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veen  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 12, 2018

Kinda chaotic days recently. Lots on my shoulders that I can’t or don’t want to let go of. Irregular sleeping patterns are also throwing me off my balance at times. Exercising and reading is going great, despite the above, but tonight’s the first evening I don’t have anything that I planned or need to do. I want to write more - my paper hasn’t moved in weeks.

In other news, I commissioned a cartoon artist to make a drawing of my D&D character. Because I think that’s fucking cool, that’s why. This is the first detailed sketch. Couldn’t be happier about it:

veen  ·  57 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 25, 2018

I'm kinda done with the damn heat. Has rained like twice in the last two months. And I can't cool down by going for a swim because the pool gave three days' notice about closing for repairs for damn near two months in the summer. My three-times-a-week swimming routine was going pretty well but I guess I'll have to build that back up in September.

Things are going pretty damn great with the girl I'm seeing. We've seen each other multiple times this week. She's chipping away the wall I've built around myself; opening up the space to slowly and steadily grow towards each other. Couldn't be more happy about it.

I went to a theme park two weeks ago where I lost my watch in a rollercoaster. Had it in my pocket and should've mistrusted those pockets more (since my phone has already fallen out of them). But alas. After spending an unreasonable amount of my free time looking into various fancy watches I landed on a gorgeous classic Tissot automatic watch. I love the engravings, the open back, the subtle pattern and the soft ticking. It's basically everything I wanted my 10 year old Fossil to be. Spot the differences!

veen  ·  99 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 13, 2018

After the better part of two months of dating and second-dating and doubting and more dating, I'm finally seeing someone. We had a wonderfully romantic picknick this weekend, and we spent the afternoon today walking in and around her city, getting ice cream and holding hands. Good vibes, let's see where it'll take me. :)

Work is busy. I knew these two weeks would be particularly heavy, but wasn't expecting this. Gotta say no more often, even if the project is cool.

veen  ·  102 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: All the lighthouses [US and CAN]x 2

You can't just post an interesting point dataset mapped in a less cool way than I hoped and expect me to not give it a shot myself:

Full size. I assumed 15 mile visibility. ButterflyEffect.

ButterflyEffect  ·  102 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Whoa holy crap this is beautiful. What did you use to make it?

veen  ·  102 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I made it with ArcGIS Pro and some open datasets!

mk  ·  102 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oh damn, this is beautiful. You have a gift; I have no badges.

Is MI difficult? I think I'd order a print.

veen  ·  102 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks. I'll look into it! This was done in like an hour, I have some ideas to make it even better...

kleinbl00  ·  102 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You fuckin' wasted one yesterday bro

tacocat  ·  102 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The irony is he is one of the few people that could hand them out willy-nilly if he wanted to

kleinbl00  ·  102 days ago  ·  link  ·  

He is a man of rare principle.

tacocat  ·  102 days ago  ·  link  ·  

True dat

veen  ·  127 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 16, 2018

Met galen this weekend! We had a good conversation and good steak.

Finished another draft of my paper over the weekend. I'm responsible for a bunch of work stuff to do before the weekend, but if I don't procrastinate too much I should be fine and head out to my fam for the long Pinkster (Pentecost) weekend.

galen  ·  127 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oh man, the schnitzel was so good. Currently eating dining hall schnitzel and thinking of better days ;)

Although I got lost for 2 hours after dinner with veen (phone was dead so no maps), it was totally worth it!

The conversation, I mean.

Also the schnitzel.

AnSionnachRua  ·  127 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Nice! Seeing photos of people is always funny - "So that's what they look like!"

Loving the t-shirt, too.

veen  ·  127 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Speaking of photos...ya still haven’t sent me that pic of ours from your friend. ;)

AnSionnachRua  ·  125 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You know, I haven't gotten any photos off of her yet at all! I should see her next week and will demand their release.

OftenBen  ·  127 days ago  ·  link  ·  

For some reason I always pictured you with dark hair veen.

veen  ·  127 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Red with “beige strokes, haven’t seen that before” according to my hairdresser.

(also bad hair day but whatevs)

kantos  ·  127 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Nice photo of you two!

veen  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 11, 2018

Pour me a strong one bartender, I need to vent.

"I regret my failures. What I regret more are my failures to try."

Last Friday I had a great evening with a bunch of my colleagues. My company, small as it is, has a handful of 'divisions'. They're like business units except there's no management and everyone is self-organised around a topic. So I went with the ten people involved in sustainable transportation (mostly EVs and carsharing, but in the process of tackling more) to this great Ethiopian place. I've never had Ethiopian before, but they brought out two enormous plate full of food for everyone to share and eat. Spicy, but delicious. To cool our stomachs, we went out to a few bars that were participating in a local-brewery-fest. It – the evening, the people, the places – was incredibly gezellig.

But I still ended up wallowing in self-pity on the way back home. We ended the evening at a small club, and after the music got too loud to talk, I just danced a bit while sipping yet another beer and watching people. I'm not the kind of guy to go talk it up with girls at a bar – never was, never will be. I've also been alone for like forever, and I can't say those two things haven't gnawed at me. So while other people were having fun and/or hooking up, I just felt incredibly, eternally lonely, despite being with great people, and having friends that I value in my life. And I did not try anything, because I don't even know where to start.

