My Huawei phone arrived

Sunday out to meet an old friend at a restaurant in Beijing while navigating my iPhone suddenly died in the cold and couldn’t turn on for a while. Only five minutes it went on at 10% battery when before it was at 70%.

So I thought time to order a Chinese phone instead. Sunday night I did so online on JD 京东 and today at noon it was delivered. I spent only 1000 RMB (less than $200) on it. Let’s see how long it lasts being so much cheaper. I ordered a cheap one after my physics professor friend in China told me he never goes beyond 1000 RMB when ordering his Huawei phones. There were Huawei ones that are like 4000 RMB iirc.

For those of you still stuck in America who can’t return in the near future who want to support China in this trade war you can start by using Xiaomi for phone and boycotting Google and Facebook. Americans go out of their way to devalue Chinese companies and there is every reason for Chinese to do the same to America in return.

张首晟的去世

周四,我认识的一位同样搞理论凝聚态物理的人微信发给我了张首晟去世的消息,让我感到吃惊。这么牛逼的人,不光有资格得诺贝尔奖的理论物理学家,而且还很有钱,好像他90年代末凭他斯坦福大学教授的关系做了搞虚拟机器(virtual machine)的VMware(其创始人是斯坦福大学计算机系教授)的天使投资,赚了一大笔钱,也得到了为后来做风险投资的资历和关系。一流理论物理学家很少是多么有钱的,美国名校物理教授每年也就15万,最多30万的工资(当然,现在极少数最牛的理论物理学家可以通过什么突破奖发点大财了),而张首晟成为了极其罕见的即大物理学家又大发财的人,一种几乎不存在的令人惊叹不已的人生赢家。可惜他近年做得过度了,最终出现了悲剧。可以说他当初运气太好了,拿到的教职确是斯坦福的,才得到了这种天使投资的机会。反而他要是是什么麻省理工或哈弗的,很难想象到他这么去做。可是,反过来,也可以说最终好事变成了坏事,他的这种运气所迎来的成功引发了他后来自以为是的做一件物理教授不应该做的事情而运气不好彻底倒闭了,英年夭折失去了得诺贝尔奖的机会。

记得2015年底,我在湾区餐馆跟朋友吃饭看到了张首晟在另一个桌子和他老婆和有一对夫妇一起吃饭谈话,当时,我已经知道他是非常有名气的斯坦福理论物理学家了。可能那时候我也知道他搞丹华资本这件事情了,感觉是他在利用斯坦福大学物理教授的威望为中国人在硅谷争取一些地位,不光要当大物理学家,还要当什么民族领袖,民族英雄。当然,我也意识到他拿着美国名校的终身教职来为中国人搞VC真的不是他应该做的事情,会引起别人对他的不满,不过他在那种位置,别人也不能把他怎么样。不过,一些主流的白人VC若对他有仇,我想还真的能让他的风险投资商难以持续。我认识的那位与张首晟稍有过接触那位物理学家是说在风险投资界他根本不算啥,老美根本不会买他的帐,只有中国人会因为他的位置听他忽悠。比如,我在美国认识一位斯坦福大学的本科生,女生,也是学物理的,她跟我说她妈妈还会参加一些湾区张首晟讲VC的活动。那个人也说他的VC的钱也没有那么多,也就四亿,输一次就基本输光了,下面的图来自方舟子。

