Cognitive Science Student, CS Enthusiast, Melee Player, Button Presser
This page is mostly a log in which I keep links to things I've read, made, done, etc. It's separated by month, along with my goals for the next month, and should be end up being in reverse chronological order (i.e. with the most recent month at the very top). The formatting might not be super great because I export these from evernote and just paste them in, but for the most part this page exists just to keep me accountable for how much I accomplish from month-to-month.
Projects I updated my Projects page to summarize the independent work I've completed, since Google analytics showed me people clicked that often after reading Making Sense of Melee. It's only my biggest / coolest projects, and at the moment the prose form is a little wordy but it's better than what I had before. I'll probably Reupdate it very soon with images but this should be a better placeholder
Resume I updated my resume
she - By Your Side Pictures and sounds, pixels turn into lines
[TAS] SSBM (Melee) Fox 1P Mode All-Star [Very Hard, No Damage Clear] This video is a literal masterpiece and I spent something like a full hour watching parts of it frame by frame several times
The NCAA tournament is a loser machine | Chart Party Singlehandedly delayed my bracket project a few weeks - I love Jon Bois
A Tale of Two Boredoms A bit more blogposty and philosophical than my usual writing, but I felt I needed to flesh out my ideas on this topic a bit more properly. "Once you saw and named the problems, you couldn't stop seeing them, it just got more annoying every day."
Shinelock Punishes Somebody asked me to make a video on this and I've been meaning to make a video anyways so I threw something together.
More fun Peach TAS things ideas mostly courtesy of lpac / r2dliu
EGR AND MLR: NEW TEAM RATINGS Shown to me by Shi Deng of Big Blue esports. A pretty interesting look at how different teams perform at different stages of a match in league of legends; sadly I'm not much of a league player so the nuances of choosing 15 minutes as a threshold / the importance of dragons vs gold / etc are lost on me, but the analysis strategy is pretty interesting and I enjoyed reading it. (Also reminded me that I need to learn to implement k-fold cross validation)
A Brief Survey of Deep Reinforcement Learning Pretty cool survey paper. Got a kick out of "We begin our survey of value-function-based DRL algorithms with the DQN , pictured in Figure 5, which achieved scores across a wide range of classic Atari 2600 video games  that were comparable to that of a professional video games tester." (what does this even mean?)
HEADS OR TAILS: THE IMPACT OF A COIN TOSS ON MAJOR LIFE DECISIONS AND SUBSEQUENT HAPPINESS People who make changes report being much happier 2-6 months later, even when the choice to make that decision was completely random. "The results of this paper suggest that people may be excessively cautious when facing life changing choices".
Currin Trading - Ambition, Deception, Honor, Redemption: The story of the biggest heist in Eve's history Half chilling, half fascinating - Eve Online scammer details how he ran a ponzi scheme disguised as a fraudulent trading corporation in-game, eventually leading to him making away with 30 billion isk (A few thousand dollars). There's a lot of really amusing anecdotes in here (he claims he didn't sell the isk for real money because he didn't want to break the terms of service, he mentions the playerbase revolting after the moderators returned money from a different scam, and that he had intended to return as much of it as possible before being mistakenly banned and changing his mind upon the reversal), and it reads like a wild criminal testimonial for someone who knows he's not going to face any repercussions. In the end he blew the whistle on another scammer, the EVE Interstellar Bank, a scam that netted that scammer 750 billion isk (~$80k USD).
"those who did not make specific requests, and instead asked open-ended questions like "how can I trust you?" and "how do I know this is for real?"--these were future investors. They were asking me to persuade them. They wanted to believe."
"People who posted on the forums seemed to have a negative attitude about everything. Rather than being a cross-section of the Eve populace, the forums were populated by a group disparagingly known as "the forum superstars"--people who spent all their time on the forums instead of actually playing the game. Not only did they have a fame and influence far out of proportion to their playing abilities, they were accused of getting special treatment from the administrators of the Eve servers. But it was their persistent scorn for anyone making anything new--and their seeming inability to make their own positive contributions to the game--that maintained the ordinary players' low regard for them."
