brain snapshots

Learnings from Nu School – Government Policy and Civic Duty with Jessica Cole


Learnings from Nu School- Cold Email 101 by Daniel Ahmadizadeh

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Quotes – Part 2

(A continuation of Quotes – Part 1)

The White Book by Han Kang

“Standing at this border where land and water meet, watching the seemingly endless recurrence of the waves (though this eternity is in fact illusion: the earth will one day vanish, everything will one day vanish), the fact that our lives are no more than brief instants is felt with unequivocal clarity.”

“The fortresses of the old quarter, the splending palace, the lakeside villa on the outskirts where royalty once summered — all are fakes. They are all new things, painstakingly reconstructed based on photographs, pictures, maps. Where a pillar or perhaps the lowest part of a wall happens to have survived, it has been incorporated into the new structure. The boundaries which separate old from new, the seams bearing witness to destruction, lie conspicuously exposed. It was on that day, as I walked through the park, that she first came into my mind. A person who has met the same fate as that city.”

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

“Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations.”

“Nevertheless Moira was our fantasy. We hugged her to us, she was with us in secret, a giggle; she was lava beneath the crust of daily life. In the light of Moira, the Aunts were less fearsome and more absurd. Their power had a flaw to it. They could be shanghaied in toilets. The audacity was what we liked.”

The Big Bang Theory Series Finale

“And now, speaking of not listening, my husband, Dr. Sheldon Cooper. Sheldon. What? Did you finish? Great job. Thank you, Dr. Fowler. I have a very long and somewhat self-centered speech here. But I'd like to set it aside.

PENNY: Yea! WOLOWITZ: Way to go! (whoops)

Because this honor doesn't just belong to me. I wouldn't be up here if it weren't for some very important people in my life. Beginning with my mother, father, meemaw, brother and sister. And my other family, who I'm so happy to have here with us. Is that Buffy the Vampire Slayer I was under a misapprehension that my accomplishments were mine alone. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been encouraged, sustained, inspired and tolerated not only by my wife, but by the greatest group of friends anyone ever had. I'd like to ask them to stand. Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali. Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski Wolowitz. Astronaut Howard Wolowitz. And my two dearest friends in the world, Penny Hofstadter... ...and Dr. Leonard Hofstadter.

I was there the moment Leonard and Penny met. He said to me that their babies would be smart and beautiful. And now that they're expecting, I have no doubt that that will be the case. Thanks, Sheldon. I-I haven't told my parents yet, but thanks. Oh. I'm sorry. Don't tell anyone that last thing. That's a secret.

Howard, Bernadette, Raj, Penny, Leonard, I apologize if I haven't been the friend you deserve.

But I want you to know in my way, I love you all. And I love you. Thank you.”

Schindler's List Ending Scene

LEVARTOV We've written a letter trying to explain things. In case you're captured. Every worker has signed it.

Schindler sees a list of signatures beginning below the typewritten text and continuing for several pages. He pockets it, this new list of names.

SCHINDLER Thank you.

Stern steps forward and places a ring in Schindler's hand.

It's a gold band, like a wedding ring. Schindler notices an inscription inside it.

STERN It's Hebrew. It says, 'Whoever saves one life, saves the world.'

Schindler slips the ring onto a finger, admires it a moment, nods his thanks, then seems to withdraw.

SCHINDLER (to himself) I could've got more out...

Stern isn't sure he heard right. Schindler steps away from him, from his wife, from the car, from the workers.

SCHINDLER (to himself) I could've got more... if I'd just... I don't know, if I'd just... I could've got more...

STERN Oskar, there are twelve hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them.

He can't.

SCHINDLER If I'd made more money... I threw away so much money, you have no idea. If I'd just...

STERN There will be generations because of what you did.

SCHINDLER I didn't do enough.

STERN You did so much.

Schindler starts to lose it, the tears coming. Stern, too.

The look on Schindler's face as his eyes sweep across the faces of the workers is one of apology, begging them to forgive him for not doing more.

SCHINDLER This car. Goeth would've bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people, right there, ten more I could've got. (looking around) This pin —

He rips the elaborate Hakenkreus, the swastika, from his lapel and holds it out to Stern pathetically.

SCHINDLER Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would've given me two for it. At least one. He would've given me one. One more. One more person. A person, Stern. For this. One more. I could've gotten one more person I didn't.

He completely breaks down, weeping convulsively, the emotion he's been holding in for years spilling out, the guilt consuming him.

SCHINDLER They killed so many people... (Stern, weeping too, embraces him) They killed so many people...

From above, from a watchtower, Stern can be seen down below, trying to comfort Schindler. Eventually, they separate, and Schindler and Emilie climb into the Mercedes. It slowly pulls out through the gates of the camp. And drives away.

Hang on around for Part 3 – a collection of some of my favorite song lyrics. There are SO MANY that I might restrict it to a single band (Radiohead). We'll see.

Quotes – Part 1

Quotes are odd. We've seen hundreds and thousands of them – mostly from famous figures. We tend to sideline most quotes into the same mental box as clichés – agreeing with their premise passively, and moving on with life.

I've realised that the quotes that have stuck with me over time aren't from famous figures and celebrities. They're from TV shows and movies and books – pieces of art that I cherish. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite quotes of all time:

The Mr Robot finale

“There are some people out there… And it doesn’t happen a lot. It’s rare. But they refuse to let you hate them. In fact, they care about you in spite of it. And the really special ones, they’re relentless at it. Doesn’t matter what you do to them. They take it and care about you anyway. They don’t abandon you, no matter how many reasons you give them. No matter how much you’re practically begging them to leave. And you wanna know why? Because they feel something for me that I can’t… They love me. We’re all told we don’t stand a chance, and yet we stand. We break, but we keep going, and that is not a flaw. That’s what makes us.”

