SSP? Never Heard of It: A Descent into Madness

By: Andrew Pk

Captain’s bLog 6/20

Super hyped

Supa Sunday

Procrastination… question mark?

Hi! I literally just started SSP. What an experience it’ll be! And let me start by explaining myself. No, I did not choose to write this blog for today (the date this will be published) because of the widely-celebrated event known as Independence Day nor because today is the actual national holiday.

Instead, I decided to write this solely because it was the first one that was in July and was due on a Sunday, which should theoretically maximize the time I have to write this (that is, if I decide to write this like the day it’s due—which hopefully won’t happen with what I have planned). 

Well, that’s all I’m writing for today… see you either next week or in two (aka a couple spaces down)!


Captain’s bLog 6/27

So long, personal time

Screen RIP

Python kinda hard ngl

Well it’s almost been a week since I wrote that thing above… and I gotta say… WOW. Pat on the back for Past Andrew for signing up to maximize the time I’ll have to write this! I did not realize just how time-consuming SSP would be. 

Like, an average of 2 psets due per day on subjects I’ve basically never meddled with in my life along with a QoD (the hardest part of the program in my opinion) every single day (it’s almost like it’s in the name)? I don’t even have time to watch more than an hour of YouTube these days… I’m feeling withdrawal symptoms so bad, my hands are sshahknning. Oh no, I can’t even tyyyype anymore!@f And I still have to do my Python pset…

This ain’t looking good, chief; I think I’ll have to attend a session or two of YA (YouTube-ics Anonymous). See in you a week… having is Andrew having sroke… brain damag

Time skiiiiip!!

Well uh… it’s been 8 hours since I wrote that, and now, I’m looking at the text on a different screen. “What happened?” you ask, a faithful reader who is totally interested in my daily activities. Well, good reader, I broke my laptop. NOOOOOOO!!

Figure 1. A dramatic re-enactment (please turn on closed captions)

Short story short, I swung my solid metal earphones once, and crack! went the screen. “Great!” I thought, “Cracked screens are all the rage these days!” Then I realized two things: 1. fashionably cracked phone screens ≠ destroyed computer LCD panels, and 2. The screen has now gone totally black (see Figure 2. for what it looked like before).

Figure 2. Laptopy’s utter state of disrepair (with censorship bars for privacy)

There’s some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that the Apple store is closed, so there’s no chance of even asking for how much they’ll be overcharging me for a replacement until tomorrow. (Future Andrew here: indeed, the screen replacement was wayyy too expensive, so I’m sticking with the monitor explained below.) 

Thankfully, my sister had an external monitor that she was able to borrow from the company she was interning at, so I connected the monitor to my laptop, and after 20 minutes of fretting and tinkering, I managed to get everything to work. 

So now, here I am, typing this on my laptop while turning my head 50° to the right to see what I’m typing on another monitor. I gotta say, the extra screen real estate really helps a lot when I have 3 different applications open for SSP work.

Oh and for those of you with a good memory, my YA session went perfectly! I sat down to watch around 5 hours of YouTube, and everything is fine… that’s how you deal with addiction, right?


Captain’s bLog 7/3

Sliding door

St. Croix Cove


Okay, so I noticed that almost everyone talks about SSP in their blogs (it’s almost like we all have something in common!)… so I guess I’ll try breaking the mold a bit. After all, only shooting staaaaars break the moooohoohhhld. And especially considering I’m also writing this for the same day as one of my groupmates, I really don’t want some overlap of content. 

Now, for the moment, just completely ignore what Past Andrew wrote above, since you could say that was kind of related to SSP. Instead, let’s all take a breather, sit down, and talk about the Internet. Gather ‘round, children; I’ll tell you a grand old story on the wondrously wasteful act of sh*tposting.

Oh, pardon my language—it is an actual word (technically slang) with a (very vague and uncertain) dictionary definition. Here are some links:’s Definition

Cambridge English Dictionary’s Definition

Wiktionary’s Definition

Anyway, to prevent myself from dirtying my mouth (my fingers?) as much as possible, I’ll refer to them as DELICIOUS SCRUMPTIOUS SWEET ENTICING GLAZED DONUTS every time in the other word’s stead. (A part of me feels compelled to tell you that actually donuts would dirty my fingers more than typing a bad word, but whatever)


So, you may wonder, what’s so important about DELICIOUS SCRUMPTIOUS SWEET ENTICING GLAZED DONUTS? Well, it all boils down to one thing: community. Humans, for millennia, have survived based on tribalism, where each human would be part of a certain group and would interact intimately with members of that group, or “tribe,” much more than members of another tribe. This behavior allowed humans to literally fight for survival and dominance, as such tribalism made it pretty clear who was “on your side.” Below is a dramatic recreation:

Caveman A: Ughgnn HumMm (Go kill , steal food)

Caveman B: Umgopao Ugahan (Okie)

Intense fighting ensues

Caveman A: AHHGH iugnn (Kill everyone with no red paint on their faces)

Caveman B: poggers (Wow, what a nice and simple way to discern friend from foe so that I may know exactly what human being—as we all tend to look similar—I must kill in order to ensure victory for my tribe! Thank you, Caveman A, for allowing me to free myself from moral inhibition and release destruction and despair upon these unsuspecting puny little humans!)

