Linear Algebra Concepts

Since I’m studying for my Linear Algebra Midterm 2, I would like to share some cool concepts or algorithms we learned in class. My notes aren’t as neat as they are usually, but here are some cool things:

  1. Change of Basis – essentially writing a matrix with  basis for R^n into a matrix with another basis (so converting the matrix into another basis “terms” or “language”)

This is a really great video explanation describing the concept of it: Change of Basis

Here are my notes from it. Here in my notes, [x]B is the new vector in terms of the new basis:

2. Gram-Schmidt Process – a way to solve for the orthogonal and orthonormal basis from an original basis. I thought the algorithm and pattern behind it was interesting since, for each new vector, you essentially subtract the “not orthogonal part” to force the remainder to be orthogonal only

3. Least Squares and Data Fitting – least squares is basically when there is no actual perfect solution to a linear transformation or matrix solution, but you try to find the one that is closest to it. I thought that was pretty deep on both a mathematical and philosophical level because it’s saying that although one cannot reach perfection, they must strive towards it. Sort of like my Model United Nations essay for college applications. If you have a lot of points on a 2D graph, the least squares regression would be the line that best fits the points on a line. I thought this as choosing someone/raising someone too–you can’t get make the perfect person and someone won’t have all the qualities you want, but you can get close enough.

Anyways, here are my notes form it:




I think I’m going to renovate this blog (for the millionth time) into that title description. I want to have a lot more freedom to post my day-to-day tasks and accomplishments and things I learn. So that will be the new title of the blog, once I figure out how to change the different things with WordPress. Using this website platform is such a pain for web developers, I would much rather program it myself so I can get it the way I like things.

TIL 4.15

Okay so I switched to TIL and the date instead of the number because I don’t want to keep scrolling down to see which TIL I am on since it’s obvious I haven’t been consecutively updating these everyday.

So TIL 4.15: If you don’t ask questions in lecture, there’s no value in going to it


TIL #5

  1. Life: Your closest friends can be your greatest disappointments
  2. Life: Never trust anyone who makes promises too easily
  3. Life: You get more when you put in more of your time and effort (clubs, classes, friendships)
  4. Life: Have empathy for others
  5. Life: Find ways to motivate yourself and improve yourself other than from those around you
  6. Data Structures: Maps and topological sorts can be used to determine prerequisites

Privacy Debate: Government on Encryption for Social Media and Personal Technology to Prevent Terrorism, Gang Violence, and Crime

Privacy Debate: Government on Encryption for Social Media and Personal Technology to Prevent Terrorism, Gang Violence, and Crime

We currently live in an age where technology and social media has grown exponentially in the past decades and continues to become more and more prevalent in our daily lives. Although this has allowed for people and communities to collaborate and stay well-connected with each other over a multitude of platforms, it has also provided a convenient facet for militant groups and terrorist organizations to recruit members, communicate orders, and execute their malicious attacks. With so much personal data stored in the web, social media platforms, and our daily technology such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops, companies have put substantial effort in making sure all user information is safe–well encrypted and private. This is beneficial for the average citizen, but not when encryption also protects the malicious plans and information of terrorist and militant groups. Tensions rise between the government and private corporations; this touches upon an important debate between user privacy and encryption and government warrant. There are certain ethical questions we must ask ourselves regarding encryption and privacy: Should the government receive the warrant to have tech companies give them information on personal accounts and passwords in order to investigate crime and militant or terrorist groups? Regarding social media and electronic mail platforms, such as instagram, facebook, Gmail, and Twitter, should the government be able to see content posted in private accounts or private messages in emails? There is an ongoing debate on this issue, and touches upon the precedent of law enforcement: how far will government go to protect its citizens even if it meant access all personal accounts, technology, and social media and how will this impact the average citizen? Does this essentially mean that there would be complete transparency and no privacy– a 4th amendment right? How does this fall into the engineering code of ethics for private corporations?