DtzCC49UUAAAC-Y

如那个人所描述,输光了给他融资的人就要找他打官司了,而且会揭露他的一些非法的操作,就是不自杀也得坐牢了。

我还记得有一次网上看到了他的一个视频,是在斯坦福大学举行的那种启发美国华裔中学生那种活动,网上可以搜到,那里边他讲了他的一些人生故事和价值观。记得一开始他说起他长大的文革时期中国的气候是不鼓励学习的,然后又说起他父母是工程师,然后家人有好多学过文科的人,自己小时候多么多么善于自己读书学习。然后还开始扯美国建国的人如Benjamin Franklin, John Adams的一些理念,说什么我自己要做一些实用的挣钱的事情,为了我的孩子或孙子能够从事更创造性的如艺术之类的工作。他说同样,我们这一代移民来到美国好多为了留下,为了挣钱,却选择了工程,他属于少数坚持他对理论物理热爱的人,但第二代就比他们有远远更好的条件,应该去追求自己的梦想,最自己喜欢的东西。他说的这些也有一定道理了,当然,他扯美国建国人的时候我有点感到不舒服,我想他是不是觉得自己在美国名校斯坦福举行这种明目张胆的华人利益活动有点不要脸了,他真的觉得中国人应该学习美国建国人那套吗,以白人至上主义和暴力逐出印第安土著人建设一个华人没有什么真正地位的国家吗?他跟那些孩子讲完了之后,在旧金山的中国领事馆的一个代表又开始采访他了。在那一段谈话里,我记得他说中国人在美国都混得不错,大多是在做工程。是,那些科技移民在硅谷都有比较好的工程工作,整一个相当高的工资,不过相当少能成为经理,很少能够创办自己的公司,也没有那么好,在美国依然算相对边缘。还记得他又提到自己的儿子在哈弗上学第一学期在上一门中国近代历史的课,不过都是用英文以美国的眼光讲,同时儿子中文也不错,也读了陈独秀的一些中文文集。我想这活动肯定是那儿的中国领事馆组织的,由于张首晟当时是拿了政府的钱本科时去德国留学的,中国政府的人依然觉得有资格“利用”他一下。

我还想说张首晟和他孩子都是虔诚的基督教徒,我也看到他的孩子对他们的基督教信仰还都比较公开,甚至到有点痴迷的程度。这种在美国华人里,据我所知,还是少见的,这种科学人及基督信仰混合在白人里我看到不少例子,华人这样却让我感到有点不对劲儿,至少感觉有点奇怪。我想这样做在中国会得到一定的排斥,毕竟太逆行于主流,尤其解放后,看到为此,方舟子也对张首晟表示了不满。同样,我认识的那位物理学家觉得基督徒的张首晟搞这种投机收利息的行为是比较讽刺的。

最后,为这位伟大的华人物理学家的不幸而逝默哀。他无法得诺贝尔奖真的是可惜了,我想好多中国人会为此感到遗憾。历史给予他什么样的地位,只有时间会告诉我们。

A call to boycott Jewish media

A few days ago, on WeChat, somebody sent me the following screenshot,

which just goes to show how egregious censorship really is in America.

So, I have some American friends who I wish to tell some things, but I am hesitant to over Gmail/Facebook, the two most common means of communication in America now, for the reason that I don’t want a permanent record of the information stored within an American institution run by people I have no reason to trust with that information.

This is something I’ve been aware of for quite a long time but have mostly kept to myself. You see, there are guys like Andrey Martyanov who are very much against virtual Jewish control of America, yet ironically, he uses blogspot (which was acquired by Google I believe) to blog and Gmail as his email. If he is so against Zionism, why is he trusting an arguably Zionist institution with his information and communications and thereby indirectly endorsing it? He is a Russian who came to the US in the 90s when there was economic crisis in Russia. Why can’t he use a Russian email instead?

Now, when a Russian from Russia emailed me with a mail.ru email, I felt much more comfortable communicating with him. It feels very different talking with a Russian in Russia. Unlike with a Russian in America, I don’t have to worry that he’s some idiot US loving liberal. Or at the very least, I don’t have to worry that some American boss can extort him or at least influence him into some degree of submission. He’s in Russia where he doesn’t have to give a fuck about a US law that would by default side against him, where there are no US taxes or English as the official language.

Having been in China for a while interacting with almost exclusively locals, I no longer view most Chinese in America as truly Chinese. Especially if they refuse to a Chinese medium of communication like WeChat, especially if they insist on using Gmail or Facebook, both explicitly blacklisted in China. In that case, I will refuse to share any serious information with them. If they insist on trusting Jewish controlled American institutions with their personal information, then they will have to bear its consequences. The longer they persist with this, the less likely their ancestral home country will accept them. They will have then placed their fate into the hands of people who have basically no reason to care about their wellbeing.

