Summer Hibernation

### It has been a while since I last updated this. Back when I was more active I strapped two iPhones to a rocket and made a video. A lot has happened since then, and for that reason I’ve been slow to document. This post will serve as an overview of the fun things going on in my life since the iPhone rocket, and hopefully I’ll set a side a little bit of time to write about them in more depth in the future.

WeScam

This was fun. In 1998 two wesleyan students created WeScam at Wesleyan for a final project in their Pornography class (original link). It was one of the first online matchmaking sites. Carlo Francisco and Vernon Thommeret then updated the webapp to it’s current status, which I then had the priviledge of running towards the end of the Wesleyan 2012-2013 academic year.

Using WeScam you can anonymously send a message to someone you have a crush on and give them hints so they can guess who you are. When they figure out who you are, if they so desire they can add you back which will then reveal your two names to each other, usually signifying mutual amorous feelings. The catch is that current seniors can add anyone they want at Wesleyan, while everyone at Wesleyan can only add seniors. May the odds be ever in your favor as they say in the hunger games. The demo video below can explain probably better than I have.


By the end of WeScam’s approximately 3 week run there were 2170 students registered, 15754 crushes added, and 4300 matches made out of a total Wesleyan student population of only 3443. Even though many of the crushes and matches are friends playing around those participation numbers are impressive, especially when you consider that each crush includes at least one senior. One of my proudest moments was when Wesleyan’s President briefly remarked at WeScam’s ability to bring things together. Expect future posts with extra details about this later on.

Graduating

Graduation is a scary time in life. The closer we came to graduation the more my anxiety. I was relieved by the idea that I would be moving from Middletown, however leaving the bubble that I had subconsciously became so attached to was way more difficult than I expected. So much goodness coincided on my final week at Wesleyan. Looking forward to graduation day I imagined that I would be jaded, and cynical like usual, but instead most of the ceremony impacted me more than I’d admit. Below I included our commencement address from Joss Whedon, a true highlight.


My final night at Wesleyan was spent with friends and finished on top of Foss hill watching the sunrise. A sweet finish to an interesting time.

Brazil

After graduation I spent a quick few days in NYC then flew to Brazil. I decided to spend a few weeks down there visiting family, learning more Portuguese, and relaxing before starting grad school. I lived in an apartment in Florianópolis attending a three hour Portuguese class five days a week at UFSC. Going to class was a great way to learn and make friends, both helpful in an unfamiliar country.

During my stay in Florianópolis some protests around Brazil began to occur. It all started because Brazilians believe their public transportation is failing them. In Florianópolis, where I spent most of my time, the cost of a single bus ticket is 2.90 reals or around $1.50, and the government was proposing a slight increase. While that does not seem like much to us, it is a considerable chunk of ones salary when minimum wage is only about $1.30 per hour. An important group organizing several protests is the Movimento Passe Livre (MPL) who believe that public transportation must be free if we really want public health and education. The reasoning is that if people do not have the means to reach the hospitals or schools then those services are not really public. After a while other groups joined the protests complicating the message. There is a lot of anger against mismanagement of government funds in regards to the World Cup. People also critique the quality of health and education services, and of course corruption in general.

One of the friends I met at UFSC wanted to film a bit at one of the protests, so I followed along. What resulted is an edited video of several interviews I gathered at the protests.


I don’t consider myself an activist. In fact I’m in the process of planning a trip to attend the 2014 World Cup. Instead, my intention was to put my Portuguese to use and get a better idea of the movement’s message. The video ended up with some coverage in various Wesleyan news platforms (wesleying, wesconnect).

Colombia

After Brazil, on my way home I stopped in Colombia to visit the other side of the family. As per usual I ate a ton of food, everyday. I’ll leave the documentation of Colombian cuisine to another time and simply leave a photo of the rooftops of Cali.

ADVANCE program

Two weeks after my return from Colombia pre-grad school started, specifically the ADVANCE program. ADVANCE is essentially a summer undergraduate research experience for people entering a Stanford PhD program in the Fall. We had the opportunity to start an early rotation experience, participate in a journal club, attend workshops, and take advantage of a support network separate from our specific departments.

I worked in Atul Butte’s lab, primarily with Raymond Auerbach a post-doc in the Butte lab. My project involved SNPs, large databases, and machine learning.

The ADVANCE program was a great experience that helped me with the transition to Palo Alto, and grad school life in general. After ADVANCE I feel ready for the Fall quarter.

Radio DJing

During ADVANCE I decided to get involved with the Stanford radio station KZSU. A good friend of mine Adam Wechsler was heavily involved with Wesleyan’s radio station WESUFM. Towards the end of my last year I visited him and saw how cool it was to help out with radio and immediately decided to jump in at my new school. Once I moved to Stanford I sent a quick email to the station, took a simple five hour dj training course, and now I’m qualified for my own radio show!

So far I’ve only subbed a couple times (as in taken over other dj’s show when they couldn’t make it). I’m in the process of coming up with a show format for the Fall quarter, most likely I’ll co-host it with a friend of mine. Anyways I set up a radio tab on this site to host all my shows. Right now you’ll only find our two demo shows (part of dj training), but soon I will start uploading all our recorded shows.

In addition to hosting my own radio show, I’ve been recruited to help re-write some of the computing resources at the station. This should be a fun project that pushes me to learn several new frameworks. Even though it will increase my workload, I feel it will be a valuable contribution that will also help me learn a lot more about internal software development. Posts about radio software development progress should be expected in addition to posts about album reviews (one of the dj’s responsibilities is to review new music), and new shows.

Starting graduate school

As stated at the beginning of this post, I have attempted to summarize my main activities these past few months. My next updates should be more detailed and shorter (sort of an oxymoron huh?) about specific subjects. Since school starts soon though I don’t expect my output to increase much more than what it has been, hopefully at least a post a week adding a recording of my radio show. Anyways, that’s it for now!

Published: September 10 2013

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