The next day, after waking up and taking my swimming class slightly hungover, I decided to make a change. If I can go from 'not at all moving forward' to 'doing a mediocre front crawl' in a few weeks, surely I can show some dedication and persistance in other parts of my life by giving it a try. Making an effort is worth something in my book, and I'm not even doing that. So I gave that one app another shot. No dates yet. Maybe I'll give speeddating a try. I don't know what I should do, but I want to try harder.

goobster  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hey! Here's a random middle-aged white guy on the internet, who thinks his ideas are going to be just the thing to get you over this hump! Listen up, young one, while I mansplain it to ya...


We are clouds of chemicals. Everywhere we go, we have a chemical cloud around us. When we get in close proximity to someone else, they can sense our clouds, and we can sense theirs.

Ya know what your cloud was like while you were standing in the middle of a lively bar, moping and being all moody and goth? Unwelcoming. Uninteresting. Defensive. Walled-off.

What kind of person is going to find that a compelling cloud to step in to? (Hint: Nobody you wanna be around, for sure!)


You can't engage with anyone else until you sort out your cloud. And, honestly, why would you force that kind of darkness, negativity, and mopeyness on someone else anyway?

So here's the thing.... you be you. Go make yourself happy. Do the things that make you happy. Do stuff for yourself. Get a massage. A haircut. A pedicure. Smoke some weed. Spend a day out, walking aimlessly, and just going in to cafes you have never been to, and have whatever they sell. Be with your thoughts. Wear headphones with nothing but the sound of waves or white noise, and let your head do whatever it wants to do.

You have GOT to find a way to be comfortable in your own skin. With yourself. With your mind. With who you are.

Until you sort that shit out, trying to have a relationship with someone else is just being mean.

Be with that thought for a bit...

(Good luck, my friend. I'm being all tough-love here, and it may resonate with you, or it may not. I hope it does.)

veen  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks, goob, it is much appreciated. :)

I wasn't actually being a sad panda out there. What I tried to say is that despite having a good time, or maybe because of it, I was confronted with what I feel like I am missing out on, which happens to be an aspect of my life that hasn't changed in the last decade. It doesn't feel like a hump, it felt like a reminder of the valley of insecurity that I was thrown in as a kid and am still climbing out of.

I have made a lot of progress, in no small part because of a bunch of people reading here. I like my job, my friends, love my family, I am getting smarter every day, and I'm physically and mentally fit. (Hell, I might be getting actual visible abs if I keep this swimming thing up! It's bananas.)

But I want to share that with someone on a deeper level, and my apparent inability to do so makes me feel like the loser they used to tell me I was.

And that is probably not true, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

goobster  ·  160 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We all have doubts about ourselves. If we didn't we'd all be dicks like Trump.

Doubt isn't a bad thing in and of itself. But it shouldn't hang around. Don't feed it.

Look it in the eye, evaluate it with a clear head, learn what you can from it, and then discard it. Doubt is a reminder to look inward from time to time, and make sure you are who you think you are.

Doubt is a fortune cookie fortune: Interesting in the moment, but useless in the long run.

(And by the by... the "sad panda" visual that appeared in my head almost made me spit out my coffee, it was so funny! Thank you for that!)

veen  ·  159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Doubt is a reminder to look inward from time to time, and make sure you are who you think you are. Doubt is a fortune cookie fortune: Interesting in the moment, but useless in the long run.

I love this. Much better advice than any fortune cookie I've ever read. Doubt, particularly about self-worth, is the bane of my existance, but it must end.

PS: you're welcome 🐼

HGL  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Did your friends get laid or actually succeed? I'm guessing probably not at the end of the day your probably didn't do any worse then they did.

Getting girls at the club is a special skill (and not a very useful one long term) , good for a fun night or two but not much more than that so focus your efforts elsewhere and don't worry about it too much.

oyster gives good advice, follow that.

oyster  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Picking up girls at louds clubs only works if you are the type of guy who will ask a girl if she wants to get out of here after never saying a word to her and then turn around too another girl in the same group and asks the same thing after she says no/looks confused. That much rejection crushes anybody even remotely attached their self.

My unsolicited advice is to start small. If you dove in head first the swimming lessons wouldn’t have gone very well either and you likely would have been discouraged. Everybody you see and compare yourself too started small as well, maybe that was years ago in their adolescence but nobody gets to skip it. Can’t really give you specific advice on good next steps since I don’t know where you’re at but maybe write down what you are comfortable with/how far you get and then instead of seeing it as a jump from their to relationship figure out what you can do everyday to interact more. Maybe you could make more eye contact, at the very least exercises like that just get our brain on the line of thinking about these things in my moment. Like writing down emotions, it’s a conscious thing at first but then it gets to be more natural like it is for the people with normal childhoods.

You can always work on any skill you want, this is nothing different.

WanderingEng  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    So here's the thing.... you be you. Go make yourself happy. Do the things that make you happy.

I love this advice. I've been me more the last couple years than I was the previous 30+ years. It's great. I actually think I'm happy. I'm still single, and I think I'd rather not be, but that feels more comparable to "my marathon time was 4:28:14 when my goal was 4:20:00" and not "I can't run 5 km."

blackbootz  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I hear your brother.

Some unsolicited advice regarding loud clubs: They're pretty terrible places to talk to girls, as you said. They're also stellar at making you feel deficient if you feel like you're supposed to be there for something other than the music. But they can be fun if you dance your ass off. Certainly a little liquid courage makes that easier, but this semester I've been sober and I've still gone out a few nights just to dance around. The liberating knowledge with clubs, as in many incomprehensible social scenarios, is that no one really cares what you're doing, how you look as you dance, as long as you're enjoying yourself.

