research

Be a "hacker" at Hacktech 2017

The Hacktech organizer team. "So the reason I organize hackathons is to inspire people to build cool things. When first-time hackers come to Hacktech I want them to see the different kind of projects that people build and get ideas, experience building things, and an understanding of how large the realm of possibility in building things is (even in just 36 hours)."
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local

KazuNori, Midori Matcha Cafe, and The Counter

Hi readers, I’m back with anotherfood post. Seriously, I think more than half of my blog is about food these days. This week, I’ll review KazuNori, Midori Matcha Cafe, and The Counter.

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research

College Cooking

Ah, nothing like two hot gooey slices of chocolate-drizzled, chocolate-chip-embedded mocha chocolate cake to keep me up past my bedtime. I planned to sleep early and wake early to work on a project for my electronics class, but it’s not every day that my inner Bruce Bogtrotter gets to shine through.

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research

Strange Sights Around Campus

Let it not be said that nothing crazy or exciting ever happens in Pasadena, the sleepier sister of the City of Angels. It is true that we do not have the glitzy glamour of Hollywood, nor are we in possession of the multitude of museums and parks and town squares that comes with the traffic of the downtown district. But we do have our own charms, quaint and unassuming as they may be. For example, the Rose Bowl Parade takes place on Colorado Blvd every year on January 1st, the same street where my friends and I venture to grab a bite of Thai food on the weekends. Before Beverly Hills, the stars of Hollywood bought houses on Arden Street, the street on whichthe Caltech Health Center and Counseling Office are currently located. And every once in a while, as I walk around the paths on Caltech’s main campus, I’ll see things like

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research

Food food food and special guests

Procrastibaking: baking delicious foods because following instructions to create new products is almost like doing your coding homework, but allows you to put off doing your homework for at least one hour while still feeling productive.

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culture

Enjoy Donuts

Excursion #4: Enjoy donuts

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culture

Pokemon Go and the Pokemon Club

Pokemon was a huge part of my childhood. To give you an idea, I lined up at Gamestop for the midnight release of Pokemon Sun and Moon earlier this school year. In this post, I’ll talk about Pokemon Go, the popular augmented reality game that came out less than a year ago, and Caltech’s very own Pokemon Club.

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global

Unicorn Cafe, Macarons, Green Soba, and Tofu Pudding

Unicorns and mermaids are my favorite mythical creatures. When I found out there was a cafe (Creme & Sugar) that served unicorn milkshakes, unicorn hot chocolate, unicorn bark, and other fanciful, magical, delicious desserts, I had to go. Creme & Sugar is in Anaheim, which is a little less than an hour south of Caltech depending on traffic. I dragged some of my friends with me, and we decided to make a day out of it and go to other places in Orange County as well. After Creme and Sugar, we drove to the Irvine Spectrum for super cute character macarons from Honey & Butter! There is always a line, and the character macarons run out soon after they are released (12 pm on the dot). Check out the pictures below.

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Throwback to Venerable Interhouse 2016

The third installment of Venerable OPI continues. In this post, I will be sharing with you memories of OPI from my junior year, where the theme was Star Wars and everything was truly out of this world.

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research

15 Murals and Much Papier Mache

The Venerable OPI sequence continues in this installment of “4 Years and 4 Seasons.” In this post, I will be talking about painting all of the murals to go on the dance platform, so turn on your artistic ears. (Are those even a thing? I must be tired, writing this at 3 a.m.)

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Triple-Story Dance Floor and a Spiral Staircase

My House is hard at work building OPI, which stands for “Our Private Interhouse.” Interhouse parties are open to all the undergrads on campus (and, unofficially, graduate student and non-Caltech guests as well as alumni), and each of the 8 student Houses hosts one for the campus each year. Back in the 70s, they allhappened on the same night–I can only imagine what a rave that must have been. The generic term is “interhouse,” but each party tends to have a different nickname associated with it depending on the identity of the House, and this is mostly used in case one finds the entire phrase of “___ Interhouse” too much of a mouthful to use in casual conversation–so basically, evolving like any type of slang.

