V

Vincent Tran

A high schooler who's aspiring to be a mathematician. I'll be documenting my journey for future ideas, reference, and self-reflection/analysis. I'll also be blogging about my philosophy (probably predominately). #100Days Daily Streak Length: 100 Mastodon here: https://scholar.social/@vincenttran

Thoughts on UChicago

I figured I'd share my thoughts on aspects of UChicago: Things I really like -free speech emphasis -intellectual culture -core, hum/sosc classes based on Great Books program -Unique, school-defining traditions replacing sports as a source of school spirit and pride (Scav, HvZ, Kuvia, bagpipe procession etc. etc.) [Less about school defining and more about no sports] -lots and lots of grad students around -basically no engineering -Theoretical, rather than professional, oriented academics -Very ...
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UChicago Essays

Since I got in, I figured I'd upload the essays I used. Prompt: How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago. I’m a person who really dislikes closed-mindedness. My parents, as immigrants, were inexperienced with the nuances of English, creating a struggle for me to communicate particularly complex and thorny ideas to them...
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College Update

I got into my top choice (UChicago)!!🎉🎉🎉🎉 I applied ED, so I'm done with college apps now!🎉 What a relief. ...
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PROMYS

So this is extremely late, but I wanted to make a post talking about my time this summer at the math camp PROMYS. For a bit of context, this was my second year doing this camp, but it was my first time in-person as last year was virtual. Overall, it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot of interesting math. PROMYS gives a lot of freedom to the campers, so it was a lot of fun to get to hang out with friends that I made virtually irl. NGL I wish I did a daily post instead of trying to remember it a...
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One Punch Man Review

I really liked OPM. Its writing is so well executed, despite it being traditional in structure: exposition to a climax. The struggle of the weak (relative to Saitama) characters keep us on our toes and wondering what will actually happen. They execute this struggle really well, which makes Saitama one-punching the enemy that much more anti-climatic and revealing of his power. For example, one of the scenes with Mumen rider nearly made me cry (for context I really rarely cry at movies; I don't ev...
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Komi Can't Communicate Review

I try not to spoil anything here: This anime is very cute. The animation, the scenarios, it's all very heart-warming. Tadano is such a perfect match for Komi. Most of the other characters are pretty annoying though. Literally the vast, vast majority of interactions between Komi and classmates are just the classmates simping hard for Komi. But ig it makes sense in universe, since the students of the high school are selected to be abnormal. Although Yamai is abnormally abnormal. Like she literally...
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Science Fell in Love Review

I recently watched the first season of Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It. I think the science of the show was pretty dumb. For instance, a fourth year undergrad in science and grad students should definitely know what a control group and complex/prime numbers is/are. They should also know about unnecessary precision. This also might be too philosophical, but the goal of the first few episodes is also dubious. They measure things, but don't doubt that it actually corresponds to "love"....
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A Dream

I don't dream very often, but today while I was in the library for my off period, I took a nap and dreamt. It was unusual in that it was a complex one too. This will make sense later, but the Standard Notes app recently released a new update that makes the UX really bad, so I uninstalled it. So the first thing that happened in the dream was that I headed out of the library to office aid, my flex period for that day. But in the cafeteria, there was a science fair, and apparently I needed to help...
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Class Tier Lists

I've taken a bunch of ap classes/tests, so ig my opinion has some weight. Here is my tier list for least meritocratic (A to the left is very productive to study for): https://drive.google.com/file/d/10KdGdi4B0NszdbNSLFSnkFZBPAUfHaw0/view?usp=sharing notes: I equated all the ap arts, ap languages, most of the social studies (except macro is very straightforward/regurgitation-y, and I assume micro is too) in the same category. If you want to know about the amount of homework, leave a comment in t...
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The Sell Out

Push, Push, Puuush, I'm born TAG, skipping classes, AP credits, summer classes I zooom through education Proud - a degree in math To quant I go I work; 6 figs from the get go I die. More concretely, I can imagine something being born, joining TAG (a program at my school that (if placed in TAG math) you up 2 grades in math and groups together other TAG kids—it's kinda like an "honors" program). Then they could skip a grade in elementary or middle school (ik someone who did this) and then farm s...
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Sartre's "The Look"

