26 April 2010

Moody and Angry!

This one is pretty late, but I thought I'd publish it anyway just because our day was pretty hilarious.

I got there in the morning at 0700 and we started working on the problem. This year's problem was aptly named ``Making sense of the 2010 Census'' or something like that. Pavel and I worked on #1, while Jared and Ian tackled #2 and Mark had fun with #3. Pavel and I had our ideas and a few paragraphs of text down by lunch, by which time we went to eat pizza. In the afternoon, we slowly edited our paper and added more information.

Around 1515, some salespeople knocked on Mark's door. Pavel told Mark to get the door, and when Mark was about to open it, he stood there for about five minutes and contemplated if he should XD When Mark finally opened the door, they convinced Mark to subscribe to their religious magazine. Too bad for them that we were in the middle of M3 and Mark is an atheist. After they left, we started making jokes about them as they slowly left the doorstep.

How many times do you need to witness Jehovah?
Over 9000!

You're a Jehovah's witness, aren't you?
Why else would I use Linux?

Then around 16:30 we took an ice cream break! Distracted, Mark pulled up the Russian version of ``Be a Man'' (or whatever it's called) from Mulan. Ian pulled up one of the Aladdin song to keep us distracted and Pave started ranting how useless Jasmin was. Around 1700 we went back to work to proofread.

Not long after, Mark's mom asked us if we were fine with getting Fuddruckers' for dinner. When she came back with two bags of burgers and Mark's sister about an hour later, Pavel pointed out that Mark was still in his pajamas. That gave Mark plenty of ideas that Pavel wanted him to take his pants off [to put something else on] XD

Around 1830 we were taking about some statistics stuff, when Mark discovered a huge hole in our argument (we just assumed a sample was normal) XD Then we went to eat our burgers and finished adding and revising content. By 2000 Mark told everyone to cease editing on the Google Doc so Pavel could put finishing touches on our paper and ship it to the Moody's folks. We shipped out the paper at 2055, helped Mark clean up our messes, and left.


So it appears that we have advanced to the finals, and our presentation is this Wednesday. Unfortunately for Pavel and Ian, they'll have to skip the second day of USAMO. Anyway, we look forward to going to NYC by way of flying from EWR to JFK a stretch limo and competing against the top applied mathematicians. :) I still have lots to practice, but hopefully we'll all be ready in two days.

15 April 2010

Spring Break

  • Did a physics mech multiple choice practice
  • Looked at CUDA parallel reduction some more
  • Apple refreshed MacBook Pros!
  • Set up WebDAV, so now I have access to all my data wherever there is internets :D
  • Set up symlinks so all my data could be accessed from DAV share
  • Helped Pavel pick the right netbook (an HP Mini 210 HD) - his current computer is a 7-year old Dell ultraportable with only ~4GB devoted to Linux (the rest of the 20GB HD is his parents' windows installation), so yeah...
  • Reworked y0u.dontexist.com - put in an updating AAPL ticker :D among other things
  • Fixed minesweeper (aka LOLsweeper) - there was a huge bug in the mine generator
  • Wrote a php widget to scrape Apple rumors
  • Went back to NJ
    • During the trip, I was looking at cars (like I always do) and I saw a portion of a Lexus LS 460 from the rear 3/4 view. It turns out to be the long wheelbase variant, and when I got a closer look at it, I noticed that it had the 18" wheels instead of the 19" ones (they're different styles; I'm not that crazy :P). I also realized that one can only get the 18" wheels if the car comes with the 4-seater package (the one with the rear seat massagers and the right hand side recliner with footrest). I have no idea how I notice these things; maybe it's from all those hours playing sudoku and analyzing Apple design? xD
  • Installed XMonad and started learning the key bindings!

  • Played around with XMonad and tried to get a hybrid solution with Gnome setup because I'm too lazy to launch everything from the command line. Unfortunately that was pretty unstable. I reverted to a pure XMonad solution, but that was still terrible. Now I'm thinking of wiping and installing Arch (Gentoo is too much work =P) because I think something in Ubuntu is causing it to fail.
  • Thought about Trisweeper (our triangular minesweeper game for iPhone OS) a bit
  • Tried to hackintosh my Intel Atom (D945GCLF2D), but that just utterly failed. I couldn't even burn a working boot-132 disk :(
  • Played some games and a tournament on BBO! Sam and I got 8th out of 164 pairs :D

All days
  • IM
  • Lots of sudoku - So I played 27 hard games on my MacBook Pro for the first three days, and my average time is ~6m10 while my fastest time was 4m00! I am getting good at this :D
  • Browsed MacRumors forums
  • Watched Big Bang

13 April 2010


For the past four days or something like that, the entire universe went to MIT. Well maybe not the entire universe, but approximately one thousand MIT '14 admits. Each day was packed with events, and there certainly was lots of free food.

