Bragging Thread May 2015

post by Morendil · 2015-05-10T13:25:04.716Z · score: 6 (7 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 42 comments

Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to comment on this thread explaining the most awesome thing you've done this month. You may be as blatantly proud of yourself as you feel. You may unabashedly consider yourself the coolest freaking person ever because of that awesome thing you're dying to tell everyone about. This is the place to do just that.

Remember, however, that this isn't any kind of progress thread. Nor is it any kind of proposal thread. This thread is solely for people to talk about the awesome things they have done. Not "will do". Not "are working on"Have already done. This is to cultivate an environment of object level productivity rather than meta-productivity methods.

So, what's the coolest thing you've done this month?

(Previous Bragging Thread)

42 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Fluttershy · 2015-05-10T18:55:57.608Z · score: 22 (22 votes) · LW · GW

I recently prevented myself from taking on at least 10 micromorts of risk (and an increased copay) by noticing a medical error before undergoing a procedure.

While I'd rather not go into the exact details of my medical history, I'll say that the procedure that I was supposed to (and did) undergo didn't require anesthesia, and was less invasive than the procedure that the hospital staff would have performed otherwise, which would have required anesthesia. I'm using 10 micromorts as an estimate of the risk I avoided taking on, because a quick Google search suggests that that's the average (though ostensibly age-independent) risk incurred by undergoing anesthesia.

The surgeon/diagnostician who was in charge of my case later claimed that he would have noticed the error before he began working on me. Regardless, taking an active role in my medical care felt nice.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-11T08:09:34.074Z · score: 21 (21 votes) · LW · GW

Had a 30 day dry spell without alcohol and even after that my habit / addiction came back lighter than before. Will try a longer dry spell now, eventually leading to complete stoppage. It is seems it is not so hard after that choice is made, the hard thing seems to be making the choice. This was not during May though, more March-April.

comment by philh · 2015-05-11T10:35:39.189Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

I made the front page of Hacker News.

comment by jacob_cannell · 2015-05-11T05:42:54.559Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

I've spent about 30% or so of my total productive hours for the last year working on a single programming problem: a high performance GPU implementation of a complex new algorithm. I"ve had the general idea in my head for over two years, and I've evaluated perhaps a dozen approaches, none of which reached even 1% work efficiency in the general case.

A few months ago I finally saw a path that could get up to 25% efficiency and beyond, but it was really complicated with dozens of subpasses which each required highly tuned specific parallel algorithms and lots of inner loop critical code.

Four days ago I finally saw a way to do all of that in a single pass (< ~ 1k lines of kernel code) while still meeting all of the constraints, and just today I got this new codepath compiling into a cubin that looks reasonably on target.

comment by shminux · 2015-05-11T06:36:25.691Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Do you work at Google or something?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-13T03:05:59.375Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Finished my doctorate in mathematics, in PDEs.

Started my new job at a private research lab.

comment by IlyaShpitser · 2015-05-13T11:23:15.548Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Congratulations! What was your dissertation on?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-19T10:29:58.962Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Some applied microlocal analysis. The newest result is that a generic class of Radon transforms are injective.

comment by gjm · 2015-05-13T10:57:35.866Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Still working on PDEs, or has your work abruptly taken a more practical turn?

(Of course lots of very practical things are well described by PDEs, so the answer could be "both".)

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-19T10:31:23.038Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Both, yes.

comment by palladias · 2015-05-11T18:37:36.814Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

I published a book! And Amazon ran out on the second day of it's release!

My book, Arriving At Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Offer explains how I learned seven kinds of Catholic prayer after conversion.

I can promise it's the LW-iest book you've got to read on prayer, so, if you want to better understand a religious friend or have some ways to open a conversation, you might like it. Plus it cites Ender's Game and Terry Pratchett.

I had to learn prayer in the language of reference I spoke, so my chapter on Confession has a big section on the Sunk Cost Fallacy, and how it makes us afraid to make our sins "real" by acknowledging them. The chapter on Mass explains the communion of saints by referring to cartesian coordinate systems and explaining how people can all be aligned along one dimension of interest.

