柳传志,倪光南,联想,柳青,滴滴出行

我面了滴滴出行,印象最深的是最后一个面试官问我的问题是在USACO training page上的一个问题,那就是,给个自然数n,有多少不同的\{1,2,\ldots,n\}的和同等的二分拆,用更数学的语言,就是

\left|\{I, J : I \cap J = \emptyset, I \cup J = \{1,2,\ldots,n\}, \sum_{i \in I} i = \sum_{j \in J} j\}\right|.

这个问题我在美国高二时做的,我的一位同学,俄罗斯人,父母都是程序员(而我父母都不是),虽然他对真正的编程懂一些而当然的我对计算机和软件开发没任何概念,只不过数学能力在那儿,但这个问题他却一周都没想通。而我基本没多久就发觉到可以以动态规划的方式计算出

\prod_{i=1}^n (1+x^i)

的系数,下标为n(n+1)/4的系数就是我们要计算的值,不久就把这个动态规划写出来并成功提交了。

说实话,动态规划的概念真的挺trivial的,连计算Fibonacci数用的方法都能算动态规划。动态规划对有数学思维的人都是感觉挺自然地。

上面那问题没啥好说的啦,我更想说的是当时我还不知道滴滴出行公司的背景,尤其其高层。 Continue reading “柳传志,倪光南,联想,柳青,滴滴出行”

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More on negative Chinese stereotypes

I talk with a guy who knows British race and intelligence researcher Richard Lynn, who prophesized back in 2001 in a book on eugenics that China will, with a combination of high IQ, size (both in land mass and population), and authoritarian government, eventually rule the world. I asked him what he thinks about that. His response was:

Chinese deeply incompetent and bad personality for innovation. But maybe if Western keeps importing blacks and Muslims…
It’s a good question and important

For more context on Lynn, I’ll copy directly from his book.

The nations of East Asia are likely to develop their economic, scientific, technological, and military strength during the twenty-first century by virtue of the high intelligence levels of their populations and the absence of any serious dysgenic processes. These countries have not allowed the growth of an underclass with high dysgenic fertility, and they have not permitted dysgenic immigration. China will continue its rapid economic development and will emerge as a new superpower in the early middle decades of the twentyfirst century. Chinese economic, scientific, and military strength is likely to be increased by the further development of the eugenic programs introduced in the 1980s and 1990s and particularly by the introduction of the new eugenics of embryo selection and the cloning of elites. As the power of the United States declines, China and Europe will emerge as the two superpowers. A global conflict will develop between them in which Europe will become progressively weakened by dysgenic forces and China progressively strengthened by eugenic programs. This conflict will eventually be won by China, which will use its power to assume control of the world and to establish a world state. This event will become known as “the end of history.” Once China has established a world state, it can be expected to administer this on the same lines as former colonial empires by appointing Chinese governors and senior military and administrative support staff in charge of the provinces of its world empire or by allowing nationals of its subject peoples to administer the provinces under Chinese supervision. The establishment of a Chinese world state will inevitably not be welcomed by the peoples of the rest of the world, who will become colonized populations governed by an oligarchy based in Beijing. There will be no democracy, and a number of freedoms will be curtailed, including freedom to publish seditious material and to have unlimited numbers of children. There will, however, be certain compensating benefits. There will be no more wars between independent nation states with the attendant dangers of the use of nuclear weapons and biological warfare. It will be possible to deal with the problems of dysgenic fertility, global warming, deforestation, the population explosion in the developing world, the AIDS epidemic, and similar global problems that cannot be tackled effectively in a world of independent nation states. Among the world state’s first objectives will be the reversal of dysgenic processes and the introduction of eugenic programs throughout the world. Over the longer term the world state will set up research and development programs for the use of genetic engineering to improve the human genome and to produce a new human species able to solve hitherto unsolvable problems and to colonize new planets. This will be the ultimate achievement of Galton’s vision of using eugenics to replace natural selection with consciously designed human selection.

This scenario for the twenty-first century, in which China assumes world domination and establishes a world eugenic state, may well be considered an unattractive future. But this is not really the point. Rather, it should be regarded as the inevitable result of Francis Galton’s (1909) prediction made in the first decade of the twentieth century, that “the nation which first subjects itself to a rational eugenical discipline is bound to inherit the earth” (p. 34).