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clubs

Walking Around Alhambra

Excursion #3: Walking Around Alhambra

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culture

Dumpling Night

Dumpling night is a termly tradition I have with my Caltech friends. Caltech’s meal plan doesn’t provide dinner on weekends, so we usually pick a weekend evening to hold dumpling night. My friends and I go to either 168 Market or 99 Ranch, both Asian markets about a 15 minute drive away from Caltech. Frozen dumplings at these markets go for about $2-$4 per bag, and there are about 25-30 dumplings in a bag, so it’s very economical.

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culture

Wine and Candlelight

Fleming House has an annual Valentine’s Day formal dinner called Wine and Candlelight. This year’s dinner was my fourth and last Wine and Candlelight dinner. Many students go with dates, but it is not required and plenty of people go alone. The attire is formal, and people love to take pictures before the event.

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culture

Pinkies Up

On Saturday, my friends and I went to The Langham for afternoon tea. The Langham is a fancy hotel in Pasadena, and some people’s parents stay there when they visit their kids at Caltech. The afternoon tea is a bit pricey (it starts at $46), but there is plenty of food and it’s well worth it. The hotel itself is gorgeous as well. It’s a great place to take pictures.

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research

Activism

Have you heard of the Caltech bubble? It’s a very, very real phenomenon where extremely busy students, splitting their time between homework and lectures and research and limited personal time, stop reading the news and rarely become aware of current events beyond what happens on their own campus. While understandable, it’s rather annoying and somewhat dangerous (do you want the people you are training to go forth and change the world to not be aware of what is going on in the world?). Not everyone on campus lives in the bubble, however. There are a few organizations on campus that focus onsocial justice and activism, including the Social Activism Speaker Series (SASS), run by the Caltech Y, Caltech PRISM, the Caltech Feminist Club, and Women in Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy. The Caltech Diversity Center hosts talks through the Food For Thought program (I recently posted about a lecture on the politics of protest by Caltech professor Dr. Jennifer Jahner), andadvises manystudent clubs (like PRISM and the Feminist Club). These groups have becomemore and more active over the four years I’ve been here, and it’s extremely heartening to see that more and more students are getting involved in issues that don’t directly affect their everyday lives on campus.

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culture

Participate in student activism

Excursion #2:Participate in student activism

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research

Birthdays at Caltech

At university, students often are away from their families, so it is up to those we live with who have become our adoptive family to step up on special occasions and fill in the blanks. Like birthdays, for example. It is a tradition for my whole House to come together and celebrate someone’s birthday at 12 a.m. the day of. In the general sense it is a terribly unhealthy practice, this business of eating at midnight, but in all practicality, if you are part of the plurality–if not majority–that goes to bed after 2 a.m. (and this spans a wide windowfrom 2-6 a.m., if not later for the truly nocturnal), then it is not so bad.

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research

That one time I sang at Disney

Hi friends,

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culture

The Politics of Protest Lecture

The Caltech Diversity Center has begun a lecture series on campus called “food for thought,” where, as you may have guessed if you know any college students, they bribe students with food to convince them to listen to amazing speakers on interesting topics (you might think that amazing speakers and interesting topics alone would be enough to entice Caltech students away from their homework, but you would be surprised). This weekend, the CCD hosted a talk by Caltech English professor Dr. Jennifer Jahner, on the topic of “The Politics of Protest.” The CCD catered the event with our local and beloved Mexican food truck, Ernie’s.

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global

Tea at the Langham- Treat Yo' Self

A few of us bloggers (and some other ladies) visited the Langham Hotel in South Pasadena for afternoon tea this Saturday. Oh my goodness it was delicious. And very fancy. If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’ll notice that I wrote an almost identical post last year (2015 Fall) when I was studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh- my mother and I visited the Balmoral Hotel for tea when she flew out to Scotland to drop me off for the start of classes. This experience in Pasadena was nearly identical- there were fewer kilted men this weekend- and I enjoyed it just as much!

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research

A Life in the Day of a Chemistry Major

Hi friends,

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local

Food food food!

Ahhh winter. My long-distance partner visited campus this past weekend and while it was pouring rain (honestly this never happens in LA but if it does rain, it’s only between the months of January and March), we made quick work of all of our favorite restaurants, a few favorite recipes, and a few new choices!