"In the end, I decided that the only value in having stolen all of that isk was not the isk itself, but the stealing of it. I wanted to see if I could do the impossible, and I did it. The more I pondered the actual value of isk, the more I saw that the only people who really valued it were the ones who had earned it themselves. Despite Eve being a game, they had put real work into it. Many of them had spent three years shooting rocks and hauling modules around to earn that isk, and now it would be gone."
"Only now did I appreciate just how insidious a scam could be. I had thought the isk meant nothing to me. That it was just a means to an end, a score to beat. But now I was willing to wreak devastation upon all of my investors just to hold onto it. The scam had scammed me. It stole my concern for others and replaced it with gluttony. I was disgusted. I lied. I cheated people. I used people to help me scam their friends. I was the cause of widespread bankruptcy. But the most damning thing of all? I think I can live with it, and if I had it to do all over again, I would. To my surprise, a guilty conscience was a small price to pay for thirty billion isk. So I will learn to live with it, because I can live with it."
Hear the Otherworldly Sounds of Skating on Thin Ice | National Geographic Unsure if this is more or less terrifying than that video of Alex Hannold free-soloing El Sendro Luminoso, but to be fair thin ice and heights are my two greatest fears so perhaps it's just me.
6LACK - Never Know If I was waiting on you to tell me, then I would never know
Making Sense of Melee: The Illusion of Objective Ranks and the Real Impact of Everything The culmination of my most recent long-term Melee Stats project where I gathered tons of tournament sets and examined trends in the data - I used this data for seeding and for my SSBMRank Ballot, and this post details my further scrutinizing of the patterns within. The post got a lot more attention than I was expecting! (It got something like 56k views if my rough, then-poor analytics are to be trusted). Somebody posted it to Hacker News where it ended up reaching #6, and it got tons of shares on Twitter. I was very pleased that people were so excited about it, and ended up in a surreal daze after seeing Gwern make a tweet about Claude Bloodgood the same day.
SSBMRank Voting Distribution Visualization for KayBeats' "Assessing West Coast Bias on SSBMRank and Why it Doesn't Exist" KayB is a Melee Stats denizen, and he wrote a post exploring the supposed "West Coast Bias" in the SSBMRank panel. I collabed with him by generating Violin Plots (boxplots with kernel density plots overlayed on top of them) of the top 100 ballots, graciously provided by Tafokints.
Loss, Trauma, and Human Resilience - Have We Underestimated the Human Capacity to Thrive After Extremely Aversive Events? A surprisingly optimistic paper which suggests that most people are actually impressively resilient after aversive events. Because so many people that show up to clinicians after bad things happen are in need of clinicians to help them, the prevailing view was that when bad things happen to people they usually need time to grieve. However, the sample size was very self-selecting here, and exploring more "normal" baselines suggest its possible that on average people are pretty good about staying functional through traumatic events.
Establishing a Nicotine Threshold for Addiction -- The Implications for Tobacco Regulation I am not a smoker, but I was met with the idle question of how many cigarettes one would have to smoke daily to become addicted. The threshold seems to be around 5mg per day, which ends up being something like 5 cigarettes.
Love is Blind - Fujimoto Tatsuki amazingly funny oneshot
Seeing Everything: A Visual Perception Experiment Proposal Not really a project per-se, more like a "man, somebody should do this" idea that I've had for a while that just won't really leave my head.
Downwait Instant Ledgegrab An attempt to make my videos a bit more visually appealing without sacrificing the content or the conciseness: I rarely feel that these sorts of demos warrant more than a 60 second video and I would like my content to remain highly valuable per unit time, but if I can put a bit of extra effort into them and have them be more polished without sacrificing this then I don't think there's any reason not to.