And also an excerpt with reference to the perceived lack of personality conducive to innovation on the part of Chinese:

Once China has established the world state, it will be concerned with raising the prosperity of its subject populations, just as other colonial powers have been. One of its first measures to promote this objective will be to introduce worldwide eugenic programs. These will include programs of both positive and negative eugenics. With regard to negative eugenics, one of its first objectives will be to reverse the dysgenic fertility that appeared in Europe, the United States, and the rest of the economically developed world in the middle and later decades of the nineteenth century and persisted into the twentieth century and that developed later in most of the remainder of the world. It can be expected that in its European and North American provinces, the Chinese will introduce the same eugenic measures that had been pioneered in China, consisting of both the classical eugenics of parental licensing and the new eugenics of the mandatory use of embryo selection for conception. The Chinese may well also introduce the cloning of the elites of the European peoples. The Chinese will be aware that while they and other Oriental peoples have a higher average intelligence, the European peoples have a greater capacity for creative achievement, probably arising from a higher level of psychopathic personality, enabling them more easily to challenge existing ways of thinking and to produce creative innovations. This will be part of human genetic diversity that the Chinese will be keen to preserve and foster. They will regard the European peoples rather in the same way as the Romans regarded the Greeks after they had incorporated them into the Roman empire. Although the Romans had conquered the Greeks by their military superiority, they respected the Greeks for having developed a higher level of civilization than they themselves had been able to achieve. The Chinese will view their European subject peoples in a similar manner.

I do increasingly believe, as I’ve already written numerous times on this blog, that lack of creative potential of Chinese is way overstated. In the 20th century, they achieved a fair bit in terms of creativity at the highest levels, especially in STEM, in spite of very disadvantaged environmental circumstances. The Chinese did not develop modern science; I think though this has more to do with their having started later, civilization-wise, than the rest of the world due to limited scope and geographic obstacles than with their innate ability/personality. Agriculture and writing were independently developed in China substantially later than it was in Mesopotamia. I see an analogy here. Chinese often like to use the fact that Japan did not develop its own writing system to show contempt for this comparatively little country that Chinese themselves suffered so much from in modern times. This is clearly not because Japanese are less naturally talented (their IQ is about the same); they were basically too small to do so before Chinese characters were transmitted to them. There are actually quite a few Chinese who achieved at the highest levels of STEM (and even more Japanese), they are lesser known though due to their foreignness. As for names, there are quite a few, and one can easily find them online. I’ll go as far as Chen-Ning Yang in theoretical physics and Shing-Shen Chern in pure math.

Again, Chinese culture still lacks presence in the outside world, and China itself is still a developing country, though of course significant parts of China are basically at developed levels GDP wise. So even if Chinese are extremely good and creative, they have a harder time getting recognized and realizing their potential. This also has much to do with a relative lack of truly leading edge science culture and tradition in China, which will take some time. Transmission of knowledge from cultures and lands so far apart is by no means trivial.

We all know that it’s often not enough to be actually good. You also have to win politically. China is increasingly doing that. Its political system far apart from the norm set by the West is becoming increasingly credible to the dismay of many Western elites as China rises in economically, technologically, and militarily. The more powerful China becomes, the more easily Chinese will be able to advocate for themselves on the international stage and get recognized for their achievements. This reminds me of how many say Soviet scientists had to do better work than Western scientists to win the same big prizes, most of all the Nobel, because the West had the political sway to bias the committees to its favor somewhat. There is also, I guess, that the West can be very biased in who it promotes in the media. Like, the Nobel Peace Prize is a basically a complete joke, but there are people politically influential enough to make a big deal out of it.

What I believe is grossly under-recognized is how much creativity and daring it has taken for the Chinese to create their own, unique political system and maintain sufficient faith in it up to this day. In many ways, in this respect, the 90s, right after the Soviet collapse, when there was all this Francis Fukuyama end of history nonsense, was a nadir for China. But we’re now past that, and time seems to be on the side of the Chinese. I guess they will still need more people like me to advocate for these alternative perspectives to the extent that they becomes the new normal, in the international setting.