Somewhat predictably, some of my friends in America seem reluctant to register a WeChat to communicate with me or with others on there with common views who they might be interested in connecting with. They may be similarly unhappy with much of America right now, in particular its ruling class, but they either do not care enough to do anything at all, don’t know how to go about it, or are afraid to. Yes, venting on Quora and Reddit are options, but experience has told us that being banned from Quora on trumped up charges for writing eloquent answers which displease its VCs is a very real possibility. That has in fact happened to a former top writer with 8500+ followers.

My main message is that if you dislike Silicon Valley or the American Jewish establishment so much, you’re not completely stuck with them. You can get out of America, though it might be difficult, as it requires finding a job in and moving to another country. For as long as you are stuck in America, you don’t have to use Facebook or Gmail either, except when really necessary. For your private personal communications, you can register for and use a non-American email provider or messenger, like WeChat.

As for monitoring by the Chinese government, they absolutely won’t give a damn unless you try to organize some serious anti-China political activity on there. Even if you talk the cliche human rights, communist dictatorship crap on a small scale on there, there’s basically a 100% guarantee that nobody will care. Nobody internal will care enough to go to the trouble to read your messages. In fact, both Tencent and the Chinese government might well be happy to see more internationalization of their product.

By boycotting certain mainstream American internet products, you not only transfer a tad of both data and advertising revenue to whatever else you are using in place. You also send a political message that encourages more people like you to do the same, thereby making it more socially acceptable behavior. Not to mention how through that, you might meet some interesting people who may lead you to some good opportunities, as happened to myself.

I shall conclude by saying that there is little point in fighting from within if your political views are marginal or directly at odds with the American mainstream as societies are naturally top down. In some sense, you cannot achieve anything serious without being part of the mainstream of whatever organization or society you are part of. Yes, go find the minority of people in America who think like you, but in addition to that you are likely to reap a bigger fruit connecting with people outside America, not difficult in today’s internet world. Do what you need to do for minimum survival but past that, the best way to protest is to ignore and detach, not by arguing with or trying to influence people fundamentally opposed to you.

My first on-site software interview in China

Last night, speaking with my headhunter, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that in China, the tech hiring process is usually just one 2 hour on-site. If you pass, you’re hired after that. Maybe in a big company if they really like talking with you, they’ll continue to talk with you overtime and it might last 4 hours. This is in stark contrast to what I’ve experienced in America. They almost always have at least one phone screen that lasts 45-60 min. Sometimes, there are two. Sometimes, there is a code test too. The worst on-site I’ve had is the LinkedIn one that started at 10 am and ended at 5 pm with a one hour lunch interview where you are still judged and evaluated. There are basically no breaks in between. It’s exhausting and quite a waste of time for both sides in my opinion (there’s, I guess, the aspect of testing stamina and social polish as an artificial method of selection, but really, wouldn’t the time be better spent into doing actual work or resting). I personally think that an excess of time and energy spent on selection and social proof via rather artificial channels is quite detrimental not only for productivity but for the overall culture. I must say that the Chinese internet industry is smart not to do the same bloated hiring process of code test plus phone interview plus full day on-site interview, they were smarter than I actually expected, as I was quite surprised to learn this.

To explain this, that headhunter said that the Chinese tech companies value efficiency. I thought of this more as “trust.” More like, they trust that you’re not a bozo and by default, they trust that you are competent and well-intentioned and they don’t go out of their way to screen that you are through a long and rather flawed process. When I mentioned this, he said, yes, and more specifically, that Northern Chinese tend to be high in mutual trust and also very direct in communication with each other. This conforms to what this AG guy on Disqus has written Steve Hsu’s blog from what I remember. I am of Northern Chinese descent too by the way. That guy said that as Northerners with limited contact with Southern Chinese we might not really realize this.

As for this first (in China) on-site software interview, it was with a consumer technology company with already over 10 million users. It was for a backend developer position. The interview with basically three rounds (of like 40 minutes each) of talk about resume/experience plus some algorithmic coding questions. Those algorithm questions were super trivial (at least for me). They were about the level of difficulty of the questions asked by big internet/software companies in America. Honestly, they are questions that a smart high schooler who did those algorithmic programming contests could easily answer. But we all know that real software engineering has little to do with that, the challenge is more with the design and scale of codebase and ambiguity and business/products requirements. I asked one of the interviewers how many machines there are for their MySQL data, and he said only 4, which sounds about right. As for scalability, in most cases it is not really a problem in this industry. A single Apache/Nginx instance can handle 10,000 concurrent connections and usually over 1000 requests per second. See, though they have over 10 million registered accounts, in practice, for this type of internet service, the average user is actively making requests only for a very small fraction of time (certainly less than 1% and usually under 0.1% to be fair). In other words, requests per user over time are very sparsely distributed. So just a few instances of the same web service would be sufficient.

