Click on this blog to see a list of the various posts I’ve written — including on the brain, AI, education, entrepreneurship, and assorted books and technology topics.
Thanks for visiting! I started this blog a few years ago but only started writing more regularly in late 2020 when I took a sabbatical from full-time work.
The purpose of this blog was just to have a bit of fun and to share some readings, learnings, and curiosities about technology, science, business, and the world in general.
A brief tour of neuroscience, brain research, AI, and interesting related topics.
I have been reading and doing a bit of research on the brain and cognitive science for a few weeks now. I have no background in this area, and, yes it really is brain surgery. Its an extraordinarily vast field (unsurprising, understatement), but I was still surprised by how much I didn’t know that I didn’t even know.
Understanding more about the human brain is fascinating for so many reasons:
Insights and thoughts from Naval Ravikant’s Almanack
“The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness” is a short read of the various musing, thoughts, and tweetstorms of investor Naval Ravikant assembled by Eric Jorgenson.
Ravikant’s famous tweetstorm on wealth summarizes many of his beliefs and insights. It’s worth a quick read. Some of the key points about “getting rich”:
How it works and what it means for biology and science.
I started writing this on the day of the announcement but got distracted and did not finish. As part of New Year’s plan to finish my blogs :) — I’m finishing this one now — but in reality there are now MANY great blogs and videos explaining AlphaFold2 (see resources below).
Deepmind has claimed to have solved the 50 year old grand challenge of predicting protein folding shapes simply from the constituent amino acid sequences. They produced their own video that frames the problem and their solution quite well.
First, what is a protein? …
Infinite Powers: A fun reminder of the power and elegance of calculus in understanding the physical universe.
“Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe” by Steven Strogatz is a fun and interesting read about the history and basic foundations of calculus and its applications in the real world.
The fact that the universe’s behavior can be predicted through math equations is remarkable. Its a fact we accept readily today, but it is quite astounding and magical to revel in the history of how such understanding of physical phenomena were discovered and understood through math. …
The Myths, Challenges and Opportunities in Africa
Having recently read about China and its history, I was interested to learn more about Africa and the going forward expectations of the vibrant continent of 1.2B people.
Although I’m US born and — therefore practically by definition poorly exposed to world history — my parents were born and raised in East Africa and I have traveled for work or fun to Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco and have some familiarity with those parts of the continent. …
Life lessons from neuroscience, Chinese philosophy, and atomic habits.
In some recent reading, I came across an unlikely common thread weaved through modern self-help book Atomic Habits, behavioral psychology and neuroscience book Behave, and ancient Chinese philosophy book The Path.
Neuroscience dispelled myths and interesting facts about the brain.
Without the constraints of a formal biology course and no responsibilities to actually learn anything in particular, it’s been great fun and rewarding to approach the subject with a beginner’s mind. Beginner’s mind. :)
Anyhow, this blog is the final article on the brain series, and attempts to answer some of the many dumb questions that I come up with as I was conducting this research:
The neuroscience behind consciousness, free will, and the surprising implications for criminal justice.
Free will is defined as the ability to act at one’s own discretion. Consciousness is awareness of internal or external existence.
Well, most of us can agree, it certainly feels like we are conscious and have free will — that we decide to do what we want to do and are not compelled by some determined force. However, scientists are generally mixed on this topic, but mostly agree: we do NOT have free will.
As has been seen from earlier blogs, much about our behavior is driven by environment and evolution of our brains. We can get decidedly different behavior based on some circumstances, certain environmental queues, or even as a function of our history. Not many of us would dispute that we’ll grab the last cookie when we’re hungry, or that we’ll snap at someone when we’re tired, and we’ll all agree that things like implicit bias and others are perhaps modulated effects that take place that INFLUENCE our behavior. But most of us are hard-pressed to state that outright we don’t have free will. It certainly feels like “yes, while I took the last cookie because I was hungry, if I had tried harder I could have exerted my free will and not had it.” …
This article will share the following:
When we think about intelligence in the military sense of the word, we think about knowledge. Other might add skills to the definition of intelligence. And yet others would claim intelligence is ability to acquire and apply that knowledge and those skills. I think the best definition of intelligence I’ve seen is by Francois Chollet, deep learning researcher at Google, who essentially states that intelligence is the ability to efficiently learn skills and knowledge for new problems that have not been seen before. …