“What if changing the world was just about being here, by showing up no matter how many times we get told we don’t belong, by staying true even when we’re shamed into being false, by believing in ourselves even when we’re told we’re too different? And if we all held on to that, if we refuse to budge and fall in line, if we stood our ground for long enough, just maybe… The world can’t help but change around us.”

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

“What happens when people open their hearts?” “They get better.”

“Don't feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.”

“I really like you, Midori. A lot.” “How much is a lot?” “Like a spring bear,” I said. “A spring bear?” Midori looked up again. “What’s that all about? A spring bear.” “You’re walking through a field all by yourself one day in spring, and this sweet little bear cub with velvet fur and shiny little eyes comes walking along. And he says to you, “Hi, there, little lady. Want to tumble with me?’ So you and the bear cub spend the whole day in each other’s arms, tumbling down this clover-covered hill. Nice, huh?” “Yeah. Really nice.” “That’s how much I like you.”

Human Acts by Han Kang

“After you died I could not hold a funeral, And so my life became a funeral.”

“Glass is transparent, right? And fragile. That's the fundamental nature of glass. And that's why objects that are made of glass have to be handled with care. After all, if they end up smashed or cracked or chipped, then they're good for nothing, right, you just have to chuck them away. Before, we used to have a kind of glass that couldn't be broken. A truth so hard and clear it might as well have been made of glass. So when you think about it, it was only when we were shattered that we proved we had souls. That what we really were was humans made of glass.”

“The look in someone’s eyes, the beliefs they espoused, the eloquence with which they did so, were, she knew, no guarantee of anything. She knew that the only life left to her was one hemmed in by niggling doubts and cold questions.”

Brooklyn 99 – Gina's last day at the precinct

“Life is chaos; success is completely arbitrary, and confidence is everything”

So those were some of the quotes that have stayed with me. There's Part 2 and 3 to come- Part two with more of the same, and Part 3 with some of my favorite song lyrics.

I'm doing this for fun and nostalgia – to reconnect with some of my favorite pieces of art. These are little words that play in my head at all times, thoughts I think in daily life. They're beautiful and small and wonderful. They're what quotes should be.

NeoCities, our Internet, and the “Ideal Internet”

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Website: NeoCities: upcoming

Thoughts about my age

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#AMonthToOffload Yes, a #100DaysToOffload has become #AMonthToOffload. My 10th grade exams were rescheduled to a month from now, so I'm not sure how sustainable this is going to be.

A tangible way to threat model?

Most privacy guides tell you to start implementing a privacy system by threat modelling. I've understood what it means in general, but the next question that arises is: how do I do this in a tangible way? Answering these questions is easy, but how does this help me make low-level, day-to-day decisions about the softwares I use and the actions I perform? This is what I've come up with:

  • I choose to not go the path of 100% privacy. This is because using certain aspects of the Internet for entertainment and education in a convenient fashion is important to me. However, I would like to improve my privacy in places where I can.
  • I recognise that a “three-letter agency” can, if they were to target me specifically, gain access to my data. I do not consider any form of targeted surveillance by a similarly massive adversary part of my threat model.
  • I would, however, like to reduce the personal data that is stored in corporate databases I have no control over. I would not like this data to be used to target, profile or understand me or the human psyche in general. Thus, I will take steps to prevent this.
  • I have certain personal conversations and files that are of great importance to me. I will go to great lengths to keep them safe and backed up in all places.
  • If I am required to download non-private or social media software for collaboration or if I see a massive convenience benefit, I will always attempt to develop strict rules (taking the template of Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism) and restrict my use of these softwares.

Is there a more nitty-gritty or developed approach to doing this? Or is this kind of what I should go by?

Please answer at, or this Reddit thread...

Why privacy doesn't seem to matter

A lot of the times I've wondered why people don't have a knee-jerk, violent response to violations of their privacy. Sitting down, patiently with someone, I've almost always been able to convince them that privacy is an important issue. Most people, in polls, seem to support privacy. Why is it then, that doing something like conferencing over Zoom, or buying into the network of advertising companies that track customers doesn't seem inherently repulsive? I think there are a few reasons for this:

  • No immediate impact: the same reason the climate change and the impact of automation seems so confusing and hard to deal with – there is no immediate impact. Nothing really happens in the moment to you if one more search query is recording in a faraway server. The problem, instead is more abstract- the balance of rights in your society, the potential for abuse of this data, etc. Unlike something like world hunger or wars, there is no heart-wrenching photograph to show or death toll to talk about – there’s just the endless flow of bits.
  • Feels hopeless: a lot of people say that “privacy is dead”. And that’s it. Good luck trying to fight all the governments and tech giants of the world preying on your data. The truth is that they are so ingrained in our daily workflow and though processes and vocabularies, that the fight often seems beyond lost. This is something that often afflicts even those within the privacy community. Even if they were to change their settings and try very hard, the data of billions of people would still be exposed.
  • Feels very technical: this is the one I hear the most, and it’s true. Unfortunately, there is no single opt-out or opt-in button for the Internet. Instead, it is a complicated replacement process of every single application that a person uses int their daily life. Even if you start, you are bombarded with terms like self-hosting and DNS resolvers and perfect forward secrecy. It’s not easy for a person to slip in and try to understand the whole system of a privacy upheaval.


Why this is happening on paper and some other things

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Note: posts will not be shared on Fosstodon to avoid the subconscious clutch of the almighty “notifications” counter. Most people can avoid it, but I fell into a refreshing frenzy. Not good.


Applications I don't like to use (but still have to)

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