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My 15 Minutes Of Fame

Today, January 14th 2021, I have received an email notifying me that a limit order I placed some weeks ago has partially filled. I have sold some employee Uber stock options at $60.03. I have made some money! Hurray!

Only 70% of the order was filled. The price has since slipped and did not recover by the time the market is closed. I have never had a limit order partially filled before, given my trade is a small fry in the big market. $60.03 was the day's high. Actually, it was the 52 week high. In fact, it was the historical high since the IPO nearly two years ago.

Yes, I have entered the sale price myself, sixty dollars, AND three cents. If market orders are arranged in a queue, my order would be the last in the queue. This seems unusual since Uber is a major company that trades in high volume. Is it possible that my order is the only order at $60.03? I don't know enough to say if this thinking is correct or not. But if it is true, then I hold the record of the highest sales price out of the entire world!

This is clearly just a random move. It does not mean I have any brilliance in stock trading. I have sold far more shares at bargain basement prices when Uber was deep in the COVID-19 slump that I did today. Or perhaps the stock will double again in a year, then I will punch myself for dumping them for only $60.

But for now, I held the record of trading Uber stock at the highest price of all time!

2021.01.14 comments

 

Bike Tail Light

There is an annoy trend in bike tail light. The vendors are making super bright LED tail light. The idea is the brighter the light, the easier it is for drivers to see, and the safer it is for the riders. But there is diminishing return to the brightness. It is no more safe when the light is bright enough to see one mile away, v.s. a moderately bright light that you can see from half a mile away. Instead, a very bright tail light causes big problem to the rider behind you. It is blindingly bright to follow other with these super bright light.

I have a new light that's somewhat bright. I decided to make some modification to similar frosted glass to make the light more defused and more comfortable to others. Here is the result

Tail light
Lights on (frosted on left)

Simply scratch the plastic surface with a file or rough rocks. Don't be gentle. This is how my light looks like after I scratched it.

Tail light
Lights off

From a distance, there seems little difference between the two lights.

Tail light
Lights from a distance (frosted on left)

I hope we stop buying these super bright tail lights. If you have one, consider scratching it to make it more comfortable to look at.

2020.12.09 comments

 

Biden Elected President

In front of the stage filled with blue light, an exuberant crowd cheering and anticipating the speech from Joe Biden. First came Kamala Harris. She was beaming with her smile, congratulating the people for acting and standing by democracy. She introduced president-elect Joe Biden. In his speech, Biden declares he will govern as an American president, the president for all. “We are not enemies. It is time to unite. It is time to heal.” There is to be hope and possibility for all Americans.

After being bombarded for four years with obnoxious rhetoric and rancor of Donald Trump, it is a breath of fresh air to hear this. Civility has come back. Respect has come back. Biden has struck a conciliatory note. This is all the qualities I can hope for from a respectable leader.

Yet behind this julibrant celebration, I ended with the thought that this blue lighted stage is just a mirage. Despite the choice as a president for all, the condition of unity is not there. Those people he reaches out to will not hear it. The world is a lot more ugly than we hope. The illness of society is so deep, despite the best intention, the president will be helpless to heal.

I do not set out to write a negative essay. I am an optimist. I believe we are to confront the world’s greatest problem with our ingenuity, perseverance and resilience. Those who strive to act with integrity and righteousness will ultimately prevail. Our human nature is fundamentally good.

2020 is a difficult year. My optimistic outlook is severely tested. COVID-19, the novel virus that we initially assume mainly afflicts Asia, has unleashed to the world with vengeance. Socialization is to be minimized. It has fundamentally shakened the purpose of the city. I saw the once bustling downtown reduced to a ghost town. Working with my colleges is reduced to watching a grid of videos. I feel a piece of me has died.

The president should have been a leader to combat the pandemic. Instead he sabotaged the effort to control it, often acted brazenly even with cruelty. When he was criticized for his early failure, he took it out on WHO and reneged on the US' contribution. Scientists ignored and were pressured to serve his agenda. The White House stubbornly acts against public health best practices. Their irresponsibility ultimately led to the virus outbreak in the White House that sickened the president himself. I watched this unfolding with anger.

