffer along with me as I tried this crazy-for-me diet. 3 other people were foolish enough to join along (let's call them Tim, Ann, and Joe). We agreed to go from midnight Monday to end of day Friday.

There wasn't any real point to this challenge, it was mostly an experiment that I didn't want to conduct alone. To me, there were two open questions: Does being vegan really suck that much? Do I have enough willpower to pull it off? After this ordeal, and as a usual meat eater, I've no doubt in my mind that being vegan really does suck. As far as willpower goes, it wasn't too bad, and I actually enjoyed the taunting from my meat eating coworkers. The biggest test of willpower was when Ann and I lined up for cookie ice cream sandwiches along with the team and had to listen to them tell us how delicious they were. We both held the ice cream sandwiches in our hands before giving them away.

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