The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies

If the dwarves only answered the call of the bearer of the King’s Jewel, why did Dain Ironfoot come to Erebor?

Even if he believed Thorin and Company that Smaug was dead, you’d think he’d want proof. Isn’t skepticism the hallmark of the dwarves? Also, mind, he would have had to have left the Iron Hills when Thorin didn’t have the Arkenstone.

The Top of the Refridgerator

I was walking into my building as a woman, man, and two kids were leaving. I stepped aside to let them pass and smiled to be polite.

The woman was a short one, and as we passed she looked up at me-

I have never met this woman in my life. We’ve never said hi. I’ve never seen her before.

-She looked up at me and asked, “What does the top of a refridgerator look like?”

“It’s kinda bumpy and there’s all that stuff you’ve been looking for for six months,” I said.

She asked, “Like those socks I’m missing?”

“Exactly. They’re up there.”

“I knew it!” She walked past.

The guy just looks at the two of us like we’re insane.

But she was pretty short. She’s probably never seen the top of a refridgerator in the wild. I understood.

Periscope Hotsauce

My internet was down for a while. I got some work done, but not much.

I’ve heard it said that to understand all is to forgive all. I don’t think so. Understanding makes forgiveness easier, but they aren’t the same thing. People make decisions.

It’s hard to focus on dry math and abstract wiring with everything going on in the world. This is why humans send thoughts and prayers to each other. There is little I can do, but the urge to do something never rests.

But little actions add up, and there are many of us.

Still, I have to get through tomorrow, the day after, and the day after. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time.


Someone left kudos on Lanterns. Thank you, whomever you were. I reread it.

That was a pretty good story. It’s definitely rough around the edges, but going back over it, it was better than I remembered. I have this really dark view of everything I’ve written before, and I remember them all badly. It wasn’t. It was all right.

Model Training

I’m training some models for sequence processing deep learning. Right now I’m narrowing down the hyperparameters, and I do that by running a few dozen short training models with different, randomly chosen parameters. I just ran a batch of 20. I truncate at a validation patience of 30, so when the best run of the model is more than 30 validations ago, training stops.

Around 2200, the loss function (loss bad) was at 0.800 on model 20. All losses for the next set of rounds were above 0.800, and it takes about a minute per round. I can wait a few minutes to see the end of it. I started poking at some fanfiction.

At 2230, it hit 0.792. It has to be almost done, right?

2300, 0.745.

2330, 0.715.

At 0100 I gave up and left. It was still going.

More thoughts on Putin

I think Putin’s gains in Russia from taking center stage in Ukraine are underestimated. He’s in the world news, the non-Russian world news, and world leaders are jumping for a chance to talk to him. Every day he’s in the news, he raises his profile in Russia. This is sort of like winning games of chicken. I don’t think Ukraine wants to play this game of chicken, but in the question, ‘Should Russia and Ukraine play chicken?’ Russia has the biggest vote.

As such, Putin gains the longer this conflict goes on. Belarus and Russia just extended their wargames, extending Putin’s PR wins.

The Russians are notoriously skeptical of Russian news, but Putin is dominating the BBC, Reuters, and CNN. Right now Russians who don’t get their news from RT and Pravda are inundated with Putin. If the standoff continues, Putin’s airtime on non-Russian media continues. If Russia invades Ukraine more openly, Putin’s airtime on non-Russian media continues in a bigger way, albeit with higher risk. Putin has demonstrated an incredible tolerance for risk. If Putin stands down, he will lose some of that media play, and perhaps more importantly, what remains will be ‘West defeats Putin’ or ‘Putin bows to Western pressure’ etc. This is the risk of playing chicken.

Navalny has largely dropped out of the news, even as his next kangaroo court trial for another decade or so come up. Points to Putin here. I don’t know how long that trial is going to go, but the longer the Ukraine crisis extends, the more that trial gets hidden.

The real trick here is to try to empathize with Putin. He doesn’t see the world from my perspective; he sees it from his. So to predict what he’s going to do, I need to at least understand his perspective. And North Korea’s Kim has taught me that autocrats tend to play to their base, not the outside.

Hell, American politics teaches me that. However our elections, while not perfect, are pretty good at reminding our politicians other people exist.