Elon Musk and Probability Streams

I was reading a WaitButWhy post where the writer sits down with Elon Musk. Below is a quote from Musk about how he thinks about the future:

The thing that I care about is—when I look into the future, I see the future as a series of branching probability streams. So you have to ask, what are we doing to move down the good stream—the one that’s likely to make for a good future?

Thinking of the future seems intuitive.

  • You want a promotion? Work harder.
  • You want to run faster? Train more.
  • You like someone? Talk to them.
  • You want to have a good time? Drink a lot.

ElonIt’s not rocket science, but for whatever reason, Musk’s line of “branching probability streams” really stuck out.

There’s a probability stream where I’m CEO of my company. One where I win $100,000 at the blackjack table. One where I’m dating Taylor Swift. One where I’m dead in a year.

Some streams are obviously more ‘probable’ than others. But thinking of each decision you make as narrowing down the probability streams to the ones you want the most is a good way to think of things in my opinion. It helps put things in perspective and think long term which is often hard to do.

So moving forward, every decision I make will be to narrow down my streams to the one where this blog is the most famous blog in the world. The first step should probably be deleting this post.

Elon Musk is kind of the man and the WaitButWhy series is really cool (and really dense) if that stuff interests you.

First 5k in 5 Years where…


I wanted to break 16 minutes. I figured I was in good shape, and there’s no other meaningful barrier to target. Initially I thought I was going to be alone from the gun. However…

onix pectedFortunately for me, a competitor said he was also trying to break 16:00. Not only that, but that he had a guy (who I happen to know) that was going to pace him. Perfect!

The pacer said he was going to do straight 76s, and I said I’ll hold on if I can. No reason not to, right?

Warming up I felt good. I didn’t want to psych myself out, but I had a feeling I would run well.

The Race

Oh my god it was perfect. The guy hit 76 on the first lap and I was tucked in right behind him. We hit the first mile in 5:05, spot on. We were clicking off 76s like clockwork. They actually felt a tiny bit easy as I ran up on him a few times. The second mile was 5:04, boom.

In the beginning, the guy said he would run 76s for the first two miles then take off (he’s a 13:40 5k guy). With a mile left I told him to go if he wanted to. He declined and asked how I felt. I said to pick it up to 74-75s. He did so, perfectly.

american psycho oooohOur next mile was 4:59. The guy was out in lane two encouraging me the whole last lap until 100 left when I was on my own to finish up. I was tying up a bit and my stomach was killing me, but I closed in a 35 and finished in 15:44.

Full meet results here.


First off, I owe so much to Alfredo (the guy who paced me). It was honestly perfect. Even pace the entire way and I did absolutely none of the work. I owe him huge.

Now, when people run well, they usually say something like this is a testament to all the hard work I’ve done!

wtf is going onThat’s not the case here. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I honestly haven’t been training that seriously. I’ve been doing 25-30 mile weeks, I’ve been drinking a good amount, I take days off left and right, and I’ve been overall not as into my training as usual.

The last time I broke 16:00 was April 29th, 2011. It’s been over five years. This was my fourth fastest 5k ever. I can’t even describe how happy / surprised I am after this. Usually these “good” performances come after huge sacrifice, and this hasn’t. I don’t understand. I don’t really feel like I deserve this. I took the last two days off because I went golfing on Sunday then had my bowling league last night where I drank like 4 beers (THE MAN!). I guess there’s really something to quality over quantity.

This post has been a lot of rambling. Is a 5k PR really possible (15:27)? What would I do differently to get in better shape? Drink more? Bowl more? I don’t know. I don’t really care, I’m just so pumped after this.

Happy Tuesday. Tonight was awesome. Thank you Alfredo and thank you to my mom who showed up to watch me run.

Poke’mon Go Eff Yourself

Poke’mon Go is taking the world by storm.

"A wild Nigelkarp appears!"
“A wild Nigelkarp appears!”

I used to be one of the sheeple. Starting at a young age with Mario 64, the original Poke’mon, Super Smash, Guitar Hero, Robot Unicorn, Candy Crush, etc. etc. It’s the same shit over and over.

I’ve had absolutely zero urge to “join the fun” on this one. I can’t explain it, because I’ve wasted as much of my life playing video games as anyone I’ve ever met, but this just seems so… pointless. In six months app usage will be down 90% and in two years it will be gone completely.

