Alexis Ohanian

Alexis Ohanian, known as the co-founder of reddit, came to Cornell yesterday night on his book tour. I guess the two points I took from his talk were the following:

  1. If you think about it, the cat memes have more competition than any of us. There are hundreds of thousands of cute cats, and equal amounts of video-taking owners. For Grumpy Cat to remain at the top of the pile for… grumpy cat pictures is pretty amazing by itself.
    Screw everything.

    The moral of this point was to just don’t worry about the competition, and focus on your work. If you put enough thought and care into it, everything will work out.

  2. Ideas are worthless. Enough said…

He’s a pretty interesting character all in all.


/r/math Problem of the Week 2

Two real numbers x and y are chosen at random in the interval (0, 1) with respect to the uniform distribution. What is the probability that the closest integer to x/y is even? Express your answer in terms of pi.

If one were to draw the area where x/y is even, it’s pretty clear from the get-go that we will have something like the following:



I looked at the problem from the viewpoint of lines (x/y = 1/2, x/y = 3/2, …). This results in the following series from summing the area of the triangles (don’t forget to divide by 2):

\frac{1}{4} + (\frac{1}{3} - \frac{1}{5} + \frac{1}{7} - \frac{1}{9} + \cdots)

Luckily, the series at the end is basically \frac{pi}{4} from the arctan series expansion. Thus the answer is \frac{5 + \pi}{4}.

The Great Leader’s Secret Plan

We all know that North Korea is pretty messed up. Plucked straight from a 50’s Cold War film, and dropped in the middle of the Korean Peninsula, the country is in shambles compared to its neighbors. It’s no surprise that the “UN’s representative in Pyongyang says about half the country’s children are stunted from malnutrition” (What is surprising though is Kim Jong-un admitting that fact).

What the world doesn’t know is that the North Koreans is preparing for the dark future; a future predicted by Lycerius. By starving its citizens now, the North Koreans has accelerated human evolution. Eventually, the North Koreans will all be more diminutive, and needing less food. In the future of the world covered by swampland, North Koreans will reign supreme in this new world. They have plenty of time to develop the technology, or just steal/share the technology from/with China.

It’s a perfect, cynical plan.