culture

Snowboarding at Cypress

Snowboarding with my friend Cecilia is an annual occasion when I go home for the holidays. Cecilia and I actually learned snowboarding a few years ago. We signed up for these intro lessons, but arrived at the slopes early and thought that we would try a run before the lesson to see where we at. We were slightly confused, so took the lift to a green run instead of the bunny hills. We got down that run 80% on our butt and 20% on our feet, but it was a great start. By the end of that day’s lesson, we were getting down that same run 80% on our feet. Of course, now we are much better.

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global

Goodbye, Old Chang Kee

Well. I’m on a flight out of the UK right now. I’m going from London to Iceland, and then heading back home to Denver for a couple weeks.

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global

Castle to E4, Checkmate

(Yes, I know they’re called rooks, but I needed a pun) Hiya lads and lasses! I did my final wee bit of Scotland exploration this week, which is to say, I finally did the one touristy thing I’d been avoiding doing for all too long. I went to Edinburgh Castle. AND I went INSIDE Edinburgh Castle.

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global

#1

It was a farewell dinner today. The beginning of the end. Crazy to think in less than a week I’ll be back in Denver and this entire country hopping adventure will be completely over.

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global

Drizzles in Durham

There, and back again. A Caltech student’s tale.

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academics

It’s Studying Time

Well, the week before finals week is finally here. And I spent that studying, but also, doing the ever-important finishing of reports, and honestly, taking a couple of much-needed naps to catch up on everything else.

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global

From Cold into Colder

It is COLD here. I know I’ve said that before but hOh my goodness I almost froze to death on Saturday. Of course, this wasn’t helped by how I almost froze to death Friday night as well. But that was by personal choice. So, Friday, night before a fencing tournament (as it always is) I decided to do something rather bone-headed and so I found myself at the ice-skating rink for disco night. Ice-skating has long been a tradition of mine, and one that I skipped during last school year. I’m not a pro or anything, but I don’t fall over anymore, and I can somewhat skate backwards, and that’s usually good enough for any ice rink in California.

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global

Thankful for Singapore Society

I killed today. Yes, I killed Thanksgiving dinner, but more than that, this was the first time that I’d ever prepared live seafood.

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culture

Ice Skating

Ice skating seems rather uncommon here in Southern California as there are only two year-round rinks within driving distance of Caltech. One is the Pasadena Ice Skating Center which is only minutes away, the other is the Santa Monica Rink which is way out west. The interesting thing is, the Olympic figure skating Mirai Nagasu is actually local. Her family owns a sushi restaurant in Arcadia that is only 10 minutes away. There are a lot of Caltech events at the Pasadena rink. The houses often play broomball with each other. For broomball, we would rent out the entire rink. It’s extremely fun and you do not need to know to skate to play. My friends and I have also gone a couple of times to actually skate during their public skate sessions. In fact, two weekends ago, a friend and I headed over to polish up our extremely rusty skating skills.

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global

Cold, Wet, And Happy

Well uh, good evening from a cold and rainy Scotland. I spent the whole of today in beautiful St. Andrew’s Scotland. Funny, I know. I’m Andrew. In St. Andrew’s. And even funnier, it was my mother who told me I had to go to check the place out.

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global

Christmas In… November?

Cue bells, jolly music, and large men in red tracksuits It’s Christmas in Edinburgh! Take that with a grain of salt; I personally don’t believe that the holiday season starts until after Thanksgiving, regardless of what holiday (if you celebrate a holiday) in December. But the Edinburgh Christmas market did start last week, and so I had to go and visit. I joined along on a Singapore society trip but split off from them a bit early because my and I hadn’t had dinner before coming, so we had to go hunt that down.

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clubs

WE19 Conference

Every year, the Caltech Society of Women Engineers attends the National SWE conference to network with other SWE Chapters and to hustle for jobs. Last year, the event was in Minneapolis, and the year before in Austin. This time around, it’s in Anaheim which is much more convenient for us. Since it is much closer, we were able to send many more delegates to attend and miss fewer classes in the process of doing so.