Yeah, that’s probably how it went down. Anyway, DELICIOUS SCRUMPTIOUS SWEET ENTICING GLAZED DONUTS arose naturally from the human tendency for tribalism and laziness. In essence, with the advent of modern technology and the Internet, it became increasingly easy for distinct communities online to create their own unique sense of humor, “cultural” norms, and social order. 

Thus, DELICIOUS SCRUMPTIOUS SWEET ENTICING GLAZED DONUTS unintentionally became champions of gatekeeping a certain group from the rest of the Internet, as DELICIOUS SCRUMPTIOUS SWEET ENTICING GLAZED DONUTS would take almost no effort to make but would serve as a clear indicator of an outsider.


The outsider (or impostor, if you will) would soon feel alienated from the community due to their inability to react “correctly” and with familiarity to DELICIOUS SCRUMPTIOUS SWEET ENTICING GLAZED DONUTS. And, in the end, the desired result is inevitable: the impostor is baffled, confused, and ultimately ejected turned away.

That was my 2 minute (depends on how fast you read) course on the history of DELICIOUS SCRUMPTIOUS SWEET ENTICING GLAZED DONUTS. If you couldn’t tell already, it’s 2:25 a.m. right now, and I’m pretty hungry.

Now, as my last point in my ever-growing list of totally unrelated topics, can we have a moment to talk about just how based (slang term that now usually means something along the lines of “being yourself and not caring what others think of you”) the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is? They have a page dedicated to FAQs regarding buying stars/star names, and it’s absolutely amazing.

The posted answers start out being all serious and lengthy—as expected of an international institution—but soon become slight jabs at the asker’s implied irresponsibility and ignorance. Here are some of my favorites:


(Previous Q: Why don’t stars get real names instead of these boring numbers?)

Q: But wouldn’t it be fun anyway?

A: Some people might be amused while the present fashion lasts, but it would generate a system of mounting confusion for no factual reason. And this is the opposite of what taxpayers pay scientists to do.


Q: But if I want to, can I buy the name of a star anyway?

A: Sure, there are people who will be more than happy to take your money….


Q: Can you tell me who and where?

A: Sorry, we are a scientific organization, not a branch of the entertainment industry. We cannot distribute addresses of enterprises selling fictitious goods.


Q: OK, I found a dealer myself; what will I get from them?

A: An expensive piece of paper and a temporary feeling of happiness, like if you take a cup of tea instead of the Doctor’s recommended medicine. But at least you do not risk getting sick by paying for a star name, only losing money.


Q: Surely the courts will recognize the name I have paid for?

A: Try to contact your lawyers. Chances are that they will either laugh their heads off or politely suggest that you could invest their fees more productively…


Q: The IAU pretends to be in charge of the sky – why don’t you DO something about this??!

A: Sorry, much as we would like to, we are not under the illusion that the IAU can eradicate charlatanry: It has survived and thrived for countless centuries in many disguises – some far more dangerous than this particular example. All we can do is warn the public and try to prevent the abuse of our name and scientific reputation to mislead well-meaning customers.


Conclusion: astronomers are cool. And you’re cool for reading this. And here’s to another three-ish weeks of Semi-Solvable Psets.

Anyway, sorry for being so long; I’ll see myself out.

P.S. The SSP acronym used in the last segment doesn’t have anything to do with anything I talked about: they’re just the first three random Wikipedia articles that I got from that started with each letter. Have fun!

Image credits:

About Me

Salutations, all (the maybe 50 people in total who will ever read this)! I’m Andrew (I’ll let you guess which one), a rising senior in a school in the middle of nowhere on the East Coast, but I’m actually from Korea (again, I’ll let you guess which one). I have one defining activity: I watch YouTube… like, a lot. Like 8 hours a day a lot. Add the fact that I speed up the videos to about 3x to 3.5x speed, and you could say I total almost 24 hours worth of content every single day. Other than that, I’m also part of our cross country team, the robotics team, the science quiz bowl team, and I work as the Editor in Chief of our school newspaper. Oh, and reading is also pretty fun (read: I LOVE READING AHHHH). I’ve read anything from The Idiot to The Stormlight Archive, and I also spend a lot of time on Wikipedia reading on things that will never, ever have a meaningful impact on my life. So yeah, that’s basically me.


With that, I only have one word left to say: