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Leonardo Castorina

Leonardo Castorina

9 months ago

How to Use Obsidian to Boost Research Productivity

Tools for managing your PhD projects, reading lists, notes, and inspiration.

As a researcher, you have to know everything. But knowledge is useless if it cannot be accessed quickly. An easy-to-use method of archiving information makes taking notes effortless and enjoyable.
As a PhD student in Artificial Intelligence, I use Obsidian (https://obsidian.md) to manage my knowledge.

The article has three parts:

  1. What is a note, how to organize notes, tags, folders, and links? This section is tool-agnostic, so you can use most of these ideas with any note-taking app.
  2. Instructions for using Obsidian, managing notes, reading lists, and useful plugins. This section demonstrates how I use Obsidian, my preferred knowledge management tool.
  3. Workflows: How to use Zotero to take notes from papers, manage multiple projects' notes, create MOCs with Dataview, and more. This section explains how to use Obsidian to solve common scientific problems and manage/maintain your knowledge effectively.

This list is not perfect or complete, but it is my current solution to problems I've encountered during my PhD. Please leave additional comments or contact me if you have any feedback. I'll try to update this article.
Throughout the article, I'll refer to your digital library as your "Obsidian Vault" or "Zettelkasten".
Other useful resources are listed at the end of the article.

1. Philosophy: Taking and organizing notes

Carl Sagan: “To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”

Before diving into Obsidian, let's establish a Personal Knowledge Management System and a Zettelkasten. You can skip to Section 2 if you already know these terms.
Niklas Luhmann, a prolific sociologist who wrote 400 papers and 70 books, inspired this section and much of Zettelkasten. Zettelkasten means “slip box” (or library in this article). His Zettlekasten had around 90000 physical notes, which can be found here.
There are now many tools available to help with this process. Obsidian's website has a good introduction section: https://publish.obsidian.md/hub/

Notes

We'll start with "What is a note?" Although it may seem trivial, the answer depends on the topic or your note-taking style. The idea is that a note is as “atomic” (i.e. You should read the note and get the idea right away.
The resolution of your notes depends on their detail. Deep Learning, for example, could be a general description of Neural Networks, with a few notes on the various architectures (eg. Recurrent Neural Networks, Convolutional Neural Networks etc..).
Limiting length and detail is a good rule of thumb. If you need more detail in a specific section of this note, break it up into smaller notes. Deep Learning now has three notes:

  • Deep Learning
  • Recurrent Neural Networks
    - Convolutional Neural Networks

Repeat this step as needed until you achieve the desired granularity. You might want to put these notes in a “Neural Networks” folder because they are all about the same thing. But there's a better way:

#Tags and [[Links]] over /Folders/

The main issue with folders is that they are not flexible and assume that all notes in the folder belong to a single category. This makes it difficult to make connections between topics.
Deep Learning has been used to predict protein structure (AlphaFold) and classify images (ImageNet). Imagine a folder structure like this:

- /Proteins/ 
     - Protein Folding
- /Deep Learning/
     - /Proteins/ 

Your notes about Protein Folding and Convolutional Neural Networks will be separate, and you won't be able to find them in the same folder.
This can be solved in several ways. The most common one is to use tags rather than folders. A note can be grouped with multiple topics this way. Obsidian tags can also be nested (have subtags).

You can also link two notes together. You can build your “Knowledge Graph” in Obsidian and other note-taking apps like Obsidian.


My Knowledge Graph. Green: Biology, Red: Machine Learning, Yellow: Autoencoders, Blue: Graphs, Brown: Tags.


My Knowledge Graph and the note “Backrpropagation” and its links.


Backpropagation note and all its links

Why use Folders?

Folders help organize your vault as it grows. The main suggestion is to have few folders that "weakly" collect groups of notes or better yet, notes from different sources.
Among my Zettelkasten folders are:


My Zettelkasten's 5 folders

They usually gather data from various sources:

MOC: Map of Contents for the Zettelkasten.
Projects: Contains one note for each side-project of my PhD where I log my progress and ideas. Notes are linked to these.
Bio and ML: These two are the main content of my Zettelkasten and could theoretically be combined.
Papers: All my scientific paper notes go here. A bibliography links the notes. Zotero .bib file
Books: I make a note for each book I read, which I then split into multiple notes.

Keeping images separate from other files can help keep your main folders clean.

I will elaborate on these in the Workflow Section.

My general recommendation is to use tags and links instead of folders.

Maps of Content (MOC) 

Making Tables of Contents is a good solution (MOCs).
These are notes that "signposts" your Zettelkasten library, directing you to the right type of notes. It can link to other notes based on common tags. This is usually done with a title, then your notes related to that title. As an example:

An example of a Machine Learning MOC generated with Dataview.

As shown above, my Machine Learning MOC begins with the basics. Then it's on to Variational Auto-Encoders. Not only does this save time, but it also saves scrolling through the tag search section.
So I keep MOCs at the top of my library so I can quickly find information and see my library. These MOCs are generated automatically using an Obsidian Plugin called Dataview (https://github.com/blacksmithgu/obsidian-dataview).
Ideally, MOCs could be expanded to include more information about the notes, their status, and what's left to do. In the absence of this, Dataview does a fantastic job at creating a good structure for your notes.
In the absence of this, Dataview does a fantastic job at creating a good structure for your notes.

2. Tools: Knowing Obsidian

Obsidian is my preferred tool because it is free, all notes are stored in Markdown format, and each panel can be dragged and dropped. You can get it here: https://obsidian.md/

Obsidian interface. 

Obsidian is highly customizable, so here is my preferred interface:


The theme is customized from https://github.com/colineckert/obsidian-things

Alternatively, each panel can be collapsed, moved, or removed as desired. To open a panel later, click on the vertical "..." (bottom left of the note panel).

My interface is organized as follows:

How my Obsidian Interface is organized.

Folders/Search:
This is where I keep all relevant folders. I usually use the MOC note to navigate, but sometimes I use the search button to find a note.

Tags:
I use nested tags and look into each one to find specific notes to link.

cMenu:
Easy-to-use menu plugin cMenu (https://github.com/chetachiezikeuzor/cMenu-Plugin)

Global Graph:
The global graph shows all your notes (linked and unlinked). Linked notes will appear closer together. Zoom in to read each note's title. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but as your library grows, you get used to the positions and start thinking of new connections between notes.

Local Graph:
Your current note will be shown in relation to other linked notes in your library. When needed, you can quickly jump to another link and back to the current note.

Links:
Finally, an outline panel and the plugin Obsidian Power Search (https://github.com/aviral-batra/obsidian-power-search) allow me to search my vault by highlighting text.

Start using the tool and worry about panel positioning later. I encourage you to find the best use-case for your library.

Plugins

An additional benefit of using Obsidian is the large plugin library. I use several (Calendar, Citations, Dataview, Templater, Admonition):
Obsidian Calendar Plugin: https://github.com/liamcain
It organizes your notes on a calendar. This is ideal for meeting notes or keeping a journal.

Calendar addon from hans/obsidian-citation-plugin
Obsidian Citation Plugin: https://github.com/hans/
Allows you to cite papers from a.bib file. You can also customize your notes (eg. Title, Authors, Abstract etc..)

Plugin citation from hans/obsidian-citation-plugin
Obsidian Dataview: https://github.com/blacksmithgu/
A powerful plugin that allows you to query your library as a database and generate content automatically. See the MOC section for an example.
Allows you to create notes with specific templates like dates, tags, and headings.

Templater. Obsidian Admonition: https://github.com/valentine195/obsidian-admonition
Blocks allow you to organize your notes.

Plugin warning. Obsidian Admonition (valentine195)
There are many more, but this list should get you started.

3. Workflows: Cool stuff

Here are a few of my workflows for using obsidian for scientific research. This is a list of resources I've found useful for my use-cases. I'll outline and describe them briefly so you can skim them quickly.
3.1 Using Templates to Structure Notes
3.2 Free Note Syncing (Laptop, Phone, Tablet)
3.3 Zotero/Mendeley/JabRef -> Obsidian — Managing Reading Lists
3.4 Projects and Lab Books
3.5 Private Encrypted Diary

3.1 Using Templates to Structure Notes

Plugins: Templater and Dataview (optional).
To take effective notes, you must first make adding new notes as easy as possible. Templates can save you time and give your notes a consistent structure. As an example:


An example of a note using a template.

