Skip to main content

Newest Post: Apple Announces iPad Pro Max

Hi, my name’s Jack Garbus. I’m a graduate student in computer science interested in artificial societies, cultural evolution, machine learning, and decentralization.

Featured Projects:

  • emergent trade
    • emergent trading protocols between embodied agents using reinforcement learning
  • kittyplot
    • a repl-based terminal plotting program
  • dtree
    • a vim-inspired mind-mapping program written in C
  • fe-alts
    • A single docker-compose of alternative front-ends to big tech services

Favorite Posts:

Contact me via:

I Dont Know Anyone Who Blogs

I don’t know anybody in real life who blogs regularly, and I think that kills my motivation to write blog posts myself. I actually started writing this post before realizing that a friend of mine has a blog, but in my defense he’s only posted twice in the past 2 years. I suppose that makes my title a lie, but I like the title, and the point still stands. I want to build a writing habit, but it feels hard to get the motivation to do it from within myself.

How to write LaTeX without writing LaTeX

I love the look of LaTeX but hate the experience of writing in LaTeX, at least compared to Markdown. Luckily, Pandoc can convert Markdown files to PDFs using a LaTeX engine as the renderer, and includes a custom Markdown specification that can fill almost all my LaTeX needs. First, let’s talk about where Pandoc Markdown falls short: No custom LaTeX style guides (although citation style files are supported) No Section Numbering There is, thanks to naruhodo on Hacker News for the correction Referencing labels doesn’t work well (Supposedly the pandoc-crossref filter fixes this but I couldn’t get it to work) Don’t even bother with complex page layouts or precise figure placements This might be a deal breaker for some, but for others who are writing lots of documents (such as students), this may not be.

AI Index

An ever-expanding list of concepts in the field of AI to give myself and others an easy reference. Each item in the list contains a short, rudimentary definition I’ve written, as well as a link to a resource that can explain it better. Ablation Study: Removing some parts of a machine learning model to measure impact on performance Advantage Function: The difference between a Q-value for a state-action pair and a value for the state.

Generating Slides in Vim

There is a great tool known as pandoc that can convert documents from one filetype to another. For example, you can convert a Microsoft Word document to a PDF, without even needing to own a copy of Microsoft Word! However, we care about Pandoc’s ability to convert a Markdown document to a slideshow presentation using LaTeX Beamer as a rendering engine. There is a great writeup about this basic feature here.

Uninformed Or Misinformed?

Is it better to have no facts about a topic and thus no opinion, or have access to a few “out of context” facts and thus a misinformed opinion? TL;DR: Either start learning about issues you care about, or stop caring about them so much. It’s more honest, less mental effort, and is less likely to ruin Thanksgiving. You can’t be well-informed on every topic; It’s just not possible. That’s why world leaders have advisers.

Soft Rules

Not all rules are made equal. Some rules, like the speed limit, are broken by everyone and their mother, and are enforced (mostly) when people are breaking them to a dangerous point. Other rules, like “don’t murder people”, are enforced far more. Why is that? Different Rules, Different Tools Some rules are in place to assign blame to someone with bad judgement. There’s nothing morally wrong with jaywalking when there are no cars coming, but you are at fault if you walk into oncoming traffic.

Critical Thinking

The more I learn about the world, the less certain I become about it. There are so many conflicting views and information taken out of context that it’s hard to discern fact from truth. Below are some notes I keep to help navigate the sea of information that is modern society. TL;DR: Don’t get fooled by facts if they have no context, don’t discount an opinion because it’s biased, and hear out crazy ideas.

Tesla and False Advertising in AI

Here’s the problem with advertising AI-based technology that doesn’t exist: You cannot promise anything about your product. We’ve all seen AI advertised to the masses that doesn’t work as advertised, just look at any voice-to-text system. When I got my Apple Watch, I hoped to use it to respond to messages without getting distracted by my phone. I quickly realized that wasn’t a viable solution: I had to repeat my message multiple times per text in order to get the correct dictation.

Short: Aftermath

Jeff stepped over a beer can, then over a water bottle and onto a mat, whose faded lettering vaguely resembled the phrase “Welcome!” He opened his front door and walked inside. Looking to his right, Jeff noticed his old hooded friend where he left him; on his living-room rocking chair. The cold metal scythe still in his lap, the skeleton hadn’t moved an inch from where he left him earlier that morning.


Some thoughts on Happiness: Happiness doesn’t come from wealth. Otherwise, therapists and anti-depressants would have to be much cheaper. If happiness came from consumption of goods and services, it would therefore follow that once those goods and services are reduced or cut off, one would no longer be as happy. If you can cut off happiness, it’s more akin to a drug than an emotion. “Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives.