I continued my slow progress in studying Distributed Systems. This year I read Google’s F1 Database paper and wrote about LSM Trees.
Besides BuckleScript, I haven’t dedicated too much time to Web Development topics, the other one being Layout properties of CSS.
I kept the resolution to post once a month on average. The blog completed 6 years with 79 posts.
Resolutions for 2019
I’ll repeat my resolutions from 2018 for 2019. I don’t think I learned nearly the minimum of Rust, especially around memory management, and I’ve only scratched the surface on Bioinformatics. Besides DNA analysis I learned more about other problems like protein folding that seem exciting.
I haven’t done any mobile projects and only read one paper, so I’ll put these on the bucket list as well.
The end of the year is a good time to look back and remember all the things I’ve done besides work and the technical blog.
I enjoy traveling and 2018 had plenty of trips. I haven’t had been to Europe before and this year I happened to go twice! Once for work, to England and another time for pleasure, to Greece.
In England I explored mostly around London including the cities of Bath and Dover.
The trip to Greece included Athens, Santorini and a train ride to Kalambaka, to see the Meteora monasteries.
There were also trips around the US, including Albuquerque in New Mexico, New Orleans in Louisiana and Los Angeles in California.
There was also a trip to Montana, to the Glacier National Park. I really like National Parks and I’m glad to have visited this one, which is very beautiful.
This year I read a lot of non-fiction, especially science-related. My favorites science books were:
Blind Watchmaker from Richard Dawkins. He delves into Darwin’s theory of evolution to conclude it’s the most probable explanation for the existence of life on Earth.
Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley is a highly engaging and elucidating tour of our genome. Each chapter is dedicated to one chromosome and he provides an example of trait or disease related to it.
The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson. It describes some fascinating detective work from a doctor during a time we knew a lot less about diseases.
In the realms of humanities,
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker is a thorough presentation of facts and data to back the claim that despite localized set backs and short-term regressions, the world has been becoming more progressive. The idea that stuck the most with me is that each new generation tends to be more progressive than their parents, which shines a optimist light to a more humane future.
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Povertymakes the claim that the success of a nation has nothing to do with geography, race or culture. There is a lot of world history in this book and I learned a bunch about different countries.
I also enjoyed some biographies,
I Am Malala - inspiring story from a Pakistani girl who went on to win the Nobel Peace prize in 2014. Great overview of the history of Pakistan, and the life of a civilian under the regime of the Taliban.
Born a Crime - The comedian Trevor Noah had a pretty happening life. The book covers the recent history of South Africa and especially the Apartheid. He provides an interesting perspective on growing up on the later part of that regime and for being the son of a black mother and a white father.
and reading stuff related to trips,
For Greece, I choseThe King Must Dieby Mary Renault.It is a fiction set in the mythical kingdom of Minos in Crete. I really like the fact it alludes to Greek myths but the story itself does not rely on supernatural elements.
For Montana, I picked A River Runs Through Itby Norman Maclean. It’s a short story set in rural Montana and a constant theme is family relations, fishing and the big questions of life.
A Modern History of Japan by Andrew Gordon. I was in Japan in 2017, not in 2018, but I only managed to finish the book this past year. I learned a bunch about the recent Japanese history, but not in enough detail to change how I thought about the experiences from my trip.
I haven’t watched many movies but really enjoyed Coco and Crazy Rich Asians.