I was always the gamer. Not only did I dedicate a lot of time to video games, but I was good. I try to picture myself five years ago and what would I say to my present self. Maybe something like I have nothing else to do and everyone else is doing it.

I don’t have quite as much time now, and I want to spend the time I do have doing something productive. What’s productive? I don’t know. I can’t say that all my years of playing video games weren’t “productive”. It’s clear when I’m at work that I’ve spent my life controlling something through a mouse or controller and others haven’t, and that actually is a very marketable skill. It also taught me to keep doing something until you get good, which is also a marketable skill, but Poke’mon Go just seems like a complete loser to me.

Obviously this is a deep look at something where most don’t look past the surface, but there was no shot I was getting into this one.

Does anyone play? Is it “fun”? Do you disagree with any of this?


Ben Simmons Summer League

I’ve been watching the Sixers Summer League games consistently to see Ben Simmons play.


The Future of Philadelphia, like the entire city.
The Future of Philadelphia, like the entire city.

He is a must-watch player.

I won’t get into details, but his passing ability, how he looks handling the ball, jump shot (not bad!), and ability to get to the rim are really impressive. He alone is a reason to buy tickets for a 30-win team.

I’ll go ahead and prematurely declare that he’s going to be a top 5 player in the NBA in 5 years (Embiid too!).

If you haven’t watched a summer league game yet and have read this far into the post, you probably care a tiny bit. They play tomorrow against Golden State at 8:30. Watch it.

See this for yourself.

Best of Kramer

If I lived my life exactly like Kramer, I’d be pleased. Some of my favorites below:

How my meetings with my boss go.

I was hammered one night screaming this in Philly. No one got the reference.

I couldn’t do that laugh if I tried for the rest of my life.

Emphasis on the SACK.

Saved a life!

Just the first 15 seconds.

This one’s a commitment, but most people haven’t seen it.

How does he make that sound?

Wouldn’t let my kid anywhere near this Santa.

What Should I Do With This Extra Money?

I save about $800 a month by living at home compared to living where I was. The question is this:

What should I do with this extra $800?

Here’s my list of answers to that question assuming I absolutely have to spend it:

  • JEsseeBet it on the Sixers to win it all (100-1) for a smooth $80,000 payday.
  • Invest it in the cat I plan on buying.
  • Buy a nice laptop that I don’t smash within 3 months of owning.
  • Donate it to a charity I support.
  • Donate it to Trump.
  • Buy a nice electric guitar.
  • Upgrade my wardrobe (would need help).
  • Go to the blackjack table and don’t leave until I quadruple it or it’s all gone.
  • Take my whole family out to a really nice dinner.
  • Spend it on Queef’s wedding gift.

These are just the best ideas that came to my mind. I’m leaning towards blackjack, the family dinner, or the guitar (sorry Queef)…

Did I miss anything?

I Feel Like An Adult

This will sound funny after just moving into my parents basement at the age of 24, BUT, hear me out. The things I’ve been doing lately make me feel like an ADULT.

spongebob storyTonight, I went out to a happy hour with two co-workers. We talked mostly about work and work politics, but also about life and shit. I had three beers, had a nice buzz, and went home to write this blog.

I’ve been planning my own doctors appointments, trips, activities, weekday dinners, etc. These are things I used to sort of put off or let my mom figure out.

dude wtfLast night I had to pee. There’s no bathroom in the basement. I thought The old Sam would pee in a bottle down here and go back to bed, but instead, I went to the bathroom upstairs because peeing in a bottle seemed juvenile, and I didn’t have any bottles downstairs. That may be a bad example, but you see my point.

You get older and think you should be growing up, and eventually you begin to feel like you actually are growing up.

Despite the weak-move of going back to my parents, I sort of feel like I actually am growing up.

Another. Freakin. Mile.

My Past Few Days

I went to DC this weekend with Rob and Gourlay to visit Dale.

I blacked out hard on Saturday and mixed sleeping on a grassy knoll and a hardwood floor. I blacked out less hard on Sunday and slept on a couch. I won’t get into details, but it was a pretty unhealthy weekend.

I didn’t drink yesterday and went for an easy 6 mile run to prepare for the race.

