qchu
25 Berkeley, CA
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qchu
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My self-summary
I like math. A lot. Once in college I walked into a pole while thinking about a math problem, and more than 6 years later my friends still bring it up. Sheesh.

The problem was this: you have a thousand bottles of wine and an unlimited supply of rats. Lucky you, right? Unfortunately, one of the bottles is poisoned. You can feed the wine to your rats, and if any wine they drink is poisoned, they'll die in an hour. How many rats do you need to figure out which bottle is poisoned in an hour? (Actually this was the warmup. The problem I was thinking about when I walked into the pole is what happens if two of the bottles are poisoned. Anyway, message me with your thoughts! This is a really fun problem.)
What I’m doing with my life
Trying to get a PhD in math, and enjoying living in a group house on the boundary between Berkeley and Oakland. My housemates are a biology grad student and two AI safety researchers, and we share a strong belief in good user interface design. All of our drawers are labeled with their contents, there are little cartoons on our doors describing how to lock them properly, and during parties we print out signs for our guests describing where they should put their stuff and where they shouldn't lean on the tables.

Every winter, after spending Christmas with my family in Seattle, I fly to Boston to catch up with old friends and then spend 2-3 days solving puzzles nonstop with them. This one was my favorite this year. (Give it a try! Reverse image search will be very helpful.)
I’m really good at
answering people's questions on the internet. At first these were questions about Yu-Gi-Oh. I didn't own any cards, but I memorized all of the arcane card interactions anyway, and spent more time than I can remember correcting other people on the internet about it. Somehow this landed me a gig reviewing Yu-Gi-Oh cards for an online magazine. Then high school started and I decided there were better ways I could be spending my time.

Nowadays I answer people's questions about math, on MathOverflow, math.SE, and sometimes Quora. People tell me that when they google a math question, they constantly find something I've written as an answer. Warms my heart. I especially love when they end up on my blog (adult content warning: category theory).
I spend a lot of time thinking about
how to live a good life and be a good person. Some random thoughts along these lines:

I think marrying one person and raising two kids in a suburban house sounds incredibly lonely, and it should be possible to do a lot better. I lived in a fraternity in college (not that kind of fraternity, I promise), and it was easily the best living arrangement of my life. It felt good and natural in a way that nothing else before or since has. Someday I'd love to raise children communally in a group house with my college friends. I think children were never intended to be raised by two people, and also I miss my college friends.

I feel very strongly that children should be treated much more like adults than they currently are. Children don't consent to being born, so the least we can do is accord them the same respect we'd give to anyone else. I think compulsory education is unethical and forcing kids to wake up early to go to school is child abuse.

I hope that by the time robots finish taking our jobs, people will realize that the ability to get a job should never have been how we decide who gets to live and who doesn't (CW: suicide), and institute universal basic incomes before it's too late.
More
The two of us