pp.jpeg

Hi! I'm a rising senior at Amherst College majoring in CS/stats. I'm interested in the intersections between technology and business. When I'm not in school, I split time between Singapore, Palo Alto, and Jakarta.

I took 3 gap years after high school, during which time I completed my National Service in Singapore in the Civil Defence as an ambulance EMT and volunteered in Indonesia's 2014 presidential campaign.

When I'm not reading and writing notes / exploring you can find me on /r/ mildly interesting / in the gym / worrying about the rise of automation.

I'm currently using this site as a my online (one of the perks of this being that it is un-lose-able and accessible/share-able from anywhere) commonplace book. It hosts

RFP (things I’d like to have)

  • a book recommendation system that recommends more recently published books that cover the same material (could be based on references)

    • on that note, any network-based organization of books in general that connects books by their references, allowing you to see what authors/material you’ve been most interested in, and therefore might be interested in

  • a collection of updated startup-related statistics, e.g. “number of miles driven by autonomous vehicle companies,” “number of accounts opened by challenger banks”


Books:


Monthly updates/points of interest (June)

All past articles

Who really owns the past?, a great Aeon essay from an archaeologist/writer that unwinds how (the relatively new idea of) “cultural heritage” is often used as a front for vested interests, and other unintended consequences

Cases such as Mosul’s highlight a key fact about cultural heritage: it is not primarily about the past – as counterintuitive as that might be. It is about the present. Heritage harnesses the power of the past to justify present social relations, especially relations of power. Governments trample over the lives and needs of individuals and communities, the wealthy convert their dubiously acquired wealth into cultural capital, all in the name of that heritage. And in our conviction that we must protect the remains of the past, the rest of us are often swept up in the enthusiasm. We don’t even question the relatively new idea of cultural heritage – that the remains of history are to be unquestionably treasured as our inheritance from the past and must be preserved in their original state. Or that what typically counts as cultural heritage are major historic buildings and monuments, perfectly suited to be exploited as symbols of the powerful.

Governments increasingly looked to remains of the distant past to bolster national identities and a sense of greatness, or to marginalise disfavoured groups. Saddam Hussein used the ruins of Babylon to spread ideas of Iraq’s greatness as well as his own, even portraying himself as a modern Nebuchadnezzar. China’s leadership has used archaeology to project national greatness onto the distant, semi-legendary past. Today, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has worked to use archaeology to prove that modern Hindus can trace their descent from the earliest inhabitants of India.

Inscription of a site on the World Heritage List brings increased prestige and tourist dollars. With these comes increased pressure to remove longstanding communities. From Petra in Jordan, to Wuzhen and the old town of Lijiang in China, to Casco Viejo in Panama City and many more cases, World Heritage listing has brought evictions. In Chikan in China, thousands of residents are being forced out of their homes by a $900 million development plan to turn the old town into hotels and boutique shops for tourists visiting the nearby World Heritage site of Kaiping. But the houses of Chikan are themselves historic.

Whether we look at political, economic or military capital, one thing is clear. Heritage is a top-down idea – it is defined and used by the most powerful members of society, rather than by society as a whole. Cultural heritage tells people – it does not ask them – what they should care about.

Fitbit, Quants and Uber, a 2017 column from Matt Levine

My favorite part of writing about finance is that almost nothing that happens is inherently dramatic. People sit at desks typing on computers and talking on phones. Sometimes they type big numbers on the computer, or say rude things into the phone, but essentially all of the drama is intellectual. With rare exceptions, swashbuckling hedge-fund managers don't actually swing over the gunwales to board hostile ships. What they do is try to understand the structures of human institutions -- economies, legal systems, corporations -- and use those structures to their advantage. The excitement comes from understanding the world; the suspense comes from not knowing whether their understanding is correct, at least until it is proved with money. 

Myths of the 1 Percent: What Puts People at the Top, another 2017 article

Not trade, IT, unions, immigration, nor rise of management, but… Almost all of the growth in top American earners has come from just three economic sectors: professional services, finance and insurance, and health care, groups that tend to benefit from regulatory barriers that shelter them from competition.

Lone Star Rising, about the re-found importance of the Permian Basin

Over the next decade, the Permian will account for two-thirds of the increase in total U.S. oil production and one-quarter of the increase in total global oil production, projects Wood Mackenzie. Simon Flowers, Wood Mackenzie’s chief analyst, likens the global impact of the Permian to that of North Sea, which ushered in the era of large-scale deepwater drilling some 40 years ago. “The Permian,” he says, “is of that scale.”

449: Number of oil rigs drilling in the Permian in April. That was 44% of all rigs drilling in the U.S. and 22% of the number worldwide.