Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A fresh new morning it was.. supposedly..
but seeing an image of those red roof tops,
he knew that even after traveling around the world ,
his heart would always be in those old streets and gray skies
and squeaky wooden doors.

He thought of a television reporter coming to him,
after all these wars and problems were over,
when old loves were finally reunited, asking him:

`Was it worth waiting 20 years for?'

and he would answer

No. Waiting is like smoking or eating junk food . It's always bad.
I tried my best not to do any waiting.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The only way to cope with life being disappointing for
long periods in a row is to develop the ability to tangibly feel how
observing the disappointment is burning the negative karma.

You want something, some recognition, some attention from someone.
Every moment you think - maybe it will come now..or maybe now..
but it doesn't come..
every moment you are disappointed..every moment you feel the opportunity to
observe that negative emotion, and let it dissolve another small chunk of your ego,
let it take you back to earlier emotions and experiences from childhood and previous lives.

Let every disappointment ground you a bit more in the peace and joy that is unconditional.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The illusion, and the secret

In the movie `The Secret', they like to talk about a secret kept from the `common people' to prevent them from being successful.
I think the big misconception or illusion in our society is:

Some moments are more important than others.

This is actually taken to the extreme of:

99.999% of moments are insignificant, and once or twice in your lifetime you will have moments that shape your life.

A nice example of this extreme, is in the back to the future movies, where a few key events -  like whether Marty's father stands up to Biff, completely change the future,
the future dynamics and relationships of the people involved, their type of career and success in that career.

This kind of thinking leads to laziness and desperation which are two sides of the same coin in this case.

- laziness cause you think It doesn't matter what I do most of the time, except in those moments where I meet the girl of my dreams, or have some other special opportunity, so I might as well just sit in front of youtube at best, some sick site about sex between cats and goats at worst (of course my real perversions have nothing to do with cats and goats, otherwise I would not feel comfortable writing that.. I'm sure in a year or two everybody will have the app to see what porn sites their facebook friends use.)

-desperation/apathy cause you think - OK I either missed my chance, or luck wasn't on my side, in that significant moment, so all is lost..

but it seems the reality is completely different..
your emotional state during a day, and the kind of good events that happen to you during that day,
are in perfect correlation, up to a very high resolution, with the negative and positive actions you have taken.

This is why I choose a few negative and positive behaviors, that I have singled out as having a large impact on my mood, the quality my consciousness, my body,
and use a spreadsheet to track daily how much I am avoiding the negative ones, and applying the positive ones.

I call this spreadsheet `1500 days'. Cause I opened it when there were about 1500 days till I reach 40.
I thought of it as someone giving me a budget of 1500$ and saying let's check back in 5 years to see what you've done with it.
I don't know .. sometimes it's annoying to think about it like this, but sometimes it's fun.
Like being on a budget makes you appreciate everything more.
It reminds me of a time I just got to Canada and got my wallet stolen.
I loned some money from my university host for the weekend, till I get my new ATM card on Monday.

I remember the day before getting the card. Having a fixed amount of money for food,
the burrito I bought for lunch tasting so much better.

An important thing is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing.

For example, I had a period where I was able to avoid the 2 negative biggies I have identified - jerking off and watching TV\youtube, pretty much consecutively for a year.
I haven't been able to do that for a while..
but I say.. OK can I have a 24 hours streak avoiding these things?

I can? I've done that 4 times in a row?
Now can I do 36 hours?.. 48 hours?

It's important to congratulate yourself on these small accomplishments.
Saying `Yes!' inside or outloud.

I go play basketball, and go bouldering once a week now.

I am by far the worst climber, and player out of all the friends I go with.

They are climbing the level 3 or level 4 walls.
I'm usually succeeding a level 1 or level 2 wall up to the top , once or twice
after two hours of being there.
And what I get down I say Yes! like I've just climbed the Everest,
That way I am motivated to progress, rather than freezing myself up in self-criticism.

I compare myself only to myself. I practice compassion and sympathetic joy towards myself, so it will manifest also towards others.

I know my whole motoric development as a small child was way below average, so no sense comparing myself to someone else..

Let me end with an example of the other extreme than the back to the future example.
I've been wasting time almost all day today, and looks like I will continue to do say till 2am.
But just right now, coming back from getting something to eat, and before sitting down for another episode of `the office', I did 2 push ups.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The line between natural and unnatural

I always thought it was a bit arbitrary, how people will say a herb is a `natural'
medicine, and an Aspirin is `artificial'. Aren't they all made from the same components?
Same atoms? Even same molecules I think, cause looking at Wikipedia it seems it's all C,H and O.

Anyway, I was on a `gatherer's trip' where they teach you about different plants and which ones
you can eat (seems almost all of them).

When looking at the leaves of the plants, some having thorns for protection.

I thought of how start-up companies are just as natural as plants.

Some organized phenomena that arises and tries to ensure it's survival.

Some do a better job at it, some worse. Just like the plants.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Putting for  a moment aside what your Mom told
you, what self-improvement seminars have told you,
what movies have told you,

you think - I don't want to be normal,
I don't want to be nice. I don't want to be balanced.
I don't want to have a cat to get over my supposed fear of intimacy.

I just want to float in my imaginary worlds,
aren't I imaginary anyways?

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Who am I?

Like deep questions in mathematics, it can take years to understand what the question is at all,
why is it interesting? why is it not obvious?

It is hard to separate layers of thoughts that answer the question without understanding it..
A thought comes ..` I am an artist.' ..`I am someone who is in love with this person and destined to unite with her' .
We are so busy we do not question the undefined words in these answers.. mainly `I'.

