The Logic of Stupid Poor People


We hates us some poor people. First, they insist on being poor when it is so easy to not be poor. They do things like buy expensive designer belts and $2500 luxury handbags.

Screen shot 2013-10-29 at 12.11.13 PMTo be fair, this isn’t about Eroll Louis. His is a belief held by many people, including lots of black people, poor people, formerly poor people, etc. It is, I suspect, an honest expression of incredulity. If you are poor, why do you spend money on useless status symbols like handbags and belts and clothes and shoes and televisions and cars?

One thing I’ve learned is that one person’s illogical belief is another person’s survival skill. And nothing is more logical than trying to survive.

My family is a classic black American migration family. We have rural Southern roots, moved north and almost all have returned. I grew up watching my great-grandmother, and later my…

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Machine Learning Guidance For Beginners

Machine Learning

With a deluge of machine learning resources both online and offline, a newbie in this field would simply get awestruck and might get stranded due to indecisiveness. There are people who are good at spotting what to read/follow and what not . Particularly, this post is for ML enthusiasts who are not able to find a good way to understand and use ML but this is what they had always wanted to wet their hands into.

[Hilary mason’s video on ML ] for Hackers gives a great introductory feel of the ML area in 30 minutes

People who think a rigorous background of stochastic, optimization and linear algebra is utmost necessary to start with might not always be correct. Most important thing is to get started and the other mathematical fundamentals can be learnt on the fly. But, yes some prior knowledge might be helpful. A person cannot learn…

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11 of the funniest TED Talk spoofs, and what speakers can learn from them

TED Blog

RejectTED Talks. Onion Talks. DED Talks. Here in the TED office, you often hear chuckles as someone watches one of the quickly growing crop of TED spoofs floating in the ether. And surprisingly, there are some pretty good lessons for speakers embedded in these spoofs. See what I mean below.

The spoof: Stephen Colbert’s RejecTED Talks
Created by: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
The lesson: Pudding and summer vacation sound like crowd-pleasers. But if there isn’t an idea, it isn’t a TED Talk.

Never heard of TED Talks? “Congratulations on quitting Facebook in 2005,” says Stephen Colbert at the top of this new segment, in which he opens the vault — err, cardboard box — to share rejected talks. First, a kilt-clad Angus MacDougal speaks passionately about meat and pudding, then a young Cayden R. talks about his summer vacation. The problem with both of these talks…

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Online learning promotes passivity


Up til I took Andrew Ng’s online machine learning class last semester, I had two worries about the concept of online learning. First, I worried that the inability to ask questions would be a major problem. Second, I worried about the possibility of building up material. I could imagine learning a given thing online but the ability to sustain and build material over an entire semester seemed kind of unrealistic.

On the second point, I think I’m convinced. Andrew definitely taught us a real semester’s worth of stuff, and he built up a body of knowledge very well. I now communicate with my colleagues at work using the language he taught us, which is very cool.

On the first point about asking questions, however, I am even more convinced there’s a crucial problem.

I want to differentiate between two different kinds of questions to make my point. First, there’s the…

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Our Python 3 migration status

Seek Nuance

IP Street’s application runs on Python 2.7. Earlier this week, I evaluated all our Python packages for Python 3 support, as the first step in deciding when to migrate our codebase.

Although this was the time I’ve checked our packages for Python 3 support, I expected Django to be the only one that didn’t officially support it. (Production support is slated for version 1.6, which is now in release-candidate.) But Django is the only project whose development roadmap I closely follow! D’oh! Talk about a blind spot!!

This is why it’s good to sit down and formally check each package. Make a list of every package and check each one…

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