Do you like loud dance music? If so, clubs might be for you. But you might just not like loud music, or the particular DJ. But when the music isn't scratching your itch and you're watching other people have the time of their lives, that's a recipe for a sad walk home.

b_b  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I would add that all my friends who are good at picking up girls are giant douche bags. It's not a skill to be envied.

kleinbl00  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Douchebaggery is often the result of the bravado necessary to power through both parties' fundamental instincts to keep to themselves. The real question is: can they turn it off? Because the ability to act like a douchebag without becoming a douchebag can be useful in the first few hours of relationships. The ability to not be a douchebag is what keeps them going.

flagamuffin  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·  


veen  ·  141 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 2, 2018

"There is an enormous amount of luck and randomness in the world. Hope is believing that in spite of that, the game is still playable."

Objectively, my attempts at online dating are going well. Subjectively it's a whole 'nuther story. I'm acutely aware just how difficult it is to take a step back when something feels so personal. I mean, on the one hand I've had more dates and lovely conversations in the last three weeks than the years before. On the other hand I've also had more rejections and ignores than ever before. It's just something I have to deal with, but it does make me wonder just how much luck and randomness is involved. I mean, I can get along with pretty much anyone, but finding just that kind of person to share my life with means being in the same place at the same time and doing the right things.

What's important is that I stay true to myself. It's easy to build a protective wall around oneself, and I know that will only hurt in the long run. The last few dates I think I succeeded pretty well at that.

kleinbl00  ·  141 days ago  ·  link  ·  

"You only have to be right once."

-Mark Cuban, badly paraphrased

sgeorge  ·  141 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I feel I hit the universal lottery when it comes to online dating, but as mentioned, just be yourself and don't expect anything and you might be surprised. Best case, you find your partner and love of your life. Maybe you'll find some people that you enjoy their company for a while and find yourselves incompatible in the long run, but remain friends.

My experience was that I was looking for friendship and people that I could connect with, and I made that well-known. I wasn't looking for anything serious at all, let alone a husband. But life is full of surprises.

Seek friendship, and who knows what will happen.

goobster  ·  141 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Good on ya, my friend.

Be a person worth dating - someone who isn't grasping for someone else, because yer drowning - and a person worth dating will naturally gravitate to you.

You are doing all the right things. Keep it up. It pays off in the end.

veen  ·  155 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 18, 2018

This week feels like a week for headings.


So after sitting in on a few D&D sessions with my roommate's friends, and realizing that they're all dope people, I decided to join their campaign proper. I've created an Aasimar character that's a mix between Altaïr, Luke Skywalker in TLJ and Jesus because a masked rogue assassin with high dexterity and charisma seemed like a lot of fun to play. Together with the DM we found a cool way to tie my backstory up with the big enemy the party's been hunting down. It was challenging (but a TON of fun) to improv my character.


Thanks for all the feedback! I've ended up with a system where I write down advice, book notes, interesting thoughts and recommendations with labels in Google Keep. Each note gets a named source, whenever possible. Once a week I transfer those notes to a big Markdown file sorted chronologically. It takes less time than writing this, so it's not hard to keep up. One thing I've already noticed is that I write down a lot of quotes about time. I've also been reading Conspiracy by Ryan Holiday and made a lot of notes, both capturing the gist of the book as well as interesting thoughs and quotes. It's made me a more active reader, which is never a bad thing.

Speaking of notes: me and my housemate/best friend have been writing a small diary web-app together as a small side-project. The idea behind it is to simply write something every day. He did most of the webdev, I did the visuals. It's nothing big and probably not permanent, so be warned, but you can check it out here. If only for the fancy animation


I think I have figured out my upper body movement and breathing pattern. My leg kick, however, is still ultra-useless: if I only use my legs, I would not be surprised to be overtaken by a snail. The swimming instructor got me to try on flippers, which was a whole 'nuther thing. I can do that on my back, but it is somehow much more difficult when I'm face down in the water. He recommended me training fins, which are basically very very short flippers, and they seem to improve my kick somewhat but it is definitely a work in progress.


I finally got around to finishing the first rough draft of my paper! The four professors that helped me with my thesis, as well as the professor that inspired me for that, all want to help me write a paper. The move, new job and new life made it a bit harder than expected to find stretches of uninterrupted time. I think my draft sucks, but most of my writing sucks for a long time until it doesn't so I guess I just need to grind this more.

That one app

First off, thanks for the advice y'all. I've had a surprising amount of matches this week. Most of which resulted in ghosting from me or her, but that's just how that works. But I had a date this Sunday, and she's cute and smart and there's a second date coming so that's neat. And if that doesn't work out...well, there are avenues to explore. We'll see. :)

kleinbl00  ·  155 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Something I didn't say last time about that one app that I should have:

You're an exceptionally talented, exceptionally interesting young man. But you reveal nothing about yourself until you've been directly questioned. Then you're cautiously enthusiastic about the stuff you're, like, really good at.

You know what's sexy as all hell? Enthusiasm. The unbridled confidence to not just believe but to know that the stuff you think is cool IS cool and that anybody would be delighted to get a glimpse into this awesome world you live in. Passion and enthusiasm is what makes things interesting; being the vessel of that passion and enthusiasm is what makes you interesting.

You're a great communicator. Every interaction you have with a girl should take the form of "you're going to think this is cool because X." If you can make someone feel the awesome you do they will view you as awesome through simple transference.

veen  ·  246 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 17, 2018

My college years are now officially over!

