research

Back to Basics

The day I moved into my apartment, I went to a supermarket nearby to pick up some household supplies. I found myself confused about several products and stopped an employee to ask about the difference between them. What followed was basically strings of incomprehensible Japanese. I could pick out enough words to get some gist of what he was saying and then try to ask a follow-up question, which would invite another explanation I struggled to understand. Embarrassingly, I must’ve spent at least 5 minutes trying to work out the difference between a couple different types of bags (feel free to laugh, it was definitely one of my more pathetic moments).Despite having taken four years of Japanese classes, I felt about as prepared to communicate with Japanese people as if I’d taken four weeks’ worth of bare-minimum “survival Japanese.”

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I lost my heart in Heidelberg

Or in the original German: “Ich hab mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren.” A 1925 song composed by Fred Raymond, and now the theme song of the city of Heidelberg. The title is entirely justified, in my opinion.

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global

Anime la Expo (Part 1)

IT’S ANIME EXPO AGAIN!!! (The following post contains unmarked spoilers from Kill la Kill. I’ve tried to avoid the super important spoilers, but please consider yourself warned.) As a refresher, Anime Expo is a four-day-long anime convention held at the the LA Convention Center every July 4th weekend. As per last year’s post, I won’t be using any real names; I’ll be using the names of the characters everyone’s cosplaying as instead. A friendly guide for those of you who haven’t watched Kill la Kill:

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global

Food = Happiness

If anybody’s read my little blog description blurb, you’ll know it says:

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research

Summer Has Begun!

Episode 3: 6/30/2014 - Summer Has Begun!

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Travel Shenanigans

6:15 AM: wakeup.

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So Begins Week Two

Hi again!

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Fugu Fish Friday

Happy Fugu Fish Friday!

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research

Nice to meet you!

My name is Ariel. My favorite color is glow-in-the-dark (don’t tell me it’s not a color). I like zombie apocalypse fiction and postmodern poetry. I like my water cold from a Brita filter in the fridge and I take my tea-drinking seriously.

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First Impressions

Yokoso Japan! (“Welcome to Japan!”) is the slogan for the Japanese National Tourism Organization’s campaign to bring more foreign visitors to the country. I thought it would be an appropriate title given that I completely expect to be spending my weekends/vacation days doing some pretty tourist-y things. My name is Joanne and for this summer I’ll be doing an internship at Mitsubishi Electric in Japan and blogging about my time here.

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SURF! Eternal Summer

Hello everyone! It’s summer again, which means I have time to blog once more, oh boy.

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Bonfire at the Beach!

Hey guys!

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Camping and Laguna Beach

Hey guys,

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SPAAAAACE! (Part II)

The Saga Continues

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culture

Highlights of Faculty Dessert Night

Hey guys, Every year, Avery hosts faculty for Faculty Dessert Night. We invite our favorite faculty over for dinner and a talent show, followed by dessert. Shared here are just some exclusive highlights from this year’s event.

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research

SPAAAAACE! (Part I)

The Saga Begins

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culture

The View from Red Door

The sun is warm, the grass is green, the birds chirp, the gene pool spits out its cute little fountains of water.Summer is most definitely upon us. As I walked today back from Broad Institute to the houses, I was absolutely shocked at how beautiful the buildings looked! Check this out! Beckman Institute was always one of my favorite buildings on campus. And how it looked today only proved my point! Often, there are graduate students playing Ultimate Frisbee out on this lawn, as well as local Pasadena folks walking their dogs, pushing strollers, etc. Definitely one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been to.

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research

Time for Something Serious

One of the first things that drew me to Caltech was the unbelievable concentration of people that are out of their minds. No, it’s not a mental asylum, and no, it’s not hyperbole. What I mean is that the only bound that Caltech undergrads, grads, postdocs, faculty, and associates are have is that which they impose upon themselves. In effect, we are only stopped by the limits of our own creativity. This is what inspires true greatness.

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culture

The ABCs of Caltech

F…:The F photo hasn’t been taken yet, but it was holding up all the other letters that have been done! I’ll insert the photo here once we have it, but in the mean time, can you guess what iconic Caltech artifact will be featured? Hint: it has been the subject of many a prank. ;)

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research

That One Weekend I went to Mars

Hey guys!

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culture

Frosh Picnic!

Hey guys! Spring is the best time for picnics and parks and being little kids again. Some of the frosh from my house and I went out to Grant Park for some frisbee and food and fun. (:I figure these pictures sum it up:

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The ABCs of Caltech

Caltech has a beautiful campus, and equally beautiful students, and since I’m graduating soon, I wanted to share both with you in a perhaps unconventional way. Thus began my Caltech Alphabet project. For the past few weeks, my friends and I have been brainstorming various buildings and locations on campus that correspond to each letter of the alphabet. Some letters (especially B,R, and X!) were difficult to create using the human form, but I think the results are not too shabby.. Enjoy!