September 9th, 2020 is a defining moment in my life. In the morning, I noticed it was unusually dark outside. It is as if the sun has overslept and gotten up late. California was already ravaged by wildfire for weeks. Major fire was burning all around, destroying properties and choking us with smoke. The state struggles to get them under control. Still the darkness is unsettling. Dense smoke from fires as far as Oregon has filled the sky, turning the day into an apocalyptic night. I was profoundly dispirited. Even the sun has forsaken us.

The stakes of the 2020 US presidential election are very high. I fought for a resounding repudiation of Trumpism. The alternative, the vindication and mandate for Donald Trump, is unthinkable. After an excruciating delay, Biden has prevailed and Trump is defeated. Hope is restored. But has Trumpism been repudiated? It was noted that Biden has won the election with a healthy margin and the highest number of votes, a total of 75 millions, ever won in history. But Donald Trump has broken a record too. He won 70 million votes. 7 more millions of people have voted for him than in 2016. Despite all the lies, all the chaos, all the disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, these people have decided to double down on Donald Trump.

I’m dumbfounded on how Trump supporters can reconcile Trump’s constant lying. They were not anything subtle. Some claims are so laughable like Mexico is to pay for a border wall. How does Trump have a cultist hold on his followers? Is moral and integrity not a concern to them anymore? Perhaps it was digital social media to blame? Any public criticism is to be dismissed as fake news. Trump followers are free to create their own version of reality that reflects their hero’s delusional view. Conspiracy theorists can easily find validation among themselves. They will no longer be constrained by reality.

In many ways, there is no longer a common ground in this country. Biden has made an honorable effort to unite the people. Sadly it will not be recognized. The political outlook is continued polarization and pure partisanship. There will be a lot of instability as the balance shifts between the two parties. It is hard to see how this country is capable to set and achieve long term goals anymore.

The far right fraction is not the only problem. The far left has its own agenda to transform the society to their own ideal. They are not even a reliable partner in a coalition to defeat Donald Trump. I am frustrated that they are more motivated to rally against the Democrats who are deemed not sufficiently progressive, than to rally against Donald Trump.

I saw a lot of bad omen in 2020. A new year, a new president, will not easily turn this around.

The next day after the sky turned orange, daylight did come out the next day. The sun has risen again. But I can no longer take this for granted.

2020.11.09 comments

 

Right Wing Media

This morning a newsletter from a right wing media landed in my inbox. Usually I don't waste time on them. But something caught my eyes today. Something about "Trump Responds to Junk Intel Report". I followed a link to read further. It was an interesting trip to the right wing media land. It should make quite a bit of interest to people interested in journalism and social media. The keywords you are going to see - complete BS complete joke ridiculous this nonsense.

It was a short article. But I couldn't quite make out what it was trying to say. I noticed this wasn't an original article. It was only a cut and paste from another report. I followed the link to the original.

The article was written by Jim Hoft, founder of The Gateway Pundit. He was awarded the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award and the Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism, according to his bio. The article is rather hard to follow. Much of it is interspersed with pictures, Twitter screenshots and videos. I decided to clean it up so that I can see the content. An excellent tool I used is Instapaper. Instapaper is an article clipping tool. The side effect is it strips away distracting ads and images, keeping only clean text. This is just what I need.

Right Wing News
Right Wing News

Don't worry if you cannot read the text. I will reproduce the entire content below verbatim.

The Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Bill Evanina on Friday revealed information on threats from foreign countries in the 2020 election.

According to Director Bill Evanina Russia wants Joe Biden to lose!

What complete BS.

Bill Evanina is a complete joke.

Then Director Evanina added this:

The ODNI report was released in an official statement:

On Friday night President Trump was asked about this ridiculous government official’s report.

Trump respectfully SHREDDED this nonsense.

That's all. Jim Hoft has written only 76 words in this article. There are 45 other words in the title and subheading, and 245 words in quotes. Out of the 76 words, 24 words is a factual statement in the opening sentence. It leaves 52 words in the main content. A disproportionately large amount of them are emphatic expressions - complete BS, complete joke, ridiculous, this nonsense. There is really no space left to elaborate why. No word was written at all to explain why it is considered complete BS.

