Solving dependencies for conda packages used in computational chemistry is spectacularly annoying. But while I’m at it – why not write something here.

It’s been three months of work with machine learning, and over four full years of theoretical modelling overall. I learned an important lesson: the values your model predicts are not important. It is relatively easy to make a prediction using numpy, scipy and a bunch of polynomials.

It is far more important to know the applicability domain of the model, its error and trust intervals of obtained parameters. Clean the dataset, reduce the number of parameters, write out the necessary equations and try to reduce the error using first-principle approach. Modern science studies deviations and reproducibility, and rarely values themselves. Which is a good thing.

Conferences now became quite close-minded and elitist: the same people, year after year, polished presentations, barely any input at all. There are a few large ones every year, but they are expensive and quite limited number of people are allowed in. Which raises the question: does anyone know a platform or a website where one could post unpolished results and discuss them with other in hopes of feedback, corrections or even collaboration?

I’ve been working with a bunch of ML and quantum chemistry lately. At this point the hardest part is to actually come up with the problem (i.e. translate chemistry into reasonable mathematical expressions) and then make all the servers and packages work. The code and NN architecture themselves are like 10-20% of the work.

Now, a more personal note. For now I stay: to finish the education, to help the family. In some sense to see what happens next from the inside and maybe to tell the world. I will not be drafted in the near future and I think I will come up with a bailout in the next few months just to be on the safe side.

What has been happening over the last 6 months is awful and wrong and I hope it won’t last for long. The consequences will be dire for everyone. God help us, even though I do not think there is one.

An important thing most people do not consider now is the economical impact. At least 300k working men are drafted, possibly more. The state feeds them, pays them a salary (which is not that small), pays substantial compensations in case of injury or death, while the economy is deprived of the 300k of perfectly good workers. It is unlikely to cause the collapse, but the consequences will hit after a while, I’m sure.

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Well, that did not go well, eh. As some of the subscribers probably know, I’m from Russia. This platform is small enough to speak more or less openly, so here is a quick recap of what the last week looked like from the inside.

Putin declared mobilization: men with previous military experience must go to war, anywhere between 300k and 1 mil of them all over the country (the precise number is kept secret). On the first day, no clarification about categories was given, and hell broke loose. Amputees, elderly, people who never served in the army, parents of infants were drafted. Police would break into houses and catch people in subway.

The mobilization was not evenly distributed. In small towns and villages more people were drafted, to the point where protest started, especially in southern regions. In big cities it is less noticeable and smaller percentage of men are drafted, while more have the resources to flee.

The chaos subsided over the next few days. Some people are now excluded from mobilization, like students and workers of “crucial infrastructure”, including financial sector. Most employers fight for their workers and try to keep them safe. Universities and scientific institutions do the same, draw all the resources they can.

From the first day, people started running. There is a humanitarian catastrophe on the border with Georgia, people have to pay to locals even to get in lines. Airplane tickets are sold out, ones that left are priced 10k$+. Estimates say that at least 200k left for Georgia and Kazakhstan that have land border with Russia. Better estimates do not exist at the moment, but it is compared to the Exodus by some.

Many people agree to fight and even buy ammunition for their own money to have better chances of surviving. Some of them are patriots, most of them seem to be obedient to whatever ones in power say.

Well this took a good while, eh. I finished my thesis! And started working as a full-time software tester the next day. Because aint no rest for the wicked, that and the experience and skills I can get.

It’s an interesting experience after four years on university: to have a “real” job. And (for now) way less stressful than the studying used to be. There is a fixed workday, lunch, two (!) days off on weekends and plenty of time to do the job you were hired to do. And even a paycheck, not that large for now, but still eight times what my lab used to pay.

I hope this experience serves me well, even though now it breeds more trouble than it solves.

A cup of hot black coffee and some pastry make life a lot more tolerable. Add a cozy cafe with some good beats and you can almost feel alive.

Anyway, how have you been this week, my occasional audience? I promise a more elaborate story in a few days once I get enough sleep to recover and enough alcohol to forget the tomorrow’s “intro to philosophy” test. This much may take a while to consume but then again, I am patient.

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Ugh. So… Yeah. Fuck me, that wasnt an easy week.

…what do you mean its only Wednesday?

I have to clarify: it is not more difficult because of the information density (there was more material in some years), but because a) I have to write a thesis and b) teachers mostly have shitty time management and final tests for all subjects overlap on the last two weeks. I already had a day with two credits (one-on-one talk with a professor) and a test.

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Oh well, the last semester is exponentially more difficult than all the others were. But I’m managing, more or less.

Sooo my eyes are fine. Another checkup is due in 10 days and after that I’m clear.

I’ll make it clear that I decided to do this surgery now, even somewhat urgently, for two reasons.

1) Price. It has gone up 30% within the last month and I wouldn’t like to pay even more if there is a way to avoid it.
2) Spare parts. I have an idea about the way these lasers work, and they don’t last without new parts and maintenance. Which will be more difficult as the time goes on and logistics/sanctions make things more complicated.

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So I finally obtained clarity. Made laser correction, that is.

Going from -5.25 on both eyes to 100% clear picture is great. 10/10, would recommend. The process is painless, yet unpleasant. What baffles me is that it’s cheaper to buy clear vision that an iPhone. Hail capitalism.

I’ll describe the process. First, diagnostics are run to determine the cornea thickness. Then, in a wekk (one shouldn’t wear contact lenses over this week) the surgery begins. The nurse disinfects eyes and provides you with a nice hat, coat and a mask. You lie down on a table, a sterile cloth is put over your face.

A laser cuts cornea, surgeon puts it aside and another laser burns parts of the eye (the lens, I suppose) to change the focal strength. The cornea is then put back and the process is repeated on the other eye. Unpleasant sensations come mostly from fixators that keep eyelids in place, as well as the vacuum fixator for the eyeball. There is also an intense smell of burned fried eggs that comes from the eye when the laser is on.

If anyone has questions I’ll be happy to answer to the best of my abilities, but keep in mind that I’m not a medical professional.

There is no “safe and stable 9/5 work” anymore, not for my generation. That’s even more true for this country. Not that I ever aspired to settle down for a quiet life of an office worker, but the opportunity was there. Now it’s not, and it is somehow liberating.

So trying to fight off a cold “on foot” with paracetamol while studying is not a good idea, at least my immune system can’t pull that off. For the past few days I’ve been suffering the consequences and still feel weaker than usual. But hey, I’m alive, that’s something. Everithing, actually.

At the time of writing this, my colleague is late for a zoom call she has already postponed. Rude and annoying.

Well, we entered the new era. Now I routinely use PGP on sensitive data and messages. Viva la cryptography, I guess…

People are more important than wires. People often forget this, especially the IT enthusiasts.

I caught a nasty cold a few days ago. Feels bad and I can barely function, but the diploma deadline is nigh. Time to bite the bullet..

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