laura gao

binding energy

December 27, 20224 min read

I first fall for her at 14.

I hang my camera off my desk, four books keeping it in place. I arrange my hand-drawn polygon characters, and snap a photo; just like I'd seen in Kevin Parry's stop-motion videos. One photo, one frame. Second photo. Third photo. Play them back quickly, and our ape-brains think that Henry Hexagon is dancing across the screen.

She makes me feel powerful, my fingers wielding magic.

Her name was filmmaking. The next Black Friday, I proposed. $70...

[some of my favourite pieces]

Love Your Struggles

June 20227 min read

In Greek mythology, Zeno punished Sisyphus by forcing him to push a burdensome boulder up a hill. Whenever he reaches the top, the rock rolls back down for Sisyphus to retrieve and strenuously push back up. This was condemned to repeat for eternity. When asked to imagine themselves in Sisyphus'...

the sellout's dilemma

January 20239 min read

parody of lungs by maggie o'farrell.

It’s after school, late afternoon, and a group of teenagers wait at the 925 bus stop. They compare who slept latest last night (Emma wins, at 4am). They fill the air with how it’s her third time drinking coffee this week, how he fumbled the...

Art of Vulnerability

October 20226 min read

It’s March. I stand outside a Japanese croissant store with you and Giselle while we wait for the rest of the group to order. Evelyn pokes her head out. "Giselle! Amanda wants to talk to you. Come in.” She winks at me.

Now, it’s just you and me.

We admire the croissant...

[other essays]

why i write

November 20223 min read

I'm sitting on the balcony couch of Atlantis, the Atlas house, under night stars and fuzzy blankets. Berkeley's frat parties are the background music as O tells me about her dad crying when his best friend fell into depression, her own mental health struggles a few weeks later and she...

i'm a metal monkey

October 20222 min read

Canvas tarp of the Otentik raps
Slits between flaps
glimpses of night.
Around the wooden table
Miranda, Ella, Amy, and I
We're Not Really Strangers cards 3 neat piles.
Amy flips a card.

Gödel’s First Incompleteness Theorem

September 202015 min read

There will always be math problems that cannot be answered.

Writing as a Path to Clear Thinking

May 20227 min read

As George Orwell said, "If people cannot write well, they cannot think well. And if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them" (Schlafly, p. 192). This quest to enlightenment has been a theme across the work of great thinkers for millennia, dating back to Plato’s Allegory...

How to have a fulfilling high school experience

December 202116 min read

You’ve been sitting at this black science bench for what feels like hours, drumming your pencil against the biology test Ms. Hermanovsky just handed back. You’re dying to move on, but all you hear are shouts of, “Can I get back the 0.25 marks for question 14?” You look at...

quantum shmantum

February 20225 min read

Quantum mechanics is like my DELF B2 French proficiency exam. Right now, its outcome is a hazy cloud, a combination of the two possible results of "pass" and "fail." As we mere humans cannot predict the future, I am unable know the result until Test Day comes on March 10th...

recent babble

rationality isn't the way to live

you can logic everything, d says. but you shouldn't. or, you don't want to.

social things is one. u says listen to black box social intuitions---there isnt rlly any benefit in questioning them...

babble room

i also post unpolished pieces at /babble. In the words of David Perell, "If my essays are finished paintings, these are my intellectual sketches." Babbles are a low-stakes place to mess around with random thoughts.