I had a great time writing this, and, I should mention, Beeminder helped me pull it off!

comment by IlyaShpitser · 2015-05-13T11:25:38.605Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Congratulations!


Leah, do you have any views on Orthodox Christianity?

comment by palladias · 2015-05-13T13:58:27.495Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I really liked some of the discussion of Orthodox spirituality in The Mountain of Silence.

With regard to the theological differences, the Orthodox and Catholic churches agree on most of the big things for day-to-day things (sacraments, etc) and, although there are disagreements (the filioque, etc) they're more the kind of thing I'd need to get a theology degree in order to sort out for myself.

comment by IlyaShpitser · 2015-05-13T13:59:37.305Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the book recommendation and your quick answer!

What do you think about differences in the monastic traditions?

comment by palladias · 2015-05-14T17:28:47.146Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think they're all pretty exciting! Different forms of monasticism suit different people (and are vulnerable to different forms of doing them wrong) but I'm pretty happy to live in a world with chatty Dominicans wandering and teaching, contemplative orders meditating, etc.

comment by erratio · 2015-05-11T03:14:03.865Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW
  • I finally finished all the work to leave grad school with an MA, and am officially graduated in just over a week's time.
  • I am getting a visa so that I'll be able to move to my boyfriend's country and move in with him. If you're in doubt about how awesome that is, you should see the mountain of bureaucracy I've had to deal with...
comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-11T02:57:40.788Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

I read about an art exhibition / contest, made an entry, sent it in, it was accepted and exhibited. I didn't win the prize but the exhibit has been in the international news for weeks. Two men apparently tried to murder those who were in attendance at the exhibition. I wrote an essay about the experience, submitted it to a publisher, it was accepted and published. I was paid for my essay.

http://freethinker.co.uk/2015/05/07/trigger-warning/

comment by shminux · 2015-05-11T06:39:24.364Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Poor choice of venue, but kudos on the achievement!

comment by Morendil · 2015-05-10T13:32:03.110Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW
  • A couple months ago I started learning the Elm programming language, and to make things interesting I resolved to push one non-empty code commit to GitHub every single day (ideally also non-trivial, but not everyone's definition of "trivial" will match mine). I'm now on day 67 of that streak, having written six proto-games (playable here if you're so inclined, though they're not hugely entertaining). So far the habit has resisted a new job and a ten-day vacation. I've also been keeping a daily journal since Feb 21.

  • Used my 3D printer (Prusa i3) to print the entire set of plastic printed parts for a different printer (FoldaRap), very much a non-trivial project (~ 50h of printing for 30+ distinct parts) that requires a well-tuned printer. I'm particularly proud as this comes on the tails of completing a major conversion of the Prusa from its original direct-extrusion design to a Bowden setup.

  • Got hired by the French government to promote a more agile style of programming and project management.

comment by jacob_cannell · 2015-05-11T05:13:04.808Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Got hired by the French government to promote a more agile style of programming and project management.

Seriously - that's a thing? Je ne parle vouz francais, but I just had to up my regard for the french government.

comment by Morendil · 2015-05-11T05:56:36.694Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

To put this in some perspective, they're mostly doing it because the Brits did it first.

Still, having any recognition and awareness that there is a problem there is heartening. We're just getting started here; last I heard, the good old habits were still in force, i.e. of starting software efforts with price tags expressed in hundred million euro multiples, letting them run for a while, then scrapping them as not even worth deploying.

Procurement is one of the big culprits here; a classic case of lost purposes. Ostensibly to save money, departments give a lot of power to policy-making bodies who then dictate a risk-averse process that departments must follow before they can spend their own money. This means that contracts now mainly go to contracting firms who positively relish dealing with red tape, but are less competent at actually shipping code.

Typically this leads to disasters, see above, which result in tightening financial controls, giving even more power to purchasing organizations, the almighty tail wagging all the dogs. The departments' own IT people, in this setup, end up doing nothing much beyond filling out paperwork, while all actual competencies such as writing the software are "externalized" to contractors.

