Sunday, March 18, 2018

Patent Race with Private Information

I presented my research at the Department of Mathematics of the Faculty of Applied Science in Pilsen, Czech Republic, the university where I did my Bachelor in mathematics. The first 20 minutes is in English, the remaining 40 minutes is in Mathematics. 


Abstract: I study the competition of two firms developing a specific technology. Firms make costly research efforts in order to increase their chance of making a discovery. Two consecutive discoveries are needed to be able to file a patent, and only the firm completing the discoveries first wins the patent. An essential and novel feature of my model is that the research progress of each firm is assumed to be its private information. Hence, a firm does not know the progress of its rival. Instead, it has a posterior believe over it. The model leads to a system of nonlinear ordinary differential equations that needs to be analyzed without having a closed-form solution. I conclude that a firm keeps decreasing its research efforts as it is giving up over time before making the first discovery. To the contrary, a firm increases its effort as it is aggressively striving to patent after making the first discovery. I also consider the settings in which the firms have the option to reveal about being successful, and I find the circumstances under which they would want to do so.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

My story presented on the yearly meeting of Czech sailor in Lipstat

The camera stopped two minutes before the end. Here is a summary of the last two minutes: I was explaining that I plat sail away from New York after I finish my PhD, which I've been doing for seven years already. In fact, I keep extending my PhD because my boat is not ready for crossing the oceans yet. I also mentioned that I had been thinking a lot about how to get money for my trip, since I only have savings from my scholarship. That problem got solved by my arrival to Virginia, where I found a lot of parts from wracks. Compared to New York, where even every screw is expensive, I could find anything for free in Virginia. At the same time, I learned how to dumpster dive in New York. So every week when going to my boat to Virginia, I was carrying a large suitcase of sandwiches and sushi, that I found on the streets, and I enjoyed it with my boat neighbors. So I found out that one needs for his life and for sailing even less than I thought.

Join me! If you like to join my next adventures, just drop me a line!

Friday, December 30, 2016

My New Years Night with a Whore

After I spent great evening talking to Daniel Vach, sharing stories and learning about his Cricket floor bars startup Sens Foods, I left the pub and I started looking for a bus to the Prague Airport. It was December 31th, 2016, about 2 am. The bus left just in front of my nose, so I decided to walk a few stops in order to stay warm and burn some alcohol. I enjoy the night scenes of Prague. Whilst the days are dominated by conservative locals and annoying crowds of tourists, the nights belong to the drunks and the rich underground. I was walking past a bench and I noticed a cheerful middle aged lady sitting – somewhat rare! Just think, it's the middle of the night, it's freezing, and she is happily sitting alone on a bench. So I commented: "Having fun?"
She replied: – "Why you smile like that? want a blow job?"
"I think I'm good. But thank you kindly." (Really, am I sure what I'm losing?)
– "Where are you going?"
"I'm on my way to Miami."
– "What there?"
"There is a sailor I'm going to hang out with."
– "Lucky you! Boy, come and sit here for a bit. won't mind inviting me for some fire water – since it's the New Year – would you?"

We got into a conversartion.
– "So you go to Miami? How much is the flight?" She asked.
"About $300, not much, besides need to go to US anyways, I later continue to New York where I study."
– "You must have reach parents to study in New York?!"
"Not really, I'm paid by school."
– "How did you manage that? The school really pays you? I want to study there too!"
"I know some math, I think that helped me."
– "Math? Holly shit, what's that? Hehehe, that's something I don't get. I admire you! How do that, something wrong in your head? I never could get those quations or what is it. I studied chemichal high school, you know... They gave me samples to analyze, I fucking drunk them, the end of the school, we were just making alcohol in the labs. But those quations were beyon me."

After a while I bought her a small bottle of vodka and coke. She took the bottle of coke, poured part of it away, and refilled with vodka.
– "Do you also have fire water in New York?" She asked.
"There is coke and vodka, but no fire water there!"

We got into the topic of her profession.
"So you serve mostly forigners, don't you? Germans?" I asked.
– "Come on, locals are the best, the fereigners suck. Worst are the British!You'd think they come to Prague loaded with cash, but then they ask for a BJ and want to pay 200 Kč ($10). Am I a slat or what? Locals are the best, you know, it's different, I do a quick one and I get 1500 Kč."

 She continued: "It's good that I met you, I'll warm up drinking, I get into the mood, and money come instantly."
"What time you got here?" I asked.
– "Just moment ago, when I met you. It's too early, customers come towards the morning, you understand, Pavel?"
"How long will you stay?"
–"6 am or something."
"That's it, only 3 hours of work?"
–"Sure! I do two quck blows and I can go home with 2000 Kč. You know, this is my life! Should I work as a cashier or something for the pennies they pay? I'm not insane! I sack a few ones and I get what those slaves sweat all month for!"
– "You know, sometimes I'm lucky. I finished with this guy and he asked me how much. I said 700. He was surprised that it is so much. Cheap ass! So, he went to the ATM for cash and gave me 7000. Then I understood. You know, they are often out of mind, it's like that, or I say 500 and he pays 5000, that happens."
– "Some people are strange. That guy, he told me to get naked on a table and play a han – Kocko-kocko-daaak, Kocko-kocko-daak, and like that. Then he got naked and started playing a kock – Kikirikee, Kikirikee, and went on jerking off! ...Holly shit, I was wondering what will come next, and then he wanted me to lay eggs.