Afterwards I talked with this software engineer about the tech industry in America, in particular the long interviews, the high turnover, and the short average job tenure. We both think that this is rather inefficient and bad for morale. Long interviews means the ratio of time spent both interviewing for jobs and interviewing candidates to actually doing meaningful work is much higher. High turnover and short average job tenure means not only more of the already long interviews but also much more time spent on acquainting with and setting up development environments and tools and frameworks and learning/reviewing new material as opposed to actually doing meaningful work. That guy claims that in American corporate culture, the default is high mutual distrust, with interviews being a method of probing candidates and pressuring them to reveal embarrassing information about themselves or lose their social polish out of exhaustion. I do feel perhaps such negative views of his on American culture are rather extreme and perhaps somewhat unwarranted, but maybe a detailed writeup by him of all that he’s said to me on those matters would convince me otherwise.

A kudos to Weiyun (微云), Tencent’s awesome cloud storage

I learned of foxmail.com as an email service provider through correspondence with a guy (who was using it himself) who dropped out of Harvard’s PhD program in economics to do startup in China. He actually commented a few times on this very blog. (See this and this.)

I’ve already sent some emails with my foxmail.com email account now. What initially disappointed me was that it for some reason wouldn’t let me authentic using several email clients I tried, including the default Mail on Mac as well as Mozilla’s Thunderbird, not mention Tencent’s Foxmail client itself. I don’t like to use web client for email, mostly because Google, as great as its technology is, is so monopolistic and privacy invasive. Yes, I’m not going to let you log all my searches by my email account. But with the email clients not working, I was left with only the web client, which is not bad. I had tried Sina email before, and the whole user experience was pretty shitty, leaving me with a poor impression of Chinese tech companies.

Through Foxmail, I learned of Weiyun, Tencent’s cloud storage service. Before that, I tried Baidu Yun, and it was quite disappointing, with very low reliability, though now in hindsight I would expect the paid version to work at least reasonably well. File transfer to Weiyun was initially only about 100 KB / s. But its paid version, which comes with 3 TB storage plus 30 GB worth of fast file transfer per day, costs only 10 RMB / month (< $2). Seeing that, I promptly linked my credit card to WeChat Pay to subscribe to it. After that, its performance vastly exceeded my expectations.

The file transfer speed went up significantly, with what’s shown in the screenshot before an underestimate (it’s usually 500 KB/s)

FileUploadOnWeiyun

Moreover, they support notes in Markdown.

MarkdownOnWeiyun

Now, this would be the perfect place to store all my notes and lists.

I guess we wouldn’t be surprised that its stock has still gone up so rapidly the past few years, notwithstanding its size. I can’t believe its market cap is already 3.5 trillion. Even Google and Microsoft are not in the trillions. It was back in 2014 when I first heard of BAT (for Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent). Interestingly, the three are in different cities, Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen respectively. Now, of the three, Baidu is by far the weakest, with less than 100 billion market cap. Even Alibaba, at around 500 billion, is nowhere close to Tencent.

Screen Shot 2018-07-28 at 6.33.30 PM

Back in 2014, these Chinese tech companies were basically completely off my radar. I barely used WeChat then. And Alibaba is e-commerce in China, so I have no reason to use it. Baidu’s search engine I had started using since probably around 2007, so that’s the one my personal experience has been closest to. I guess that might change now with Weiyun. I’m honestly pretty impressed with Tencent, though admittedly, its WeChat isn’t all that great. WeChat’s security has been questioned; it does not implement end-to-end encryption, which is when the server does not store the message in plaintext. For those of you who want end-to-end encryption, there’s WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram. WhatsApp was bought by Facebook. Signal started off through a non-profit relying on donations and grants but that underlying organization was acquired by Twitter. Telegram was created by a Russian who earlier founded vKontakte, the Facebook of Russia, who later became somewhat of a Russian dissident, now in the UK.

