research

The Rain Really Makes My Day (Journey to Osaka)

Osaka Osaka is the “Anti-Tokyo”, as one would put it. That would make it the Anti-Anti-Okazaki, huh. Anyways, Osaka is the second largest city in Japan, and is famous for its laid back attitude despite the large-city feel. There’s also a ton of things to do there.

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research

Visiting the Sister

While I was home, my parents and I took a trip up to visit my sister at college. She’s a freshman at Carnegie Mellon and she had just finished her second week of classes.

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research

The Last Parisian Hurrah...

So picking up where i left off! That Sunday was a wacky day… I, yet again, was out until sunrise _ Regardless, I still managed to arrange a picnic with some friends (thank god for cell phones); they were Kerry and Katie, the MITers, and we had a delicious little lunch at Luxembourg Gardens.

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research

Projects in Pasajquim

While we were camping by Lake Atitlan, we also took some time to visit Pasajquim. Pasajquim was the small village that hosted Caltech & Landivar students last year. Paired with the Caltech Y, the E/ME 105 class last year stayed with the families in Pasajquim and provided work and service to the small community. So we went back to visit the people and look at the improved stove that was built, and also test some projects for this year.

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global

Nagano

Gifu and Nagoya

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global

Gifu and Nagoya (Short Post)

Disclaimer

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research

Europe, je t'aime, mais il faut dire au revoir.

I am writing this as I sit in my room at Ecole Polytechnique intermittently packing my things. My plane will take off toward the fire engulfed city of LA in about 7 hours. I miss my friends. I miss my family. And I miss Paris and the people I got to know here, my new friends, and heck I haven’t even left yet. I’ll recap a bit of my final Parisian hurrah…

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culture

Camping at Lake Atitlan

After lunch that day, we got ready to leave Panajachel in boats for our campsite on the other side of Lake Atitlan.

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global

A Hectic Day

Program Details

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research

Station Fire

Just a quick note about very relevant current events. Last week on Wednesday, a wildfire started a few miles away from JPL, up the Angeles Crest Highway. This ‘Station Fire’ has since grown to be huge. The main JPL campus (on Oak Grove) was closed over the weekend, and the fire line got quite close to here over the weekend – within a mile or so. But that part of the fire boundary was contained, and the active burning is not so close to the main JPL campus anymore, so it’s out of direct danger. Still, the Oak Grove part of the lab was closed for most people (like me) on Monday because of air quality concerns.

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global

Cuanto Cuesta?

Our huge group of 20 left Antigua at 6am to drive an hour to the Solola Market and the town of Panajachel.

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research

Now it's time to go, curtain's finally closin'

They say that time flies when you’re having fun, but this is ridiculous! I feel like I just showed up in Paris yesterday! Boy has a lot happened since I saw you guys last… Most notably I did the huge Eurotrip that any American traveling this continent really must do. Most people do tourism throughout this trip, but not me! Haha my plan was a bit more complicated (and in my opinion, fulfilling!) than that :D So why did I scurry around Europe for 12 days? The direction of my trip was motivated by several things, including opportunities to see some of my favorite musical artists perform, getting to know certain regions through the eyes of the people who live there, meeting up with tons of my family members, and even finding beautiful places to relax and do a lot of nothing! :)

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global

First Day

Orientation

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research

Tour of JPL

On Wednesday, 12 August, during week 9 of the normal SURF period, Varoujan led the Astronomy summer student coffee group on a tour of JPL. Why so late? Well, at least one of the viewing galleries we were going to visit was closed prior to that, so late is better than never! And at least for me, my time out at JPL only led me to visit a couple of buildings, and none of the ones with the cool viewing galleries. So I was excited to see new things.

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culture

Visiting workshops and partying one night in Antigua

Hey everyone! I’m finally back in the states after spending 9 days in Guatemala—what an adventure! I didn’t have any substantial access to internet or time to blog—so I will be blogging about my travel from the comfort of my home in San Diego.

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research

The Surf Shop

When I came to Caltech, I had never surfed before. It was always something that I wanted to do one day, but the beaches in Maryland are crowded and the waves aren’t very good. So, I had no experience surfing and no idea how to start. Luckily, Caltech has a Surfing and Windsurfing Club.

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global

Arrival

I’ve just arrived at my living quarters in Okazaki.

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research

Data!

My SURF took quite a bit of work at the beginning, getting everything working. We built our whole system from scratch, so nothing actually worked until several weeks in. Now we have a working system! Currently, we only have one working client, a laptop in my SURF mentor’s office. We have ten of the accelerometers, though, so we’ll soon have more clients. The day after I installed everything for my mentor and got it running he came back with a list of improvements he wanted, so that will keep me busy! Our server had a bit of trouble towards the end of last week. Because of the construction in Annenberg, the power was going to be switched off, so we had to shut it down overnight. Unfortunately, the only people with root access to the server were in Norway for a conference! So, we had to turn the machine back on first thing in the morning, then wait for them to finish eating dinner (since they’re nine hours ahead), sign in, and set everything back to rights. Then the next day, do the same thing again! What a hassle! No matter. The SURF students working on the server side of the project whipped up a snappy little application that puts the data received by the server onto a Google map. Now we can see it all the way from thumping on the table to showing up as a dot on the map. Very gratifying.

