Epic people

Richard Feynman

Steve Wozniak

Alexandra Elbakyan

Aaron Swartz

Linus Pauling

Leonardo Da Vinci

Rana el Kaliouby

J. Robert Oppenheimer

Évariste Galois

Nikola Tesla

Jean Piaget

John Conway

Source: Studio Louu
Source: LeFacciotte
Source: Jill Matthews
Source: Foe & Dear
Source: gapogg
Source: dariascreativespace

Snapshots of high school

Zoom room (Sept 13, 2022)

A: Why are drug costs so high?

B: it is because of capitalism! This is because of colonialism.

C: Which is due to human society, a minor side effect of the universe existing.

A: Hey… we can’t fix that— We’re supposed to do a gap analysis!

A: If you guys ever post something, don’t tag me on LinkedIn.

What people are doing in the classroom (Nov 4, 2021)

1 person browsing Genshin Impact discord server

1 person playing physics simulator from the 2000's

5 people actually working

1 person trying to burn plastic CD

1 person soldering out of boredom

2 people talking about vitamin water

2 people talking about stock market

1 person just restarted the entire project

Source: Dorota Duzinkiewicz

Favourite informal moments

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Discovering LessWrong.

During remote learning in grade 10, my wonderful CS teacher, Mr. Schattman, sent us the article The AI Revolution on WaitButWhy. I was no longer reading text on a depressing 720p screen; I was standing on top of a mountain, watching the next hundreds of years unfold brilliantly. 

"Whoaaa— This Eliezer guy is so cool." I muttered to myself while typing his name into the search bar. Plus, I was recommended to read his Harry Potter and Methods of Rationality several times in Discord. The next thing I knew, I was reading LessWrong deep into midnight. The writing. . .just automatically clicked. I was awestruck by the nuance brought to awareness in user-invented jargon, and ecstatic at how many people had the same thoughts. (I think Don’t throw your mind away and Time-Time tradeoffs are very iconic posts). While certain school classes caused much boredom akin to physical pain, I felt so happy—warm and fuzzy—when reading this website; It was like having a genuine, personable conversation. That year, LessWrong Community Weekend took place on Discord. I got up with excess energy very early one summer morning to attend this cryonics session. My internet friend (who used to be involved in rationality in high school) shared with me a wealth of wowable links about Heaven is Terrifying, homomorphic encryption, The Measurements of Decay, Cold Takes, the Codex, Visakan, and fascinating stuff. After years, I finally joined a Kitchener-Waterloo rationality meetup, dragging a curious, innocent school friend along. There, we pointed at various objects in the room and babbled in broken Toki Pona. “Me yellow!” An Asian girl giggled as she pointed at herself. The rationality community has clear flaws. I made all of my grade 11 English assignments sound like LessWrong posts and my teacher thought it was unreadable. (My philosophy teacher gave my assignments 99%). I also asked a random programmer to rate the rationality community. He replied: “Rationalists are this weird group of people who talk about philosophy using very big words. There are rarely any images, videos, code, or execution on their website. Not to mention, effective altruism is going downhill.” So, I like to think of the rationality community as an extended family. It's nice to hang out with them occasionally without worrying about my productivity. But overall… finding the site is one of the best things that happened to me.

Hopscotch app.

Hopscotch was a children’s block coding app. I instantly got immersed in the app, creating games, social media simulations, and physics experiments. Grade 5 me knew all the Hopscotch gossip like how the user Kiwicute is leaving the app to prep for the SSAT or Real Funky 63 encourages us to build in public. One afternoon, as I discussed a new coding technique, I was punched in the face. "You are a freak!" The girl interjected. I grabbed her by the arm in an attempt to defend myself. She screamed for her parents and teachers and told everyone that I was a twisted, cruel bully. She was a sociopath; I was a happy, clueless nerd.

“Bullying is unacceptable! You make others feel bad about themselves!” The teacher scolded, glaring at me. Words, images and injustice rushed up to my throat and jammed. I’m so horrible at words! I stammered: “She, hit me first!”

“Liar!” The girl proceeded to proved her point.

For the next two months, teachers monitored my conversations with parents. Teachers materialize like ghosts during recess, suck me away to a cold, dim room where they torture me. They made me feel my existence was imposed on society and utterly meaningless. During many afternoons, I would sit in a corner, watch other kids run lively on the playground and contemplate death. I soon got sick of it. These corrupted teachers expect me to wither. But no, I will rebel! If life was a video game, I choose to “play it on hard mode” (I wrote in my notebook back then). The girl's parents were happy, these teachers got additional pay, and a submissive child was the least of their concerns. With enough incentives, authorities easily penalize innocent nerds and crush their sanity. Nerdy children might vomit when they imagine these hierarchies and mind games. However, they must learn about social dynamics, to question authority, motives and express themselves clearly. I'm glad to have learned my lesson early on.

Surreal Insomnia experiences

Inception: I was unable to exit a dream after “waking up” 10 times

3rd person mode: After falling asleep, I was observing myself sleeping from the ceiling.

Contextual loss: A cylindrical container was on a table. There was no thought, just perception and unpleasant disconnected intuitions. I forced myself so hard to recall basic premises: I’m sleeping on a bed. People usually sleep in their rooms. Therefore, I’m in my room. People’s items are in their rooms, Thus, this should be my waterbottle… and I didn’t believe it. It felt like I was viewing a bunch of unfamiliar objects. Everything was a mess of cause, effects, shapes and sounds. Faces appeared and I felt like looking at strangers. Is this what people with dementia feel? There was sadness.

Interconnectedness: After countless days of no sleep, sounds take on colours and shapes.

Visualization: While sleeping, I could examine objects in ultra high-definition. One sleep-deprived day, I started listened to a studying playlist and a vibrant surface unexpectedly appeared in my vision (1). It was like adjusting a metallic, blurry cellular noise surface in blender. Then I was passively traversing along an attractor (2). It was massive, hazy and transparent. I was dragged in and out of the “edges” seamlessly. Soon I was flying towards an expanding, flowing light blue attractor while continuously changing fields of vision (3). There were also cold fractals that flickered at around 240Hz (4). How does the brain create such amazing visuals!

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