The Brahmins

The cognitive and personality profile, and overall achievement package, of Indians as a group is a rather interestingly unbalanced one. Sometimes they do spectacular things, like discovering the infinite series for trigonometric functions of sine, cosine, tangent, and arctangent as early as the 14th century, producing a good number of real geniuses like Ramanujan and Satyendra Nath Bose, and reaching Mars orbit on its first attempt, being the first Asian nation to do so, and doing so at a small fraction of the cost expended by NASA. An IMO gold medalist I talk to once said to me that there are probably more Indians than Chinese with IQ 160+ due to very high Brahmin IQ that has stabilized (meaning regression to a stable high Brahmin mean as opposed to the low Indian mean) over millennia of inbreeding within caste. I thought maybe. Certainly, I do sometimes get the impression that Indians, at least in science, are better than Chinese at breeding the type of genius with the right combination of technical ability and scientific discernment that manages to discover radically deep and groundbreaking science in a very independent and spectacular fashion. The Chinese have produced geniuses of the highest order (or close) in science the 20th century, like Chen Ning Yang in theoretical physics and Shing-Shen Chern in pure math, with Yang-Mills and Chern classes ubiquitous now in the literature of their respective fields, which are now very intertwined. However, they did so only after much training, exposure, and reinforcement based on the whole framework of modern science developed in the West over many centuries, and ancient China, on the other hand, did not produce in pure science anything near what Indians did, a sign of lack of genius and of poor taste, both in its rare individuals and at the collective societal level. On this, I like to think that Indians are Greeks and Chinese are Romans.

In sharp contrast to China, India in practical matters has been largely a complete fuckup, or at least vastly outmatched by China. It is well known that the ancient Chinese invented gunpowder and paper-making, whereas nothing of equal direct impact came out of ancient India. In modern times, China developed nuclear weapons way faster than India did, and even before that, defeated India in a war in 1962, which, even worse for India, was entirely her fault. Economically and infrastructurally, holistically speaking, India, exemplified by its frequent power outages and accident-prone train system, could be regarded as a few decades behind China, which is further confirmed by that India’s life expectancy and infant mortality rate is, today, where China had been at 20+ years ago. Given that the two had been around the same level in 1950, India’s development has unambiguously been a complete failure.

How to explain this? On this, I recall how my Chinese friend’s mom had said that it’s not because China’s elite is smarter than India’s elite, but because China’s grassroots is smarter than India’s grassroots. This is well-confirmed by international IQ studies which tend to put China’s average IQ at around 105 and India’s around 82, which is a 1.5 sigma difference. So even if India’s +3 sigma is as smart or smarter than China’s +3 sigma, there are too many dumb, dysfunctional people holding India back, from their needing to be fed while doing the routine work rather poorly. So, the smart, (usually) high caste Indians opt to go to America to escape India’s dysfunction, so ubiquitous that even the ultra-rich at home cannot immune itself. The best and brightest in that category tend to go through the IITs at home for undergrad, the most reliable ticket to a high paying tech job in the United States. That stratum of Indians has established by now quite a presence in top American tech companies and universities (just about every top STEM academic department in the US has several prominent Indian profs). For example, Microsoft and Google both have Indian CEOs, and plenty of Indian engineers and managers, with many of them in high ranking positions, especially at Google. In contrast, there are few Chinese in top leadership positions. When I learned that Google has several Indian SVPs but no Chinese, a guy from China responded with humorous ease followed by sarcastic insult,

不用担心,阿里巴巴的SVP全都是中国人,百度的SVP也全都是中国人,没有一个印度人。(In translation: Don’t worry, Alibaba’s SVPs are all Chinese, Baidu’s SVPs are all Chinese, not a single Indian) What does India have? Tata? Infosys?

This is, based on my experience, similar to how people react to the astronomical success of certain Indian academics, entrepreneurs, and business leaders in America. They will say,

Sure, an individual brilliant Indian does extremely well in America. But what does India as a nation get from that?

Even such brilliance of these elite Indians is somewhat questionable. On TopCoder, which plenty of Indians obsess over on Quora, now infested by low status Indians, India is ranked, as I am currently writing this, only 11th out of the 31 countries on there, with only two red (the highest category) coders, despite having more than twice the number of members as China, the second most populous nation in this algorithmic coding contest. They’ve actually done better in recent years. I remember back years ago when I participated, I, having been on the lower side of yellow (the second highest category) coder, would have ranked close to the top among the Indians. Of course, one must not discount the possibility that the best Indians have better things to do than practice for a contest where one solves artificial algorithmic problems, which is consistent with my having seen and worked with many Indians who are very competent at real software engineering, with quite a strong sense for systems design and real world production code, which are rather orthogonal to, and much more consequential than, what one sees in those contrived coding contests and interviews. Still, the dismally low performance of Indians on TopCoder still raises suspicions, because TopCoder, like the International Math Olympiad, which India is complete garbage at, is a 100% objective and fair contest, whereas success in the real world software engineering, determined by promotions and professional level, has a political and context component. It’s not just the Indians at home; even in America, where the smartest Indians tend to go, the Chinese kids beat the Indian kids by a wide margin on the elite math, computing, and physics olympiads, even when the Indian kids seem to have improved a fair bit over the recent years. From this, one can only conclude that Indians are naturally not that strong in the abilities which these contests load on, though of course they may be relatively much more talented in research and engineering, for which these contests are very imperfect predictors.