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research

Skyping with Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

During our Evolution class field trip to the Galapagos, we didn’t have much downtime. Most of the day was spent outdoors: hiking, observing, learning, and snorkeling. But when he did have some free time (when, say, lounging on the top deck while whale watching), we had an unofficial book club to keep up with. As a class, we’d decided to read* The Sixth Extinction*, by New Yorker journalist Elizabeth Kolbert.

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My Brother's Keeper

Hey guys! The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) was a couple of weeks ago, and maybe even some of the readers came out here to LA for that! My brother, Jason, was one of the lucky ones this year, and I was even luckier in that respect because I got to see him while he was here. ISEF kept him pretty busy during the week, but I had him all to myself the Saturday afternoon before. :D My uncle also lives pretty close by, so he took us to all these great food places in the area. After a quick tour of Avery and introducing him to some of my friends, we headed to Shin-Sen-Gumifor some legit traditional Japanese down-to-earth good-for-the-soul ramen.

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academics

Fun in Ge1

One of the requirements for graduation from Caltech is what they call a “menu course,” a class in a less popular subject to expose people to a field they usually won’t interact with. This term, the available menu courses were Ge1 (geology), Ay1 (astronomy), and IST4 (information systems and technology). I decided to take Ge1, and it proved to be pretty cool. Here are some miscellaneous but fascinating photos.

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culture

Ditch Day 2014 (Part 2)

Back at the House, we ran into Sherman, our old president. The tradition is to duct-tape any senior you find on campus to a tree, but we didn’t have any tape on us. However, our next task presented us with a huge tub of water ballons, plenty of ammo to spare on pelting a hapless upperclassman 5-to-1. “No, stop!” Sherman pleaded. “I’m carrying pizza for my stack. You can’t get me wet!” (He had helped make a Sherlock stack, and we heard later that their group traveled all the way to the Getty Villa in Malibu, among other interesting places.)

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Dance Show

Hey guys!

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culture

Ditch Day 2014 (Part 1)

At dinner on May 14, 2014, Venerable Dining Hall was packed with the usual attendees, extra seniors who generally didn’t show up, and alumni. The seniors banged silverware and shouted, “Go to bed, frosh! The REAL Ditch Day is Tomorrow!” Curfew was a horrendously early 11:30 pm that night, strictly enforced by stealthily excited fourth-years–they seemed to be swarming everywhere, yet none of us could see them actually doing anything.

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Getting scooped

Early Saturday morning, about three weeks ago, our Indian professor Bhaskar emailed the image below to our ME105 class. While flipping through the morning newspaper in India, he came across an article about a new device called spotNsave and immediately thought of our product design class. Within minutes of skimming the story, he’d pulled out his Blackberry, snapped a photo, and sent a mass email to all forty students.

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global

How to Train Your Dragon

One of the highlights of having to come back early from the Ge 1 field tripwas getting to see what Blacker did for Interhovse. I’d never seen How to Train Your Dragon, so after we took a tour of Blacker’s interpretation, my roomie, Gauri (you’ll meet her furreal later), made me go watch it. (: Only afterwards did we both realize just how thorough Blacker was. It’s clear they had a lot of fun with their theme. Without further ado, some pictures:

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clubs

Adventures of Ojai

A couple weekends ago, we drove to the Ventura area to play in an invitational tennis tournament. It was difficult to finish up all my sets to leave Wednesday night, but the trip was 100% worth it! From the women’s team, Rebs and I played in the tournament, and the six players from the men’s starting lineup also came.

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academics

Electromagnetism too hard

Ugh, this was suppposed to be such a good week, but this freaking class Ph106. I should give a bit of background on the classes I’m taking:

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culture

Rocks for Dinner

All freshmen are required to live on campus, and thus, are required to be on the Caltech meal plan. This gives us access to all-you-can-eat open kitchen food Monday to Friday from 7:00am – 11:00am for breakfast, 3:00pm – 5:00pm for mid-day snacktime, and 5:00 – 7:00pm for dinner. On top of all that, we have $450 every term to buy lunch at Chandler or Broad Café on Weekdays, go to CHouse Sunday through Thursday nights, or buy snacks/meals/convenience store items seven days per week from the C-Store.

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Just Doing some Good-en

The past week was the middle school Science Fair at The Gooden School in Sierra Madre. A good friend of mine, senior physics student Valère Lambert (see his awesome blogs here!) asked me if I’d be willing to help out the next Tuesday. I didn’t have class that morning, so I said, sure! We got up real early (7 am, can you believe it?!?!) and headed out. The tri-fold boards of all three grades were lined up on tables in the gymnasium. Val with his coffee and I with my tea, we walked around as we waited for the first period to begin. Some experiments looked very impressive for middle schoolers! First up was sixth grade. Val and I got our clipboards with grading sheets and pens. The procedure was as follows. Each student would give his or her presentation in front of the entire class, their teacher, and us (the judges). All of the sixth grade projects were in the earth sciences, seventh grade projects were in the biological or chemical sciences, and eighth grade projects were in the physical sciences. Several of the students’ projects were very impressive considering their age!

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clubs

Road to the Rose Bowl Part 2

Jan 1 - Morning (in retrospect)** The Rose Parade begins at 8am but if you want a really really good seat, you’ve got to camp out your spot. Walking down Colorado St. the night before, you can see residents putting down tarps and putting up tents to claim their territory. We didn’t go to such drastic measures but were still lucky enough to get standing room on the curb. One of the silliest things about the parade were the organizers you could see walking around, keeping people back. They were wearing reallybrilliant white suitswith red ties and bright red socks and looked altogether ridiculous. Combined with thebrilliant whitemopeds that a few of them were driving around just brought it all together. The floats were beautiful and grand, just what you would expect from such a huge national event. It was hard for us to take nice pictures, but here’s a sample of my favorites courtesy of the official Tournament of Roses Facebook page.

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culture

Holiday Décor

Throwback Thursday! Tom Mannion is someone who needs no introduction. But since you, dear readers, probably haven’t met the man behind the magic, I’ll give you a brief one. Tom Mannion works for Caltech and lives a short block away from the undergraduate houses - practically across the street from the Admissions building. Tom loves to throw free (or veeeery highly subsidized) events for students. Some call him a professional entertainer, the coolest of cool, a space cowboy, the gangster of love, “Maurice”, but everyone can agree that Tom is THE MAN. (Check out “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band if you missed those last few references.) Over winter break, Tom is hosting several events to entertain students that are staying on campus and to make sure that we are in fact still eating. (Practically every Mannion event begins or ends with stuffing your face). Tonight was a trip into different parts of nearby Los Angeles to view some particularly spectacular Christmas decorations.

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clubs

Geology rocks! (;

Hello again! This weekend reminded me again of how blessed I am to be at a small school like Tech. My menu course, Ge 1 (Geology), had a trip scheduled to see all these different landforms that we’d been studying.

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Easter Day

For Easter, the UCCs organized an egg hunt for the house. The eggs were hid around the house and at noon, we were given colorful baskets and set free to pickup eggs! There aren’t many good hiding places for eggs in a college dorm room, and also we wouldn’t want the candy to rot in the case the egg wasn’t found, so they were placed in obvious places. But it was still really fun! And funny to see eggs about various places:

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Reflections on Tennis Season

The conference tournament that we call SCIACs (that’s just the name of our conference) was this past weekend, concluding our season. It was especially hot this weekend, but as my coach always says, the sun shines and the wind blows on both sides of the net: what you’re feeling your opponent is as well. And after three matches, Caltech earned 7th place out of the nine teams in conference, which is quite an achievement and improvement from past years. You can read more about us here.

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Behind the Scenes of Lloyd Interhouse

Ahoy ye landlubbers! Thar be merrymaking to be had hereabouts! All ye blokes an beauties, weigh anchor, hoist the sails, land ho! Feast yer eyes, point yer pegleg, or ye’ll be a-walkin the plank! Tis the time o’ Lloyd Interhouse! Lloyd Interhouse was exactly one week ago, and man, was it a party. The theme was Pirates of the Caribbean. While Jenny wrote a fantastic post about her experience that night, I thought I’d give you, dear readers, a behind-the-scenes look at the finest event of the year.

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Easter Weekend

Hello there! Right after the prefrosh left us, Easter weekend stopped by. (Personally, I think everyday should be Easter! :D) Some of my friends from the Caltech Christian Fellowship (CCF) and Life Church Fellowship (LCF) spent our Saturday evening at the Union Station Homeless Services Center, making food for and eating with the residents there. We got to talk to some really amazing people and hear some of their stories.

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culture

Welcome to the Greatest Birthday of Your Life

Biggie Smalls once said, “Birthdays was the worst days, now we sip champagne when we thirst-ay.” In Lloyd House, however, Birthdays are always the best days, and we eat cake instead of champagne, at least once per week to celebrate.

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Spotlight


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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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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