I have recently learned about Jean Paul Sartre's idea of "The Look", and it kinda bothered me. Sartre's thought experiment was to imagine a person who was just stuck to a door - looking through the peep hole and listening in. They're just watching, expecting something to happen, but then they hear a creaking noise behind them. They suddenly realize that other people exist. In general, imagine you were some being with no interaction (real or imagined) with other people. Thus you wouldn't use word...
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A Poem Blackouted from Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye"

Blackouting a poem is when you take a piece of existing text, and blackout text from it to create your own text. Here is one I tried to imbue with meaning and made in English a few days ago (grammar slightly edited), as best I can recall it. It had begun with Christmas Mother wanted me great pleasure It resisted my flesh. I had only one desire to find Beauty "Here" they said, this is beauty: love it was dying rusty sawdust Grown people frowned What's the matter with you?...
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Update 6/28/22, 100th day 🎉🎉

Today we landed in Boston. Our plane was delayed by an hour, so we got 30 minutes more of sleep (my dads policy for some reason). I forgot how loud a plane ride was, so I wasn't able to read much. I had downloaded some of Camus' work, but I disliked his writing style. When we got here, we lost a lot of time getting our car rental and in the mall. We had a scare earlier when my mom thought my sister was with me and my dad, and we thought she was with my mom. It turns out, my mom just left the are...
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Update 6/27/22

Today felt pretty productive. I did some work on college apps (although I didn't finish a first draft like I wanted) nor did I finish applying for the Swarthmore fly-in program. For the latter, I'm having trouble thinking of a start, although I have an idea of what to write about. For the former, I'm having trouble conveying what I'm trying to say. Today my uncle came over, so I lost a lot of productivity in preparing for his arrival and working in a different environment. Our flight is tomorrow...
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Update 6/26/22

Today felt pretty good. I got a lot of things done. Although, my dad made me wipe our window blinds - which is such a waste -, which kicked up a lot of dust. I think thats why I've been having a runny nose for most of today. I really should fix my sleep schedule though. I got up at 1 today. I also finished packing (minus masks) and planning for the vacation today. ...
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Update 6/25/22

Today was mediocre. I didn't really waste a lot of time, but I didn't spend a lot of today working on my goals. I was talking with my sister about vacation planning, helping her kill a fly (it was stuck in the window blinds and kept flying up), and her future. After that I talked with my parents about college. Before, they were sus towards UChicago because they'd never heard of it before, but I think they're ok with it now. I also did some vacation packing. I also sent some long overdue emails. ...
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Update 6/24/22

Today was a pretty bad day. I woke up at like 8 in a cold sweat for some reason. Then I wasted a bunch of time on YouTube. I was watching the Minecraft series Double Life. Then I got a headache. I haven't written anything for the Swarthmore thing and only got a couple of sentences on my personal statement. Oof. I got my debit card today, which probably arrived on like Monday but we just haven't checked the mail in a week. ...
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Update 6/23/22

Today I spent a lot of time planning for my upcoming family vacation to Boston. I wasn't very efficient while doing it though - I was rewatching the Office with my sister. I also did spend some time working on math, and I saw that my past idea for a proof didn't pan out. Then I went to pickup my new glasses. The frame has pretty big lens, but I didn't have that many options at the glasses store, and I wanted bigger lens this time around. I wanted less area of my vision that wasn't covered by my ...
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An Example of Wittgenstein's Private Language

Wittgenstein's idea of private language (as I have interpreted/learned it from [1]) is that language must rely on a shared basis for it to be useable, but that it is possible that we share no fundamental thing that all language is based upon. I saw this report on a different approach to math education, during the New Math era (an era of education that focused more on self-discovery of math, and less on rote memorization), [2]. I didn't realize it at the time, but it really seems to support Wittg...
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Update 6/21/22

I had planned on finishing the project today. I had planned out a way of organizing the user interaction part, and a way of using the NCES data. But, for some reason my code keeps giving me errors that don't make sense. I keep telling it to get the n-th entry of a list, and n is like 200, but then it says I can't access the 39th entry. I printed the size too, and it checked out. At this point, I feel like it might be some sort of memory problem. I think I'm just goiong to giv eup this project an...
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Update 6/20/22

