Google released a white paper describing how the company intends to generate all of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2030. Previously, Google committed to reducing emissions by buying offsets or generating renewable energy off-cycle. This new commitment goes by further: “Google intends to match its operational electricity use with nearby carbon-free energy sources in every hour of every year”

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Google’s energy journey

Everybody interested should read it — it’s short.

Google cooperated with a Watttime to generate the dataset that measures the carbon emissions intensity in regions where Google’s data centers are located. Watttime has a very interesting API providing carbon intensity in real time. I collected a random set of data points over 24 hours for a selected number of regions where Google data centers are located in the US. …

Skin in the Game is a curious collection of anecdotes that has to make everyone question the fairness of modern society. A short subset of interesting thoughts is below:

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Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • You will never fully convince someone that he is wrong; only reality can. The curse of modernity is that we are increasingly populated by a class of people who are better at explaining than understanding … or better at explaining than doing
  • Hammurabi’s code: If a builder builds a house and the house collapses and causes the death of the owner of the hours — the builder shall be put to…

While summarizing this book isn’t useful due to its technical nature, below is a small subset of fun facts I came across.

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Everything Explained for the Professional Pilot by Richie Lengel book cover
  • Frequency ranges: Broadcast radio 535–1,605 kHz (wavelength 560–187m). Communications, VOR, marker beacons 30–300MHz (wavelength=10–1m). …

Sean Carroll attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics with Einstein’s theory of relativity, something that physics conveniently ignores. There is a plethora of similar attempts such as Geometric Unity presented by Eric Weinstein. Carroll’s book is very readable even for physics enthusiasts like myself who lack formal education in the field.

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Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime Hardcover by Sean Carroll


Quantum notes:

Genome is fascinating science fiction book focused on what could be hidden in human Genome. The book’s website has an interesting section explaining which of main themes are fact vs fiction. Below is a selection of 3 facts I found interesting.

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Genome by A.G. Riddle book cover


The exploratory ship at the beginning of the book of based on Russian Project 22220, the largest nuclear-powered icebreaker designed.

The Quaternary Extinction Event

“The Quaternary extinction was a mass die-off of large animals that occurred during the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene epoch (13,000 BCE to 8,000 BCE). The extinction is believed to have been caused by two factors. The first was natural climate change on a global scale, specifically the end of the last glacial period, known popularly as the last ice age. Technically speaking, we’re still in an ice age, one that has lasted millions of years — we’re just in an interglacial period at the moment. At the time of the Quaternary extinction, the warming of the planet and retreating glaciers put many species at risk. …

While AWS Lambda functions are typically used to build API endpoints, at their core Lambda functions can return almost anything. This includes returning html markup with dynamic content.

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AWS Lambda + Python + Jinja

I will not go into details describing how to deploy AWS Lambda functions. Please see the official documentation. I will however describe how to return dynamic html content instead of a typical JSON.

Step 0 — Optional

If you prefer to develop and test lambda functions locally (as I do), you can use Docker to simulate the AWS lambda function environment. A sample Dockerfile I use is below.

FROM amazonlinux:latest
RUN mkdir -p /mnt/app
ADD . /mnt/app
WORKDIR /mnt/app
RUN yum update -y
RUN yum install gcc -y
RUN yum install gcc-c++ -y
RUN yum install findutils -y
RUN yum install zip -y
RUN amazon-linux-extras install python3=3.6.2
RUN pip3 install --upgrade pip
RUN pip3 install -r requirements.txt …

Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

Work Rules! is an informative look at Google’s people management. After reading it, I am still not entirely convinced that Google’s approach is applicable to every company but the lessons below certainly are.

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Work Rules cover

Culture > strategy

Give people slightly more trust, freedom, and authority than you are comfortable with. If leaders aren’t nervous, they haven’t provided enough space for employees to surprise.


Every company has limited resources. Take the time to hire only the best. Hire only those better than you in a meaningful way. …

I have gone through many iterations of what my preferred scikit-learn custom pipeline looks like. As of 6/2020, here is my latest iteration.

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scikit-learn logo

In general, a machine learning pipeline should have the following characteristics:

  1. Have as few custom components as necessary. For example, when filling missing values in numerical columns with median value, there is no reason NOT to use SimpleImputer class from sklearn.impute. In my example gist below I included a custom FeatureSelector class just to illustrate how to defined a custom pipeline step. …

George Orwell‘s 1984 (published in 1949) is clearly influenced by Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead (published in 1943). Along with Atlas Shrugged published in the 1957 at the height of the Cold War these books compose an intellectual series describing the tragic consequences the western world would experience if Communism (or more broadly Totalitarianism) are allowed to spread.

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Book cover: 1984 by George Orwell

Totalitarian regimes discourage rational thought

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength”

These are the key slogans of the totalitarian Party in Orwell’s 1984. People opposing such absurd slogans are considered traitors. By enforcing the propagation of such slogans, the totalitarian regime ensures that no decision it makes can be judged on the basis of reason. …

Below are some of my takeaways from the book Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy — and How to Make Them Work for You by Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary.

The book was written in 2016 at what I would call the height of the platform optimism. It’s fascinating to read the book in 2020 when the pure-platform companies are still yet to make money (Uber, Lyft) and some might never make money (WeWork).

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Cover: Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy — and How to Make Them Work for You by Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary


  • Platform purpose: facilitate matches between producers and consumers
  • Supply economies of scale were the propulsion of modern traditional industries. Network effects, on the other hand, are demand economies of scale which generate the value of today’s…

Adam Novotny

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