How Good is Melee National Seeding? Melee Stats group does it better
Mastering Chess and Shogi by Self-Play with a General Reinforcement Learning Algorithm A wonderful paper that appeals to my AI and Chess-playing selves - Deepmind plays beautifully even with no input from humans whatsoever.
Cigarette smoking: an underused tool in high-performance endurance training An incredible, hilarious paper that I plan on linking people frequently in the future - from the abstract: "However, if research results are selectively chosen, a review has the potential to create a convincing argument for a faulty hypothesis. Improper correlation or extrapolation of data can result in dangerously flawed conclusions. The following paper seeks to illustrate this point, using existing research to argue the hypothesis that cigarette smoking enhances endurance performance and should be incorporated into high-level training programs."
Kadano on Input Lag Running Dan Salvato's polling fix code on console improves input delay by a bit below 12ms, as measured with an Oscilloscope. Overall a great read on Input Lag in general.
How I accidentally discovered the pill to enlightenment but I wouldn't recommend it. Cool writeup I got from a member of the ssc discord, a cool narrative version of a similar project to my health notes.
...And I Show You How Deep The Rabbit Hole Goes I reread this and man do I love it
Failing - A very difficult piece for solo string bass Music as performance art, examining the construct of difficulty and about the paradox of having a goal of failure.
I generally dislike "New Years Resolutions" but I think keeping myself accountable for the things I want to accomplish over long periods of time is pretty important. As 2018 is the first year I will be completely operating without educational institutions to hand me goals (weird) I feel it is more important to have a clear vision of my long-term goals.
Do Pot Bonuses Affect Entrant Numbers at Melee Tournaments? (short answer: no)
20XX 4.06 Savestate Workflow in Dolphin Not a perfect solution but if I'm hoping if this is written then somebody will improve upon it and it'll be amazing to practice with.
Super Portable Recording Setup This thing is amazing and I'm glad I bought it.
Tech You Should Already Know - Spotdodge / Amsah Tech Option Select Habit I wanna pick up during spotdodges, tested and verified idea I had a million years ago working on my notes for the fox-sheik matchup.
The Local is Dying, in which I examine the attendance at SSBM local tournaments and determine that attendance is roughly the same as 2016
Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Grammar feels like a pretty comprehensive collection of grammar points in the Japanese language, and I suspect I will frequently go back and read through this if I forget something or if I encounter a grammatical structure that I am unfamiliar with. I really appreciated the structure and despite it being a little wonky at first it made the rest of the guide pretty simple to understand since everything made some sense from a Japanese-speaking perspective rather than an English-speaking one imposed upon the Japanese language. Gonna start working through Genki I now that I've gotten through this book.
Doki Doki Literature Club Dan Salvato's new studio put out this game this month, and I played through it. The tl;dr on my thoughts is that this game manages to be cliche in two genres and draws far too much inspiration from creepypasta. Full thoughts here.
SM64: The Last Impact a fun romhack that is technically interesting and has some cool ideas and fun levels, but suffers enormously from difficulty curve irregularity / bugs / poor level design. I found myself frequently getting softlocked, dying randomly due to weird level geometry problems, having issues with the camera, etc, and I eventually made it a game to see how many stars I could get by BLJing past walls instead of actually earning them. I had fun with it, but I couldn't manage to 100% it because there were just some stars that were so broken that I got too frustrated to continue playing. It made me appreciate how relatively not broken the original game was, and how important beta testing is for these sorts of games.
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds A fun game to fool around with friends in, but not one I think is particularly well-designed from an esports perspective.
The Hotel Room Hacker Crazy story
Beating the World's Best at Super Smash Brothers with Deep Reinforcement Learning I believe this is a more updated version of the paper I mentioned last month, so I'm putting it here.
Example of the Glicko-2 System I ran this on a database of 22k super smash brothers melee tournament set results, after ELO gave me mediocre results. The results were better than ELO but still not very good.
Learn Modal Jazz in 12 minutes. (No kidding.) Man, I miss being really involved with music like I was in high school - I might pick up a music theory textbook and brush up on it.