I had my final thesis presentation and defense on Monday. I got an 8 out of 10 for my thesis, which is equivalent to an A or A+ I think? Above average at least. My thesis committee really liked the parts I cared about and had some good feedback.

It was a great day, except for the fact that my family couldn't make it. They departed well on time but got stuck at a bridge that wouldn't close properly for four hours with no way to turn back. We were supposed to have dinner together afterwards. My mom was really heartbroken that she couldn't make it. In a weird turn of events, the story of the bridge and my mom made it onto the front page of the local newspaper, and now a local restaurant has offered to give us a free dinner this Friday. So at least there's a silver lining. :)

The title of engineer is protected here - you're only allowed to use it if you've graduated with an engineering degree. So besides MSc, I now get to use the "ir." title. Gonna look super fancy on business cards.

nowaypablo  ·  246 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Congrats veen! I want that business card in case I need a smart person to do something smart from really far away.

AnSionnachRua  ·  246 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Congratulations! Not just for making it through but for excelling into the bargain.

Sucks that your family got stuck, but smile-inducing that the restaurant have offered you dinner.

So they don't capitalise titles in Dutch? Anyway, milk it.

veen  ·  246 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks! It was a real mixed feelings Monday.

You know, other languages that aren't English don't capitalise nearly as much as English. Titles, months, days of the week, i, N/E/S/W, religions... you guys capitalise all of the things.

user-inactivated  ·  246 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I somETiMes WonDer IF ouR LOve foR CapITaliZatiON LooKS LikE ThIS to ESL SPeakeRS.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  246 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Tell you in a year and a half, when I'm teaching school children.

AnSionnachRua  ·  246 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We're between you and Germany on the scale.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  246 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Congratulations! "Engineer (van der) Veen" sounds awesome. :)

veen  ·  176 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What Brings You to Hubski?

What brought me here was an offhand comment somewhere deep in the bellow of Reddit mentioning Hubski.

What got me to come back was the often wonderful conversations and a warm welcome by thenewgreen himself.

What has kept me coming back here nearly every day for the past years (reading everything religiously) are the people. The problem with online communities in general is that they are too impersonal, creating a distance that kills empathy, sympathy and compassion. Hubski is small, slow and personal enough that it has become the only site I care to contribute to, and the only site where I've actually met people from.

beezneez  ·  176 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I remember veen - haven't been here for a while, though.

veen  ·  183 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 21, 2018

Job’s going great. Need to make sure I don’t spend too much time on it, because extra hours doesn’t mean a fatter paycheck. I also wanted to share some of the maps I’ve been working on this week. The first of the two was a demo I did on Monday for a product idea I’ve been developing with a colleague. If the business side of things work out as we hope it will, we might be able to sell it for somewhere in the six figures.

The second image shows some demographics in a neat hexagon grid. I know it is not much better than a pixel grid, but pixels will never make me want to trade sheep for wheat so I can build my city, meaning it’s clearly inferior.

Had my first swimming class this weekend. The course is to learn the front crawl and backstroke. I was slightly nervous - I used to hate the ever living fuck out of mandatory school swimming classes. That was entirely because of my clumsiness, the risk of being singled out for my ineptitude in front of peers, and the proximity of swimming to drowning. I’m still clumsy and suck at swimming, but I now know I just gotta practice and suck for a while until I get better.

The teacher mentioned that you need to get your breathing in a calm, regular pattern before you can even begin to do proper strokes. Yesterday, I went on my own, practicing just that and he’s totally right. It went much better when I focused on my breathing - funny how meditation breathing exercises come in handy like that. I did seriously hurt my leg though. It felt similar to a leg cramp (which runs in the family) but much worse. I didn’t realize you should be drinking enough, so it might be just serious leg cramps, but shouldn’t those be gone after a while? My leg still feels a bit sore from it...

kleinbl00  ·  183 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I know it is not much better than a pixel grid, but pixels will never make me want to trade sheep for wheat so I can build my city, meaning it’s clearly inferior.

I demand that you use exactly this explanation whenever anyone asks.

Because then you can follow up with the fact that every successful tabletop game ever made (including the ones everyone in the audience has heard of, harrumph) uses a hexagonal grid because it increases engagement and opens the mind to new possibilities, both of which are highly desirable characteristics of public outreach.

And then they will nod knowingly and be putty in your hands.

As to the leg cramps, bananas. Also, the whole point of learning to swim is so you can take up Scuba. Trust me on this.

Dala  ·  182 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Kiwifruit and green tea are also tasty sources of potassium if you are like me and are not a fan of the texture of banana. If you can find golden kiwi they are amazing.

I second kb's demand that you use that explanation for the hex grid.

snoodog  ·  182 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Kiwi is delicious also expensive 1 kiwi is 1-3 lb of banana

OftenBen  ·  182 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    also expensive

Check an Indian/Pakistani/Chinese grocery store if there is one anywhere near you. I can get 5/$1 if I go on the right day of the week.

johan  ·  181 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My professor seems to agree regarding hexagons! (or rather Walter Christaller, the slide was about Central place theory.)

veen  ·  281 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 13, 2017

Good news, everyone! After three months of job interviews, calls, negotiations, asking people for advice and what not I have made my choice and will be signing my contract this Friday.