Speaking of political dissidence, turns out so is one of the main creators of the celebrated Markdown, Aaron Swartz. Sadly, he committed suicide at age 26. Kind of like a Galois of programming.

As for his background, Jewish American. But looks like he was super against the system, I guess in the “libertarian” way? Seems like a real genius too smart and creative and anti-authoritarian for his own good, and he really suffered for it in the end. There are a lot of Jews like that (Ron Unz is rather close, and so is Bobby Fischer maybe), though of course, there is more of the money and power, Zionist, pro-American establishment type of Jew. In any case, Jews tend to be really politically outspoken and active. I guess they feel much more at home in Western society, unlike East Asians. There are plenty of politically ambitious and radical Chinese, contrary to the stereotype, but they tend to be in China. The whole Chinese revolutionary culture and tradition is quite another matter, and very foreign to the West. As for those liberal Chinese dissidents in the US, they are kind of a joke in terms of what they have actually achieved. In any case, I’ve noticed that in the US, it’s not really that socially acceptable for a Chinese-American to be too political and outspoken, the way Jews can do and get away with on a regular basis, for obvious reasons (the foreign culture combined with lack of media ownership and representation), unless one decides to become anti Chinese government, in which case support from various American political organizations and Congressmen won’t be all that hard to find. In any case, Chinese in America are but a passive minority. The Chinese with real leadership and political ambition should definitely stay in China.

Speech recognition between American and Chinese companies

I’ve already written here that I started trying out speech input. I’ve tried various ones for both Chinese and English, namely Apple, Sogou, and IFlyTek. Sogou is a relatively well known, at least in China, company that used to have sizable search market share quite a while ago. It’s also famous for its Chinese input method, which is its default. IFlyTek is this little known company in Hefei, Anhui, that can tap smart graduates of the University of Science and Technology of China (中国科技大学) there, arguably the nerdiest school in China. I was rather disappointed, and my impression was that these Chinese companies have a long way to go in AI, compared the top American ones.

Curious to see a more objective comparison, I did a test, where I recorded something on this matter that I thought of impromptu.

Yes, it sounds very hesitant and stumbly, because it was entirely improvised. But it’s good enough. What did, Apple, Sogou, and IFlyTek generate respectively when tested on this audio file.

Apple

我想做一下作业,然后试试中国公司和美国公司的语音识别比较一下。我排客之后对这些中国公司感到非常的失望,就不用说,谷歌苹果很可能都比最好的中国公司多苹果。的强项不是我觉得中国的科技公司这两年好多都是媒体可以的。他们斗地主还是继续在美国所找到的人也都是下个二流的同时,很可能在中国的顶级的开发人,还知道那就是说最好的开发员可能在美国还比中国多多得多。(here, many characters were actually omitted as opposed to misrecognized)

Sogou

我想在这上面做一下录音然后试一试中国公司和美国公司的。语音识别你想一下我还克我肯定会之后对那些中国公司感到非常的失望就不用说,谷歌苹果很可能都比这里好的,公司的好多。虽然苹果强项不是人工智能我觉得中国科技公司这两年好多都是媒体吹的他们谁小技术还是咱俩落后基本上没到的人也都是香的,二流的。同时很可能在中国的电机的开发员还少那就是说最好开发员华人开发员在美国还比中国多甚至多的多

IFlyTek

我想,在这上面,做一下录音,然后试一试。中国公司和美国公司的,语音识别,比较一下。拍客,我肯定会,之后,对,那些中国公司,感到非常,的失望。就不用说谷歌了。苹果,很可能都比,这个好的中国公司,做的好的多。苹果。都瞧瞧,不是人工智能。我觉得中国。的,科技公司,这两年。好多都是媒体吹的,他们,11首。的技术,还是落后,即使在美国,所招到的人,也,都是相对流的,同时,很可能,在中国的。顶级的开发员,还。,那就是说。最好,的开发员。华人开发员。在,美国,比中国,多,甚至多得多。