There are more words in the quotation that the article itself. A rebuke of the intelligence report is from a transcript of Trump's interview. He himself said, and you have certainly heard this before, nobody’s been tougher on Russia than I have ever. Be careful with the quotation though. Many of them are not quoted from source but quoted from other quotes. The article said "the ONDI report was released in an official statement, colon". But the official statement did not follow after the colon. Instead, it links to another right wing journalist' tweet, which includes a screenshot of the official statement from his smart phone. Right wing media quote from other right wing media a lot, with typos and grammatical mistakes all included. Indeed, I was led to this article from another right wing article that was a cut and paste of this article.

Perhaps these kind of writing are not entirely new. When you are in the supermarket's checkout line, your attention will be captured by tabloids on display. It is all about big picture, shocking headline and perhaps no real content. Now that these style evolved to right wing media festering in public policy space, when people utter "complete BS" throughout and make no effort and see no need to explain themselves, the resulting conversation can be scary.

Link to the article - https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/08/devastating-trump-responds-junk-intel-report-nobody-common-sense-say-russia-wants-donald-trump-win-video/

2020.08.08 comments

 

Economy And Diseases

South China Morning Post is an excellent resource for international news coverage of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They publish an up-to-date statistics of confirmed cases around the world. I have been following it for some time.

covid-19 2020-03-19
COVID-19 Statistics (SCMP)

One pattern jump out to me. The most affected countries in the top of the chart, with the exception of Iran, are all developed, G-7 kind of countries. The initial origin is China. The next affected is South Korea. Now all Western European countries are following. US and UK are lacked by two weeks or so but their are steadily catching up. Keep scrolling down the chart, you will find the rest of the entire world with relative low number of cases. Big countries like Indonesia and Pakistan rank quite a bit behind. Bangladesh has 17 cases and Nigeria has 2. What does this pattern tells us? Is it counter-intuitive that rich countries are ravaged but poor countries are spared?

Skeptics may believe less developed countries simply don't test enough subjects and produce inaccurate number. This might be a factor. it might only be a matter of time when the diseases hit poor countries in a big way. My hope is this grim prediction will not turn out to been to be true.

What I believe is infectious diseases is the Achilles' heel of economic development. The movement of people within and to and from developed countries is an important driver of economy. It connects them into a big market and allow them leverage a large pool of human resources. But this is also a vector of spread of diseases. The better the connectivity, the faster it spreads. Urbanization improves productivity and innovation. Yet living close together is also risky from epidemic's perspective.

Less developed countries seem less affected for now. There are less movement of people to and from economic hub or within. The populations are more rural. This slows down the spread of diseases relative to big cities.

Developed countries also has the most to lose in economic break down. Since they produce more, the same percentage of reduction in productivity would have more effect than in other countries. How to develop a vibrant economy but at the same time minimize the risk of epidemic? Human interactions are crucial for modern economy. Yet this also make us vulnerable to outbreak. COVID-19 will not the last epidemic. Looking back in the past decades we have seen many large one. The future of our economy depends on strategies to mitigate epidemics that are to come.

2020.03.19 comments

 

COVID-19 Has Arrived

For the most part, US was relatively removed from the coronavirus outbreak in China. Despite a small number of cases, most of them related to recent travel to China, officials assured people the risk of low epidemic here was low. When the case of Solano County patient was discovered, she has no history related to traveling and has been carry the disease undetected for days, it was a sign that our perceived immunity is over. Within two weeks, cases of virus inflections were reported all around Bay Area. Events, businesses and schools were scrambling with closures. Everything exploded. Now we are in full fledge pandemic.

I have been making all the hygienic and health precaution's, keep educating myself about the science of the disease and its social impact. It becomes obvious to me that the virus will soon touch all of us. Many of us will get sick. Some people will die. It is still inconceivable to think it will kill people we know, or even you and me. But there will always be a possibility. Vigilance is important. Young and healthy people have lower risk. But we shouldn't make too much assumption. No one is fully immune.