You wake up at 4 in the morning, into silence, a silence you avoid all day and night with problems and dramas and goals.
These are suddenly  not as available at 4am.
You feel the discomfort..
and if you do not run away from it to your favorite internet site,
you discover it's a fascinating field of research..
this consciousness, just made up of tiny  movements of emotion and sensation,
just tiny movements of particles like in any other place in the universe.
You see your most basic assumptions about `I' are just convenient assumptions,
but have nothing to do with the truth.

Monday, January 05, 2015

The difference between math and computer programming

In math, when something doesn't quite work you are sure there is a silly reason why but it's usually a deep reason.
In programming, when something doesn't work, you are sure there is a deep problem, but it always ends up being something silly.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Bitcoin was born as a spam filter

I recently learned that Bitcoin's main component: the `Proof of Work', had it's beginnings in a cool idea of Adam Back called hashcash for preventing spam.
One nice thing about hashcash is that it gives a simple way to explain the PoW concept through puzzles:

The idea is to attach a mathematical puzzle to each email someone wants to send such that:

-The puzzle will be different for each email

-Each puzzle will take a modern computer about a second to solve.

- The recipient will only accept an email if a legitimate answer to the puzzle is included.

- Checking if an answer is legitimate will only take a computer a microsecond.

Why is this useful?
The idea is that for a legitimate user spending a second of computer time is fine for each mail
he\she desires to send.
But for someone wanting to send a spam message to millions of addresses, looking for the one-in-a-million'th person who will aid him in exchange for part of his fortune that the dictator of some African country is currently confiscating, spending a second for each mail will be a big problem.

So this is a mechanism to prove that the person sending you a mail cares enough about specifically you getting it to let his computer work on sending it for a whole second! Talk about sacrifice!

How do these puzzles look like?
What you need to construct the puzzles is something called a psuedurandom function.
What this means is this is some function h such that when you give it an input z,
the output h(z) is a sequence of bits that is completely unpredictable for all practical purposes.

Now, say I want to send an email to firstname.lastname@here.com on the date 1.1.15.
We will think of this address and date as some string of symbols x.
   x= "1.1.15firstname.lastname@here.com".

Now if the person I am sending to is using hashcash, for the mail to be accepted I have to attach a y
such that the hash of x and y starts with 20 zeros.
That is, h(x,y) is a string beginning with 20 zeros.
Since h is pseudorandom, the only way to solve this is to try *alot* of y's, 2^20 on average,
until we find a good one.

.The functions we use as h currently in the world are called SHA-1 and SHA-2.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

One moment, it seems there will never be enough.
The next, richness is all there.
The silence you were afraid of,
becomes your savior.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Being oblivious

Yesterday in the computer science building, I needed to visit a professor and student at the third floor.
Exiting the elevator, someone with a serious face told me `if you could please leave and come back in 10 minutes'.
I thought `ahh some silly security drill, or VIP visiting the department'.
Anyway 15 minutes later from the 5th floor, I heard screaming and crying.
Just then I ran into a friend and asked him `do you hear that? Sounds like something's seriously wrong.'
He kind of shrugged and seemed not to really notice.

Later, it turned out that someone suddenly died in his office.

What occurs to me most is that if I hadn't happened to be blocked from entering the third floor,
I would have also filtered out this screaming and crying (which was not gentle or subtle)..
or brushed it off as some students fooling around.
So just makes you think what kind of things are we filtering out that happen around us every day.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Scott Adams about being embarassed:

You can’t control luck directly, but you can move from a game with bad odds to a game with good odds. The world is like a reverse casino. In a casino, if you gamble long enough, you’re certainly going to lose. But in the real world, where the only thing you’re gambling is, say, your time or your embarrassment, then the more stuff you do, the more you give luck a chance to find you. If you do one thing and stop, you didn’t give luck a chance to find you. You only need one thing to work.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/dilbert-creator-scott-adams-says-passion-is-bs-2013-10#ixzz3IhWylnmW

I also like how Adams talks about combining different skills for success -
he says I'm not the best cartoonist, buisness man, writer, not the funniest guy in the world,
not the most knowledgable in the world about the corporate world,
but the combination of being decent at all these things is what created Dilbert.

I like it cause I'm trying similarly to position myself well using a combination of skills:
I'm not the best mathematician, programmer, or bitcoin expert,
but the combination of being decent at all three, seems to be rare and useful.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Israel - 4% Vegan!

By recent statistics. Whether this statistic is accurate or not, you can definitely feel Veganism getting into the mainstream in Israel: In most Gas stations you can order a Soy-milk cappucino.
All the big coffee and restaurant chains have quite a few vegan options in their menu.
This is of course in addition to hummus and tahini that were always in the main stream making Israel much more vegan-oriented even before the word vegan, or things like tofu and qinoua were known about.

People become activists and want to change the world.
Basically, there are two ways to try to change the world

- try to make others do their role differently
- change the way you do your role

and I think most would agree that the second option is more effective.
And what is our `role' in the world? I think if you are part of the western world,
whatever job you have, your main role is being a consumer.
That is, if you are working 9-5, as opposed to working 24 hour shifts in an Adidas factory in Malaysia,
your main role in the global economic system - that seems to be roughly divided to consumers, workers, and the few that run everything behind the scenes- is mainly that of a consumer.

The choices you make at the supermarket, the shoping mall and the coffee shop are where you have the most impact in this global system.
And it doesn't have to be black and white..
just making a larger percentage of those choices choices for less suffering and more peace,
you could have a tremendous impact.

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Hi! I am a computer science postdoc. For some reason google is not finding my new homepage so I added a link from this profile