So the job description is basically to cure government of this addiction. I've been given control over a budget of a couple million euros to start with, and instructions to split it over about 10 worthwhile projects this year. Each project should have a 6-month roadmap, with a first go/no-go milestone at two weeks in (and an obligation to report in with something they've learned by getting out of the building and talking to end users). At least half of the development crew (4 to 6 people) should be in-house to the departments, not contractors. That should leave much less room to hide incompetence, but we'll also provide a bit of mentoring to make sure these teams know a minimum of good engineering practice.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-11T08:11:18.375Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

To put this in some perspective, they're mostly doing it because the Brits did it first.

I remember when I was taught PRINCE2 project management one guest teacher came from the British police.

I ended up not using much of it, mostly because my projects are typically so that I am the team and the cost is my salary. So not very big. However one big idea I learned is that projects are supposed to be a triangle, where the PM is hovering between / above customers and vendors. Typically, when for example a consulting company is implementing a software for a customer company, they will have two PMs on both sides. So there is no real neutral arbiter of disputes. If this could be fixed, such as using freelancers as neutral arbiters, I could go back to the consulting world, as there would be no more of the bitter, unproductive fights that I fled from. Without a neutral arbiter it is often like "you signed a fixed price contract, now implement it for that price even if it seems to take 3x as much work" vs. "okay, fuckers, but then we will implement the spec literally without a care if it is really useful" and it ends up being bad for everybody.

comment by edanm · 2015-05-11T07:05:10.140Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Over the last 2.5 years, my co-founder and I grew the Dev Shop we founded (Purple Bit) into a very profitable small company, employing 7 people.

Purple Bit has just been acquired by a former client of ours, Autodesk Inc. Autodesk are the makers of AutoCAD, 3D Studio Max, Maya and many other professional 3d software products.

(Note: this didn't happen this month, but it wasn't public until now).

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-05-12T03:36:37.998Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Got at least 6.5 hours of sleep for four out of the last 7 days and woke up with my alarms for three of them.

Walking at least 2 miles per day seems to be the key.

comment by Raziel123 · 2015-05-10T15:36:07.613Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW
  • I make a Naive Bayes classifier for a AI in a RTS game I was making.

  • I realized the game I was making was overly ambitious and it will be weak for its category, so I halted it a month ago, and now I'm half way into another game small enough, so it can be in the top of its category.

  • After reading models from mark Manzon a month ago (I found it in a post here in lw), I got 2 girlfriends (I'm still with the second), with zero social Anxiety and for a bonus, I can make friends more easily.

comment by Xerographica · 2015-05-10T23:57:00.716Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I created the world's first micropayments forum... RudeBagel. Some additional info.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-12T01:25:29.464Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

My free course on landing your dream job after college is finally available to the world. http://newgradblueprint.com/

I managed to get more than 20 experts to contribute to it, built out the whole backend when freelancers didn't work out, animated all the videos, got them voiced by voice actors, landed on top of the r/jobs subreddit and have tentative partnerships with City Year, College Autism Spectrum, and several other large organizations.

comment by lululu · 2015-05-13T18:02:13.836Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

This one is pretty personal. After being surprise broken up with at the end of a very rewarding 5 year long relationship, I immediately looked up papers on how people recover from break-ups, what leads to best outcomes, how people can internalize lessons learned in relationships, etc.

When I discovered that getting over the relationship itself is different from no longer liking the person on the other side of the relationship, I was able to do the work to get over the relationship itself in about 4 to 5 days. (actually, it was exponential, most of the results were in the first day, with a long tail of results over the past two weeks). I'm defining being over a relationship as no longer identifying with it, no longer feeling like half of something bigger, no longer missing the feelings of that relationship, feeling that it really was for the best, and being genuinely happy with the current state of affairs.