You, the reader, have probably noticed that up to now, we’ve focused mostly on brains and technical ability. Yes, they are essential, but personality characteristics (both individual and collective) and “soft skills” also matter, especially if one wants to rise to a leadership position. From my personal observation, Indians are, in general, very good at projecting confidence and assertiveness from the way the talk and present themselves, much better than Chinese are, at least in the American cultural context, even when you discount the language barrier Chinese face relative to Indians. I’m talking not only about how one says things in terms of word choice, but the vocal tone and body language behind it. Sure, you can disdain this as superficial, but it matters. Perception matters as much, and in some cases, more, than substance. There is also that Indians seem to have a stronger network and help each out more in the career world. Collective intelligence or ethnic nepotism, you be the judge.

I have stories to tell on this. First of all, I remember vividly how when I interned at the same place as an Indian schoolmate, he was the only one who scheduled, successfully in a few cases, coffee meetings with executives, as an intern (!!!!!), when it never would have occurred to me, or probably almost everyone else except him, to even try. One can sort of link this to collective intelligence, in that it is an indicator of discernment with regard to who matters (the executives) and who doesn’t (the engineer worker bees) within the political organization. And needless to say, you rise up in the organization by aligning yourself with the people who matter. Yes, my telling a full-time engineer this was met largely with a response in the likes of, “He knows who matters and who doesn’t. And even if he completely fucks up, he has nothing to lose, he’s only a 2nd year college intern. In any case, he gets good practice interacting with people who matter.” There is also that multiple people I know have complained about blatant Indian favoritism in interviews in the likes of what is described in this Quora answer. Yes, others have told me that when Indians interview other Indians, the bar is much lower. It’s not just in interviews. Another guy told me about how he once worked for a company that turned into ruins after Indian managers protected some Indian fuckups from getting fired. Personally, I have seen a case of Indians getting promoted way faster than those of other ethnic groups on a big team with an Indian director. So sometimes, I ask myself the verboten. Could it be that Indians really are far higher ranked in tech companies than their ability and contribution, because they are much more self-promoting and collectively nepotistic than those of other groups? Moreover, could it be that many people secretly think and resent this but are too afraid to say out of fear of being publicly vilified for “being racist” and having their careers ruined from alienating a national group increasingly powerful in corporate America? And that gradually, other groups, as they awake to the rigging of the game and get past, reluctantly, their moral objections, will quietly do the same, transforming tech companies and the American workplace at large into literal prison gangs contend, destroying whatever is left of the ideal of meritocracy and fair play in this country, ever more mired in identity politics?

Don’t get me wrong. There is much variance in personality and character and ability in those of any ethnic group, including for Indians, and much overlap between ethnic groups. Like, I know of this really brilliant Indian who donates most of his tech salary to very worthy causes, leaving little for himself, and he would be the last person I would expect, based on his characterized as autistic personality, to successfully climb the corporate ladder, though through sheer talent alone, he should do just fine in the appropriate position. Moreover, I have interacted with several Indians who had been very kind, tolerant, and helpful towards me. However, averages can differ by a standard deviation or more, with enormous social consequences.

I actually feel somewhat sympathetic for India and the Indians here. Somebody, on this, even said something along the lines of,

India is just such a shitty place that the Indians here have nothing to lose, so they play dirty political games and engage in the most spineless social climbing.

What can be done to resolve this? Immediately, I cannot think of anything other than drastically reducing the number of abjectly impoverished, low IQ Indians in India by simultaneously improving economic conditions and enforcing birth control on the poor and unable, so that less suffering and dysfunction is spread to the next generation. India could, instead of drinking the democracy Kool-Aid, learn from China, in a way compatible to its own culture and circumstances, just as China did from the West and the Soviet Union, to great success. Its elite needs to correct many of its deeply flawed social attitudes, and not only that, actually act accordingly with full force; otherwise, the excessive damage India does to itself, America, and the world at large with its internal dysfunction and exported corruption will always far outweigh what its elites contribute to science and technology. I can’t be optimistic on this though, barring some really radical change.

