As a recent Princeton alum who, for the most part, enjoyed and cherished my time at the University, I will unabashedly state that the town of Princeton is a terrible college town. Don’t get me wrong — the campus itself is great, and more than makes up for what the town lacks — but if anything’s become clearer to me since I graduated and left the area, it’s that the town of Princeton is perhaps the most stale and stodgy and lame and lifeless place on the planet.

Let’s run down some of the reasons why.

  1. It’s in the middle of nowhere. If you ever get tired of studying for classes and hanging on campus, there is absolutely nothing interesting to do in the town, so you’ll have to go elsewhere. It’s exceedingly difficult to get a car at Princeton (only graduate students have decent options), so the only places to go end up being New York or Philly, by bus or train. The trip takes well over an hour each way, so unless you somehow have a full day to kill, you won’t have anywhere to go. …

And Why the Pandemic is So Much Worse than We Expected

In the past week or two, the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has hit hard: shops, schools, and sports are all shut down as infection numbers continue to rise exponentially. The virus has devastated small businesses and the global economy has ground to a halt. Amidst all the chaos, there is one overarching theme: no one predicted just how bad the economic damage would be.

The stock market is a good indicator of sentiment, so we can begin by looking at the standard benchmark for the US economy, the S&P 500.

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The S&P 500 ETF as COVID-19 spreads through different regions.

Despite some early shocks when COVID-19 began to rack up headlines in late January, stocks were trading at record highs through most of February. Afterwards came a uncertain but steady decline as traders tried to figure out just how much the pandemic would impact the economy. …


Some titles to enjoy while “social distancing” is in effect

As the novel coronavirus shuts down cities across the world and millions are left stuck at home for who knows how long, one way to stay entertained is through video games.

Indeed, Valve’s gaming platform Steam is breaking records every day, hitting 22.6 million concurrent users this morning, a 20% increase over the pre-pandemic record. GameStop even deemed itself an essential business for a couple days, presumably to rack up some profits in the last-minute scramble for video games.

With all major sports cancelled and the fate of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics uncertain at best, it might be time to turn to the screen. …


Tips for making the transition from college to work.

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When first entering the workforce, learning how to balance work and life can be tricky. After spending a solid chunk of life in school taking classes and doing homework, suddenly being an adult is major lifestyle change. Here are some things I’ve learned so far as a new grad that have been key in helping me find my work-life balance.

Figure out your essentials.

The most common advice for establishing a work-life balance is to learn how to “compromise” between work obligations and personal commitments. The key to doing so isn’t in the compromise, however, but rather in knowing what you are unwilling to compromise. For some, it might be getting a good night’s sleep. For others, it might be an annual vacation to somewhere new. …


Ideas on a rigorous foundation for AI thought.

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From the formative theories of Aristotle and Confucius to the revolutionary ideas of Kant and Marx, the study of philosophy has served as the underlying structure of society. After all, answers to the fundamental questions about the human experience have a profound influence on the way we live.

With the recent hype surrounding machine learning and the gradual rise of artificial intelligence, a crucial question emerges: how exactly will philosophy be understood by the AI of the future? What kind of ego will they develop, what vein of ethics will they select, and how will this affect us?

These unknowns fascinate our imaginations, with films like The Matrix capturing fears of an impending dystopia. Though such an outcome is unlikely, much effort is already going towards addressing this concern. For instance, the non-profit OpenAI, as part of its mission statement, works towards ensuring that AI will be safe for and beneficial to humanity. What this means is hard to articulate: after all, the ethics and morals of human civilization have been developed over the culmination of eons of natural selection, trillions of diverse lives, and a myriad of historical events. At this point, it is difficult to do much more than simply molding AI incentives to fit our human philosophy. …


Some thoughts on Makoto Shinkai’s latest film.

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As the successor to the 2016 anime blockbuster Your Name (君の名は), Makoto Shinkai’s new film, Weathering With You (天気の子), tells a touching tale of two stray teens struggling to survive in an adult world.

The movie follows Hodaka, a 16-year-old boy who ran away from his countryside home to live in Tokyo. Alone in the city, Hodaka ends up working as a writer for Mr. Suga and his niece Natsumi. One day, Hodaka saves a young girl, Hina, from prostitution, and the two develop a close bond as they build a business around Hina’s “sunshine girl” ability to wish away rain. …


Cataloging the stuff that makes up the cosmos.

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Looking up at the night sky, you’ll see some shimmering speckles of light — if you’re lucky, there’ll be thousands of these, of various colors and intensities, scattered about a celestial darkness and split by a magnificent brush stroke. And perhaps, like the ancient astronomers of long ago, you might wonder: what else is up there?

The answer is, quite a bit.

To be precise, it’s over 99%. And while the question of what this 99% is made of and where it lives is still wide open, modern science has managed to figure out a whole lot.

We’ll begin our dissection of the Universe on the largest of scales: cosmology. The key assumption here is that the Universe is spatially isotropic, i.e. that at any point, the Universe looks the same regardless of the direction you’re facing. This homogeneity can be used to find an exact solution to Einstein’s field…


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And how to pass the toughest interviews in the industry

Quantitative trading is the new hot field for STEM majors. With a typical competitive starting compensation around the $250,000 mark and offers of $400,000+ not uncommon (that’s about twice Silicon valley levels), getting hired at one of these competitive firms is perhaps the most lucrative way to start out a career after college. This comes with about half the work hours of a typical investment banking analyst and a pretty sweet performance-based upside in compensation trajectory. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right?

If you haven’t been in the loop, you’re probably wondering (1) why this job exists— after all, there’s no free lunch — and (2) how to get hired. The short answer is that (1) certain skills are required and (2) you need to have those skills. In this article, I’ll break down the seven skills that quantitative trading firms look for when recruiting new talent, based on my experiences from countless interviews as both the interviewer and interviewee. …

About

Bill Huang

Trader by day, aspiring polymath by night.

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