The first argument calls into the careful mediation the negative effects of government intervention and warrant into private technology and social media accounts, and whether it is truly beneficial for the common good. According to Bob Lord, Yahoo’s Security Chief on the encryption debate, “there are human rights activists throughout the world who struggle to communicate freely, to organize and to share their thoughts because their governments are looking to control the telecom companies, and the phone companies.” (1). Other than human right activities, Lord states that there is a growing danger, ranging from “Eastern European criminal syndicates to foreign nation-states” that can hurt and steal information from thousands of people (1). The role of encryption holds importance in protecting those people when they try to communicate with their banks, with their doctors, with the government over tax issues without their information being stolen or used for malicious purposes.

Although the privacy and information of the general population should be conserved, there are still terrorists and militant groups that utilize these mediums to recruit and pass information that can potentially perpetrate the death of thousands of people as shown thrown violent attacks throughout history. In fact, Al-Qaeda has been noted as being one of the terror groups that uses social media the most extensively  to spread its global communications (2). A man named Mohammed Yazdani, who was a poor engineer from India, was able to easily join ISIS by logging into Twitter, searching the hashtags #ISIS and #Khilafa, and quickly making contact with an Islamic State recruiter (3). ISIS helped Yazdani recruit conspirators, locate weapon caches prepositioned around India, and attempt to manufacture explosives (3). In this case, would it be more reasonable for government to have media surveillance into private accounts? Wouldn’t it be acceptable to compromise the average citizen’s privacy if it meant saving millions of lives? Past simply social media, should the government have access into any technological device we own? In the infamous FBI-Apple encryption dispute, the FBI ordered Apple to unlock and disable the auto-erase function of an iPhone 5C owned by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters involved in the December 2015 San Bernardino attack that killed 14 people and critically injured 22 (4).  The two attackers had died four hours after the attack in a shootout with the police, having previously destroyed their personal phones. Despite having recovered Farook’s work phone, the government was at a loss, as it was locked with a four-digit password and programmed to delete all its data after ten failed attempts. In order to investigate the tragedy and identify anyone who was involved with the shooting in order to prevent future occurrences of such event, the police needed access into this phone, yet Apple refused, stating that unlocking the phone would open a backdoor and risk all its customers. Apple does present an important factor to consider, but the question needs to be asked as to what other options are there for law enforcement? The goals have been to build encryption as secure as possible, which means no built-in vulnerabilities and also means at some point, but also to maintain general welfare and prevent terrorist attacks and the spread of harm. These two mediums must be balanced.

According to the EEE Code of Ethics and NSP Code of Ethics of Engineering, one the first Rules of Practice of being an engineer is to “hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public” (5). In my opinion, a protocol for the government to bypass encryption should be carefully set up with specific guidelines of when it is permitted so it does not prive into the private lives of average citizens. The level of potential harm must exceed a certain threshold for government intervention into private accounts and technology, and this threshold should be quantified and calculated weighing multiple factors to reduce subjectivity and bias. This will prevent law enforcement from getting entangled in citizen communications with their banks, with doctors, family, etc; and make sure that citizen privacy is kept for the most part. Until the threshold of potential harm is met, the government should not be able to access private accounts or technology, and the information would only ever be used to mitigate harm in the general public, and not to be commercialized or publicized in any way, following the 4th  rule of practice in the engineering code of ethics: “Engineers shall not disclose, without consent, confidential information concerning the business affairs or technical processes of any present or former client or employer, or public body on which they serve” (5). Implications to these practices should be considered–including defining what defines the greater good. For example, in a hypothetical scenarios, if a girl might was going to commit suicide or may be potentially be murdered by a stranger she was talking to online and her mom needs access to her phone–would the government intervene? Or is this a breach in privacy into private conservations? It is important to define strict lines, and follow the engineering code of ethics to benefit the safety, health, and welfare of the public. So in the end, the question is, what is the right thing for the largest number of people under the largest number of circumstances. That’s where the government should be able to access private accounts and personal technology–to provide the largest amount of common good.