### [[YOUR MOC]]
# Note Title of your note
**Tags**:: 
**Links**::

The top line links to your knowledge base's Map of Content (MOC) (see previous sections). After the title, I add tags (and a link between the note and the tag) and links to related notes.
To quickly identify all notes that need to be expanded, I add the tag “#todo”. In the “TODO:” section, I list the tasks within the note.
The rest are notes on the topic.
Templater can help you create these templates. For new books, I use the following template:

### [[Books MOC]]
# Title
**Author**:: 
**Date::
**Tags:: 
**Links::


A book template example.

Using a simple query, I can hook Dataview to it.

dataview  
table author as Author, date as “Date Finished”, tags as “Tags”, grade as “Grade”  
from “4. Books”  
SORT grade DESCENDING


using Dataview to query templates.

3.2 Free Note Syncing (Laptop, Phone, Tablet)

No plugins used.

One of my favorite features of Obsidian is the library's self-contained and portable format. Your folder contains everything (plugins included).

Ordinary folders and documents are available as well. There is also a “.obsidian” folder. This contains all your plugins and settings, so you can use it on other devices.
So you can use Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox for free as long as you sync your folder (note: your folder should be in your Cloud Folder).

For my iOS and macOS work, I prefer iCloud. You can also use the paid service Obsidian Sync.
3.3 Obsidian — Managing Reading Lists and Notes in Zotero/Mendeley/JabRef
Plugins: Quotes (required).

3.3 Zotero/Mendeley/JabRef -> Obsidian — Taking Notes and Managing Reading Lists of Scientific Papers

My preferred reference manager is Zotero, but this workflow should work with any reference manager that produces a .bib file. This file is exported to my cloud folder so I can access it from any platform.

My Zotero library is tagged as follows:

My reference manager's tags

For readings, I usually search for the tags “!!!” and “To-Read” and select a paper. Annotate the paper next (either on PDF using GoodNotes or on physical paper).
Then I make a paper page using a template in the Citations plugin settings:


An example of my citations template.

Create a new note, open the command list with CMD/CTRL + P, and find the Citations “Insert literature note content in the current pane” to see this lovely view.


Citation generated by the article https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.24.22269144

You can then convert your notes to digital. I found that transcribing helped me retain information better.

3.4 Projects and Lab Books

Plugins: Tweaker (required).
PhD students offering advice on thesis writing are common (read as regret). I started asking them what they would have done differently or earlier.

“Deep stuff Leo,” one person said. So my main issue is basic organization, losing track of my tasks and the reasons for them.
As a result, I'd go on other experiments that didn't make sense, and have to reverse engineer my logic for thesis writing. - PhD student now wise Postdoc

Time management requires planning. Keeping track of multiple projects and lab books is difficult during a PhD. How I deal with it:

  • One folder for all my projects
  • One file for each project
    I use a template to create each project
### [[Projects MOC]]  
# <% tp.file.title %>  
**Tags**::  
**Links**::  
**URL**::  
**Project Description**::## Notes:  
### <% tp.file.last_modified_date(“dddd Do MMMM YYYY”) %>  
#### Done:  
#### TODO:  
#### Notes

You can insert a template into a new note with CMD + P and looking for the Templater option.

I then keep adding new days with another template:

### <% tp.file.last_modified_date("dddd Do MMMM YYYY") %>  
#### Done:  
#### TODO:  
#### Notes:

This way you can keep adding days to your project and update with reasonings and things you still have to do and have done. An example below:


Example of project note with timestamped notes.

3.5 Private Encrypted Diary

This is one of my favorite Obsidian uses.
Mini Diary's interface has long frustrated me. After the author archived the project, I looked for a replacement. I had two demands:

  1. It had to be private, and nobody had to be able to read the entries.
  2. Cloud syncing was required for editing on multiple devices.

Then I learned about encrypting the Obsidian folder. Then decrypt and open the folder with Obsidian. Sync the folder as usual.
Use CryptoMator (https://cryptomator.org/). Create an encrypted folder in Cryptomator for your Obsidian vault, set a password, and let it do the rest.
If you need a step-by-step video guide, here it is:

Conclusion

So, I hope this was helpful!
In the first section of the article, we discussed notes and note-taking techniques. We discussed when to use tags and links over folders and when to break up larger notes.
Then we learned about Obsidian, its interface, and some useful plugins like Citations for citing papers and Templater for creating note templates.
Finally, we discussed workflows and how to use Zotero to take notes from scientific papers, as well as managing Lab Books and Private Encrypted Diaries.
Thanks for reading and commenting :)

Read original post here

More on Productivity

Todd Lewandowski

Todd Lewandowski

2 months ago

DWTS: How to Organize Your To-Do List Quickly

Don't overcomplicate to-do lists. DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon) organizes your to-dos.