"That sounds exactly like one of the stories in the radio series Tlučhorovi! You know Tlučhorovi? The endless stories by Kaiser and Labus."
– "Ah, Kaiser! He is also my customer! He is fun, he always says that if I manage to find his little one while doing the BJ, he will pay me extra.
...He pays well, once he was so drunk that he just gave me his card and a PIN. He told me – you will never have money because you are a whore, but just in case, I will teach you how to withdraw money now."

I'm skeptical about someone claiming to know a famous actor closely, but the way her story was resembling the one I knew from the radio amaized me. Perhaps a radio listener of the Tlučhorovi series got real inspiration in it!

– "Once my 32 years old son was passing by in a car with his colleagues here. He works as a policeman that idiot. He slew down as he was passing by and shouted out – Mum? What are you doing at this place, here at night?! I said I had girlfriends here and added – Honney, with your degree from the police academy you should know! But he never figgered that out, hehehe."

"Your son is so old? I thought you were younger!"
– "No, no, I'm 56, Pavel."
"You look like in your fourties! How long have you been doing this job?"
– "Thank you, thank you. I guess its thirty years. The best times were before the revolution, I was living like a queen!"
"And you never got any disease over all those years?"
– "Come on, why? There are condoms no?! Look, like this. Besides, I do mostly BJs."
"Never breaks? How you make sure they use it? What if they do from behind?"
– "I rarely let anybody in. I don't have mood for that, it's not for me any more. I don't enjoy it. You know, I won't have sex for months sometimes. You understand? When I need 15000 Kč quickly, then I tell him to do it from behind and I let him fuck my hand. They are often so drunk they won't recognize the difference."
– "Recently, I saw this beatiful, but really beautiful girl. Young, maybe 24. But really beautiful, you know what I mean? And after chatting for a while she told me she got Syphilis. She had it long untreated and it got all over her. She is gonna be on medication for the rest of the life. Luckily, I never fell into this. Or you know, many of these girls are on drugs."
– "No, they are all on heroin, that is the worst. They get the that think, how is it called, you know what, after, when they don't have it. So they run without rubber to quickly buy more. That is the end!" ... "Many girls are homeless here. Before winter I was walking here past the water fountain and I saw this girl washing herself in it, her hair and everything. That is too bad." ... "I always lived well. I would buy apartments. I bought one for myself, one for my mother,...I bought a house there in the north. I always had good base."

"How did you get in your profession?"
– "Hehehe, I always wanted to be a bar tender. A friend told me that bar tenders are all whores. And you see, here I am!!!
I saw my Mum how she would destroy her health working. So I told myself I don't want to end up like that. I was working in a bar, and then you know, step by step. In fivee minutes I would get what others for a month working long night shifts. And so what? Everybody does it!"
– "I didn't know what a tram or tube was thise days. I was taking only taxi everywhere,...buying flats. Before the revolution, the normal monthly salary was 2,500 Kč, I could have it in an hour. Super! Others barely had any Tuzex vouchers, I was only buying stuff in Tuzex. And shortly after the revolution it was even better, you can't imagine how much we were making!"

"I thought that everybody had to have a job during communisim?"
– "Come on, I just needed a stamp. Some cleaning..., we had friends you know, it was easy to get a stamp."

"You never had problem with macks?"
– "Not at all, there are none here. They tried a few times, but the police caught them all, they have no chance here in Prague."

"And how about there near the German borders, the E55 I mean."
– "I worked there too, it was a paradise, but then as you say, the macks came, there are many gipsies there..."

– "Look at these taxi drivers around here. They don't have much. It used to be different, but they don't have much. One said – give me a BJ! – How much you have? – 200 – No, thanks, I have eaten!"

–"Next week is gonna be cold, like -10 C. Imagine those girls here, most of them will work no matter what, they have no where to go. I'm so glad I work only when I want. I just got a pension of 15000 Kč a month, so I take it easy. I live in the house there in the north, have indoor fire place, beatiful house with the view of nature. I watch deers right from my window. And then you know, I go to Prague time to time – to see my son, and I stop here to make a few thousands sacking Ds."
–"I do everything myself, you know, what I don't do for myself, I don't get. These guy have schools, fancy jobs, and when something happens they are all screwed...and they ask for my help. You know, all those schools, useless!"

"It's almost 4 am, I should go to catch my flight."
– "When you have it?"
"I think 6:30 or something, let me check. ...Hmm, so 6:00 already, I should better run."
– "I need to work now anyways."
"I'm a bad customer, I know."
– "Never minds. But catch the flight!"
"Happy New Year!"

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

From NY Post to a German TV

I met a great independent journalist who wrote an article about people living on boats in NYC for NY Post. It is a fun read, just don't take the detail description of my setup literarily (it is a mixture of my situation over the past years).

