By: Sanjana K
In lieu of coherent content, here is a picture of a ladybug that I took today:
Interestingly, ladybugs are considered to be good luck across several different cultures. I’ve heard this linked to their roles as pest control for farmers in the Middle Ages or alternately to the Virgin Mary, but I’m not sure how true either of those explanations are. Anyway, I digress.
A brief summary of some arbitrarily-chosen events from the past few days, in no particular order:
- We spent several hours today trying to figure out problem 3a on the first Python pset. It was enormously frustrating. Every time I received the “FAILED TEST” message in Python, I imagined a little cartoon Gandalf waving his arms and saying “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”. The best part of the entire ordeal was definitely being able to talk it through with my fellow theSSPians.
- On Tuesday, Kimberly set her Zoom background to a picture of Alan. Alan, of course, took a screenshot of her background and set it to his background. Then a different TA took a screenshot of that… you get the idea. We ended up with a recursive tower of TAs.
- I am hereby starting a petition to hold a cooking show with the TAs during one of our work-play blocks. It should be soup themed. I propose: pho, minestrone, chowder, french onion?
- A few days ago, I learned that the position of the zodiac constellations with respect to the celestial equator has changed since the zodiac signs were established due to the process of precession. Apparently I am a Libra and not a Scorpio as previously assumed. My whole life has been a lie.
- We had introductions during the social block. I got to see so many cat pictures! I think at the annual SSP meetup everyone should bring their pets and we can all bask in their collective adorableness.
- Part of my day went like this:
Your code is not working. You copy the code and paste it into a different file. It works. You paste it back into the original file. You recompile the other file. The code isn’t working anymore. You comment out three lines. Your code works. You add a print statement. Your code stops working again.
The errors are staring at you, accusingly. They demand to be acknowledged. You gaze solemnly into their depths. You look away. The error messages flicker. The red X at the edge of the TeX file blinks slowly, ominously. You thought you were writing Python. Your asymptote diagram collapses into previously unimagined dimensions.
The code compiles. It’s still wrong. It’s all wrong.
You close your eyes. There are errors floating behind your eyelids. The tea has gone cold.
- On problem set #1, every time I intended to write “declination”, I wrote “declension” instead. Apparently a declension is a Latin noun form, while the declination refers to one of the equatorial coordinates that determine the direction of an object. I have no defense, but I will say that the word “declension” is just more visually pleasing. If you ask me about this later, I will claim that it was an aesthetic choice.
- Today, Dr. Bauer showed us a picture of a gull trying and failing to swallow a starfish. I relate on an existential level. Other staff highlights include this meme from Dr. Mlinar, which made me snort-laugh out loud:
- Stellarium is my new favorite software. When I first opened it the range of shortcuts and tools was somewhat overwhelming, but it’s astonishingly useful now. Yesterday I used Stellarium to figure out the rough azimuth and altitude of some stars at 11pm and tried to find them in the night sky, with my phone acting as a compass, but there was too much light pollution to really see much of anything.
- There’s a channel in the Discord server with a list of meanings for “SSP”. Some of my favorites include: Secret Shakespeare Program, Science Supersedes Pain, Soup Served Pcold (partially prophetic in hindsight), Sweet Succulent Pineapple, Suing Shakespeare for Plagiarism, pSpspSpsPsps, Spooky Scary Pskeletons, and, of course: Sorry, Still Procrastinating.
We’ve barely started SSP. It’s almost hard to believe we just got here a couple days ago, but there’s still a lot to look forward to- orbit determination, lectures, guest speakers… speaking of guest speakers, the list is very exciting. I’m looking forward to Dr. Jill Tartar’s guest lecture on Friday. Admittedly, I am somewhat disappointed that we don’t get to hear about the sex lives of sharks, but learning about SETI totally makes up for it.
Hi! I’m Sanjana K, a rising senior from Allen, Texas. I have one little brother and, unfortunately, no pets, although not from lack of trying. Some of my hobbies include: collecting random plants, reading science fiction, hiking, staring at insects, staring at birds, staring at bridges, taking pictures of all of the above, and impulsively trying local boba shops. I’m super interested in math and physics and very excited to learn more at SSP!