Out of the five companies I've had serious talks with, two weren't a good fit for me, two were really interesting, and one was the gig I'd been doing alongside my last year of my master's degree. They made a compelling offer but I mostly thought of it as my backup option. Yesterday I called my manager there to let him know:

"Hey! I've made my choice, and it's sadly not in your favour. I had two other very interesting options - one was [well-known engineering firm], and the other was [the Chosen One]. I appreciated your offer and am glad that I could work for you guys, but the Chosen One was better in [all the ways that matter to me]."

"Congrats on the choice! You definitely chose the best out of the three, [Chosen One] is a great company and would totally fit you."

He said that like three more times in the same phone call - not at all disingenuously. I do think I've made the right call, the company I chose is a small urban planning consultancy focused on sustainable innovations. If I were to start a business like that, I'd probably do it the way they already do.

Now I just gotta finish my darn thesis. I want to have it done by Christmas so that I can spend that week with family (and without worries). I've written my executive summary, formalised my methodology and have rewritten the first two chapters, so I'm on track, but I still have lots to do. Plus, I need to do Adult Life Stuff like find a better insurance company and find a place to move to. What's the John Lennon lyric again? Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans?

edit: Also, because I don't celebrate Sinterklaas this year I bought myself this Casio I had been eyeing for a while:

I love that it has a world map! I can scroll through time zones and the map will show the part of the world covered by that time zone. Plus, it's supposedly inspired by the James Bond's watch in Octopussy.

elizabeth  ·  281 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Big congrats! We've been following your progress here in Hubski and it's amazing how hard you've been working and how far you've come. You totally deserve that dream job.

Also, I love your watch.

veen  ·  281 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks Elizabeth! Wouldn't be where I am today without y'all. :)

It's funny, my other watch is (in my eyes) a sleek, minimal, formal and elegant design, and this Casio is exactly the opposite, but I love it!

steve  ·  281 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Congrats on the job front! I'm so excited for you! And that is one SICK Casio. Great choice!

veen  ·  218 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 14, 2018

My train ripped a broken piece of overhead line. We got stuck without power or safe evacuation method, so my commute, which I'm still in, enters it's fifth hour soon. Eep.

Work is going super great. It's as close as I can get to working in a start-up: the freedom to make great things happen but without all of the failings and insecurity that that usually brings. One of my ideas is to help municipalities prepare for autonomous vehicles by building dedicated bus lanes that connect to highways. Pitched it to a few coworkers and we're now going to brainstorm about an MVP. There is also a large chance I'll get to work on a project for mapping the potential for geothermal heating NY, Baltimore and Washington DC, so there's that. Cool stuph, just getting started. :)

nowaypablo  ·  218 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So uh, you ever make it out of the train?

veen  ·  218 days ago  ·  link  ·  

eventually, yeah... only to go back home a few hours later.

It made national news though! Unlucky me. ;)

kantos  ·  218 days ago  ·  link  ·  

West New York by any chance? Too early to disclose with whom?

My internship over the summer there working with Ground Source Heat Pumps was insane. The guys distributing Waterfurnace's gshp's on the west side are hungry and smart fellas.

veen  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don't know yet! I have been told that we (the Dutch) are world-leading with the technology, so a venture that's a subsidiary of my work wants to export that knowledge and want me to ride along. Hopefully I can get a neat trip out of it. East coast 'ski meetup anyone?

kantos  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Interesting :o the man I shadowed under was from Germany, and Waterfurnace's parent company was Scandinavian iirc. Y'all European's got it down pat, I'm sure. Would be sweet to get a ride across the pond, too!

Not actually sure who from the 'ski is up there.

kantos  ·  218 days ago  ·  link  ·  
This comment has been deleted.
goobster  ·  218 days ago  ·  link  · municipalities prepare for autonomous vehicles by building dedicated bus lanes that connect to highways...

LEFT LANE ON/OFFRAMPS for autonomous vehicles!

I've been thinking about this a lot, and the left lane (in countries that drive on the right) is largely reserved for "specialty" traffic, like HOV, dedicated bus lanes, or even just the passing lane.

Left lane exits for vehicles that are "smarter" than the average driver, would allow shorter on/off ramps (acceleration/deceleration lanes), easier merging into the normal flow of traffic (because human-driven cars are generally turning right), and eliminate the need to negotiate lane changes with humans (moving right across multiple lanes to a human-driver exit).

Am I wrong about this?

veen  ·  218 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, for one, the idea that the leftmost lane is reserved for speciality traffic is something that you guys have in the US but that hasn't permeated to a lot of other countries. Highway bus lanes are generally on the right over here. In almost every country the left lane is a passing lane, so it doesn't hamper your idea, just something to note.

What people do often forget is that AVs are heavily sight-based, and will not risk something they can't see. So while I can see the first part of the ramp being shorter, any yaw or negative pitch change will have to be taken significantly slower than we would take them. The benefit of not having to cross all lanes is obviously a great one, but the fact that many urban highways don't have a significant median might make it really difficult to construct.

My idea was not at all focused on highways, really. Here's my elevator pitch now - I invite anyone to gimme some feedback because it's a relatively early idea. (kleinbl00?) The context is European city centers.

    Autonomous vehicles are coming, but their biggest challenge will be to conquer the densest urban areas. Precisely the places that most people will want to go, are also the most difficult to traverse on public roads. Some estimations put dense urban autonomous vehicles at at least 40, 50 years into the future. Infrastructure changes, most notably dedicated AV lanes, will likely be a necessary step in the transition to autonomous vehicles.