How to Learn Music (Epistemology and Music in the Digital Age) I'm not crazy about Malcolm Gladwell but this video I think is a really well-worded depiction of learning skills in general. I've watched a bunch of Adam Neely's videos and he strikes me as extremely well-read, I was impressed by how interesting all of his videos were while still consistently being about music each time.
Matchup Breakdown - Fox vs Luigi (Chillindude829) Watched this after playing a set at Shine 2017 against a luigi and realizing that I didn't have a firm understanding of my goals in this matchup (shine doesn't lead to anything, grab doesn't lead to anything, so what are you going for in neutral against luigi? What's your gameplan? I ended up just going for random hits and getting steamrolled). Takeaways: uptilt vs nairs, dash attack is a common mixup situation (nair out jump out etc), usually avoid midrange (close/far is good), Disjoints are good (uptilt, falling upair). Being above luigi is very good. Empty drill into fullhop is pretty good because you can punish grab attempts with falling upair.
A YouTube choir: the history of the most viewed videos converted into sound Perfect blend of Music, Math, Visualization, and Shitposting. I got a huge kick out of the inclusion of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" which predictably shot up every december and then didn't move for the rest of the year.
"Rewrite" Production Vlog #6: Everything is Fucked Up This is one of those "Truth is stranger than fiction" type of stories I struggle to wrap my head around, and yet I actually believe. tl;dr these two are shooting a documentary about a now-shut-down modded video game, and got in contact with a reclusive developer "Magus" who moves into their apartment to help them with the documentary. However, it turns out that the person that claimed to be Magus was actually somebody impersonating Magus, having done so for months and knowing intimate information that "verified" their identity with other dev team members. Nobody knows who this person was, or how they knew so much about Magus and the internal details of the development team, and everybody is freaked out about it.
Batman: The Dark Knight Trilogy Cover - Pedrosaxo Guy plays a duet with himself, seems very technically demanding. I don't play saxophone but what I'm vaguely sure is going on here is he's using the same technique you use for circular breathing in order to hum a note at the same time he produces a note on his instrument, resulting in two notes being played. Very neat!
Optimizing health with cronometer I hit my weight goal, going to start resistance training next
How variable are Omron Scales Since I met my weight goal I tested the variability of my scale a second time. If I gain weight in a substantially lean way and get my old values for bodyfat, I'll conclude that the scales results are useless. Otherwise, I'll measure what it returns.
Using Fox Lifesaver with Shine Stalls Video made to explore using shine stall w/ conserving doublejump, also correcting for the 20 frame tap jump buffer which KJH lists as 4f in his video
Samus Hammer Throw Glitch Video of a sort of obscure glitch with Samus in 1.00, it's one of my favorite glitches and doesn't have a tutorial anywhere, so I made one.
OpenAI Dota 2 AI   Not good enough at dota to make an accurate assessment. Compare to Vlad "Xpilot" Firoiu's master's thesis at MIT Philip the Falcon Ditto AI, which can beat good players; as well as SmashBot, which uses a hardcoded goals hierarchy rather than learning it all via deep reinforcement learning. These fall under what I call "Watson Syndrome" where they are capable of winning because of their superior "biology" rather than actually outplaying their opponents, and as such I don't think these are particularly useful as training tools (I.e. A "winning position" for the AI is not necessarily winning for a human, if such a situation requires something like frame perfect reaction time, and attempting to emulate its playstyle would likely be extremely foolish, unlike with Deep Blue or AlphaGo. For games with a biological element [Melee, Dota, Jeopardy] emulating realistic biology is important before you can announce "triumph" over human players.)
Genetickanji - Kanji Grade 1 I've been doing five of these each day and have gone through a little over 100 this month - I specifically wanted something reasonably structured by radical / Mnemonic but with actual readings (which RTK did not have - I have a copy of it and I'm using it for kanji I'm having trouble with but as a method by itself it seems pretty terrible). Some of the suggestions for remembering things in genetickanji are bad / big stretches, but overall it's nicely structured and not too big a commitment to figure out.