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global

Introduction and Pre-trip Post

**Introduction** My name is Tony Z. Jia and I’m a senior double majoring in Chemistry and Business, Economics, and Management at Caltech. For the next month or so, I’ll be blogging about my experiences in Japan. I would first like to thank the Caltech Fellowships and Study Abroad office, which has graciously offered me the Dr. Amasa Bishop summer study abroad prize. Anyways, I will be going to the Yamasa Institute in Okazaki, Aichi, Japan for a Japanese language and culture program. This program has a classroom component where we will learn basic language and culture. There is also a practical component, where we will sit in on or learn various Japanese cultural customs, such as the tea ceremony or sumo wrestling. I’ll also be going on various trips, both with the program and independently. Thus through blogging, I hope that all the readers will be able to get a glimpse into the life of a Caltech student in Japan. I’ll also be attempting to post pictures onto Panoramio every few days (Panoramio allows you to place a picture at a specific location on a map, so you all can see where all of this is taking place). It’s here: https://www.panoramio.com/user/2916748/tags/Japan under photos tagged Japan.
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global

First post from Guatemala!

Hola! It was hard, and it was tough…but I have made it to Guatemala! And it has been non-stop since I arrived. Thank goodness I had a good night´s sleep last night…

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culture

Drumming in LA

A week ago, my friend Mike (a fellow Darb) gave me a heads up that his new band was going to have its first real gig soon. So, Tuesday night I went downtown with Max, Perrin, and Stephanie to check it out.

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In California for a few hours...

I’m finally back in CA—but not for long….my flight leaves at midnight tonight! The CRAZIEST thing happened to me!–So, I’m trying to maneuver my 3 heavy bags through LAX on my way to catch my super shuttle—and who do I randomly bump into? Dr. Jean-Lou Chameau, PRESIDENT OF CALTECH and his wife, Dr. Carol Carmichael!!! What a crazy coincidence!! Out of all the people to run into at the airport upon minutes of arriving back in California…lol. I think they were just as shocked to see me as I was to see them! They had just flown back from a few days out of town, and were surprised when I told them I was headed back out to Guatemala the same day after coming back from Houston.

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culture

Ouchies and Boo-boos

So why did he come to me? I mentioned in my first post that I’m a Health Advocate (Health Ad) for Dabney House. Each of the undergraduate houses has a few Health Ads. We get 90+ hours of training in First Aid, Emergency Response, Bloodborne Pathogens, Peer Counseling, etc. and we get a big bag of medicines and bandages that we can replenish from the Health Center supplies.

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research

My last weekend in Paris for a while, amongst other awesome things :)

So before heading out of Paris for a while, I wanted to do a bit of more touristic stuff. I was excited because Friday night was when I got my code to work, so this was definitely a weekend for celebration :) I planned on meeting up with some of the Cite Universitaire students before they left on Saturday, so we arranged a meeting at the Eiffel Tower. However, there were so many people and between trying to get to the top and people being too late etc etc we missed each other! I paid 3.50 euro to walk to first level of the tower. And then I waited in line to get to the top. However, I thought that the line I was in was to buy the ticket and get on the elevator; I was wrong. It was actually only where you get on the elevator; people are supposed to buy tickets elsewhere. The people in line next to me said they’d save my spot, so I ran to get a ticket to the top but they had just closed the stand! Can you believe that… :( So I found a guy that was working there and I told him my situation, but he was really frustrated because there were a ton of people that wanted to go to the top but had been too late to get tickets so they were harassing him about it. Well finally I intervened and told these people to stop feel so deserving and to basically leave the guy alone; my argument was that I was ready to leave despite the fact my friends were at the top and I had already waited a long time in the wrong line. Hahaha so the guy really appreciated it, so he winked at me and led me to the elevator where he let me in for free :D and I got to cut everyone in line hahaha. Before he did it though, when I still thought I wouldn’t get to the top, I said bye and thanks to the people holding my place in line.

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local

It's a war zone in here!

My room looks like a hurricane came through it (I guess Houston is known for hurricanes, right?) as I am struggling to pack it all before I fly back to LA this Tuesday.

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The Home Stretch

This is it! I am down to the last couple of days of my internship.

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IT'S ALIVE. IT'S ALIIIIIVE!

My code is working. My code is working. AWESOME.

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clubs

A day for the ladies

Hey y’all! This past weekend, I attended the Schlumberger Women & Technology Conference in Sugarland, Texas. It was a day of networking with other women in the company, learning about the opportunities women have within their careers at Schlumberger, touring themanufacturing facilities and eating lots of food! One of my favorite parts of the day was being able to look around this huge wireline truck they had brought for us. I couldn’t help but jump into the driver’s seat!

