Julianne Gould


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And the trophy goes to...

Newt N’ Salamander! But congratulations to everyone who participated. It was epic and everyone fought the good fight. I brought my actual camera this time, and so I have a lot of pictures with a lot of descriptions, but I will go through a quick recap of contest day, followed by a few last words, as this will be my final blog entry.

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research

It is always something...

The campus-wide announcement went out yesterday.

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academics

Scientific Hobo

The crazy thing about Caltech is that for most students, not sleeping is part of the culture :) Maybe this is actually true of college students in general (staying up late doing absolutely nothing) but at Caltech one usually has to stay up late doing problem sets. So, sometimes, on the occasion that you are done with all of your sets early, and have the time to go to sleep at a decent hour, you actually don’t. In my case, I stayed up later than usual (4am, I usually go to sleep promptly at midnight). On top of that, we had to register for classes Thursday morning at 8am, and so I woke up at 7:30. Registration begins at 8, but I think you actually have 2 weeks to go online and complete this task. However, there are some classes which have limited seating (only 20 students are allowed to sign up) and so, in the case that you sign up at 8:15 instead of 8:00, you might not get into that class. In my case, there were 3 classes like that which I wanted. So, I had to wake up early, get my “mouse clicking” skills in top shape, load as much of the website as I could, and countdown the minutes until 8. Luckily, I got every class I wanted (over the terms I have become the master of obtaining limited seating courses), but after that adrenaline rush, I could not go back to sleep (most students wake up, register, and plop back in bed). This meant that by the time I went down to the ME shop at 1pm, I was completely out of it. I was a walking zombie in desperate need of sleep (or caffeine…but I don’t like coffee, unless it is extremely sugary and has lots of whipped creme and caramel).

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clubs

Strength of Epic Proportions

Another week has gone by. Another deadline past. Only 18 days left until Contest Day. Are Hungry and Hateful ready to take on Deth Frog or Newt N’ Salamander? The shop is closed all day today, so that leaves about 12 days in the shop to make Hungry an eating machine and Hateful a force to be reckoned with. Basketball season ends tomorrow, so now I can spend every day in the shop from 1-5. You can take that how you want…bad for my social well-being, but ME72 is not about making friends! It’s about domination, and more time in the shop will help me perfect the Hamsters! The shop was closed this past Monday for Presidents day, and so we didn’t get to start working until Tuesday. I was mainly focused on fixing and finishing up Hateful, while Will focused on creating Hungry. Hungry09 was a total upgraded revamp of Hungry08. He is a bit fatter and shorter, but he will have more ball gathering power than ever before! So while Will was busy creating our ball devouring monster, I basically finished up the waterproof boxes from both Hamsters and then worked on re-soldering all of the electrical connections in Hateful, and then combining everything. Tuesday was pretty uneventful, but very efficient.

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research

It's the kind of glue gun I would take on a date...not marry.

Hateful Hamster lives again! Not only does it live, but it jumps into the pond, swims across the pond, collecting balls along the way, climbs up out of the pond and then…stops. Ya, so the last part is a bit of a let down, but at least he didn’t sink :) So, before the ingenious success of Hateful, a lot of thought and work had to be done. Wednesday I went into the shop for 3 hours to work on keeping Hateful afloat. Will decided she needed to take a day off from the shop, so I was on my own. The first problem I decided to tackle was the water leakage problem. For this entire term that had been a major problem. Water was inevitably going to leak from the small gap where the rod was coming out of the robot and spinning the paddles, but that amount of water should be relatively insignificant in the overall scheme of things. However, gallons of water (figuratively) were leaking into Hateful. There was a direct correlation between the amount of time he spent in the water and how much of his body was submerged under the water. The thing was…duct tape is awesome (don’t get me wrong) however it is not the best choice for forming water tight seals. The water was leaking in between the duct tape and getting inside Hateful from all sides. I am pretty sure I came up with the solution in a dream. Yes it is weird/cliche, but I woke up Wednesday morning and suddenly came up with the answer. Hot glue as much of the foam shell as possible directly to the board, leaving only a little area where we would have to make a flap to open and close to get to the electronics inside. It was such a simple solution, and now I wonder why we didn’t think of it earlier. First problem solved! Now, for the second problem…Hateful’s foam “belly” was rubbing on the ground when it was driving around on land. In fact, in some areas it was so large that it was preventing the wheels from making enough contact with the surface (and so it could not drive). Hateful needed to lose weight, and I needed to figure out what diet was right for him.

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academics

Drowning...

So I have good news and bad news from the deadline yesterday…

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academics

I got in a fight with a door...and lost.

The reason why I have not written a post in about a week is because…well, I have a concussion. Tuesday night we got out of basketball pretty late, and the kitchens had already closed, so I was kind of angry. I was not really thinking/paying attention when I swiped my card to get into Avery. As I yanked the door open, I suddenly had this intense pain in my forehead and I had no idea why. In about half a minute I realized that the metal door was against my head, and I deduced that I had in fact slammed the door into my face. I thought it was no big deal, and luckily no one had witnessed this horribly embarrassing moment. Well, later that night, as I was showering, it looked as if the walls were closing in on me, and my vision was starting to blur, so…I went to bed. This was a bad idea, and I know that, but it was around midnight. I had to go to sleep. Anyways, basically I felt horrible the next day, and every day since then, and when I visited both the athletic trainer and the Health Center they told me I had a concussion. They said it could take anywhere from a week to a few weeks before I would get better. So, for the past week I have been dealing with headaches and being intensely confused. I randomly forget what I am talking about in the middle of conversations, and I cannot focus too long on reading or work, or else I get a headache and become very confused. So, seeing as this upcoming week is midterms week, the Dean told all of my professors that I may need extensions on my midterms until I can think again…AHHH! I’d rather not get extensions, but I also would not want to take my midterms if I can’t think…

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clubs

Do you have a piece of cloth you don't want to keep dry?

This is it. The last day we had to be in the shop before our first deadline next Tuesday. Did we complete everything in time…

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