Today I really didn't accomplish much. I thought that pulling out all of the colleges from the College Express lists would take me an hour, but it ended up taking almost all day. Part of the reason why was that I didn't realize the lists in html form took so many different forms. Some of them had colleges and their names as links, others had numbers, others had colleges and no links. It took quite a bit of work to realize and fix these cases. Maybe I even missed some. After all, there is no guar...
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Update 6/19/22 (Ignore word count)

Recently I found this site [1] with lists of colleges and attributes. I found some lists for attributes that I wanted in the colleges I apply too, but I didn't want to waste a bunch of time manually tagging schools with their attribute and ranking them. So I decided to make some code to automate that stuff. I figured it would be a real quick and easy project. I wasn't able to get it done in the couple of hours that was the rest of the night (that was yesterday). I then spent all of today working...
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Some Funky Math Systems

Just thought I'd share some ideas that show how math isn't strictly the truth (I know I said I planned on posting updates, but my life isn't very exciting and I'd seems bad to email the subscribers of this blog just mundane updates considering my precedent). It seems quite intuitive that if something is not false, then it must be true. However, some mathematicians don't think this is true. There are compelling examples supporting their view, like the liar paradox [1] (e.g. statements like "this...
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Update 6/17/22

It's been a decent while since my last update, I've been feeling a little tired of the time constraints of posting philosophy daily, and I've got a family vacation to Boston coming up (6/28), so I think I'm just going to post updates from here forward until day 100. I checked with a number of days between calculator, and it turns out I've missed a day in my counter. Today I went to select my new glasses' frame. We could've chosen it yesterday, but my dad didn't like my choice and wanted to delay...
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Dr Stone Review

Honestly, I don't think Dr. Stone was that good. The science was probably very accurate, but that alone doesn't make for an interesting story or plot. The first few episodes also felt very cringy as Senku was just flexing his knowledge on Taiju, which I don't believe science is about. Furthermore, he kept using science and technology interchangeably, when they aren't. For instance, he didn't have to use any scientific theories or the scientific method to make things like the hand-crank, he only ...
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Edutainment

I really hate edutainment. The main reason is that edutainment is very deceptive in that it creates a false sense of learning and authority. Ultimately, the main purpose of edutainment is to entertain people, not educate them. This is the fundamental flaw in edutainment. If you delude people by presenting the content in a more entertaining way, then they aren't learning the subject out of a desire or necessity (with this case, it is just news, which shouldn't be entertaining because if learning...
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The Slippery Slope "Fallacy"

In my opinion, the slippery slope fallacy, or as I will refer to it going forward, the slippery slope "fallacy", is not a valid fallacy to point out. Based on Wikipedia, there are two basic types of slippery slopes: a casual chain and a decision-making chain [1]. The "fallacy" in the causal chain is that it is either improbable that the chain of reasoning will actually occur, and/or that one of the implications/causation links is false. The in the former case, that shouldn't immediately invalid...
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Gauging Teaching Ability

I think that to evaluate teachers, we need a mixed system of evaluation from above and below (like from bosses and from students). It seems like a lot of my friends (out of a sample) hold the view that end of year student surveys of teachers would be effective in determining their teaching ability. However, by surveying students for how effectively they learned, one assumes that all students want to learn and that they know themself/the topic enough to evaluate their proficiency in that topic. F...
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Two Quotes on Good and Evil

“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” - Elie Wiesel "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain" - Harvey Dent (The Dark Knight) First, why I believe the two quotes are true. Two follows pretty easily from my argument in [1] that given a philosophically perfect system of good ...
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Update 6/11/22

I didn't really have any ideas I felt like I do do well right now, and I think I will be able to sleep a bit early, so I'm just going to make an update. I've been looking at my goals this summer, and I'm going to remove reading Don Quixote. I think I'm just going to be too busy, unfortunate. Today I finished a goal long-coming (like a whole year late): installing Arch linux. I'm on my drive with Arch right now in fact! It took like all day though, so I'm not sure if it was worth it. The install ...
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