Steve Jobs Last Words

I thought Steve Job’s last letter was really inspirational, since the stage he’s reached in life is what we all (especially as engineers/tech majors) strive to, but in the end he’s learned that there’s a world outside of what we esteem:

“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to. At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death. You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you. Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – “Life”. When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading – “Book of Healthy Life”. Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down. Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends… Treat yourself well. Cherish others. As we grow older, and hence wiser, we slowly realize that wearing a $300 or $30 watch – they both tell the same time… Whether we carry a $300 or $30 wallet/handbag – the amount of money inside is the same; Whether we drive a $150,000 car or a $30,000 car, the road and distance is the same, and we get to the same destination. Whether we drink a bottle of $300 or $10 wine – the hangover is the same; Whether the house we live in is 300 or 3000 sq ft – loneliness is the same. You will realize, your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world. Whether you fly first or economy class, if the plane goes down – you go down with it… Therefore.. I hope you realize, when you have mates, buddies and old friends, brothers and sisters, who you chat with, laugh with, talk with, have sing songs with, talk about north-south-east-west or heaven and earth, That is true happiness!!

Five Undeniable Facts of Life :

1. Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be Happy. So when they grow up they will know the value of things not the price.

2. Best awarded words in London. “Eat your food as your medicine. Otherwise you have to eat medicine as your food.”

3. The One who loves you will never leave you for another because even if there are 100 reasons to give up he or she will find one reason to hold on.

4. There is a big difference between a human being and being human. Only a few really understand it.

5. You are loved when you are born. You will be loved when you die. In between, You have to manage!

NOTE: If you just want to Walk Fast, Walk Alone! But if you want to Walk Far, Walk Together!

Six Best Doctors in the World;

1. Sunlight
2. Rest
3. Exercise
4. Diet
5. Self Confidence and
6. Friends

Maintain them in all stages of Life and enjoy a healthy life.

TIL #4

  1. Life: Everyone’s lost in different states–some are better than hiding it than others
  2. Life: Your enemy can become your best friend and your best friend can become your enemy
  3. Life: Vulnerability can be your best friend
  4. Tech: You can download someone’s blog

TIL #3

TIL #3:

  1. Life: Money is there you just need to be proactive in obtaining it
  2. Life: People make you more awake
  3. Life: The past was less complex
  4. Academic: You can make prediction models with python

VR Speaker

VR Speaker Presentation: Ink Stories

VR Game:

  • 1979 Revolutionary Game:

Interactive/Gestural agency

You will be asked questions

To answer them, nod yes/no

You can youse connect (Xbox?) to do animation/motion capture for avatars

Goals for VR Experiences

  • Immersive VR perceptually surrounds the user, increasing his/her sense of presence or actually being within it
  • Interactive VR gives participants agency within the immersive world–so they can make valuable choices that have an impact on the world and the others within it. Creating a deeper connection between participants and the story.

Fail states without death → received lots of criticism

  • 4D multi sensory & location based:
    • Textured floors
    • Vibration platform
    • Foam particle machine
    • Air vortex cannon
    • Heat lamps
    • Sensory scent machine
    • Realtime prop tracking:
    • Balls, fire extinguisher
    • Planks, walls, varied props
    • Live actor performance
    • Perimeter nets
    • 32-channel open-air sound system
  • Blindfold
    • 7 stories simultaneously unfolding in real time
    • Controller becomes a virtual phone (text/zoom into apartments/play videos)
    • Story replay-ability
    • (3) 20 min episodes
    • Synopsis: peer into private lives of 8 diverse New Yorkers from fire escape to discover suspicion & deception–all unfolding in real time
  • VR as a medium is only 3 years old!
  • VR projects: 1979 Revolutionary, BlindFold, Fire Escape
  • AR = Augmented Reality becoming the next biggest thing