  • Train ride with Pavel and dad was fun ^_^ unfortunately the free wifi wasn't working, so I read a MSDN magazine instead.
  • Registration went smoothly. Then I went to sign up for UROP tours, only to find out that the video game lab tour was full, so I signed up for a MechE one for the lulz.
  • Lunch…what lunch? I just had two cookies and a cup of lemonade because I wanted to catch a class.
  • Investments was a pretty cool class. Unfortunately I know too little management or economics to get the most out of the class, but I understood the part about using a Taylor approximation to derive an estimation formula for yield. Also, I read Engadget's coverage on iPhone 4.0.
  • It was about 1500 now, so I retrieved my luggage from the storage room and haul it to Ashdown. June then led me to the suite and we talked for a while.
  • Brian told me to meet him at Random for Bubblewrap at 1617, which turned out to be a huge fail because the demand for bubblewrap exceeded the supply by like hmm…over 9000? Yeah. The little room got mobbed by fifty people. Yeah.
  • We walked back to main campus and bumped into Sam and Travis. Then we went behind Kresge to eat some BBQ because I was starving.
  • Brian goes on a tour with Akshar and other TJ folks and I go eat ice cream at Simmons. A group of people were there already so some upperclassmen took us on a tour of the dorms. The interior was so different; the walls were curvy! I do realize it's an extravagant waste of interior volume, but the fact that it's so different just appeals to me. Then I had ice cream and played legoes with some other people. I was pretty surprised that two girls there were also having fun decapitating lego people and constructing a human rainbow with the bodies :O
  • I start heading over to Random for tea and math and then see Brian and the TJ folks (who were headed to EC for BBQ), so I join them. When we got to EC, I saw Pavel, Ian, and Ben, and the TJ guys decided to go to the minorities dinner.
  • Then Pavel and I went to Tea and Math and Ian went to quizbowl. I had tea while Pavel, Brian, and the other guys there did math. lol
  • We went to Rockwell Cage for the opening ceremony, which turned out to be pretty epic. The Logarhythms sang ``You Belong With Me'' XDD After the assembly, we got into small groups and played icebreaker games.
  • After that was the Activities Fair. There were lots of booths for every club. I watched a lot of supersized Jenga and a chess match between two BCAers to stall for time while Brian just stood at the physics booth doing integrals -_-
  • We walked to Firehose for some midnight math/physics (wedge products). It seemed pretty random but understandable until the end, where the lecturer just threw random calculus applications at it ._.

Yep, that really is a crown composed of lego bodies.

Our mostly complete amusement park. The human body rainbow on the revolver was my idea :)

Evil calculus problems. Evil, I tell you. EVIL!1!!111!

  • Chancellor's welcome address was neat. The four presenters were excellent speakers, and the two professors at the end surely prepared informative yet entertaining lectures. Unfortunately, there was a minimum of free food, so my breakfast just consisted of a cup of iced tea. >_<
  • Having failed at finding more free food, I went to the student center to check out the women engineer's brunch. The line was unbelievably long (over 100 people), so I bought a Subway sandwich.
  • Right after that, Pavel texted me about the BCA alum/senior lunch. He told me to meet at Stata, so I made my way there through the infinite corridor and stuff. I met Ian along the way and he decided to follow me. We got to Stata, floodfill the first floor. No Pavel. Ian texted him and said to meet in the Gates library. We floodfill the first floor of that. No Pavel. Then he texted us to meet at 466. We climbed the stairs to 4th floor, head to that room. No Pavel. Frustrated, Ian and I left to eat lunch and continue with CPW.
  • UROP tour of the Ideation lab was pretty cool. The room was basically a junkyard filled with prototypes, posters, and a few Macs. The tour guides had us brainstorm improvements for the paper towel to show us what a typical day working in the lab would be like.
  • Went back to dorm to sleep for ~3hr. 5hr is not enough sleep >_<
  • Walked to Random Hall in the rain. First went to the Nerf Gun battle, but people were still setting up their hideouts constructed from cardboard. I learned how to operate a nerf gun!
  • Minihunt was pretty fun. I had the the team's sole internet connection, which helped a lot. We got pretty far, until everyone got distracted by beef. BEEF. Except I didn't, because it looked unappetizing and I'm not used to eating meat for dinner (gasp).
  • Brian took me to the pizza shop diagonally across from Random and I had a slice of pizza and a drink. Yay, I'm no longer starving!
  • We went back for nTris and Friends, a rigged Tetris tournament. I did miserably because I treated it as normal Tetris and just used a greedy algorithm to clear lines. 
  • Tangerine Tour! Under Jack Florey's NDA, all I can say is that roof and tunnel hacking is awesome. And so is sitting on roofs with a spectacular view of the city :)

