A few Favorite Things, Recommendations, and Fun Facts About Me

Confidence: na | Importance: 4 | Novelty: 5
Post #: 28 | in progress | Topics: fun, personal


Books

Papers

Professional Philosophers

Professional Economists

Intellectuals Outside Academia

Think Tanks

Podcasts

Textbooks


Sports

  • Running- Aside from time-efficient health-benefits, nothing quite matches the endorphins.
  • Swimming- I have a love-hate relationship with it, but it’s hard to beat a 30 minute lap sesh.
  • Weighlifting- it’s satisfying and everybody likes gains.
  • Intramural sports that involve running. IMO, nearly everyone should play pickup soccer, ultimate, or whatever floats their boat once a week.
  • Jiu-Jitsu- It’s one of the few martial arts where you can afford to go all out in training, and not carry significant risk of injury.

‘Hooah’ Hobbies

These days, I try to be safer due to the utilitarian calculus, but I still can be a bit of a dare devil emotionally.

  • Freediving- While I don’t do it all that often anymore, there’s nothing quite like looking up at the surface when you are 30ft down with just the air in your lungs.
  • Riding motorcycles- While I’m in the process of selling mine as of Nov 2019, they’re quite fun when you forget about the utilitarian calculus and risk of road rash, paralysis, and death.

The Arts

  • Piano-I don’t spend much time learning new songs anymore, but I still love to play here and there.
  • Classical guitar- I went to a public (charter) arts school 6-11th grade, and learned how to sight-read lots of classical music, particularly that in the style of Matteo Carcassi.
  • Ballroom dancing- I competed and performed with my high school’s varsity competitive ballroom dance team, and learned a majority of the styles of ballroom dancing, from Lindy-Hop swing to Foxtrot.

Computer Setup

  • If you spend more than an hour a day on the computer, I highly recommend, insofar as you can afford it, you invest in something performant. I used to pinch the pennies and rock a Chromebook, but since West Point bought me (with my own money—I had no choice) a fancy smancy Dell Latitude 7400 laptop, I’ve been a convert and believer that having a nice workstation is a game changer. The reduction in latency and load times, as well as the other things listed below, really have had a non-linear effect on my productivity and overall quality of digital life.
  • 27" 4k monitor. I can’t tell you how much nicer it is over my FHD 14" laptop, even while I can only run 4k at 30fps without an external graphics card.
  • Ergonomic keyboard and mouse. They’re comfortable—you’re allowed to treat yourself and get them before you get tendinitis.
  • Pillow on my chair, and a bathrobe. It may sound bougie or soft, but these small changes have made it much easier to remain productive at my desk for longer periods of time.

Programming Setup

  • Languages- Am gradually becoming fluent in Python, Javascript, and Go. Next, I’m interested in learning Julia or Rust.
  • Text Editor- Visual Studio Code as it’s packed with extensions and possibly receives the most attention.
  • Static hosting service- Netlify. It’s free, fast, and easy–just push changes of your site’s files to GitHub to automatically update the site. Additionally, it has nice features like forms (good for easily facilitating anonymous feedback). That said, Notion pages can make a decent blog.
  • Dynamic hosting service- DigitalOcean. I’ve only also tried AWS, but I was annoyed by its lack of price caps.

Productivity Habits

  • Notes- Roam! I love it. Notion is great too, but I’m nearly replacing it with Roam, aside from making pages for website and perhaps writing essays. Additionally, I use Standard Notes when I want extra security.
  • Todoist- I’ve only started using it recently, but it seems like a pretty powerful task management system. It integrates well with Google Calendar, which I use a lot too, and seems like a good way to more concretely schedule Roam [] ToDo tasks.
  • I use my Android’s alarm all the time. I tend to not need it, but having an alarm set for my next social obligation gives me peace of mind and allows me to dive deeper into what I am doing in the moment without having to keep an eye on the clock.
  • Email- I use lots of filters now, flags, priority view (in Gmail), and try to only check my email consciously and deliberately.
  • I use a voice recorder app—Easy Voice Recorder Pro on Android—all the time to dump my thoughts. I rarely listen to the notes again, but it’s just really nice to dump my thoughts verbally sometimes instead of free writing. Bonus tip: If you do this with Airpods while on a walk, most people will just assume you are making a phone call and not talking to yourself 😉
  • Phone- Pixel 3a XL. It’s about $370 and is imo the best phone you can get for under $650.
  • Phone service- Google Fi unlimited. It’s great if/when you travel internationally as data and text have no additional fees, and it works on both GSM and CDMA bands (if your phone supports both of those).

Security+Privacy Setup

  • VPN- They’ve been under fire lately for basically just shifting who can spy on you from your Internet Service Provider to some random company. That said, I trust ProtonVPN and F-Secure over most ISPs any day. I use it nearly all the time now by default.
  • Password management- I use Bitwarden, which is open source and seems to have better reviews than most others.
    • I use a passphrase created from rolling dice and looking up words in a word bank and a Yubikey for my Bitwarden, Google, and other most sensitive accounts. For less important sites that offer the use of authenticator codes, I use Authy.
  • For anyone I call and/or text regularly, I try to have us use WhatsApp, or preferably, Signal. Both are end-to-end encrypted, but if you don’t opt out, Facebook can see who you have contacted (just not what you have said).
  • Browser- Brave. It runs faster and offers more privacy than Chrome, which gathers a ton of data about your internet use. Firefox is nice too.
  • Standard Notes for particularly secure note taking, although I normally use Roam.
  • Protonmail for particularly secure email, although I normally use Gmail.
  • Cloud storage- Tresorit (free, 2gb plan) for sensitive files as it’s very secure, and pCloud for all the rest, as it’s extremely fast, but cheap—I bought it’s 500gb lifetime (99 year) plan for $125, which since I don’t use over 500gb, pays for itself in a year compared to Dropbox.

Misc

  • I love when conversations, even with strangers, go meta, personal, and are brutally honest. I just love it when people skip the pleasantries and (tactfully) say what needs to be said. Note that this isn’t because I’m not good at playing the pleasantries game—in fact, I’ve been made fun of by my friends in the past for my ‘political speak’ and self-censuring as if everything I say is on the record.
  • I can’t say there aren’t worthwhile thoughts out there that my mind generally feels are too scary to think, but I’ve regularly made a deliberate effort to think the unthinkable over the years and believe this has helped me overcome many unconscious fears and advance my worldview a lot. The main downside of this, however, is that my natural range of thoughts tend to partially fall a good bit more outside the Overton window now, so I can often come off as a bit intense unless I’m willing to bite my tongue a lot.
  • I really love utilitarianism and this imperative to do the most good. I mean I definitely miss my old world view sometimes and wish there wasn’t all this value at stake, but it overall gives my life a lot of meaning and focus.
  • Sleep! I’m a high sleep maintenance person. I got by at West Point with ~6 hours sleep nightly, but recently I’m often getting 9+ and love it. I also love taking short cat naps sometimes (even 20 minutes can be so nice), which I feel just sorts of resets my thoughts like a cold computer restart.
  • For some reason, I love egoistic behavior when it’s encapsulated ultimately with humility and pro-socialness. I really don’t mind when others brag—in fact, I often feel endless displays of humility are more annoying.