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global

A Fusillade of Question Marks (Belfast Part 2)

One of my favorite Northern Irish poets, Ciaran Carson, passed away last month, and this second part of the trip, this post title, and my Belfast exploration was completely inspired by him. Prior to taking Irish literature last year, I’d never really considered going to Ireland at all, much less that in the span of a month and a half I would be in both Belfast and in Dublin. And now, a full year later, I’ve been to both and am still floating the possibility of a trip to Galway. Crazy how life changes like that.

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global

I Lava Northern Ireland (Belfast Part 1)

Well good morning there! Today I’m writing about what I did last weekend (as per usual). And what I did… was go to Ireland! Again! Except this was a little different than the last trip as we went to Northern island, specifically Belfast and the surrounding area. Our main reason for doing this was to go and visit the Giant’s Causeway (or, at least my main reason), an exceedingly unique geological feature North of Belfast, where cooling lava bends cracked, forming what is now a series of beautiful angular columns, most of which are heptagonal or hexagonal in shape. To do this though, we ended up on a bus tour (as this was significantly easier than renting a car for the weekend) and made a few other stops as well. These included the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, a traditionally dodgy bridge built for salmon fishing, that, since restrictions on salmon fishing had been implemented had been taken over by the national trust and made into a (somewhat disappointing) short bridge to a small island. The surrounding area was beautiful though. We also stopped at a couple of castles and a few other locations, but honestly most of them weren’t all too noteworthy, so enjoy this picture of a sheep that was at one of the stops.

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clubs

Day in Durham and Fall Feels

It’s truly Autumn in Scotland now. It reached 0 degrees Celsius today, or 32 Fahrenheit for you yanks. They’re setting up the Christmas market downtown (as thanksgiving isn’t a thing here they just skip directly from Halloween to Christmas). Snow isn’t falling, but it does seem to be raining every other day. And it’s pleasant, quite pleasant. The rain turns Edinburgh into even more of a dramatic and beautiful city than usually is.

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global

A Scone, on a Stone, in Scone

G’day mates! Today I am writing from Edinburgh, but I just go back from Perth! Yep, that’s right: flights to Australia were reaaaally cheap this weekend so we just couldn’t resist a trip down under! It was great! We saw a koala, had a Tim Tam Slam, and… yeah… just kidding. We went to Perth, Scotland, haha.

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global

Mont St Michel

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culture

A Night of Poetry

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culture

L'X Campus

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global

Typhoon Season

After the rainy season in Japan comes summer. And with summer comes the typhoon season. Typhoons (or as we call them, hurricanes) are common in this part of the pacific. They will often hit the coast and Japan has frequent typhoon warnings, especially Kyushu, Shikoku, and western Honshu, the main island. Okinawa, which is farther south and west, has even more trouble. These typhoons are often downgraded before hitting the coast, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any devastation. The high winds and heavy rains mean that mudslides and flooding rivers are fairly common with the advent of each typhoon.The most recent typhoon, Krosa, was downgraded to a Severe Tropical Storm before hitting Japan. But it still went right through Hiroshima, with winds strong enough for Japan Rail to stop Shinkansen service in JR West (everything to the West of Osaka). Boats and ferries to smaller islands off the coast of Honshu were also cancelled that Thursday. I know because I was originally planning to take one! Even if they happen often, they’re still dangerous. It’s concerning that one can get used to hearing about typhoons every other week. Now, I almost expect them to come up on the news.

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global

The City That Never Sleeps

Last weekend, another Techer and I drove down to New York City to spend a weekend visiting friends, seeing the sights, and eating food of course. Being that I am originally from the Midwest and go to school on the west coast, this is my first time really seeing the east coast and my first trip to New York City. We met up and stayed with a recent Caltech alum who generously let us sleep on her couch for the weekend. We arrived pretty late Friday night and just took the night to enjoy some Thai food and relax before a full day on Saturday.

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global

A Real Live MUMMY

So far in Boston I have visited two different art museums, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). Although the museums were fairly close to each other, I did visit on different days. Both are very accessible from the green line, which was super convenient considering how blistering hot Boston has been lately. Also, something I learned recently is that MIT students get into both art museums for free by just showing their ID, so of course I showed my very much temporary and very much not a student MIT ID and saved some money.