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At the Beach

On Saturday, I went surfing! Max, Sly, Andrew, Erin, John, and I all headed down to Bolsa Chica beach in the morning (I’m told that it means “Bag Lady” in Spanish, but it’s a really nice surfing beach, especially for beginners). We assumed it would be warm, so none of us brought wetsuits. There were a few tense moments when we first got there, as the sun was behind a cloud and it was freezing cold (Erin had to huddle under some towels), but it warmed up soon.

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Safety... more than just a formality

Last night, I had to go back to lab after dinner in order to take out some samples from incubation. However, while I was walking to my building, I noticed a lot of lights, and a fire truck parked on the street. As I got closer, I saw two more fire trucks, and a bunch of people standing outside my building. There had been a fire in one of the labs. After talking to a few of the people standing outside, I found out that the fire had been in MY lab. I got to see the breadth of the damage this morning:

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Overwhelmed

This past Wednesday, I sat down with my project manager to explain how to use the mathcad tool I had made and in what ways the rest of the group could use it.As I was explaining it to him, I realized that there was a way to make it more user-friendly if it was somehow converted into a calculator program of some sort. Isaid that the calculator should be able togenerate models, graphs and identify important relations and results–all with a few inputs and the click of a button.Itwould take a lot of the nitty-gritty work out of actually understanding what the mathcad tool spat out—but it would be a pretty intricate code. At first, my manager said that it might be overly ambitious for me to accomplish with the very limited time I had left and all the other stuff I had on my plate. He said that it would be somewhat unfair to ask this of me. But before I blinked, or realized how much time it would cost me—I insisted it would not take too much of my time, and that I could have it up and working by the end of the week. As I walked back to my hexicle, sheer panic began to come over me. I had just committed to coding a new program in the midst of everything else. Already on my to-do list is my end of internship project review, exit interview with the recruiters and an engineering report write-up. Needless to say, I felt extremely overwhelmed.

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research

It's August already?!?!

—That means only two more weeks left with my internship in Houston—and then I head out to Guatemala! I’m so excited! But first things first…

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Trip to Mt. Wilson

Monday evening was time for a field trip! Varoujan Gorjian and Tim Thompson, who hang out at the summer astronomy student coffee breaks (and do their parts to make them happen at all!), led an excursion up to Mt. Wilson. A few cars of people drove up, and then Tim was kind enough to lead us around. He’s trained as a tour guide up there, and he has keys to a bunch of the telescopes, so we got to see lots of stuff.

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Cube-farm Highlights

It’s the middle of the week, and I find myself having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning for work. I have finally adjusted to a normal sleep schedule… I even wake up a minute or two before my alarm goes off–unfortunately, I automatically wake up early on the weekends too!

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Light Lab Soldering and Hermann Park

Hey y’all!

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Guess who's back with a brand new track...

And here I thought that life with a 9 to 5 job could never be as busy as Tech!!! Maybe that’s because it’s uh… NOT a 9 to 5 job anymore. So my project is so close to being finished (kind of). I’ve basically learned everything I need to know, and written all the little parts of code I’ll need, la dee da… Now it’s time to streamline everything! Here’s the thing: the level set routines that I’ve been using are all made for a matrix mesh that is oriented a certain way… If you want a point (x,y) on the level set, you just just take the (i,j)th component of the matrix and multiply by dx,dy repsectively… Well for the finite element routines, BLEH it’s made so that the rows are different y values, so to get (x,y) you have to call the (j,i)th element. And there’s no sense of length associated with the finite element routine; so the analysis is dependent on making sure the mesh is discretized with an element aspect ratio of 1… Otherwise the computation just looks…. nasty… Too bad… So it sounds easy, but it actually turns out that there are many subroutines that have been written with one context or the other, so we can’t just “flip” or transpose the mesh because other things will get very sad. So that’s what I’m trying to figure out right now! :) IN OTHER NEWS :)Continuing from where I left off! So the rest of the weekend with Sarah was incredible! On Saturday evening, her two aunts (sweetest ladies EVER!) had us over for dinner! It was great: we started off with snacks and if you recall, I mentioned earlier that aperatif is both an appetizer as well as a liquor drink… Well when they offered me an aperatif I just assumed they were talking about appetizers… But they actually offered me a drink called crema mandorla, which is an aged combo of almond extracts and Marsala wine… To be polite I drank it and it was rather sweet, so naturally I loved it! I told them I would need to memorize the name of it so I could maybe one day enjoy it again… (REMEMBER THIS LITTLE PART OF THE BLOG)…

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Lunch with a Caltech Alum!

Hey y’all!

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academics

TGIF...seriously

I am not going to sugarcoat it—this past week at work was beyond intense…and my brain officially hurts.

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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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