After this article was published, besides for being kicked out of the marina where I was renting my boat, I got contacted by several more journalist, including those from a German TV who made the following report... grr, it's copyrighted, I can share it on request.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


This is the full version of an email interview part of which was used in the article Unusual Homes.

Can you describe how you ended up living on a houseboat?

Pardon me, a houseboat? Do you mean my sailboat?

It all started two years ago. I was unhappy about my PhD studies as I still did not feel excited about any of the topics in Economics. Then, I went for a weekend meditation retreat and during one meditation I suddenly got the idea that I need to have one year break to travel, and let the world, not the academia, inspire me into my research topic. Traveling was not what my school wanted me to do, the only reason I could excuse a whole year of absence for would be family reasons or some form of depression. Excusing myself for the poor health of my parents and then traveling instead of helping them would be too much even for the little morale I had; and convincing the faculty about having some kind of mental problem would not be a hard task for me, yet it won’t be the most appealing thing to have on my resume.

Taking a one year break was not an option for me. So, I come up with a plan B: Travel over the summer and continue my PhD in NYC as if I was traveling. I hitch-hiked through Mexico and Central America, and after I came back to NYC I did not rent any place. I knew how to sleep just anywhere while traveling, so what should prevent me to do the same thing when living in the city? Besides, I lived in a jungle for three month when studying my Master Degree in Mathematics in Taiwan before, so all I needed to do was to adopt that way of life from the animal-jungle of Kaohsiung into the human-jungle of NYC. The beginning was not easy, I got some sleepless nights before I learned how to avoid poison ivy, mosquitoes, cops, and other pests.

Over time, I got the knowhow for camping in the city and I became very comfortable doing that. I found all the beautiful parks, beaches, and rooftops that I had no idea about before. Only I missed about having an apartment was hosting travelers from the CouchSurfing project. But then, why not to break even that concept? I did not have a couch, but I had an extra sleeping bag, bivy sack and a camping mattress to offer. What is more, I knew how to hide! I did not get any “couch” requests for a while, some guys considered it as a plan B (or, a plan Z, to be more precise) on their trip, but then they got scared and never showed up. Ironically, as it was getting cold, I suddenly started receiving “couch” requests from young adventurous ladies.

Having a question mark about waking up the next day, night by night, made me live wild even in respects that I am not so proud of. I was yet recovering a wound in my heart from losing two of my lovers when I met this beautiful spontaneous Colombian girl with a big heart and a great passion for life. The romantic natural scenery of the Prospect Park made us turn camping into camp-in. As we started dating, the winter arrived. The down sleeping bag I had was good in providing heat for both of us. However, in terms of room, it was not really enough for our extracurricular activities.

Even reading the book “Kamasutra in a bag” did not help. And after all the unsuccessful attempts, I remembered that a new friend of mine, Tom, was offering his boat to me. I knew nothing about his boat besides that one-plus-one can sleep on it. Tom was too busy to show me his boat those days. Not realizing how much I was saving each month by not renting an apartment, he simply did not believe that a grad student could have enough money to buy a boat. Eventually, I lost my patience and I told him: “Come in front of my university, I’ll give a you a suitcase with $3,000 cash in exchange for your boat.” And that is how I came to my blue sailboat, Amarena.

How would you describe it briefly?

When buying it, I knew nothing about boats and I did not really like water. Soon, I learned that the blue boat with elegant rounded curves was a sailboat. It is not too spacious, but the way it is cozy matters more to me. When I visited my parents for Christmas after I bought the boat, I had no idea how to answer their question about the material it was made of. Later I learned that almost all recreational boats, including mine, are made of fiberglass.

It is a 28-feet-long Ranger built in 1978. People say that a boat like that should be enough for crossing an ocean, although it was not exactly designed for it. As a backup for the sails, it has a diesel inboard engine: Inboard means that the engine is more reliable in a storm; and diesel means that the boat is less likely to explode.

What are some unique challenges you encounter in your living situation?

There are many things we take absolutely for granted when living in an apartment. You have electricity, toilet, running water, stove, heat, and you can walk out of your doors and you are on land. The situation on an old sailboat is quite different, especially if it is docked or moored at a low-cost marina. After I got the boat, I spent most of the winter in my home country, Czech republic, and in Colombia. Yet, the few days of living on the freezing and partly leaking boat was something memorable. A special moment was when I tried to heat up the boat a bit using a cheap portable stove and the butane was first frozen and then it exploded. The traveler I was hosting will surely never forget that night.

If you had to give a tip to someone who wants to do the same, what advice would you impart?

Follow your heart, the rest will come!

What's the most surprising thing that happened?

There is always something surprising on a boat. I come back from holidays and the boat is half sunk, or I find an ice arena inside. When a storm comes, I am in the middle of all the noise and I don’t know if I wake up on the bottom of the sea or half way to the ocean. Except for the winter, my boat is moored about 5-10 mins rowing away from my marina. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and there are big waves, strong current, and I need to go to school to teach. You never know what can happen - exactly as it is in life - but the water force makes the unexpected things happen unexpectedly often. It is as if you lived thousand lives in one lifetime.