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global

Summer Festivals

Summer in Japan is the season of festivals (matsuri) and fireworks (hanabi). Right now I’ll talk about the festivals that go on all around Japan. They take place for many different reasons and celebrate many different things. The pictures you see are from a festival in Otaru, Hokkaido called the Ushio Matsuri. This is the tide festival that they hold to thank the ocean for the bountiful year and pray for the growth and protection of the city and its citizens. Matsuri usually last a few days and come with a parade of some sort (and occasionally fireworks at night). The participants in the parade vary by the festival. Because this was a tide festival, those in the parade dance to Ushio Ondo, and taiko drums feature prominently. Other Buddhist festivals include shrines (called mikoshi) that are carried in a procession by participants, while still other matsuris have dances such as the Bon Odori.These festivals take place all over Japan, and I can assure you that one will take place somewhere almost every week or weekend! There is a ton of variety and so much history behind each one. I think that this is one of the most unique things about Japan, and something that you would be hard pressed to find in any other country. I am trying to see as many as possible while I’m here, in order to get the full experience of Japanese culture!

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global

Trip to Enoshima

Between Kamakura and Fujisawa of Kanagawa prefecture is a tiny Island called Enoshima. It is part of a long stretch of the coast known as a beautiful summer vacation spot, especially for the beaches and the view of Mt Fuji on a clear day. That stretch of coast especially attractive in the hot summer for the cooler ocean temperatures, even though it’s bloody humid - because honestly, so is the rest of Japan. As you come from Kamakura, either by foot or using the train, there are a lot of old temples that you can tour. Kamakura is known for the Daibutsu (literally big budda) and the numerous temple gardens. As it’s summer right now, the flowers are in full bloom, and are a must-see!Enoshima is known for the great views of the ocean that you can get from the top of the “candle” on the island, as well as the complex of caves that is said to have been the places where multiple monks reached enlightenment. Another thing it’s known for are the tiny, almost-translucent fish called shirasu. It’s somewhat related to anchovies, and is traditionally eaten raw like sushi. However the restaurant I went to had options to have it boiled or fried like tempura as well. Although I did try it (and liked it!) the taste and texture is not for everyone. I can always say that I’ve tried it now though!

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global

A Peek at Yokohama

I’ve been living in Yokohama while in Japan, a city I’ve never actually been to despite its proximity to Tokyo (a place I’ve been a fair number of times). Because it’s by the bay, it has beautiful views of the sea. I’m also super lucky, as I am living only a kilometer from the famous island Minato Mirai, which is a premier tourist destination. On my brief walks around, I have really enjoyed being so close to the water. When you hear the rumble of the waves as they rush into the side of the pier, it has a calming effect that I don’t believe anyone can deny. That, coupled with the vast views of the harbor, the bridge, and the ships as they float by, makes for a wonderful experience.

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global

Rain, rain, go away... jk please stay

Ever heard of the rainy season? I have heard that it’s very common in certain parts of the world. However, I lived in America all my life, so I never had the chance to see or experience it for myself. Until now at least! Japan has this rainy season, which they call Tsuyu (梅雨) as I learned. I really had no idea when it was supposed to happen, but I arrived right in the middle of it! It lasts from after spring, right around May/June until midway through July.So far, it’s been characterized by cloudy skies every day. There’s been light rain at least once a week as well, sometimes accompanied by some pretty strong winds. I’ve already broken one umbrella, and I hope the count doesn’t go up! Still the temperature is not too bad, around 70 or 80 Fahrenheit and 24-28 Celsius. It’s much preferable to the actual summer temperatures. I’ve been told it can get up to 35 Celsius - which I have been too scared to look up so far, but I’m sure it won’t be pleasant when I actually have to experience it in August!

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global

A Must Sea Experience

Ahoy! I just went to visit the New England Aquarium and of my Boston adventures thus far, it is definitely a highlight! Would highly recommend to anyone in the region or visiting the region, although it was kind of expensive (around $30 for a day pass). The aquarium sits right on the edge of the bay near Boston’s north end and was fairly easy to get to using the redline. Getting back however was NOT fun because while I had been walking around inside the museum, a classic northeastern downpour began outside. I’m talking a heavy, steady downpour that lasted for hours and left puddles the size of small ponds! Just a word of advice to anyone planning touristy day trips: always check the weather and be prepared.