Seeing the inevitability of the spread, I feel strangely at peace. I stopped stressing out every time when there was a new case reported around us. I know the trajectory and how things are going to go. This is the time of a global pandemic. I want to live through it in the best possible way.

2020.03.15 comments

 

The International Development of China

(Repost of my comment about the preface of The International Development of China by Yat-sen Sun as part of the course world of Creating Modern China on edX.)

Reading Sun's aspirational development plan for the China has aroused me. For an ancient empire in long and deep decay, Sun looked beyond the victimhood from the Qing era. To develop China and improved the livinghood of Chinese people is of utmost importance. But Sun's vision is even beyond that. In his words, "China (is to) be developed internationally under a socialistic scheme, for the good of the world in general and the Chinese people in particular".

In line with all the humanistic thinkers before him, the development should be socialistic one for the benefit of the people. The development of China is not in exclusion of foreigners. Instead, there is an ocean of prospects that has room for both Chinese and international interest. In fact, the need for development is so vast that it necessitates international participation.

The specific development idea may or may not still be the best when viewing with 100 year of hindsight. While I think it is putting too much emphasis on centralized economic plan, using state led infrastructure projects to stimulate development is still a good strategy today. Peculiarly, Sun's vision is becoming realized by the Chinese communist government today. The infrastructure is developed in a breakneck pace. For the first time in the modern era, there is a remarkable and broad based improvement in Chinese people's livinghood. Chinese is even pushing this development model aboard to Africa and parts of Asia. One might hope that this will bring development and prosperity beyond China to other parts of the world.

Perversely, the populist's movement in today's Western world is pushing for an opposite model. In their view, the individual nation states are each for itself. Perhaps not unlike China in the past century, during stress, some people adopt an xenophobic view in reaction. For more than a century, they were resisting change, hoping for a return to the glorious past in futility. Sun's vision is an aspiration for China to build itself. Let's hope it will also be a vision for all to a better future.

2019.09.28 comments

 

Is it not a blessing

This afternoon I was laid off by Uber. After taking care of a few things, I went out for a walk. I wandered in Golden Gate Park and checked out shops on the 9th Ave. I walked into Green Apple bookstore to browse. A short book by Thich Nhat Hanh caught my attention. His writing is easy yet insightful. I found this story about "Good Luck or Bad Luck", a parable about fate is often not what it seems. A misfortune can well turn out to be a blessing. I was familiar with the original story 塞翁失馬,焉知非福, which has made it into a proverb in modern Chinese. How fitting it was to my apparent bad luck today. How lucky I would come across this when it was most relevant. I looked up the original story and shared it here.

近塞上之人有善术者。马无故亡而入胡。人皆吊之,其父曰:“此何遽不为福乎?”居数月,其马将胡骏马而归。人皆贺之,其父曰:“此何遽不能为祸乎?”家富良马,其子好骑,堕而折其髀(读音bì,股,大腿)。人皆吊之,其父曰:“此何遽不为福乎?”居一年,胡人大入塞,丁壮者引弦而战,近塞之人,死者十九,此独以跛之故,父子相保。故福之为祸,祸之为福,化不可极,深不可测也。——《淮南子·人间训》

I was sipping boba tea in a neighborhood shop and reexamining the old classic text. I felt contented.

2019.09.14 comments

 

Mock Suit Case Accident

Mock Suit Case Accident

2019.08.02 comments

 

Uber IPO

IPO Bell Ringing
IPO Bell Ringing

I was so excited to see Uber go public last Friday. On the NYSE podium were our CEO and longest serving executives. We were also joined by a few drivers and business partners. I felt quite sentimental of the moment. Many of us has gone through all the trials and tribulations for so long. Among the team is our CTO Thuan, whom through all these years have been the inspiration and driving force for the engineering team. Together we build the technology platform from the ragtag system that constantly fails into the much more stable and sophisticated platform we have today. [more...]

2019.05.13 comments

 

Transit News

This morning I have received three transit news update, one good news and two bad news. [more...]