It turned out that Sogou and IFlyTek are actually a bit better than Apple for speech recognition, to my surprise, which just goes to show how flawed subjective impressions can be. Of course, all of them made numerous major errors, such that I can see why speech input still isn’t widely used (as far as I know). Even for English, Apple make some errors. I told me friend this, and he said, “strange, it’s usually pretty reliable for me, maybe your voice isn’t clear enough.” Though he was using Google’s on an Android, and we all know that Google is the world leader in AI, almost certainly quite a ways ahead of the other top companies in it. So I tried out Google’s as well, via this, and the result was

我想在这上面做一下录音然后试一试中国公司和美国公司的语音识别比较一下我差可我肯定会之后对那些中国公司感到非常的失望就不用说谷歌苹果很可能都比最好的中国公司做的好的多虽然苹果的强项不是人工智能我觉得中国的科技公司这两年好多都是媒体吹的他们实际上的技术还是等等6号其实在美国所招到的人也都是香奈儿流的同时很可能在中国的顶级的开发源还非常少那就是说最好的开发华人开房源可能在美国还比中国多甚至多的多

It’s comparable in accuracy to IFlyTek, maybe a bit worse.

Of course, I’m sure Google and Apple invested relatively little on Chinese speech recognition. Just like Sogou and IFlyTek invested little on English (or maybe they trained on English spoken with Chinese accents), because their English speech recognition basically felt like complete garbage.

In any case, we can still see that speech recognition and AI in general still has a long way to go. After all, your AI is only as good as the data you feed to train it. It will never handle cases exceptional to the training set and not programmatically hard coded, unless there is a major paradigm shift in how state-of-the-art AI is done (so something even better than neural nets).

Whoever reads this is welcome to do a similar experiment comparing Google Translate with Baidu Translate. I did, but I didn’t record the results so it doesn’t really count as a completed experiment.

为什么中国核心科技依然薄弱

我与一位清华电子工程毕业但博士之后转至软件开发的人午饭聊天,他说若Facebook消失,人很可能变得更加有效,而相反,若Intel消失,科技及我们的现代生活会几乎停顿。此理明显,而甚少所提。在本人眼中,将网络公司英文述为”tech”,其实是对技术的一种严重歪曲,对理工真才实学的人是一种笑话,也是对他们的一种贬值,因为这种虚伪的词语宣传只不过是起一种误导公众及反知识反科学的不良效应。当然,在市场经济,真正的天分和能力经常是不太受重视并经济价值不高,价值高的反而是会做买卖会搞关系会吹的人和技术含量不高但助做买卖的工作,典型为网络公司的码农。一般来讲,高级的理工人才非常的专或者如果做理论的东西未有直接的经济价值,选择(若留在他们的专长里)极少,所以很少能拿到特别高的工资。这也是为什么中国(美国也差不多)愿意投资或投入核心科技产品,以芯片为典型例子,的人极少,即使非常聪明天性善于真正科技的人也经常随着社会及经济压力和诱惑离开他们当前的热爱,这是很可怜的趋势。一般人的视野是极其肤浅的,没办法,只能通过优生加上教育提高一个社会的整体素质,可惜的是,在市场经济下,连教育都会成为给学生提供的产品,尤其在现在的制度文化放纵的美国。不过美国由于他之前某些划时代性创新,如半导体的发明,所积累的领先地位,无论如何,都会有精英追求真正的工作,当然现在比以前也少的多了。中国不然,还很落后,必须依靠明智的计划制度弥补多年的空白。

中国人基础科学做的牛的与国外相比的确比较少,而且大多在国外,这没有什么争议。中国的精英科学文化的确还远远差于西方,缺乏适当的传统,这只能慢慢建立,在这一点可以像很成功的日本学习一下。我感觉从某种角度而言,中国人还是非常缺乏日本人所有的那种为民族奉献的精神,这一点,老一辈是有,但是从改革开放上大学那一辈开始就基本消失了,受美国人的精神污染了。共和国头30年被迫隔离于美国大大推迟了,从某种角度,中国的经济发展,但是迫使了中国建立一种科技上自力更生的传统。随着改革开放,中国融入美国为主的体系,这种精神有了大大的涣散,但是也有遗留。比如我跟我的美国朋友说中国计算机上还未出过真正有国际影响的尖端产品,他却回答中国阻止美国网络公司而建立自己的网络企业是明智的选择不然早就被外国给吞下去了。中国封闭Google和Facebook的确很丢人,可是为了自己的经济实力和国家战略角度而言,此代价不用说是远远直得的。我也想到过,如果中国政府如五六十年代那样限制精英的个人自由绝对不允许出国留学的”彻底叛变”但是给他们远远更好地培养和工作安排,中国今天的科技水平会远远更高研制出远远更多的尖端技术产品,拥有独立的包括芯片及其生态系统(是包括操作系统和兼容的以后所有重要的应用软件)。

