Reading & Eating

Posted on Sun 03 July 2016 in Blog

I'm trying out a new idea for blog posts - an occasional (monthly?) series on what I'm reading and what I'm eating.


  1. If the first 11 socks I pull out of the dryer all are distinct, how many total socks are in the dryer? Rasmus Baath explains Approximate Bayesian Computation as it pertains to "tiny data". All you need to find the posterior distribution of total socks is a generative model, a set of prior distributions for the parameters, and an acceptance criterion. But - as the commenters on that blog post note, the answer you get is very sensitive to your choice of prior distribution.
  2. Andrej Karpathy on reinforcement learning for Pong. Actually, this is something I should be reading soon. Earlier this year I led a study group at my office where we went through his Stanford class on computer vision. This week we're starting a study group on reinforcement learning, using David Silver's lectures.
  3. On the non-ML and non-taco side of my interests: Tyler Cowen on Brexit. As usual, his thoughts are refreshingly different from the typical set of talking points.


  1. Bahari Estiatorio in Astoria. I've never been to Greece, but this is by far the best Greek food I've ever had. It was recommended to me by a Greek coworker.
  2. Tut's Hub, also in Astoria. I spent a very interesting summer in Cairo in 2007 while studying Arabic and this is the best Egyptian food I've had outside of Egypt. Get the koshary and the feteer. The decor is outrageously ancient Egyptian, with pharoahs and various deities on every surface.
  3. Toné Cafe, my local spot for Georgian (Tbilisi, not Atlanta) savory pastries. This the best $5 light lunch I know of in the area.
  4. Skovorodka in Brighton Beach. I've mostly had their appetizers (smoked fish, crepes with caviar, soup) but I bet it's all delicious.

Reading about Eating

  1. A Shanghai native ranks NYC's xiao-long-bao options. I now feel vindicated for avoiding Joe's Shanghai. It's somewhat surprising that his favorite spot is on St. Mark's, but NYC is unique among American cities I've lived in for having (a little bit of) genuinely good Chinese food outside of Chinese neighborhoods. Don't misinterpret that last statement - I still believe that the San Gabriel Valley east of LA is the best place to eat Chinese food in America.