2019.01.11 comments

 

Clear Sky

San Francisco Clear Sky
San Francisco Sky

The air was super clear on the New Year's day. From the mountain top, I saw Point Reyes, Farallon Islands, Mountain Diablo, San Jose. Everything was in clear view. [more...]

2019.01.01 comments

 

Skip Scooter

Last week, I have tested Scoot, Jump Bike and Muni. Today, I got a chance to try the other scooter provide Skip. Sign up was quick. You will need to enter your credit card number and let them take a picture of your driver license using the app. Skip's app is bare bone. The only function is to show you locations of nearest scooters and to unlock one in front of you by scanning the QR code. [more...]

2018.10.26 comments

 

Bike vs Scooter vs Bus

The electric scooter come back to San Francisco street this week. The two companies that's licensed are Scoot and Skip. Today I needed to make a shopping trip to SOMA. Scooters seemed ideal. I was excited to try them out. [more...]

2018.10.18 comments

 

No More Tempered Glass Screen Protector

I have finally removed the tempered glass screen protector from my phone. Shortly after I installed it, I noticed a fine crack appeared. I did not drop my phone. The touch surface remained smooth and there was no problem to use. But the crack looks unnerving. I wasn't sure if the crack is on the protector or on the screen beneath it. [more...]

2018.07.22 comments

 

SF Hill Run 2

I took on the San Francisco Hills again this morning. Besides the usual assualt of Twin peaks and Mt Davidsion, I added Buena Vista Park and Edge hill. The uphill sections are half run and half walk. I chickened out of Mt Sutro. I don't know if I have the stamina to tackle it next time. My legs were on the verge of clamping toward the end. It was a fun morning. [more...]

2018.06.03 comments

 

Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities

The pace of technology-driven innovation from the private sector in shared transportation services, vehicles, and networks is rapid, accelerating, and filled with opportunity. At the same time, city streets are a finite and scarce resource. [more...]

2018.03.23 comments

 

REI stop selling major outdoor brand with NRA ties

REI, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, stop selling major outdoor brand with NRA ties. It announced that it would no longer be ordering CamelBak, Bell, Giro or any other of the 50 Vista Outdoor brands to sell in its stores. [more...]

2018.03.03 comments

 

Long Now Member

Long Now Member

I have been meaning to do it for a while. Now I finally become a paid member of Long Now. [more...]

2018.02.16 comments

 

Awesome Jump Bike

I made my first trip with JUMP bike last night. Their bikes are AWESOME! I'm a hardy bicyclist. I ride all over the city and charge up hills with gusto. I own another electric cargo bike myself. It makes it practical for me to carry my child to Presidio and conquer the hill in the middle. [more...]

2018.02.02 comments

 

past articles »

 

BBC News

 

Migrant caravan: Mexico presses US to reform immigration policies (19 Jan 2021)

 

Covid vaccine: WHO warns of 'catastrophic moral failure' (18 Jan 2021)

 

Covid: Biden says travel bans will stay despite Trump order (19 Jan 2021)

 

US Capitol riots: Trump supporter arrested after Pelosi 'data theft' (19 Jan 2021)

 

Australian Open: Two players test positive amid quarantine row (19 Jan 2021)

 

Conquering K2 in winter 'together' (19 Jan 2021)

 

Keystone pipeline: Biden 'to cancel it on his first day' (18 Jan 2021)

 

Alexei Navalny: Poisoned Putin critic Navalny to be kept in custody (19 Jan 2021)

 

Tunisia protests: Hundreds arrested as clashes continue (19 Jan 2021)

 

Covid-19: Four million in UK get their first vaccine (18 Jan 2021)

more »

 

SF Gate

 

Fired Boeing CEO is now working with Bay Area tractor startup (14 Dec 2020)

 

PG&E bills to rise over per year on average to fund wildfire risk reduction (5 Dec 2020)

 

Nasdaq seeks more diversity on boards of companies listed on exchange (2 Dec 2020)

 

Elizabeth Holmes Prosecutors Say Texts Show Theranos Beset With Problems (24 Nov 2020)

 

Ship traffic, November 1 (30 Oct 2020)

 

Ship traffic, November 2 (30 Oct 2020)

more »


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