Enjoying hot pot with friends. Digital painting by the author.

And Other Stories of My Asian American Upbringing

Author’s Note: these stories I’m about to tell draw upon many complex and diverse topics — none of which I will be able to explore in full. This set of stories is but one in a tapestry of works among the diverse experiences of Asian Americans in the United States.

Thanksgiving with Fried Rice

It’s a cold winter day. After my family parks on the curbside, we carry our foil-covered dish to the door. Happy Thanksgiving, come on inside! We’re immediately flooded by the familiar smell of home-cooked Chinese food; the aromas fill the air, followed by the sounds of oil over sizzling heat…


It’s a burgeoning area of AI—but where is it headed?

Image from Jeswin Thomas, Pexels

It’s a bit of an understatement to say that Deep Learning has recently become a hot topic. Within a decade alone, the field has made significant strides on problems once thought to be impossible, including facial recognition, generating text that mimics human writing, making art, and playing games involving strategy and intuition.

Given the buzz surrounding the (seemingly unreasonable) effectiveness of these algorithms, it’s easy to get lost in the extremes of speculation and skepticism towards Deep Learning. Instead, I’d like to focus on the following issues.

First, what is the role of human expertise in a world where Deep…


Image by Christophe Hautier on Unsplash

This article centers around the core idea of perfectionism — people who refuse to accept any standard or outcome short of perfection. It’s important to note that perfectionism is a real, diagnosable psychological condition. In this article, I talk about the more colloquial, non-clinical term of perfectionism as a loose term for people with (unreasonably) high standards for themselves and their work.

The best is the enemy of the good.
— Voltaire

The Problem with Perfection

Perfectionism is complicated. By setting high (and often unachievable) standards for themselves and those around them, perfectionists can challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of what…


Image by Aron Van de Pol, Unsplash

This is the final chapter in a series of pieces about our modern relationship with time and the future. Titled Hourglass, It’s an exploration into how our abstract view of time has changed in modernity, how it has met (or has yet to meet) the needs of the present, and what we can do to better prepare ourselves for what’s to come.

First Chapter / Previous Chapter / End.

Things have changed a lot since the dawn of the Industrial Age. As we stepped into modernity, our very concept of time and the future changed. Throughout this series, we have…


New York, by Denys Nevozhai, Unsplash

This is the seventh and penultimate chapter in a series of pieces about our modern relationship with time and the future. Titled Hourglass, It’s an exploration into how our abstract view of time has changed in modernity, how it has met (or has yet to meet) the needs of the present, and what we can do to better prepare ourselves for what’s to come.

First Chapter / Previous Chapter / Next Chapter (next week)

For the past few centuries, we’ve lauded abundance, singing the tune of more is better. More information, more goods, more trade. What could be wrong with…


Image from Adi Goldstein, Unsplash

This is the sixth chapter in a series of pieces about our modern relationship with time and the future. Titled Hourglass, It’s an exploration into how our abstract view of time has changed in modernity, how it has met (or has yet to meet) the needs of the present, and what we can do to better prepare ourselves for what’s to come.

First Chapter / Previous Chapter / Next Chapter

If the human brain were so simple
That we could understand it,
We would be so simple
That we couldn’t.

— Emerson M. Pugh

Inside that head of yours is…


Valley of Aosta: Snowstorm, Avalanche and Thunderstorm, William Turner. Wikimedia Commons.

This is the fourth chapter in a series of pieces about our modern relationship with time and the future. Titled Hourglass, It’s an exploration into how our abstract view of time has changed in modernity, how it has met (or has yet to meet) the needs of the present, and what we can do to better prepare ourselves for what’s to come.

First Chapter / Previous Chapter / Next Chapter

But first, let’s talk about the end of the world.

The Day the World Ended

On April 10, 1815, the world ended. It began with a rumble, from deep within the earth, a hunger reminiscent…


Building Facade, Pixabay, Pexels.

This is the fifth chapter in a series of pieces about our modern relationship with time and the future. Titled Hourglass, It’s an exploration into how our abstract view of time has changed in modernity, how it has met (or has yet to meet) the needs of the present, and what we can do to better prepare ourselves for what’s to come.

First Chapter / Previous Chapter / Next Chapter

Threadless

When Herodotus finished writing his work, The Histories, in the 5th century BCE, he enshrined himself forever as the “Father of History” for the western world¹. His work covered his…


Lightning over Toronto. Andre Furtado. Pexels.

This is the third chapter in a series of pieces about our modern relationship with time and the future. Titled Hourglass, It’s an exploration into how our abstract view of time has changed in modernity, how it has met (or has yet to meet) the needs of the present, and what we can do to better prepare ourselves for what’s to come.

First Chapter / Previous Chapter / Next Chapter

Predicting the Future

According to ancient Greek Legend, Cassandra was blessed with the gift of prophecy. She was gifted with the ability to see the future, but cursed such that no one would…


The clock at Grand Central Station. Francesco Ungaro. Pexels.

This is the second chapter in a series of pieces about our modern relationship with time and the future. Titled Hourglass, It’s an exploration into how our abstract view of time has changed in modernity, how it has met (or has yet to meet) the needs of the present, and what we can do to better prepare ourselves for what’s to come.

First Chapter / Previous Chapter / Next Chapter

Today, we’ll talk about the machine that reinvented time — and how it shaped the world around us.

You’re sitting at a train station. You anxiously check your watch; the…

Jordan Lei

Going against the gradient. Penn M&T 2020. www.jordanlei.com

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