Darn, I can't read. XD

  • Solar Car Shop Tour was really cool. The people discussed what it took to build a efficient, yet high-performance solar car. The project is really tempting, but I probably will forgo this opportunity.
  • Took a nap again because 5hr sleep is not enough >_< (see a pattern?)
  • Yugioh: The Abridged Series Marathon + Live Interview with LittleKuriboh was one of the most awesome events I went to. We watched the first twenty episodes and then had a live chat with the man himself :O Of course, Jordan asked him a bunch of questions about the creation of the show and how he gets inspiration. I asked him to sing Brooklyn Rage for us :D He told us that he's working on a parody of ``Bad Romance.'' I suppose he's not giving Lady Gaga a break, is he?
  • For dinner, Brian and I went to this upscale Spanish restaurant called ``Cuchi Cuchi.'' We ordered two delicious (albeit expensive) dishes, garlic shrimp and bliny. It was also my first experience with bread and oil (still don't understand why; bread is good by itself). Maybe I should convince the rest of purchase cellophane to eat at more upscale places rather than pizza and burger places.
  • Our tour at EC was pretty lol. Our tour guides were all from the same floor, so of course they weren't biased. We saw four floors of East side, skipping floor four because it was ``lame,'' apparently. One of the floors had a hackable soda machine that dispensed free soda if you knew how to use the computer program and another had a knife sticking out of the wall. Most of the floors were basically computer junkyards, which makes me feel right at home :) Then a gymnast decides to climb on the steam pipes single-handedly, which was pretty epic. I probably should have recorded it or something…
  • Around midnight, some EC folks put on a fire show! The pyromaniacs were spinning fire batons, spitting fireballs, and playing with a fire yo-yo. It was so awesomely mesmerizing…
  • We went to the Big Bang Theory marathon (it's a geeky comedy) at 1am. One of my friends had recommended that I watch it, and so I did. It's pretty hilarious. Sheldon has got to be the most socially awkward character XD We got through the first six episodes, but I fell asleep sometime during the middle. 
  • After sending Brian off to the shuttle, I joined Pavel, Ian, and Ben in an empty classroom for early morning breakfast. We talked about EC, MIT life, and math team. 
In other news, I finally memorized all of Gen 1 Pokémon! Now for Gen 2…I have 75 of the 100 down. Maybe I should play HeartGold or SoulSilver to refresh my memory :)

Also, while walking through Ashdown, I came across one of the ``don't lose your laptop'' posters, but this one was a bit marked up:

QFT :)

12 April 2010

Rendering Fail

From all the HeartGold and SoulSilver rage, I decided to get back into Pokémon…old school style! That is, I'm going to memorize all 151 (152, actually, if you count MissingNo.) Gen 1 Pokémon :D So far my record is 148, which is good, but I surely am shooting for 151! Anyway, I randomly decided to listen to the Hoenn (gen 3) Pokérap on Youtube and saw this nice fail.

P.S. CPW post will be up soon!

01 April 2010

Long, Overdue Post

On 2 March 2010, BCA was conducting interviews for the rising freshmen, which meant half days for us! As with any Tuesday, Health immediately preceded Physics, but on that day, we were let out a bit late, but not much later. I walked to Physics from the cardio room, went up two flights of stairs, was right outside his door. I turned the door handle $$\frac{\pi}{2}$$ radians and pulled it outward. Unlike what happened on all the other days of physics, the door did not move. Dammit! One of the Galitskiy's quotes instantly came to my mind:

So you see, it's very simple, at 2:26 I will simply shut down the door.

I desperately pulled the door handle and knocked on the door for a few moments longer, but I thought of a better idea. I walked into the physics room next door and asked for the teacher to open the door. The teacher looked at me with a confused look and muttered ``Manny's here today; he's not in his room?'' to himself, but went out to unlock the door for me anyway. By then, a small group of people had gathered around the door and were glad that I had found a way to unlock the door. The people already inside the classroom were laughing that I was able to convince another teacher to unlock the door, and when we got inside, Dr. Galitskiy asked ``Since when did Mr. Liva get involved?'' We took our seats and class started.

Having forgotten to lock the door, Pavel and Sam slip through after a few minutes. Dr. G lectures them for being late and locks the door. Then John comes by, tries to open the door, but Galitskiy lets him in because he's special. He locks the door and proceeds with the lecture.

Finally, after ten minutes, Kamran and Fahmid decide to show up in front of the locked door. Like everyone else, they tried to open the door, and we all jeered at them. Seeing their futile efforts, John decided to unlock the door because he's nice. Galitskiy gave them a really long lecture on how not to be late and made them stand in timeout.