The Race

It was 85 and sunny and I warmed up too early.

  • After 200 meters I was in 8th place and way behind the lead pack.
  • The 409 was 70.x
  • After 500 meters I was in 1st and on my own
  • I hit 809 in 2:20.x
  • I hit 1209 in 3:30.x
  • I finished in 4:37.30


The heat, being solo from 500, and getting hammered this weekend didn’t help, so overall I’m pretty happy. Tom even managed to record the first 3 laps.

I ran this last year and somehow ran a 4:37.38, so I ran .08 faster today, but the conditions were better and I had people to run with last year.

I think I could probably go low 4:30s with a little better prep and conditions which is a good sign. They have their final meet next week and I’m either going to try the mile again or do a 5k.

Now that I’m living at home…

Things I plan on doing in my month or two at home:

  • Read a book or two
  • Learn a lot of new songs on guitar
  • Lift weights
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Do my own laundry
  • Blog more
  • Cook a lot
  • Contemplate a name for my eventual cat
  • Get up to speed on the presidential race
  • Make my mom a cake for her birthday

What I’ll actually do:

  • Read Letsrun
  • Play the same stupid songs on guitar
  • Do 20 push ups as fast as I can one time
  • Drink every day
  • Have my mom do my laundry
  • Shut down the blog
  • Admit that I’m too irresponsible to care for a cat
  • Say fuck it and just acknowledge that I’m writing in Sam Hinkie for my presidential vote this year
  • Forget my mom’s birthday
  • Go on 4chan a lot

It’s good to be back!

US Olympic Trials 2016 Predictions

The 2016 US Oylmpic Trials begin, TONIGHT and will be on for the next 10 days. Below are my expert picks on how the distance events will play out. You can take these to the bank.


1) Boris Berian
2) Duane Solomon
3) Erik Sowinski

I don’t think the Nike lawsuit will affect Berian. Solomon’s been there before. Sowinski’s experience will kick him to his first Olympic team. Brazier’s been through a whirlwind the last month and may struggle. Murphy will wish he ran the 1500m.

1) Matt Centrowitz
2) Robby Andrews
3) Ben Blankenship

Centro is a gimme. Andrews kicks hard while Blankenship hangs on. Colby Alexander as a dark horse for 4th or to snag a spot. Leo’s run of 100 straight top 3 finishes ends. Look for him in the back half of this race if he even makes the final.

1) Evan Jager
2) Donn Cabral
3) Dan Huling

Jager is a gimme. Cabral and Huling are still a notch ahead of the rest. I like Ferlic and Bayer to round out the top 5.

1) Ben True
2) Ryan Hill
3) Garrett Heath

True isn’t fucking around this year. Hill is legit, and frankly will probably win, I just like True. Third is a toss up, but I’ll say this, I don’t think it will be Galen Rupp.

1) Galen Rupp
2) Ben True
3) Hassan Mead

In the back of your head with 400m to go you MAY think he’ll lose, but Rupp wins and gets his 8th straight title. True and Mead duel till the end, and sadly leave Bernard Lagat behind.


1) Ajee Wilson
2) Alysia Montano
3) Laura Roesler

Ajee is our best hope for a medal. Montano is somehow still going strong. Roesler is a homer pick because I think she’s gorgeous. Rogers could surprise and snag a spot. Martinez and Ludlow disappoint.

1) Shannon Rowbury
2) Jenny Simpson
3) Brenda Martinez* (edited after Houlihan scratched)

I don’t like Shannon, but I think she takes this one. I think Jenny is slowly declining, but is still very good. Martinez gets redemption. Uceny and Efraimson round out the top 5.

1) Emma Coburn
2) Leah O’Connor
3) Colleen Quigley

Emma is a gimme. Leah ran a nice race at Pre. If there’s anything Schumacher can coach, it’s the steeple, so I’ll take Quigley. Courtney Frerichs will be a popular pick.

1) Emily Infeld
2) Molly Huddle
3) Kim Conley

Slow race favors Infeld. Molly’s strong enough. Conley makes her second team.

1) Molly Huddle
2) Infeld
3) Hall

Huddle is as much of a guarantee as Rupp is. I don’t know who else is running this. If Infeld does she’ll get second. M. Hall will beat Sisson if she runs, but Sisson for third otherwise