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culture

Homemade Buche de Noel

Hi everyone! Welcome to “Four Years and Four Seasons.” As a refresher for anyone who has read my profile, and an introduction for all the new faces to this blog, my name is Anita and I am a chemistry major in my last year at Caltech. My other academic love is English, and in fact, the name of this blog is a line taken from a poem I wrote last year about my holistic experiences as a Techer. I will go into details of my not-so-simultaneous journeys down the paths of chemistry and English another time, but for my first post, I’d like to share a memory from my winter break this year–making a Buche de Noel, a.k.a. a Yule Log Cake.

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clubs

Celebrating Caltech's Basketball Teams

Excursion #1: Celebrating Caltech’sBasketball Teams Let’s go to the ball game! There are few places that highlight Caltech’s school pride as much as our basketball games. Tonight was doubly special: it’s Senior Night as well as Orange Out. Senior Night celebrates all the seniors on the team. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee organizes one Orange Out event for each of the sports teams and provides entertainment, free goodies, and food. The women’s volleyball team volunteered at the event, handing out free pizza, orange T-shirts, frisbees, and more.

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academics

Winter Carnival

This past Saturday, ASCIT (Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology) held a winter carnival event for both undergrads and graduate students! The goal of the event was to bring some winter fun to sunny So Cal and to provide stress relief during midterms. We had a similar event two years ago, but not last school year.

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local

President's Day Food Adventures

President’s Day was an institute holiday, so no food was provided by Caltech’s meal plan. I decided to take full advantage of this to try some new places and visit some old ones.

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culture

Valentine's Day / Bestia

1) With the girls

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research

Tour of the Ceramics Studio

I’m currently taking ceramics, an elective at Caltech. It’s held from 7-10pm on Wednesday nights at Polytechnic, a private school across the street from Caltech. Ceramics is very laid back - it’s all about you making whatever you want. You can leave early or show up late if you have a lot of work on a particular night. The instructor gives demonstrations as well. You can also repeat the class or just show up, so essentially this classjust gives you access to a pottery studio and materials for three hours a week. In this post, I will take you on a “tour” of the ceramics studio.

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DTLA

Hi friends,

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local

Saturday Brunch at Sqirl

Last Saturday I went to Sqirl with some of my housemates! (My primary house affiliation is Page House). Sqirl was on my list of brunch places to try for awhile, so I was glad I finally got to go. It’s also on Jonathan Gold’s list of 101 Best Restaurants in the Los Angeles Area. The food at Sqirl was definitely worth the half hour drive to East Hollywood and the additional half hour wait outside the door. I have a car on campus, which makes it a bit easier to get off campus and go do things. If you don’t have a car, there are plenty of options - Uber/Lyft, public transportation, and friends with cars. ;) We each chose to order a different dish so we could try as many things as possible! We had the ricotta toast w/ blueberry jam, chicken + rice porridge, avocado toast, pesto sorrel bowl, and crispy rice salad. We also tried some of their pastries, including a black sesame mochi cake and a malva pudding cake (similar to sticky toffee pudding). Call me basic, but my favorite dish was the avocado toast.

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A Day in My Life (Friday February 3rd)

This is what I do on a typical Friday! I plan to write more “A Day in My Life” posts to give you a glimpse of what Caltech student’s daily lives are like.

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Jennifer Musto Talk

Two weeks ago, the Caltech Feminist Club was honored to co-host a visiting speaker, Dr. Jennifer Musto, for a talkaboutthe technological methods used to combat sex trafficking. Dr. Musto is a professor of Gender Studies at Wellesley College, and is on sabbatical in LA at the moment, and graciously accepted our invitation to speak. The Feminist Club co-hosted with the Student-Activism Speaker Series (SASS, an organization run through the Caltech Y). About 60 people, both students and community members, attended the talk. It was an amazing turnout for a fantastic talk!

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Pasadena Outings

I’ve headed off campus a few times over the past two weeks, and I am so glad I did! Even with a packed class schedule, it’s really fun exploring the area and doing activities that I haven’t in the past three years.

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clubs

Home for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year was on Saturday January 28. The date is based on the lunar calendar. Unlike New Year’s Day which marks January 1st, Chinese New Year falls on a different day each year. This year is the year of the rooster. You can read more about the twelve zodiac years here.

