Daylight

It’s the beginning of 2018! Here are some stats and books from my 2017.

The biggest thing this year was that I quit my job and moved to the UK to do a Masters degree in AI.

Here’s an updated daylight graph:

Habits and achievements

Things I’m proud of

  • Reading a lot of books!
  • Not being nervous before giving my first talk at a conference! That made me feel awesome.

Habits I think are useful

  • Started a personal wiki, and started writing reflections for classes, articles, books, and weeks.
  • Making an index card every night listing a few little goals for the next day. I also write a few notes, and more recently doodled, on the previous day’s index card as a little journal entry.
  • Better food habits. I started enjoying oatmeal and ate more leafy greens.

Programming

Most of my personal projects were around Jupyter. I also worked with numpy and scipy.

Personal Projects

Wiki

  • One part is a wiki based on markdown files.
  • The other part is a heavily customized Jupyter notebook.
    • Searchable using custom searching utility that’s hooked into Alfred.
    • Notebook markdown cells become flashcards.
    • Blog post about this coming soon!

This blog’s deployment

I containerized building it.

I also successfully used my deployment scripts after not using them in a few months. I was able to figure it out and they still worked! Engineering win!

Implementing A/B Tests randomization

Here are some notebooks about it.

Data

Learned a lot about numpy, scipy, and machine learning.

Places and events

Home bases

  • Seattle
  • Sweden
  • Portland
  • Edinburgh

Phew.

New places

  • Maui. Albin showed me how to do beach vacations like a Swede: you, like, just sit on the beach in the sun and read. But my favorite part of the trip was seeing Haleakala Crater.
  • Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula. *Mount Eerie music playing.*
  • More cities in northern Scandinavia: Narvik, Norway and Kiruna, Sweden. *Röyksopp music playing.*
  • Vancouver, BC (technically I’ve been here before, but it’s been a long time!)
  • Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands
  • London

Events

  • Women’s March in Seattle
  • My dad and I saw the solar eclipse. Totality was just a few miles south of where we live! I’ve been looking forward to this since I was a kid.
  • :( Columbia Gorge burning and it raining ash in Portland

Favorites!

Podcasts

  • Rough Translation
  • NPR Politics
  • The Daily and UpFirst
  • Pod Save America
  • Also, audiobooks! I found out I can check out audiobooks from libraries using Overdrive.

Podcasts I started later in the year:

  • Slow Burn (about Watergate)
  • The Indicator (yay, more frequent planet money)
  • I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats. (Jason Fink from Welcome to Nightvale, and John Darnielle from the Mountain Goats talking about creating!? I also read one of John Darnielle’s novels.)

At the beginning of the year, I listened to a lot of data science podcasts. My favorites were:

  • Talking Machines
  • Linear Digressions

Books

In 2017, I starting to write personal reviews of books and articles. This was a good idea! It made me reflect. I can also go back and remember what it was like to read the story.

And I read 68 books! The full list is on Goodreads.

Here are a couple of highlights:

Favorites

  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
  • The Broken Earth Series - N.K. Jemisin
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
  • Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner
  • The Tin Drum - Günter Grass
  • A Room of One’s Own - Virginia Woolf
  • John McPhee’s books

Technical-y books

I’m always searching for more books like Feynman’s QED. I found a couple:

  • An Introduction to Information Theory: Symbols, Signals and Noise - John R Pierce
  • The Annotated Turing - Charles Petzold

And sometimes I just read textbooks

  • Introduction to Statistical Learning (this one is short and readable!)
  • Statistics for Experimenters (this one is pretty readable too, but I classify this as a “Jessica is weird” reading book. I read the 1970s one and it was interesting to see the examples they used, like factories putting raisins in cereal.)

Data and learning

I’m learning more math. So I read a bunch of books on learning, and one on math! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Weapons of Math Destruction - Cathy O’Neil
  • Make it Stick - Peter C. Brown
  • Deep Work - Cal Newport (I played the audiobook on double speed and wandered around Vancouver.)

Bonus

  • A Princess of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs. Did you know the author of Tarzan also wrote pulp fiction a century ago about a guy getting transported to Mars and having to save a princess?

2017 Music

Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest.

Other than that, I mostly listened to old favorites.