Hope everything is going well for you all. When I planned this quarter (Davis does quarters instead of semesters), I knew that things were going to be a bit busy. I was only taking twelve units, and the standard load for an engineering student is around sixteen, so classes would be easier than usual, but I am now the president of the Hyperloop team, an officer of the cybersecurity club, a coder for the space and satellite society, and a researcher for Professor Jason. This club trifecta is fun, but I’m really not getting very much sleep to the point where I think it may have weakened my immune system significantly. I don’t get sick all that often, especially in the fall, and I definitely have a cold right now. So I guess I’ll just have to wait this out! Although honestly I highly doubt the amount of work I have will ever decrease, because I’m planning on being a Silicon Valley entrepreneur/programmer, and hopefully go to Mars at some point. Oh well! Sleep is boring anyways.
On Saturday the Hyperloop club had an info session for all the new members! Setting up was a bit chaotic, because one of the team leaders wanted to change the meeting location to California Hall to accommodate all the new members and the meeting was less than a day away. I thought it was a pretty good idea because California Hall is by far the biggest and most beautiful room at Davis, and so we stayed on campus until 9:00pm trying to figure out how to book a room. Basically, only club leaders and one other club member are permitted to book rooms for the club. I apparently had only completed part of the training required for booking rooms, so I ended up calling three friends who also ran clubs and asking them to book the room. Unfortunately, one had already maxed out the four hours of room booking time they had that week, and the other two didn’t know how! So we ended up doing in in the smaller room, and it actually turned out pretty well. I’m the power lead as well as the president, so I don’t know all that much about high voltage systems. But I recently got a co-lead who has experience in that field! So I took him and the rest of the new potential power members on a walk to see the wonderful pod from last year! I really hope a good amount of these members stay because we need a good team!
I’m also the capture the flag coordinator for the cybersecurity club. This means that I organize the competitions and things. It’s a simple job, but it does mean that I have to get a bunch of hackers to all agree to some organizational structure. It’s definitely a challenge. It also means that I have to trust the club to pay me back for the hotel fees! The last CTF coordinator said that she wasn’t payed back, so what I ended up doing is getting everybody to pay for their own rooms, and we’re all going to try to get reimbursed. Also, I get my own room! Hooray for programmer demographics!
Next weekend my team and I will be heading to Stanford for the Collegiate Pentesting Competition. One of the most glamorous aspects of cybersecurity is what is called red teaming. Basically, you pretend to be the hackers and see where the holes are. They set up a fake bank company called Dinobank, and we are supposed to find our way into it! We’re allowed to do some pregame prep, so we’ve been working for a while on what our plan of attack is. So far, we’ve noticed a croissant theme, which might come up later in the came. Also, there may be a cryptocurrency challenge, because Dinobank seems to have created a cryptocurrency called CroissantCoin. The bank workers all have fake LinkedIn accounts, including one that is followed by their most loyal customer, Actual Real Human! A string of characters that looks like a root key was posted to one of their LinkedIn channels, but we’re not sure what it gives access to. Hopefully we’ll figure out soonish!
And finally, we have the only club that I am not an officer in: SSS! Actually, the extent of my job seems to be finding a B Dot algorithm, and preparing it to be used by our computers. Fairly simple! But honestly, with all the administrative work I’ve been doing I’m pretty happy to do simple coding work now and then. It’s one of my favorite things to do! The SSS had an intro meeting on Friday where they talked about what they were doing. We are on track to send the satellite into space in 2022! It’s a 2U cubesat which means that it’s 10x10x20cm, and it has to contain a ton of photographic equipment to observe the earth as well as computers to keep it functional. Also we’re competing in the Big Idea Project with NASA again, which should be neat. Last year we made it to top 5 in the country! And most importantly, we are working with Professor Robinson, who’s an astronaut who has been in space four times. Honestly that’s a big part of the reason I’m part of the SSS. There are so many amazing people that I get to work with! Apparently this one madlad who ran the club three years ago graduated with a double major in aerospace science and mechanical engineering and a minor in technical management in four years with a 3.97 GPA! This kid is kind of a legend in the team, and he seems pretty cool! He works in space travel now and occasionally comes to visit. Then there’s the former president and current officer who is one of my favorite people in the entire school, who has not yet given me permission to share his name! But he’s super smart and is definitely going places. Anyways, I love the folks in the SSS and am considering becoming an officer! They have a VP spot open.
Before I sign off, here are some interesting pictures I’ve taken around campus: