Happy Rosh Hashanah to all you who celebrate it! For those of you who do not, it’s the Jewish new year. UC Davis does not take Jewish holidays off, because we only make up 6% of the undergraduate student body and it wouldn’t really make sense to make a fairly large accommodation for such a small portion of the student body. So unfortunately, when I went to Synagogue on Monday I had to miss two classes. Since they were both lectures rather than tests, and they didn’t take attendance, I should be able to make it up. I considered staying at school since being a computer science engineering major is hard enough as it is, but eventually I decided not to. Partially because even if I did go to class, it would be very hard for me to get any work done since the whole time it would feel like a holiday and I would be super out if it. Another reason is that I wish the school would be more supportive of students observing Jewish holidays, and that’s only going to happen if people observe them.
So I went back to Marin for a night because that’s where my parents live, and went to Rodef Shalom. One thing I’m really starting to appreciate now that I’m away is that Marin is such a beautiful area. There are eight different national parks, and even more state parks. Like I said in my previous post, I’m really starting to miss hiking and camping now that I’m programing so much of the time. Also, the cheese is amazing! I have never had any cheese as good as Marin County cheese. I don’t know why, it’s not even an area known for its cheese, but I’m a big fan.
Also, when my apartment mate (also Jewish) and I were driving down from Davis, we passed by the bizarre outhouse that exists in the middle of a swamp off of Highway 37. It’s a small, wooden affair with its front door open, revealing a small, porcelain toilet to all who drive by on the freeway. It’s always been a bit of an enigma, and apparently a troop of boy scouts gave it its own Tumblr page at one point! I was never able to find that page though. But I did get a picture!
Now that I’m a researcher for Professor Jason, I get my own desk in the DArchR lab! The DArchR lab is the place where computer architecture study takes place at UC Davis. Since I’m conducting research for Professor Lowe-Power (who says I can call him Jason), I’m getting a spot there. He was clearing out his office and there is now enough room for the undergraduate researchers, which is basically me and two seniors. So I have my own desk and everything! The original room configuration had been designed when people had huge monitors, who it was very inefficient. He changed all that up so I have a space. When I went up there on Sunday he was cleaning the place out, and ended up giving away a free vacuum cleaner which my apartment badly needed.
Having five people in a smallish apartment is a bit cramped but it is well worth it. Partially because the people are awesome, but also because we don’t have to pay much to live in a really nice area. We have a very nice pool, a small hot tub, and even a fire pit! I’ve never seen anybody roasting s’mores, but I’m definitely going to at one point this year. It’s too good an opportunity to waste. There isn’t enough bike parking, but whenever things get particularly cramped I just lock my bike to my staircase. It’s also only three miles from campus. So overall I think we definitely chose the right place!
I’m currently running the Hyperloop battery team as well as being president, which is interesting seeing as I am a coder and have never worked with batteries before. I recently had a meeting with Tomo, the project manager. Since I wasn’t as involved in the team last year as I could have been, Tomo currently knows far more about everything than I do. So he will be doing most of the work for the first couple months until I get up to speed, but I want to make that period of time as short as possible. Partially because I’m sympathetic for Tomo and don’t want him to be doing all this work all the time, but also because I’m an ambitious megalomaniac and want to run the team as soon as possible. So we talked about what my job is supposed to be, and what I need to learn to get up to speed. Apparently one of the major things we are going to have to do this year is dedicate much more time and money to the suspension team and the analysis team, because those were the two subsystems that caused us to fail the most tests over the summer Our main goal is to get the pod to pass enough safety tests to get into the tube, and in order to do that we need to pass as many of SpaceX’s safety tests as possible. So we are trying to recruit some skilled engineers to join our suspension team, and to assist with that we set up a table at the UC Davis Engineering Ice Cream Club Fair!
I spent some time setting up a booth for the UC Davis recruitment fair. Basically, all the students who want to join an engineering club show up to this field and get ice cream while walking around to all the club booths. We got to show off our pod to everybody, and people seemed very interested. We got over 90 signups! It’s unlikely that all 90 members will be permanent members, but they will all come to the first few meetings of the quarter at least. And even if most of them quit, usually roughly a third of the people stay throughout the year. In this case that’s 30, so we’ll have a good sized team! Also importantly, we will be able to collect the $50 dues from each of the 90 new members which will help subsidize the pod and help us pay back the two members that we still owe a good amount of money.