    Autonomous vehicles present a threat to public transport, so it is wise to design autonomous infrastructure in such a way that it also strengthens the public transport network instead of only competing with it. At the same time, due to the high uncertainty of the precise development path of AVs, it is important that any infrastructural investments are already useful now, instead of waiting for the revolution to happen.

    Thus: the idea to build bus lanes or expand the bus lane network in cities so that they connect the most important locations with highways. In the current PT paradigm, this would allow regional buses to easily drive on into cities and compete with cars more easily. In that sense, it's a 'no regret' investment. In a highway-AV-only scenario, the highway location could be an important transfer hub for the last miles into the city. In an AV-on-separated-lanes scenario, the bus lanes provide the AVs with the separated environment they need to maintain high speeds in dense urban areas. And because they enhance already existant high-quality PT with intermodal transfer hubs, they can significantly strengthen the PT network.

You know why I have an iPad? This is why:

kleinbl00  ·  218 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If the goal is prepping the layout for autonomous vehicles, designing for buses forces you into some compromises you wouldn't ordinarily make. Your roads have to be wider, for example. Your overhead clearance is higher. And you have to select routes that maximize foot traffic.

Vanpool? You could build for that now and assume it's future-proof. After all, any AV fleet isn't going to seat four passengers. It's going to seat ten. There are lanes in Vancouver BC that are limited to 8 passengers or more.

I would say expand the bus network such that the definition of "bus" includes lower-capacity vehicles but doesn't include carpool. It'd be an easy pilot project to roll out.

veen  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You mention width, which makes me realize something: there's no reason for a bus-lane AV service to stop everywhere. This means that cars should be able to pass at stops, which is possible when the road is as wide as bus lanes are. Bus lanes here are around 6.5-7.5m, and car lanes can be as slim as 2.2m, so bidirectional bus lanes now could be three-lane AV lanes in the future. Overhead clearance is a good point, although I think clearances are pretty well-standardized at 4m.

kleinbl00  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is not my area of expertise, but if I were trying to serve access to a new neighborhood, I'd much rather cut in a 2.2m road than a 7.5m one.

keifermiller  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Highway bus lanes are generally on the right over here.

Here in KC, the bus lanes are actually in the marginal "shoulder" area to the right of the actual road.

I know High Occupancy Vehicle lanes are to the left in the Dallas Fortworth area, though.

We're improvising all of this I think.

goobster  ·  217 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ah. I see we have different base assumptions about what an autonomous vehicle is going to be.

For me, the self-driving, smart-as-a-chauffeur, version of the AV is really a pipe dream. The real map of the world is just too complex and changing for anything other than a true AI to be able to operate within.

What i see is that all AVs will be interconnected, and constantly communicating with each other. So they will be able to "see" several blocks, even miles, ahead, and adapt their operation for the conditions. This means following distances between vehicles of inches, rather than car lengths. Road widths with tolerances measured in less than a foot.

Visualize independent train cars that are virtually linked together, rather than physically.

This seems far more likely of a future for AVs. This already exists on production lines today. Scaling it up, and providing safe operating zones for these transport pods, are really the only limitations.

Segregating AV traffic from human-driven vehicles is key, though. So reconsidering road widths, composition, merging, etc, you wind up with something much more like bicycle paths, than the streets and highways we use today.

That's my pipe dream. (And the AVs can operate someone autonomously - but slowly - in the suburbs, until they pool together and move as a unit to the AV-only road.)

veen  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    The real map of the world is just too complex and changing for anything other than a true AI to be able to operate within.

    What i see is that all AVs will be interconnected, and constantly communicating with each other.

Funny, I think of it exactly the other way. Mapping the real world is within the realm of possibilities - I mean this article is 5 years old by now. Besides, sensory input will always trump map knowledge. I talked to someone from TomTom a while ago. IIRC, when a dozen of their users drive over a new road they'll push that update to other users.

Permanently connected and highly reliable wireless connections that risk taking depends on? I'll believe it when I see it. When you have such a train of V2V connected cars, it only takes one malfunctioning / package-not-arriving car to screw it up for everyone behind it. 4G LTE (or even 5G) might be fast, but whenever I am at a busy train station it chokes the fuck out. My Bluetooth gets choppy when I move my head too quickly, and that's at a distance of less than a foot from my phone. Wireless tech is worse the denser your urban area is, while for AV's the opposite needs to be true. It exists on production lines because those are static, isolated environments, while (urban) roads are much more dynamic and prone to errors and interference.

    Segregating AV traffic from human-driven vehicles is key, though. So reconsidering road widths, composition, merging, etc, you wind up with something much more like bicycle paths, than the streets and highways we use today.

I think so too, at least for the near future, unless Google seriously gets their shit together. There's also a handful of public road tests, which could prove hopeful, but they are quite far removed from the ideal high-frequency, high-capacity bus replacement that I'm looking for.

veen  ·  260 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 3, 2018

Instead of creating a separate thingy, I'll use this Pubski as a chance to reflect on 2017.

John Green recently recommended writing two letters to your future self about what to take with you going into 2018, and what to leave in 2017. I think that's a great way to reflect and look forward simultaneously.

---LEAVE IT IN 2017---

The first thing to leave behind is my indecisiveness. If 2017 has taught me anything, it's that I need to make decisions and stick to them, not fret and worry and ponder forever on them if it doesn't make the result any better. At the end of 2016, I read something which took me most of 2017 to internalise: "doubt must come to an end." I haven't been able to find that quote's source ever again. The insight that phases of doubt are just that, phases, has been meaningful to me.