While I realize I might never "get over" having affection+lust this person, who I still consider my best friend, I am now no more likely to want to take action on those feelings than on my feelings for the many friends I've had crushes on over the years, and in fact probably a lot LESS likely since science says it would be a bad idea. So a lingering crush is really no big deal. I can comfortably hug or have real talks with this person without feeling the pangs of missing out on more, and can happily reflect on good memories without any tinge of sadness.

I am now dating someone else, and not in a rebound way. I considered waiting longer than two weeks, but after looking at the literature, I decided not to because of the measurable happiness gains of being in a relationship, plus my general tendency not to ruminate/dwell, plus my genuine not-wanting to get back together (plus, obviously my feelings for this new person).

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-15T03:22:05.811Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, a post on this would be an amazing resource.

Up for writing one? IF not, I'd be happy to do a quick google hangout video with you about it and post the video up :).

comment by lululu · 2015-05-16T16:49:20.658Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah! I think its a great idea, I was considering doing this anyway. Expect a post in the next couple days! I finally have enough karma to write one now (long time lurker, this is a new account)

comment by falenas108 · 2015-05-11T14:23:48.148Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

This may not make much sense to people outside University of Chicago, but every year we have a huge scavenger hunt, one of the biggest in the world, where we do things like make a keyboards that can perform logical operations, made a MONIAC cycles of natural systems, and has in the past included one team making a working nuclear reactor.

Me and one other person decided to form a team for this year, and we co-captained this team. We did way better than anyone expected, beating every team that wasn't an established house team that had over 100 people and lots of monetary resources, while our team had only 15 people.

comment by bbleeker · 2015-05-12T12:21:38.396Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What did you do? Tell us more!

comment by falenas108 · 2015-05-12T13:46:46.058Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The biggest thing I did was a showcase item with the MONIAC cycle mentioned earlier. Me and one other person were representing the mercury cycle in nature. We had different plastic bottles representing different parts of nature/forms of mercury, like the atmosphere, methylated and unmethylated mercury, in crustaceans, plankton, fish, ect. The things died or get put in the seafloor, and got pumped back to the top by volcanoes and human activity. (We should have had more stay in the seafloor, but our pump was too powerful.) The flow successfully showed that the top of the food chain got the most mercury, and if the top level "dies" from too much mercury (flows to that bottle were cut off), the next in the chain started to accumulate more mercury.

Other than that, I:

*Wrote 2 Miss American Doll style intro books for KatelynUnit 742-B in the year 2500, KatelynUnit Saves the Never-Ending Day (Because we don't have night anymore) and STANDARD GREETINGS.

*Made a cod-shaped codpiece

*Made a mashup of 4 Taylor Swift songs of 1989 and gregorian chants (989)

*Made a budget for the Minor Activities Board (parody of the Major Activities Board)

*Made an ad for the main technician in the experimental physics class, Van Bistrow, for his now restaurant, The Van Bistro.

As one of two captains I also did general organizing and made sure other people had what they needed to do their items.

comment by itaibn0 · 2015-05-11T21:05:59.172Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I got an honorary mention in the 2014 Putnam Competition. I have taken the test at December and I heard the results on April, but I haven't posted this other bragging threads, so I'm not if this is appropriate here.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-14T07:41:15.393Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

[redacted]

comment by Viliam · 2015-05-29T22:04:14.993Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Not lactose intolerant anymore apparently...

How specifically did this happen?

(I can imagine all kinds of answers, like "I have no idea", "I simply applied my research to myself" or "I started pasteurizing milk before I drink it", so I'd like to know which one it is.)

I also wonder about the rest of your points, which of them are related, and which are short-term independent. I can imagine the skype interview leading to getting a job, but for a weightlifting leading to a threesome one month is probably too short period (unless you seriously impressed someone merely by trying).

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-30T02:40:14.839Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

]redacted[

comment by roryokane · 2015-05-15T08:27:37.063Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

On my midterm exam in my college class Computer and Networking Security, I scored 88%, the highest in the class. About 18 other students took the test, and the mean of our scores was 62%. The exam will be graded on a curve, so my score is probably equivalent to A+.

