“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I—I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland
I’ve been re-re-re-re-rewriting this post, mostly because introducing myself is way harder than I thought it would be. I’ve been known to say things like “Well, I’m fairly sure that I have two kidneys,” and Can you really be certain you only have two? Maybe you have three. Maybe you have one. Have you ever <em>checked?</em> Unfortunately, I’m not nearly as confident about my personality as I am about my kidneys — which just makes my tendency for already-nebulous statements even more nebulous to the point of unwritability.
I would probably still be re-re-re-re-re-rewriting, but I had a weird conversation with my friend in which they mentioned that you can describe yourself in terms of probabilities. If my electrons can be unsure of where they are, then so can I! Unlike my electrons, though, I’ll spare everyone the pain of Schrodinger’s equation and just provide some estimates about myself as I exist today.
|a thing, about me||P(thing is true)||but why?|
|I go to MIT||100% (or so I’ve been told)||I get these moments — maybe about three times a week? — where I have to convince myself that I go here. Not even in a “I belong here!” sense, but that I am a) no longer in high school and b) supposed to be somewhere (read: class) right now.|
|I have consumed >4 cups of tea||92%||I feel like I’ve always been told that tea is not very caffeinated. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that drinking 80 oz. of tea per day is still drinking a lot of caffeine.|
|I’m majoring in course 20 (bioengineering)||89%||I think this one is going to continue being true, but I keep trying to stuff! more! majors! (currently 5, 6-1, 17, or 18) into my courseroad|
|I built a thing!||74%||This number is getting inflated by my UROP and my lab class, but I do build things on my own time! Currently, I’m trying to make my cheap and terrible blender actually blend — the last time I tried this with my roommate, we nearly set it on fire by running 60V through it.|
|I like bananas||43%||I don’t generally like bananas, and I would never voluntarily buy bananas, but somehow, free bananas just taste better…|
|I’ve accidentally cooked enough food to feed a small army||28%||I think the best way to cook is to add things until you feel the universe screaming at you to stop. Sometimes this just means I end up with way too much food, and then I wander around my floor trying to give people dinner.|
|I’m baking, again||14%||I manage to stress-bake roughly once a week.|
|I’m singing with the appliances||5%||It’s really satisfying to match pitch with appliances, especially ones that have rotating parts. You can also get a pretty decent estimate of RPM by getting the pitch of the sound being produced!|
|I’m doing art||2%||I like doodling, painting, knitting, and embroidering, but I can’t ever seem to finish the pieces I start.|
Now that we have some idea of how likely I am to Do A Thing today, we can ~extrapolate~. To figure out what I’m like (as a whole) on all days other than today, let’s make some predictions (via randomly generated combinations):
|thing 1||relationship||thing 2||result|
|I built a thing!||AND||I’m baking||0.56% of the time, dessert comes with I once did make a hyperboloid of one sheet out of cake. And boba straws. And then I forgot to tell the people trying to eat the cake about the boba straws.|
|I like bananas||OR||I’m singing with the appliances||There’s a 48% chance that I’m wielding a banana or something that rotates.|
|I go to MIT||XOR||I’ve accidentally cooked enough food to feed a small army||There’s a 28% chance that this is false, but I don’t know if that means I’m no longer an MIT student or I finally start cooking for the correct number of people.|
|I’m doing art||NOT||
I would be doing art 98% of the time!!
(I really really wish this was true.)
|I have consumed >4 cups of tea||NAND||I like bananas||I’m going to assume the majority of “false” cases (which occur 39.43% of the time) are banana-related, mainly because I really like tea.|
|I’m majoring in course 20 (bioengineering)||NOR||I’m doing art||1.78% of the time, I decide that neither biology nor art will feed me and promptly become a 6-1.|
|I like bananas||XNOR||I built a thing!||Banana sculptures appear 31.8% of the time; I stare despairingly at my ceiling for another 14.82% of the time; nothing happens otherwise.|
In summary, this is (theoretically) what my life looks like…
… 0.0028% of the time.
- Can you really be certain you only have two? Maybe you have three. Maybe you have one. Have you ever checked? back to text ↑
- I once did make a hyperboloid of one sheet out of cake. And boba straws. And then I forgot to tell the people trying to eat the cake about the boba straws. back to text ↑