Bet on UCF not being at any majors I bet $10 with @uconnsdoom that UCF is not present at Big House 7, Summit, Genesis, CEO, or EVO.
Create Anime Characters With A.I.! (Jin et al 2017) amazing / hilarious / surprisingly straightforward, particularly enjoyed the section on generating release-date-specific images ("as you can see from figure 5... the more recent images are cuter and higher quality")
Clinicopathological Evaluation of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Players of American Football (Mez et al 2017) Football is a moral evil and inherently dangerous (half kidding). A somewhat self-selecting sample, but the effect size is so large that this could be considered a huge blow to the idea that "football is safe enough for children".
Predicting Personality from Book Preferences with User-Generated Content Labels (Annalyn et al 2017) A cool paper exploring differences in personality among people who enjoy certain genres of books, using user-submitted tags on goodreads and declared preferences on facebook. The visualization in this paper is excellent, and although I don't think the paper's conclusion is that powerful (correlation between a preference + big 5 feels pretty unimportant) I think the methodology was great.
Berlitz Complete Japanese A good series of dialogues to introduce basic Japanese grammar (I'm still very much a beginner but I imagine this is all N5 level). The dialogues are charming enough to keep you reasonably engaged - I found myself more amused than I ought to be listening to Harrison-san's antics, which I think is a good thing for this type of resource. The dialogues are completely in Japanese, which is what I wanted, but things become confusing if you can't figure out what words mean so this might be worth supplementing with another textbook, a dictionary, or the workbook. There's some weirdness (pronouncing wo particle actually as "wo" sometimes) but overall good to listen to if you want to practice listening/speaking
Introductory Statistics with R A book that I think is best suited either with a teacher or with another, more traditional, statistics textbook. Using R has proven very useful, but the book was heavy with jargon that it did not explain properly, and I frequently felt lost despite making flashcards and reading very carefully. Certain concepts are vaguely explained or not explained at all, and you're expected to have a minimum level of knowledge that I felt was inappropriate given that it also explained really basic stuff like factorials. Overall a useful book that added a good tool to my toolkit, but one that frequently had me googling things for clarification.
Aria Slow, relaxing, with some basic scifi concepts, works better as a manga than an anime due to pacing. Fits the genre of "utopia that isn't a utopia", everyone just sort of lazily goes about their days and most of the story is literally about being able to slow down and admire the scenery around you (MC's entire personality type, as well as the job of the Primas).
Aria's Past, Present, and Future (Gwern) Hilarious, I've always had a soft spot for violating suspension of disbelief and then trying to explain it away using crazy theories. Reminds me a lot of the "Matrix in a Matrix" theory, where people plugged the ridiculous left-field plot hole of Matrix Reloaded as evidence that, since Neo can use powers in the "real world", it's likely not the real world - just another layer of fabrication that Neo pulled his punches in because he didn't believe he had powers in there. Probably false, but a fun way to engage with plot holes!
Koe no Katachi (2016) - I think as good of a film adaptation as I could have reasonably expected from condensing this rather long story into a two hour film. Pacing issues that were not present in the manga, parts felt extremely rushed due to cutting out some smaller arcs to make time. Characters didn't have enough time to properly develop into believable characters with the exception of the main character, again a byproduct of lack of time. Where this film shines is sound direction, it uses silence and white noise extremely well, which compliments the films themes (hearing vs listening / blocking out the world / etc). The animation is fantastic as well, Kyoto Animation delivers as you might expect. Overall not quite as good as the manga adaptation, but not bad by any means.
Learn to Read Korean in 5 Minutes (seriously) doesn't get all the letters in but a cool intro to the ease of this alphabet, I made flashcards for Hangul via wikipedia + 15 easy useful phrases
SIAMÉS - "The Wolf" Listened to this before Shine 2017, played pretty well