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culture

Caltech Dining Chinese New Year Dinner

In this post, I will talk about Caltech’s dining plan and special themed dinners - specifically Caltech’s Chinese New Year themed dinner. I will share some of my family’s Chinese New Year traditions and celebrations in a separate post.

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research

Guest Post

Hi friends, I have a special treat for y’all: a guest post! This one’s from Daniel, myfriend who is also a senior and majors in physics but knows a lot about everything else, too. Last term, he tooka really cool class on remote sensing that took him to the heart of JPL and space missions. If you’ve done Science Olympiad, perhaps you’ve heard a bit about remote sensing. (If you don’t do SciOly, don’t fret–a lot of Techers haven’t, either!) When I was in high school, I somehow took up that event and ended up taking a test about satellites and other remote sensing topics that I really should have studied…

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Meet Our Bloggers

Options: Geophysics and English

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global

Winter Break in Florida

For those of you who are new to my blog or don’t know/don’t remember, I hail from the small, sunny town of San Marino (read: 10 minutes from campus). So, I had a fun and relaxing break at home, which is still super close to Caltech. I mostly met up with old friends and hung out with the fam. However, I also went to Florida for a week, which is primarily what I’ll talk about in this post! I’ve been to Florida with my family before, but this time I wentalone to visit friends, so it was quite a different experience! I did a lot of touristy things like going to Disney World (Epcot), Miami beach, and taking a boat tour of the Everglades. My friends and I also saw Rogue One and went on another friend’s family’s boat for a day trip out on the water. My favorite thing about Florida was the weather - it was in the high 70’s and low 80’s the whole time I was there - much warmer than it was in So Cal. For all you East Coast readers - remember that I’m from So Cal and I’m a huge wimp when it comes to cold weather! I barely noticed the humidity (although I hear it gets very humid in the summer months). My least favorite thing about Florida was the mosquitoes. :(

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global

Rare Japanese Lessons

Hey friends, Lastterm I took L 106, the intro Japanese course. I lived in Japan briefly when I was young, and although I was once fluent in Japanese, I forgot it quicklyafter moving to the US. Even while growing up in Texas,I watched these amazing films by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli with my family. For those unfamiliar with Studio Ghibli, it’s a studio that makes gorgeous films with thought-provoking stories that remind people to love nature and respect strong women. It was my delight to find many Ghibli fans at Caltech. Last year, my house (Avery) even took on Studio Ghibli as the theme for our annual interhouse party. We painted giant eight-foot-tall murals that brought much-beloved films like Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke to life. It was the best interhouse yet–we spent the month before sprawled on these giant sheets of drywall, coloring in our favorite characters while listening to the beautiful Ghibli movie soundtracks composed by the extremely gifted Joe Hisaishi…

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clubs

First Term Updates

Dear Readers, Apologies for the extended break - I’m back and ready to share all the exciting aspects of senior year at Caltech. :) But first, I want to take a step back and give you a quick overview offirst term (September - December).

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Spotlight


academics

My Trip to the Galapagos!

It’s been over three months since my trip to the Galapagos, and I am still thinking about it. For seven days, we all woke up at 5:30 am on the boat, ate breakfast together, and went out as the sun was rising on our morning hike to catch frigatebirds mating or iguanas spewing salt from their nostrils. Our days were spent snorkeling with turtles, sea lions, and schools of fish, and our nights were spent sitting on the bow of the ship, talking all together under the stars. It was truly a spring break I will never forget.

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culture

Caltech Food Tour

Caltech may be a small campus, but it has a large variety of food options. There are three main dining locations on campus — The Lee F. Browne Dining Hall, the Hameetman Center (which houses our beloved Red Door Cafe), and the Broad Café.

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academics

Some Late-Night Stress-Saving Food Runs

Midterms kept up its unrelenting attack on my sanity this week – at least a little bit. And how did I solve this? Two words.

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global local culture

Quick Trip to the Beach

Although there are a lot of smaller things, such as midterm smoothies and milkshakes (Blacker does something similar to this) and some larger things like Faculty Dessert Night, the soc team usually agrees that beach trip is the most work.

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