Everyone’s got a system.

How Are You Going to Manage Everything?

Modern America is busy. Work involves meetings. Anytime, Slack communications arrive. Many software solutions offer a @-mention notification capability. Emails.

Work obligations continue. At home, there are friends, family, bills, chores, and fun things.

How are you going to keep track of it all? Enter the todo list. It’s been around forever. It’s likely to stay forever in some way, shape, or form.

Everybody has their own system. You probably modified something from middle school. Post-its? Maybe it’s an app? Maybe both, another system, or none.

I suggest a format that has worked for me in 15 years of professional and personal life.

Try it out and see if it works for you. If not, no worries. You do you! Hopefully though you can learn a thing or two, and I from you too.

It is merely a Google Doc, yes.

As an example, here’s my personal todo list. Don’t worry, there’s nothing here I don’t mind sharing.

It's a giant list. One task per line. Indent subtasks on a new line. Add or move new tasks as needed.

I recommend using Google Docs. It's easy to use and flexible for structuring.

Prioritizing these tasks is key. I organize them using DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon). Chronologically is good because it implicitly provides both a priority (high, medium, low) and an ETA (now, soon, later).

Yes, I recognize the similarities to DWTS (Dancing With The Stars) TV Show. Although I'm not a fan, it's entertaining. The acronym is easy to remember and adds fun to something dull.

That feeling when you complete everything on your todo list.

What each section contains

Done

All tasks' endpoint. Finish here. Don't worry about it again.

Waiting

You're blocked and can't continue. Blocked tasks usually need someone. Write Person Task so you know who's waiting.

Blocking tasks shouldn't last long. After a while, remind them kindly. If people don't help you out of kindness, they will if you're persistent.

Top 3

Mental focus areas. These can be short- to mid-term goals or recent accomplishments. 2 to 5 is a good number to stay focused.

Top 3 reminds us to prioritize. If they don't fit your Top 3 goals, delay them.

Every 1:1 at work is a project update. Another chance to list your top 3. You should know your Top 3 well and be able to discuss them confidently.

Soon

Here's your short-term to-do list. Rank them from highest to lowest.

I usually subdivide it with empty lines. First is what I have to do today, then week, then month. Subsections can be arranged however you like.

Inventories by Concept

Tasks that aren’t in your short or medium future go into the backlog. 
Eventually you’ll complete these tasks, assign them to someone else, or mark them as “wont’ do” (like done but in another sense).

Backlog tasks don't need to be organized chronologically because their timing and priority may change. Theme-organize them. When planning/strategic, you can choose themes to focus on, so future top 3 topics.

More Tips on Todos

Decide Upon a Morning Goal

Morning routines are universal. Coffee and Wordle. My to-do list is next. Two things:

  • As needed, update the to-do list: based on the events of yesterday and any fresh priorities.

  • Pick a few jobs to complete today: Pick a few goals that you know you can complete today. Push the remainder below and move them to the top of the Soon section. I typically select a few tasks I am confident I can complete along with one stretch task that might extend into tomorrow.

Finally. By setting and achieving small goals every day, you feel accomplished and make steady progress on medium and long-term goals.

Tech companies call this a daily standup. Everyone shares what they did yesterday, what they're doing today, and any blockers. The name comes from a tradition of holding meetings while standing up to keep them short. Even though it's virtual, everyone still wants a quick meeting.

Your team may or may not need daily standups. Make a daily review a habit with your coffee.

Review Backwards & Forwards on a regular basis

While you're updating your to-do list daily, take time to review it.

Review your Done list. Remember things you're proud of and things that could have gone better. Your Done list can be long. Archive it so your main to-do list isn't overwhelming.

Future-gaze. What you considered important may no longer be. Reorder tasks. Backlog grooming is a workplace term.

Backwards-and-forwards reviews aren't required often. Every 3-6 months is fine. They help you see the forest as often as the trees.

Final Remarks

Keep your list simple. Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon. These are the necessary sections. If you like, add more subsections; otherwise, keep it simple.

I recommend a morning review. By having clear goals and an action-oriented attitude, you'll be successful.

Maria Stepanova

Maria Stepanova

4 months ago

How Elon Musk Picks Things Up Quicker Than Anyone Else

Adopt Elon Musk's learning strategy to succeed.

