I just received notification of clearance for login access to the institute’s Super Computer Lab. I have the computing power of a few thousand CPUs laying at my fingertips, waiting for orders…

Can’t wait to see how fast Unreal Tournament runs on a cluster of CRAYs.

Now we’ll see who gets that top score on the SETI@Home project.

“This will greatly help me compute substrate cleavage point predictions for this new set of data in reasonable time, thanks.”

The nice thing about moving in just a couple weeks before fiscal year end?

Sensei: About your work machine… basically, pick anything you’d like and let me know. You have an unlimited budget.


Sensei: Mmn. Actually… It would be better if you stay under a million yen.

Dave: For one laptop…?

Sensei: Yes.

I wonder if Apple offers a diamond-incrusted version of its latest 17″.

It’s Saturday night, just past 4am.

Right now, I could be:

Instead: I am in the middle of an empty office lab overlooking deserted downtown-Tokyo, staring at a monitor, running Support Vector Machine simulations.

Something, somewhere, went very, very, horribly wrong with my life.

Pros and cons of loading a 120-ft scroll of tracing paper into my typewriter and going on a frenzied 48h non-stop benzedrine-fueled Masters thesis writing session:


  1. It worked for Jack Kerouac.
  2. I’d be done 3 days earlier: more time to edit and correct typos.
  3. I’d be done 3 days earlier: more time to spend drunk in some seedy Golden Gai bar.


  1. Actually, it took him three weeks to write it. I don’t have three weeks.
  2. Sleep deprivation-induced typos probably likely to include: entire paragraphs written in Urdu, random obscene expletives, obscure references to isomorphic transformations in alternate planes of reality…
  3. Comparability of Beat literature masterpiece with Natural Language Processing project involving Machine Learning parsing of Rhetorical Structure Trees: dubious.

It’s a toss, really…

  • Vita
  • Academia
    • Finish all unfinished uni projects.
    • Get seriously started on my research.
    • Make up my mind on the whole PhD thing.
    • Pick a subject.
    • Pick a country.
    • Pick an advisor (not necessarily in the above order).
  • Technica
  • Et caetera
    • Sushi.
    • Beer.
    • Music.
    • Art.
    • Et alia caetera.

This morning, I sat through the last written test of my life.(*)

(*) Don’t get all excited now: I am far from done… Still got a couple reports and projects to hand in, not to mention thesis defense(s) in the coming months/years. Not to mention JLPT in December and any other such certification test I may ever be foolish enough to apply for… Still:

The last written test of my entire existence!

It is not often that you read familiar names in local news reports. Even less so if the locale itself is one you haven’t lived in for over 6 years.

This is why, when I first came upon a mention, in the SF Chronicle, of a slain college teacher living in Oakland, CA, it did not register much: random acts of violence and the senseless killing of innocent, beloved community members is unfortunately too common an occurrence in Oakland these days, to raise one’s attention…

And then today, while parsing Californian news again, I glanced upon the name of that teacher and realized that, against all odds, I knew him.

Not only did I know Dr. Dennis, but I also personally kept a very fond memory of these two semesters I studied with him. In fact, it was he who gave me a taste for Political Science, to the point of making it my college major the following semester, when I had originally just thought of it as a quick requirement to cross off my list before transferring with a science major.

Out of the very few classes I took at CCSF, “Dr. D” was easily the most striking professor: both as an incredibly smart, witty and engaging teacher and at the same time, obviously dedicated toward helping all students and making sure everybody got their fair chance in the end. I remember his fits of calculated zaniness in the middle of the most serious dissections of US Federal Institution and Constitutional Law. I remember that one time where, upon learning of my odd place of birth, he surprised us all by giving a quick but thorough geo-political recap of that tiny Indian Ocean island most wouldn’t even know where to put on a map, all in impeccable French. More so, I remember how astounded I was, when he concluded by throwing in a couple cheerful comments in perfect Seychellois Creole… I even remember that house of his in Oakland, where he traditionally invited his students for a semester-capping potluck dinner…

I still can’t believe now that his name, of all people, would add itself onto that seemingly unending list of tiresome injustices that is Oakland’s violent crimes reports.

He truly was a good man, in deeds and in inspiration for others. I know he will be missed by a lot.

Good bye Dr. D: may you rest in peace, Oh Zany One…

Further reason why reading up reference material for your own neuroscience paper is a total bummer:

[…] After neuronal recording was completed, monkey RO was anesthetized with an overdose of Nembutal (90 mg/kg, i.m.) and transcardially perfused with 10 % formaldehyde in 0.9 % NaCl. The brain was removed and consecutive, 50 µm-thick, frozen sections were cut parallel to the recording electrode penetrations in the frontal plane.

“Ooh, my, that’s interesting… and what fascinating data did we get from those frozen sections of the frontal pl… Hey! Wait a minute… You did what to monkey RO?! I was just getting to know monkey RO! Damn you people. He was just an innocent Japanese monkey (Macaca fuscata, male, 8.9 kg): young and promising, with still so much to give!”


“Oh well, I guess on the upside, we now know that corticostriatal neurons show distinct action-value-related firing patterns when you let monkeys play Pong… You shall not have died in vain (and your brain frozen and sliced to pieces while your heart was being pumped full of embalming fluid), little monkey RO!”

PS: For those wondering: as is commonly the case in such research papers, “anesthetized” is the mother of all euphemisms for “killed the death out of it”.

PPS: I guess this shall simultaneously address a question on everybody’sthree people’s (family and cat included) mind: “What is Dave up to and why don’t we see much of him here lately”.