The second thing I want to leave is gliding. In a classic "it's not you, it's me" scenario, I've had a lot of fun gliding, but I don't have the free time to do it properly. Once or twice a month isn't gonna cut it for something as complex as learning to fly. It's been fun, but I gotta close that chapter for now.

I also want to leave calorie logging behind in 2017. I tried picking it up again last year, but it made me feel guilty for eating, which is the exact opposite of what I needed it for. It helped me figure out a healthier diet, which is good. Other than that it's just not for me.

Finally, I want 2017 to be the last year I would describe myself as reticent in unfamiliar social situations. I avoided small talk the first weeks of my internship as I've done many times before. It took a Sherry Turkle book to make me realise how embarrassingly unsocial that is and that it doesn't hurt, you fuckin' hermit, these people are nice if you just let them be nice.

---BRING IT IN 2018---

First some minor things I want to take with me from 2017. It was the year I went out of my comfort zone a bunch of times, which is always insightful. It was the year of less distractions: after reading Deep Work by Cal Newport, I realised I should do with much less distraction in my life. My phone is now almost always on silent and I'm all the happier for it.

2017 was also the year I started meditating. For me, it's valuable as a kind of mental defragmentation: if I have any stress, worry or emotions on my mind I've found meditation to clear that up, or to at least make me more aware of how I'm feeling. I have also noticed that that clarity of mind carries over to the rest of the day. Meditation, for me, is a kind of mental health upkeep I didn't know I needed.

I also started upping my reading game, and it's been one of the best things the year has brought me. A quick back of the envelope calculation puts me at more than 11,000 pages of nonfiction just in 2017, which is more than I have ever read in a single year.

After five years of following my interests and curiosity to the best of my abilities, I finally figured out what I want to do in life. Not in the "I have found my calling" sense, but more in the sense of finally being able to connect the dots:

    Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

That's from Steve Jobs' commencement speech in 2005. I remember watching it ten years ago, and those words have been etched into my soul in the form of hope ever since. The naive and dreamy kind of hope that everything will work out in the end. While I can't say that has happened or will happen, I feel like I'm headed in the right direction with the right tools and people around me, and I'm incredibly grateful for that. 2017 was the year I connected a whole bunch of dots and settled on a direction, and I look forward to see where that will take me.

kleinbl00  ·  260 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The attitude here is inspirational.

    I also want to leave calorie logging behind in 2017. I tried picking it up again last year, but it made me feel guilty for eating, which is the exact opposite of what I needed it for. It helped me figure out a healthier diet, which is good. Other than that it's just not for me.

Oh, god. The guilt. Calorie counting helped me lose 50 lbs but that was, like, 2009. And I've been doing it ever since.

God I don't know if I can do it.

veen  ·  260 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm in the lucky position of losing weight as soon as I do any kind of exercise regularly. Stuffed myself to the brim with food over Christmas and gained less than a kilo. From what you've told you're the polar opposite of that. Maybe you can ask yourself if you really need the guilt of red Myfitnesspal numbers to stay healthy because I realised I didn't.

rezzeJ  ·  260 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    At the end of 2016, I read something which took me most of 2017 to internalise: "doubt must come to an end." I haven't been able to find that quote's source ever again. The insight that phases of doubt are just that, phases, has been meaningful to me.

I think that doubt is a lot like anxiety, in that even though they both present themselves as thoughts, they seem to innately command more attention than a thought such as: "oh, I need to go the shop." As a result, you start to think of them as coming from somewhere other than thought and this separation causes the experience to kind of double down. You get anxious of being anxious (anxiety sensitivity], or subconsciously doubtful about everything.

But they are just thoughts. And if you acknowledge them you can see what's behind them and let it go like you would any other thought or feeling. Often enough, there's nothing behind them at all and, in acknowledging them, they ceases to exist

    Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

This reminded me of a chapter I read entitled "The Possible and the Real" in Henri Bergson's book The Creative Mind .

He states that most humans naturally, and incorrectly, presume that possibility precedes reality. Instead, it is reality that precedes possibility. The present moment is the constant process of chaos forming into an ordered reality. Once this reality has created itself "its image is reflected behind it in the indefinite past; thus it finds it has been, at all times, possible; but just at the very moment where it begins to have always been... The possible is thus the mirage of the present in the past. And as we know that the future will end up becoming the present, as the effect of the mirage continues unabatedly to produce itself, we tell ourselves that in our current present, which will be the past of tomorrow, the image of tomorrow is already contained although we haven't come to grasp it. And precisely there lies the illusion ".

I found the chapter split into 3 parts online if you're interested. Part 3 contains the meat of the idea I mentioned above:

- Part 1

- Part 2

- Part 3

galen  ·  260 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    But they are just thoughts. And if you acknowledge them you can see what's behind them and let it go like you would any other thought or feeling. Often enough, there's nothing behind them at all and, in acknowledging them, they ceases to exist

I've been thinking about this all day, off and on, and I'm not sure I agree. Maybe it's because I'm stuck in a loop of anxiety sensitivity right now, but it seems to me that both doubt and anxiety are more like thoughts with feelings attached-- in fact, I might argue that they're mostly feelings. And I have never in my life figured out how to kick a feeling that I don't want to feel. Certainly not as easily as by simply acknowledging it.

rezzeJ  ·  259 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Sorry, I was trying to be concise but ended up being a bit reductive.