Photo by Cody Board on Unsplash

Medium writers rank first and second when you Google “Elon Musk's learning approach”.

My article idea seems unoriginal. Lol

Musk is brilliant.

No doubt here.

His name connotes success and intelligence.

He knows rocket science, engineering, AI, and solar power.

Musk is a Unicorn, but his skills aren't special.

How does he manage it?

Elon Musk has two learning rules that anyone may use.

You can apply these rules and become anyone you want.

You can become a rocket scientist or a surgeon. If you want, of course.

The learning process is key.

Make sure you are creating a Tree of Knowledge according to Rule #1.

Musk told Reddit how he learns:

“It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang onto.”

Musk understands the essential ideas and mental models of each of his business sectors.

He starts with the tree's trunk, making sure he learns the basics before going on to branches and leaves.

We often act otherwise. We memorize small details without understanding how they relate to the whole. Our minds are stuffed with useless data.

Cramming isn't learning.

Start with the basics to learn faster. Before diving into minutiae, grasp the big picture.

Photo by niko photos on Unsplash

Rule #2: You can't connect what you can't remember.

Elon Musk transformed industries this way. As his expertise grew, he connected branches and leaves from different trees.

Musk read two books a day as a child. He didn't specialize like most people. He gained from his multidisciplinary education. It helped him stand out and develop billion-dollar firms.

He gained skills in several domains and began connecting them. World-class performances resulted.

Most of us never learn the basics and only collect knowledge. We never really comprehend information, thus it's hard to apply it.

Learn the basics initially to maximize your chances of success. Then start learning.

Learn across fields and connect them.

This method enabled Elon Musk to enter and revolutionize a century-old industry.

Deon Ashleigh

Deon Ashleigh

29 days ago

You can dominate your daily productivity with these 9 little-known Google Calendar tips.

Calendars are great unpaid employees.

all images (and sloppy handwriting) by the author

After using Notion to organize my next three months' goals, my days were a mess.

I grew very chaotic afterward. I was overwhelmed, unsure of what to do, and wasting time attempting to plan the day after it had started.

Imagine if our skeletons were on the outside. Doesn’t work.

The goals were too big; I needed to break them into smaller chunks. But how?

Enters Google Calendar

RescueTime’s recommendations took me seven hours to make a daily planner. This epic narrative begins with a sheet of paper and concludes with a daily calendar that helps me focus and achieve more goals. Ain’t nobody got time for “what’s next?” all day.

Onward!

Return to the Paleolithic Era

Plan in writing.

handwritten time blocking. has arrows to indicate energy needed or author’s energy at that time of day

Not on the list, but it helped me plan my day. Physical writing boosts creativity and recall.

Find My Heart

i.e. prioritize

RescueTime suggested I prioritize before planning. Personal and business goals were proposed.

My top priorities are to exercise, eat healthily, spend time in nature, and avoid stress.

Priorities include writing and publishing Medium articles, conducting more freelance editing and Medium outreach, and writing/editing sci-fi books.

These eight things will help me feel accomplished every day.

Make a baby calendar.

Create daily calendar templates.

Make family, pleasure, etc. calendars.

Google Calendar instructions:

  • Other calendars

  • Press the “+” button

  • Create a new calendar

  • Create recurring events for each day

My calendar, without the template:

Empty, so I can fill it with vital tasks.

With the template:

Isn’t it awesome how the other calendars overlay the template? :)

My daily skeleton corresponds with my priorities. I've been overwhelmed for years because I lack daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly structure.

Google Calendars helps me reach my goals and focus my energy.

Get your colored pencils ready

Time-block color-coding.

Color labeling lets me quickly see what's happening. Maybe you are too.

Google Calendar instructions:

  • Determine which colors correspond to each time block.

  • When establishing new events, select a color.

  • Save

My calendar is color-coded as follows:

  • Yellow — passive income or other future-related activities

  • Red — important activities, like my monthly breast exam

  • Flamingo — shallow work, like emails, Twitter, etc.

  • Blue — all my favorite activities, like walking, watching comedy, napping, and sleeping. Oh, and eating.

  • Green — money-related events required for this adulting thing

  • Purple — writing-related stuff

Associating a time block with a color helps me stay focused. Less distractions mean faster work.

Open My Email

aka receive a daily email from Google Calendar.

Google Calendar sends a daily email feed of your calendars. I sent myself the template calendar in this email.