Nostalgia

I was just looking at some baseball statistics, starting from Alfonso Soriano, prompted by my receiving mail from another of the same surname. I remember I was a keen baseball fan in grade school, and would watch almost every single game. I didn’t like studying at all, and I was even the kid who didn’t do his homework. In third grade, there was this animal project, where we had to write some report on some Australian animal, and I was the only kid who didn’t complete it by the deadline (in fact, I barely did anything). I got a low grade on it at the end for finishing like two weeks after, and I was super embarrassed about that. Surely, my parents weren’t very happy with me. Amazing how even to this day I still know the names of many of the best players from back in that day. Ichiro, Barry Bonds (steroids), Mark McGuire, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, etc.

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Back to blogging

Some might have noticed that over the last some number of weeks, I privatized this blog, for reasons that one can guess. I’ve been busy, learning math. Some cool stuff about Riemann surfaces. Maybe not long after, I can understand Teichmüller theory, for which Riemann surfaces is somewhat of a precursor. Maybe not too long after that, I can even understand Calabi-Yau and Kähler–Einstein metrics. I’m more convinced now that I’m not bad at math at all, though I’m not yet back in school for real, and as for that, I don’t find most graduate students in math, who I’ve had more contact with mathematically lately, terribly inspiring. The level of interestingness of most people, even in supposedly intellectual places, is, frankly, rather disappointing.

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犹太人的野心

昨天,我再次与那位犹太国际数学奥赛金牌聊天,当初讨论的有不少与犹太人和以色列相关的话题。他既然会直接的说他觉得若少了些现有犹太人掌握的经济和政治权利,会是对世界不利的事情,也承认自己是个犹太复国主义者。之后,他又对我表示了他对中共和大陆的鄙视以及对台湾的偏向。不仅是KMT > GCD,还有若无日本侵略,则国民党将赢天下之荒谬绝对无任意限定的典型反华之扯话。

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My awesome roommate

I recently met this cool guy because we live in the same place. Though he’s not that nerdy (by that, I mean super mathy), we still share many common interests. For instance, he expressed interest when I told him a bit about 艾思奇(Ai Siqi). Additionally, he told me about his appreciation for André Weil and Simone Weil, particularly her mysticism, which I found quite pleasing as I was reading about them not long ago. He also told me about this guy who is trying to understand Mochizuki’s “proof” of the abc conjecture despite being not long out of undergrad, who has plenty of other quirks and eccentric behaviors. Like, that guy joined some Marxist collective, and goes on drunken rants at 3 am, and is in general “aspie af,” something that he described me as too when messaging that guy himself. There is also, “he would literally kill himself if he had to do a tech job.” (laughter) That guy’s dad happens to be a (tenured) math professor from mainland China, more evidence that madness runs in families. Continue reading “My awesome roommate”

Oleg

Oleg is one of my ubermensch Soviet (and also part Jewish) friends. He has placed at (or at least near) the top on the most elite of math contests. He is now a math PhD student with an advisor even crazier than he is, who he says sometimes makes him feel bad, because he has done too little math research wise. However, this persona alone is not that rare. Oleg’s sheer impressiveness largely stems from that on top of this, he is a terrific athlete, extremely buff and coordinated, enough that he can do handstand pushups, to the extent that he regards such as routine. Yes, it is routine for a guy contending for a spot on a legit gymnastics team, but you wouldn’t expect this from a math nerd huh?

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主义

昨天在网上碰到了一个有趣的视频,标题为“My Life, My China – I am a Communist Party member 被打上标签的人”。此内容我就不在这里谈了,读者可以自己看此十分钟以下的视频。里面人所表达的想法和个人经历给我留下了深刻的感受,也在我心目中启发了一定的反思。

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冬奥会

今天网上搜奖牌榜预测,从而得知了Lindsay Vonn,因为那里的视频竟然有这位美国滑雪运动员为禁俄罗斯之决定张正嘴。好奇这种运动员的背景的我扫了扫此维基百科页,看到这位挪威裔姑娘出生于冬天满雪盖地的Minnesota,两岁就开始滑雪,并且在这方面有曾经赢过junior title的父亲的强烈鞭策。不用说,滑雪是有钱人的运动,所需要的设施是必可避免的昂贵,加上又有受伤的风险,想起前几年赛车手Michael Schumacher滑雪时头撞上了石头,导致达到长期不省人事的重伤,现在基本处于永久脑损伤状态。就是在美国,也有人笑话加以藐视的把冬奥会当做一个rich white person的聚会。

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