Setu's (micro)blog

U.S. National Park Service

It has been just over 3 years since I have been in the USA, and in this time I have come to realize that one of my favorite things about USA is the National Park Service. I have visited more than 15 national parks in various parts of the country, hiked across most of them, and marvelled at the things I saw. I have experienced snow-clad mountains, scorching deserts, canyons that have been shaped over millions of years, hot springs sitting on volcanoes, tiny streams, glacial lakes, and rivers with lush waterfalls…

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Data + Science

‘Data never lies; people do.’

Data is an amusing artefact. It exists all around us, in many forms, and unless we know exactly how to read it, we are oblivious to it. It is no wonder that most professions are based in the ability to understand one specific type of data. We spend a quarter of our lives just learning about different types of data and figuring out which one we want to spend the rest of our lives around! What are skills if not the art of interpreting data? It is in this interpretation that lies are born from. Data doesn’t …

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Using Instagram in 2019

8 years. That’s how long I’ve had an Instagram account. My Instagram profile is a curation, it is a reminder of everywhere I have been, some of my best photographs, akin to a portfolio. I have seen it go from a niche, Facebook acquisition, ads, it becoming a popular app, adding stories and messages. I’m not a fan of most of Instagram’s changes, so here’s a little bit about how I use Instagram these days, in 2019.

  • Instagram rose to popularity with a simple photo sharing model. Traditio…

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The Seen and The Unseen

I have been listening to podcasts for a few years now. Most of the podcasts I listen to are (unsurprisingly) tech-related. However, slowly, my podcast feed has been growing for the last year or so, with new feeds that focus on politics, economics and current affairs. As my schedule gets more streamlined, I listen to more podcast episodes every week. It makes a lot of sense to listen to them while I’m doing chores or while I’m commuting. (If you use iOS and listen to podcasts, go, try Overcast if you don’t know about it already. It is the best podcast player out there.)

One of the podcasts that I have been most looking forward to lately, has been ‘The Seen and The Unseen’ hosted by Amit Varma. The show is set at the intersection of politics, social science and economics, in the Indian context. The guests focus on statistical evidence, facts and historical significance, and how they lend voice to their opinions. With every episode, I learn new things, understand old topics better, and am usually riveted throughout the episode.

Some noteworthy episodes that I have heard recently:

I highly recommend everyone who enjoys a smart conversation on important, controversial, difficult subjects to listen to it. Even if you don’t agree to it, it will make you rethink and re-assert your opinions, with more information at your disposal.

Game of Thrones: Finale

I watched the Game of Thrones finale about 24 hours back and have had the time to gather my thoughts about it. Unpopular opinion, but I liked it.

(Of course there are spoilers ahead!)

TL;DR: It was an acceptable end to the show, but not a satisfactory one.

Here’s why:

  • Daenarys' turn into an evil overlord may have been sudden(-ish) but it has been brewing, even if it didn't latch on to the audience. And Tyrion did a really good job at explaining it.
  • Jon didn’t want to be king, he did…

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It has been just over a year since my last post here. Things have changed a lot since then. I moved to a different city thrice, I graduated from my Master's program and started my first real job. Those are the highlights, but there are also a lot of nitty-gritty details that matter.

During all that time, a few constant thoughts have strongly been on my mind. One of them has been this space, my micro(blog). I kept wanting to write, but the struggle of what to write always existed. I did end …

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Next Phase of Life

The last few months have been some of the most gruelling ones I have ever encountered, personally and professionally. I was supposed to graduate next month with my Masters, but I pushed that to December because a marvellous opportunity presented in the nick of time. In about 24 hours, I will leave Indianapolis, which has been my home since I arrived in USA in August, 2016, to pursue a research internship at one of the biggest technology companies in the world. Two years ago, had someone told me I'd be pursuing a research internship today, I'…

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India & Politics

Indian politics is one of the most complicated and divided in the world, and it is amplified by the diversity of the country. I came across this forum discussion about why self-driving cars remain and will probably remain a dream in India for the foreseeable future, while the developed world inches towards policies and laws governing such vehicles. Much of the blame with a lot of India's problems starts with the pol…

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AAAI 2018

Over the last few days, I attended AAAI 2018, which is among the premier conferences on AI conducted in the whole year. I feel honored that I got a chance to present my research project under the 'Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence' (IAAI-18) track, and attend the whole conference. Having attended two much smaller and more specialized IEEE conferences in the last 6 months, the sheer scale and expert knowledge of A…

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Short Films

For the last few months, I have been watching a bunch of short films on YouTube, with most of them being from Indian directors, actors and storytellers. And everytime I watch a good one I am amazed at the amount of talent in India. Not just actors or directors, but also photographers, videographers, editors, sound engineers, etc. It has been a pleasant experience, and one that I am sure to continue for quite a long time (my YouTube Watch Later playlist is full of short films that seem interesting).

But it also makes me wonder how much…

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