有人说中国快要超过美国了,我问在什么方面?他回“在所有方面。”我说在经济上凭中国的量加上整体水平相当高会很可怕的,但是以科技代表的质量还有很漫长的路要走,中国的尖端科技水平还是太落后了,有很漫长的路要走。中国人必须在学习先进国家的同时,发展出自己独特的科技研发的体系和风格,敢于采取在适当的情况下极端的措施为实现目的,不要太在乎别人的看法,尤其美国的看法,因为中国现在已经有足够的实力和好的趋势支撑全心全意的追求自己的道路。

有一位从中国过来的在计算机行业工作的人有一次跟我说“ABC最惨,既不能当美国人又失去了当中国人的机会。”他觉得在美国的华人作为被动的少数民族是非常可怜的。在看到哈弗大学对华裔学生的系统其实被证实的情况下,我自己也会说,凭自己的经验,天分高的华人与他们能力复合的培养和发展机会是相对难的,导致华人的水平和地位低于他们的天分,与白人相比。美国的体制把好多先天很好的中国孩子搞坏,不光在事业上,同时也给他们一些自我认同问题。这些人如果留在中国,在得到足够政府支持的情况下,能为中国作出伟大的贡献而非在美国被荒废掉。不光是他们,还有他们的子孙。由于移民制度对高智商的筛选(大略,移民率是智商的单挑函数),在美国的华人的智商分布会有很粗的右尾巴,但是美国种族配额和歧视能容纳的给华人的高智商发展机会是有限的,很多华人必然怀才不遇,大材小用。

我小学一年级来美国,但慢慢的发觉美国文化有很多非常骗人的地方,所以要防止洗脑啊。在了解美国文化和体质和学习美国好的东西的同时,阅读中文,学习俄文,接触欣赏苏联和中国的红色基因给了我对世界更多元化的认识。虽然前苏联已经大败解体了,未能全面,即使在科技的范围内,追上美国,它依然做出好多精彩的结果,以严峻危机所促进的革命性的新制度实现了奇迹,震惊了世界,给了当时贫穷落后受列国欺凌的中国适当的启发和榜样,也提供了决定性的科技知识和援助,让中国千年的古文明在近代战火的背景下浴火重生,直到今天,面临着超级大国的地位。苏联创造的新制度,新文化给世界留下了宝贵的财富,在科学上,在艺术上,在政治思想和体质上。我觉得苏联的那套远远的更符合中国的国情,尤其与美国相比,中国应当把苏联的东西适当的与自己的文化和情况相结合,把社会主义带到前所未有的高峰。当然,中国若要真正成为前苏联那样的超级大国,必须先成为科技强国,做一些颠覆性带领潮流的首先,像苏联的航天那样,而非仅在别人的核心工作基础之上做出一些实用性科技。这需要自信而系统的发挥自己文化和体质的强点和独特之处,大胆的投入长期的核心科技研发和基础探索,促成更多的不同尖端领域的独特文化和群体。中国精英知识分子要多发扬先辈所继承的革命精神,非崇洋媚外,敢于挑战权威,创造新的奇迹载入史册。

More evidence for my hypothesis on South Asians vis-a-vis East Asians

Link to comment on Steve Hsu’s blog. The “my hypothesis” in the title is with reference to one of my previous blog posts. Content copy-pasted below.

https://www.imo-official.or…

In pure-visual ability, above data clearly indicated East Asian ability. Naturally they excel in STEM field.

But in silicon valley, South Asian engineers move up easily in corporate world. Advancing in corporate world is depending more on social skill than engineering skill. South Asian also display strong social skill as result of people from high density origin.