I agree that both anxiety and doubt are experienced as a mixture of thought and feeling. At the height of my experience with anxiety, it generally arose in one of three ways:

1. I have a thought that makes me feel anxious

2. I consciously sense something (e.g. a chest pain or strange sensation) that leads me to thoughts that make me feel anxious

3. A feeling of anxiety is triggered by some unconscious stimuli, which leads me to thoughts that heighten/prolong the anxiety

The pattern here is that regardless of the anxiety's origin, it is thought that ultimately decides how it's handled. That is what I was trying to get at. Sometimes those thoughts might be subconscious or deeply embedded patterns of thinking, but they are thoughts nonetheless.

It was also a gross oversimplification of me to say that anxiety ceases to exist once acknowledged. What I meant to say was that rather than getting caught up in thinking about or around the anxiety, whether its experienced as a thought or feeling, one should instead non-judgmentally acknowledge what they are experiencing and in that moment let it go. It may come back again and again, sometimes instantly or maybe an hour later, but again acknowledge it and let it go. This can be a very long process, but gradually you train the mind to not instantly react to anxiety. It gives you a space between thought and feeling that allows you to decide how to handle it, rather than letting the mind run away with itself.

With enough patience and introspection you may come to realise what it is that's behind your patterns of thinking. For me it was an innate fear of situations in which I had not planned for. I used to imagine how events in my days were going to go, often even rehearsing conversations I was going to have. This lead to anxiety whenever things went 'off-script'.

I recommend reading this chapter from Jiddu Krishnamurti's book Freedom from the Known, which was a great help to me during my most anxiety filled time. Here is a choice qoute:

    At the actual moment as I am sitting here I am not afraid; I am not afraid in the present, nothing is happening to me, nobody is threatening me or taking anything away from me. But beyond the actual moment there is a deeper layer in the mind which is consciously or unconsciously thinking of what might happen in the future or worrying that something from the past may overtake me. So I am afraid of the past and of the future. I have divided time into the past and the future. Thought steps in, says, `Be careful it does not happen again', or `Be prepared for the future. The future may be dangerous for you. You have got something now but you may lose it. You may die tomorrow, your wife may run away, you may lose your job. You may never become famous. You may be lonely. You want to be quite sure of tomorrow.'

    Now take your own particular form of fear. Look at it. Watch your reactions to it. Can you look at it without any movement of escape, justification, condemnation or suppression? Can you look at that fear without the word which causes the fear? Can you look at death, for instance, without the word which arouses the fear of death? The word itself brings a tremor, doesn't it, as the word love has its own tremor, its own image? Now is the image you have in your mind about death, the memory of so many deaths you have seen and the associating of yourself with those incidents - is it that image which is creating fear? Or are you actually afraid of coming to an end, not of the image creating the end? Is the word death causing you fear or the actual ending? If it is the word or the memory which is causing you fear then it is not fear at all.

I hope this clarifies what I meant.

galen  ·  259 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is much clearer and I think I can get on board. Thanks :)

veen  ·  225 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 7, 2018


My ski trip to Kirchberg/Kitzbühel was awesome. It was my first ski holiday ever. (You know, telling that fact to people I know instantly lets me know how well-off someone is. Europe is so tiny that anyone wealthy enough to afford a second holiday has fled to a ski resort in the Alps at one point or another.)

I had great lessons and went from angstily making 'pizza curves' to whoosing down a hill in the span of an hour or two. At the end of the second day and the beginning of the third day, my unexperienced ski buddy and colleague made the mistake of picking awfully difficult 'blue' routes. It was disheartening and scary, because you start to doubt every ounce of technique you think you have when you stumble down for the twenty-sixth time. But after that we went to the easy blue tracks, I finally 'got' how to make corners (lean forward and outward!) and made real, tangible progress. We ended the day by going to one of the tops and skiing down a route that I would have never thought I'd be able to conquer just days earlier. That third day was beautiful, not just because of the satisfaction that learning a new skill brings, but also because of the drop-dead gorgeous views. And lighting (see above).

There was also plenty of time for aprés-ski, I had some great food and got to know a surprisingly large amount of my new colleagues. Which brings me to the second heading...


I technically haven't worked more days than I've gone skiing. I also don't really know yet what I will do, but I have a bunch of good ideas already and I'm already enjoying this work tremendously. Today I had this realization that I don't feel a student anymore - that I'm starting to feel like a professional.

The only issue now is my god-damned commute. It's looonngg. I walk to the bus 07:30, take the bus to a train station, take a stop train to an intercity station, transfer to an intercity train and walk fifteen minutes to my destination. Total time: almost 2 hours to traverse 60 miles. It's an hour by car but if I'd do that, I would be caught in the traffic-jam-vortex of 4 different cities so it would not be a whole lot faster. In a weird way I am proud of the proper timetable planning that's behind my commute: each transfer has around 8 to 10 minutes of transfer time. My bus is meant to arrive just before my stop train, which is synchronised with the IC train. It means I don't have to rush and small delays aren't a big deal. Plus, with my tablet I can read and shoot off some emails on the go.

And it's only temporary, or so I hope. We sent the final documents today - well, if they don't pester us again and just write the damn rental contract for us to sign, that is.

someguyfromcanada  ·  225 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ski holidays are the best holidays IMO. The physical exhilaration, the views, the feeling of zipping down a mountain, the apres ski... it is perfect for me. It also gives one the opportunity to sit in a snow bank and take in the experience of being in a place like your picture.

Lessons are the way to go no matter how long you have been skiing or how good you are. I take 2 half day lessons on the first 2 days of every trip and I am a double black diamond skier who has been doing it for 40 years.