Google Calendar instructions:

  • Access settings

  • Select the calendar that you want to send (left side)

  • Go down the page to see more alerts

  • Under the daily agenda area, click Email.

Get in Touch With Your Red Bull Wings — Naturally

aka audit your energy levels.

My daily planner has arrows. These indicate how much energy each activity requires or how much I have.

Rightward arrow denotes medium energy.

I do my Medium and professional editing in the morning because it's energy-intensive.

Niharikaa Sodhi recommends morning Medium editing.

I’m a morning person. As long as I go to bed at a reasonable time, 5 a.m. is super wild GO-TIME. It’s like the world was just born, and I marvel at its wonderfulness.

Freelance editing lets me do what I want. An afternoon snooze will help me finish on time.

Ditch Schedule View

aka focus on the weekly view.

RescueTime advocated utilizing the weekly view of Google Calendar, so I switched.

When you launch the phone app or desktop calendar, a red line shows where you are in the day.

I'll follow the red line's instructions. My digital supervisor is easy to follow.

In the image above, it's almost 3 p.m., therefore the red line implies it's time to snooze.

I won't forget this block ;).

Reduce the Lighting

aka dim previous days.

This is another Google Calendar feature I didn't know about. Once the allotted time passes, the time block dims. This keeps me present.

Google Calendar instructions:

  • Access settings

  • remaining general

  • To view choices, click.

  • Check Diminish the glare of the past.

Bonus

Two additional RescueTimes hacks:

Maintain a space between tasks

I left 15 minutes between each time block to transition smoothly. This relates to my goal of less stress. If I set strict start and end times, I'll be stressed.

With a buffer, I can breathe, stroll around, and start the following time block fresh.

Find a time is related to the buffer.

This option allows you conclude small meetings five minutes early and longer ones ten. Before the next meeting, relax or go wild.

Decide on a backup day.

This productivity technique is amazing.

Spend this excess day catching up on work. It helps reduce tension and clutter.

That's all I can say about Google Calendar's functionality.

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Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

9 months ago

Donor-Advised Fund Tax Benefits (DAF)

Giving through a donor-advised fund can be tax-efficient. Using a donor-advised fund can reduce your tax liability while increasing your charitable impact.

Grow Your Donations Tax-Free.

Your DAF's charitable dollars can be invested before being distributed. Your DAF balance can grow with the market. This increases grantmaking funds. The assets of the DAF belong to the charitable sponsor, so you will not be taxed on any growth.

Avoid a Windfall Tax Year.

DAFs can help reduce tax burdens after a windfall like an inheritance, business sale, or strong market returns. Contributions to your DAF are immediately tax deductible, lowering your taxable income. With DAFs, you can effectively pre-fund years of giving with assets from a single high-income event.

Make a contribution to reduce or eliminate capital gains.

One of the most common ways to fund a DAF is by gifting publicly traded securities. Securities held for more than a year can be donated at fair market value and are not subject to capital gains tax. If a donor liquidates assets and then donates the proceeds to their DAF, capital gains tax reduces the amount available for philanthropy. Gifts of appreciated securities, mutual funds, real estate, and other assets are immediately tax deductible up to 30% of Adjusted gross income (AGI), with a five-year carry-forward for gifts that exceed AGI limits.

Using Appreciated Stock as a Gift

Donating appreciated stock directly to a DAF rather than liquidating it and donating the proceeds reduces philanthropists' tax liability by eliminating capital gains tax and lowering marginal income tax.

In the example below, a donor has $100,000 in long-term appreciated stock with a cost basis of $10,000:

Using a DAF would allow this donor to give more to charity while paying less taxes. This strategy often allows donors to give more than 20% more to their favorite causes.

For illustration purposes, this hypothetical example assumes a 35% income tax rate. All realized gains are subject to the federal long-term capital gains tax of 20% and the 3.8% Medicare surtax. No other state taxes are considered.

The information provided here is general and educational in nature. It is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal or tax advice. NPT does not provide legal or tax advice. Furthermore, the content provided here is related to taxation at the federal level only. NPT strongly encourages you to consult with your tax advisor or attorney before making charitable contributions.

Farhad Malik

Farhad Malik

3 months ago

How This Python Script Makes Me Money Every Day

Starting a passive income stream with data science and programming

My website is fresh. But how do I monetize it?

Creating a passive-income website is difficult. Advertise first. But what useful are ads without traffic?