Some Chinese American engineers told me about their experience in silicon valley. They did most work while Indian colleagues seems not able to do much. But once the project is done, these Indian colleagues are fantastic at putting everybody’s work together and present to the superiors. These Indian American are natural conference presenters. Good social skill gets all credits for career advance.

Indeed, making other thinking you smart is more important than wether you are really smart in subjective world (social dependency world). This is so true for most part of world.

When objective measurement is criteria, you get totally different picture because God is judge here. Human opinion is meaningless.

 

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.

On Russia and Russians

I was told yesterday by that uber pro-American anti-communist American Jew that American liberals actually hate Russia more than they hate China. I was surprised. He said that this is seldom realized, and that

if you compared xi to putin people would consider that offensive even
people have a double standard against white countries when it comes to human rights

So, the logic is because Russia is white, they should be held to higher standards for human rights and democracy, and the extent to which Russia is “freer” (than China, which blocks Google and Facebook and is still a one-party totalitarian state) is not enough to offset the differentiated standard.

I don’t get it, why are Western liberals so intent on hating Russia, why why why? Because Russia is such a threat to their world domination? (The USSR is gone and there’s basically zero hope of Russia recovering to that level, but that’s apparently not enough.) I had also heard that in the UK it’s the Russians, not the Muslims, who are most resented, for being tall, blonde, and alpha and taking the tech jobs. It’s another one of those they’re hated for being too good. Russians being good attracts more resentment than admiration, they must have failed politically somewhere.

From my experience working, observing, reading, and interacting, it does seem like Russians are technically extremely powerful. Of course, the ones here in America are a select group. At a place where I worked, there was this big Russian guy who was quite an ubermensch programmer doing much of the technical heavy-lifting. He was also a higher up in the company, though not terribly high up, and it took him some time in officially low ranking positions (where I’m sure he contributed a ton) to get there. There is good reason to believe the pattern of Russians being ranked (much) lower in American tech companies relative to their ability and contribution, given how political promotion and performance reviews are, and the extent to which salary is determined by one’s “circumstances.” There seem to be very few Russians high up in corporate America, despite their ability. On this, I can’t help but think: could it be that the American elite only wants them to do the hard technical work (where they contribute much more than they get) and find them too threatening to allow into positions of power? It seems though that as a group, they’re more or less accepting of this treatment, content with a very intellectually stimulating job. My Russian friends tells me that very few go back due to lack of opportunity, notwithstanding that Russia has Yandex (which was, curiously, founded before Google) and vKontakte, and its own military ecosystem.

I know that there is the widely stereotype that Russians are smart and really creative, while Chinese are smart but lack spark. There is some truth to that as far as I can tell. On TopCoder and CodeForces and at the ACM ICPC, all of which I’ve participated in, with mixed success, the Chinese still cannot beat the Russians, even when they seem to try really hard. Petr was superhuman, and ACRush, while also an ubermensch, was still a notch below Petr. Though ACRush, with his Chinese connections, has started his own self-driving car company, while Petr is still working for Google. CodeForces, created by Russians, is now much better maintained and consequently more popular across the world to competitive programmers.

I’ve observed that Russians are not as obsessed about prestigious schools here in the US as Chinese are. Plenty of really smart ones only attend state schools, to save money, and also maybe because the elite schools discriminate against them too, because their being Russian and worse connected in American society would be a disadvantage for them in the career world.

From what I’ve seen, Russians are very well-rounded too, actually smart and capable in all respects. Even in athletics, they’re feared and targeted (with reference to the Olympic ban). This might mean that they’re not very good at putting on a stupid smile and going along with all the stupid bullshit that goes on in this society. If they’re this good, maybe they instead of being taken advantage of by American capitalists who only want to extract as much as they can out of them for as little as they can get away with should build their own technology and institutions in Russia, where they actually end up having ownership. They did that in the USSR days (but bad luck and stupid political decisions blew it all away), maybe they should continue to do so.

To conclude, I’ll say that I’ve heard that “Russians/Eastern Europeans get macho and that leads to individualism/isolation in the workplace.” Maybe because they’re pissed that they (the ones in America are some of the best and brightest) have to answer to idiots who they have a hard time pretending to respect.