I was the second-to-last student to finish the exam. This surprised me at the time, but now I think it must have been because I took more time to thoroughly think about the questions and show my work. On the other hand, I studied very little – only for 20 minutes, right before the exam. I am thankful that that turned out to be enough, and proud that I skimmed the slides effectively enough and paid enough attention in class that that’s all I needed.

comment by Peacewise · 2015-05-14T09:50:45.882Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hi people, I just wanted to say thank you to the LessWrong community for exposing me to the concept of "bayesian probability". Apparently human motor programs function in a bayesian way, with each movement prior predicted including predicted sensory feedback of said movement, which enables a comparison of prediction with perceived reality. Pretty cool.

Learned of the observational evidence supporting random practice over blocked practiced as they relate to motor learning and retention, 14/5/2015.

Wrote a new lesson plan for my squash juniors, based upon the aforementioned idea of random practice, which I offer freely to LW.

Squash training, psuedorandom

  1. Serve from right
  2. Move to t
  3. Chase own ball
  4. Serve from left
  5. Chase own ball
  6. Throw ball with left hand to front wall right side
  7. Play forehand drop shot
  8. Move to T
  9. Gather ball
  10. Move to t
  11. Throw ball to front wall, left side
  12. Play backhand drop shot
  13. Move to t
  14. 1 push-up
  15. Gather ball
  16. Move to t
  17. Throw ball to left wall softly.
  18. Play a backhand drive deep
  19. 1 squat
  20. Gather ball
  21. Move to t
  22. Throw ball to right wall softly
  23. Play a forehand drive deep
  24. 1 lunge
  25. Gather ball
  26. Rest, drink, provoke THINK.
  27. Move to front left court with ball n racket.
  28. Play a backhand cross court, like a serve.
  29. Move to t
  30. Do a split step jump
  31. Gather ball
  32. Move to front right
  33. Play a backhand cross court, like a serve.
  34. Move to t
  35. 1 situp
  36. Gather ball
  37. Move to front right.
  38. Play a forehand cross court, like a serve.
  39. Move to t
  40. 1 one legged swan pose, 5 seconds
  41. Gather ball
  42. Move to front left
  43. Play a forehand cross court, like a serve
  44. Move to t
  45. Balance racket on one finger, 5 seconds.
  46. Gather ball
  47. Move to t
  48. Throw ball to right wall softly with non racket hand
  49. Play forehand boast
  50. Move to t
  51. Gather ball
  52. Move to t
  53. Throw ball to left wall softly
  54. Play backhand boast
  55. Move to t
  56. Do right side plank, 5 seconds.
  57. Gather ball
  58. Move to t
  59. Do left side plank, 5 seconds.
  60. Rest, drink, provoke THINK.
  61. NOTE TIME TO DO 59 tasks. Repeat

Implemented an approximation of the above program in today's session, after explaining why the changes are occurring. I observed that the young athletes were more enthused.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-05-13T19:54:13.469Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I started a HPMOR follow up fanfic called Ginny Weasley and the Methods of Rationality and finished the first chapter. I am not a native english speaker and have still decidet to write in english. While i needet quite a lot of help with mistake correction I was told by someone that my writing was better than what he had seen from some native speakers.

comment by bogdanb · 2015-06-02T21:14:26.941Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

For what it’s worth, the grammar and spelling was much better than is usual for even the native English part of the Internet. That’s probably fainter praise than it deserves, I don’t remember actually noticing any such fault, which probably means there are few of them.

The phrasing and wording did sound weird, but I guess that’s at least one reason why you’re writing, so congratulations and I hope you keep it up! I’m quite curious to see where you’ll take it.

comment by shminux · 2015-05-11T06:42:58.878Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Not nearly as impressive as the others in this thread, but I finally told the company owner that 8 years working on the same 80s technology is quite enough and I expect him to let me to work on the projects that lets me stay current, or else. He promised.