Let’s Generate Traffic And Put Our Programming Skills To Use

SEO boosts traffic (Search Engine Optimisation). Traffic generation is complex. Keywords matter more than text, URL, photos, etc.

My Python skills helped here. I wanted to find relevant, Google-trending keywords (tags) for my topic.

First The Code

I wrote the script below here.

import re
from string import punctuation

import nltk
from nltk import TreebankWordTokenizer, sent_tokenize
from nltk.corpus import stopwords


class KeywordsGenerator:
    def __init__(self, pytrends):
        self._pytrends = pytrends

    def generate_tags(self, file_path, top_words=30):
        file_text = self._get_file_contents(file_path)
        clean_text = self._remove_noise(file_text)
        top_words = self._get_top_words(clean_text, top_words)
        suggestions = []
        for top_word in top_words:
            suggestions.extend(self.get_suggestions(top_word))
        suggestions.extend(top_words)
        tags = self._clean_tokens(suggestions)
        return ",".join(list(set(tags)))

    def _remove_noise(self, text):
        #1. Convert Text To Lowercase and remove numbers
        lower_case_text = str.lower(text)
        just_text = re.sub(r'\d+', '', lower_case_text)
        #2. Tokenise Paragraphs To words
        list = sent_tokenize(just_text)
        tokenizer = TreebankWordTokenizer()
        tokens = tokenizer.tokenize(just_text)
        #3. Clean text
        clean = self._clean_tokens(tokens)
        return clean

    def _clean_tokens(self, tokens):
        clean_words = [w for w in tokens if w not in punctuation]
        stopwords_to_remove = stopwords.words('english')
        clean = [w for w in clean_words if w not in stopwords_to_remove and not w.isnumeric()]
        return clean

    def get_suggestions(self, keyword):
        print(f'Searching pytrends for {keyword}')
        result = []
        self._pytrends.build_payload([keyword], cat=0, timeframe='today 12-m')
        data = self._pytrends.related_queries()[keyword]['top']
        if data is None or data.values is None:
            return result
        result.extend([x[0] for x in data.values.tolist()][:2])
        return result

    def _get_file_contents(self, file_path):
        return open(file_path, "r", encoding='utf-8',errors='ignore').read()

    def _get_top_words(self, words, top):
        counts = dict()

        for word in words:
            if word in counts:
                counts[word] += 1
            else:
                counts[word] = 1

        return list({k: v for k, v in sorted(counts.items(), key=lambda item: item[1])}.keys())[:top]


if __name__ == "1__main__":
    from pytrends.request import TrendReq

    nltk.download('punkt')
    nltk.download('stopwords')
    pytrends = TrendReq(hl='en-GB', tz=360)
    tags = KeywordsGenerator(pytrends)\
              .generate_tags('text_file.txt')
    print(tags)

Then The Dependencies

This script requires:

nltk==3.7
pytrends==4.8.0

Analysis of the Script

I copy and paste my article into text file.txt, and the code returns the keywords as a comma-separated string.

To achieve this:

  1. A class I made is called KeywordsGenerator.

  2. This class has a function: generate_tags

  3. The function generate_tags performs the following tasks:

  • retrieves text file contents

  • uses NLP to clean the text by tokenizing sentences into words, removing punctuation, and other elements.

  • identifies the most frequent words that are relevant.

  • The pytrends API is then used to retrieve related phrases that are trending for each word from Google.

  • finally adds a comma to the end of the word list.

4. I then use the keywords and paste them into the SEO area of my website.

These terms are trending on Google and relevant to my topic. My site's rankings and traffic have improved since I added new keywords. This little script puts our knowledge to work. I shared the script in case anyone faces similar issues.

I hope it helps readers sell their work.

xuanling11

xuanling11

1 month ago

Reddit NFT Achievement

https://reddit.zendesk.com/hc/article_attachments/7582537085332/1._What_are_Collectible_Avatars_.png

Reddit's NFT market is alive and well.

NFT owners outnumber OpenSea on Reddit.

Reddit NFTs flip in OpenSea in days:

Fast-selling.

NFT sales will make Reddit's current communities more engaged.

I don't think NFTs will affect existing groups, but they will build hype for people to acquire them.

The first season of Collectibles is unique, but many missed the first season.

Second-season NFTs are less likely to be sold for a higher price than first-season ones.

If you use Reddit, it's fun to own NFTs.