Monday, February 16, 2009

Chinese New Year

Went with some friends to Chinatown for Dim Sum before the semester started. It just so happened that there was a big festival for Chinese New Year going on when we got there!

Drum welcoming the lion into the street (Reminded me of playing in the Malaysian Drum Group.....)

Lion stopping at each store to eat the cabbage and oranges

This is what Chinatown is supposed to look like every day!!!!

Haha...candid photo


A couple lions came into the restaurant while we were eating

Probably Lion #7 we'd seen that day. The firecrackers were LOUD.

Later that week, ATS put on a Chinese New Year's celebration. Mike and I cooked sticky rice so we got free admission :)
The food was delicious and I was really impressed by the quality of performances they had. I was expecting multiple violin performances and not much else (like what my Oklahoma experiences taught me to anticipate), but was quite pleasantly surprised to hear excellent music from several traditional Chinese instruments. By the way, how do ABCs learn to play those????
Also, they had a couple Chinese Yo-Yo shows (see video below), Chinese A Cappella (ok this one was not so great....), and other musical performances.

I'm really amazed by how much more ATS (the group of undergrad ABCs) organizes events that showcase Taiwanese culture than ROCSA (the group of grad Taiwanese students) does.....
I guess if you're an international grad student, you're less interested in "showing off" your culture?? Not quite sure...

Chinese Yo-Yo set to some great music :)
I hope Robert is this good when he gets back from Taiwan.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Singularity University

Here's Peter Diamandis' latest idea being put to work. This guy just doesn't rest!

Basically, it's the founding of a new "university" that consists of grad students from various disciplines coming together for the summer (at my beloved NASA Ames!), learning and working together across fields to develop solutions for the world's biggest problems. Many new start-ups are hoped to be spun off of what is created here.
I'm glad to see Pete Worden continuing to defy convention by insisting on backing new programs such as this that really utilize Silicon Valley's innovation to Ames' advantage (even beyond aerospace).

So......who wants to fund me to go? :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

GSC Ski Trip

Now for the update on the Graduate Student Council Ski Trip to Sunday River, Maine!!

I and 500 other MIT graduate students went on a 3 day trip to ski some of New England's tallest slopes. What a blast!

Those of us who were hardcore :) would ski all morning, munch on a granola bar for lunch, ski until sunset, ski in to the condo (directly off one of the trails! I didnt even know this existed, but condos which you can ski in/out of are FANTASTIC!), relax in the hot tub, ski out from the condo and do a couple hours of night skiing, and then shower, eat and head out to the nightly MIT party.

Having just gotten back from skiing at some of Lake Tahoe's most powdery (and largest) slopes, I was a bit spoiled, but zooming down slopes of beautiful mountainsides can be made a fun experience anywhere.

Unfortunately, the group lessons we were offered as part of our package were not nearly as helpful as I had hoped, but I still think I'm improving well enough on my own. I feel completely comfortable on all the blue slopes I've gone on, but the jump from blue to black seems significant since many black trails are mogul-filled and therefore require a completely different set of skills. Don't worry- that didn't stop me from going on 3 or 4 of them anyways :)

Mike, Me, Satoru, and Charles (condo mates)

The trail leading directly onto the slopes from our condo

Mike and I at the top of Jordan Peak. You can't tell from this picture, but the coooold wind was blowing so hard it was almost impossible to stand up straight. That day was quite definitely the coldest I've ever felt in my life.

Night skiing! Although only very easy trails were open for night skiing, this was such a fun thing to do anyways. It was so peaceful and quiet. At this point, skiing truly felt like dancing with the mountain.

At the party. Mike ordered some fancy s'mores plate.

There was racing going on at one of the trails

I convinced Mike to go with me down our first black trail on free terrain. This was all-natural skiing with the addition of moguls. This was a lot of work (first time I've sweat when skiing), but really exciting!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Google Earth includes the oceans!

Read the following NY Times article to get the details on one of Google's latest developments: the new version of Google Earth includes "Ocean floor and surface data from marine experts"