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global research

Change of Scenery

Hello all! My name is Lexy LeMar. I’m a rising junior studying chemical engineering in the environmental track (ChE ESE for short). I am currently writing to you from Boston, Massachusetts where I am doing research this summer through Caltech’s SURF program. For those of you who are unfamiliar with SURF, it is a ten week research program over the summer that allows students to conduct research in a lab on campus, at the Jet Propulsion Lab, or in any other institute research lab in the world! Last summer, I did a SURF in the Seinfeld group on campus, studying volatile organic compounds and characterizing the fluid dynamics of the Caltech photochemical oxidation flow tube reactor. I had a really great experience both in the lab and going on weekend adventures around the Los Angeles area; however, being on campus for such a long period of time made me realize how much I wanted a change of scenery.

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global

My Morning Commute

Japan is well known for its bullet train, the Shinkansen, but the country is very well connected through a lot of different train lines locally. It’s unbelievably useful in getting around (especially coming from LA, where one has to drive everywhere!) but it can also be super confusing if you don’t know exactly the direction you’re going in and what you have to take. For example, you can’t just know the train lines and the stations at which you will be getting on and off. At the very least, you should also know the terminus of the line in the direction that you’ll be going in. Ideally, you’ll also know if the train line offers express trains, and which stations those trains will stop at. This can also help in arriving at your destination quicker, because you’ll be able to take express trains as close to your station as possible.

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local

Anza Borrego Superbloom

This year, there was a superbloom in California because of all the rain we got from December to February. During spring break, three friends and I went to Anza-Borrego state park near San Diego to see the wildflowers. It’s about a 2 hour drive away from Caltech, and on the way, we saw flowers dotting the hills along the highway. Some hills were orange from all the California Poppies, while others were yellow and purple.

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research

I’ll Be Back

And I’ll be Mozart.

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research

We’re *Definitely* Not in Pasadena Anymore, Toto

16 hours of airtime, more of just sitting in airports. And well, we’re definitely not in Pasadena. Exactly where am I though?

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local

Life’s Looking Pretty Beachy

Welcome to part 2 of “Chandrew has a friend in town and is procrastinating his schoolwork by hanging out with him”! Also known as “It’s a Sunday so we went to the beach”. We specifically went to my old favorite beach – the place I went the first time I came to Los Angeles: Santa Monica! After a quick lunch in the morning of In-N-Out (gotta get that 3x3 and animal style fries every day), we took the trek out to the beach for some fun in the sun.

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local

Griffith Adventure Land

Greetings from La La Land! Actually, pretty much the top of La La Land. No, I didn’t make a trip out to Mt. Baldy; I did that last year and I suffered enough on that hike!

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culture

OC Can You Say?

It’s Sunday night and you know what that means: FOOD! TRUCK! ROAD! TRIP! (minus the truck part of the food truck).

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local

Watts the Matter?

Fasten your seatbelts, attach your climbing harness to your jetpack, it’s time for FIELD TRIP 2019 EDITION! But Andrew, you say, you aren’t in any geology classes this term. And you’re right. This was something special. Something unique. Something just odd enough to be beautiful: an English field trip.

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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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clubs

Oh Capitan, El Capitan!

Hey fronds.

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research

Blinterhouse Round 2

Hello, my friends, it has been a long week but it’s the weekend now!

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local

Brunch at Zinc Cafe & Market

For R’s birthday, we went to get brunch at Zinc Cafe & Market in the LA Arts District. We had originally planned to go to BluJam Cafe in downtown LA, but there was unexpectedly a two hour wait because of the LA Marathon the next day! Thankfully we stumbled upon this place on Yelp and switched plans.

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local

LA Art Book Fair

Printed Matter recently hosted an LA Art Book Fair at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Little Tokyo. The fair focuses on the distribution of artists’ books, and it is free to attend. Inside, there are hundreds of booths, each with its unique kind of merchandise, including books, zines, posters, monographs, and more.

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culture

Caltech Art Gala

Every year, Caltech’s literary and arts magazine Totem hosts the Art of Science competition.

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Spotlight


local culture

Pasadena, City of Roses

Even if you’ve heard of Caltech before, you might never have heard of Pasadena, the quaint Los Angeles suburb it’s tucked into.

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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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culture

Caltech Art Gala

Every year, Caltech’s literary and arts magazine Totem hosts the Art of Science competition.

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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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