July 18th – “Sleepless in Socorro”

‘OD Season’ has officially begun on the NMT campus, unsurprisingly bringing sleep to a program-low and anxiety to an all-time high.  Despite the suggestive phrasing, rest assured that the only OD-ing (aside from that related to astrophysics) going on likely involves coffee or contraband computer-lab snacks.  Jake from IT isn’t making any friends this time of summer, and neither is the already-simplified Python syntax.  Parenthesis have become man’s worst enemy as we are all left pondering how two simple characters can cost us so much time.

There are fleeting glimpses of light on the horizon, though.  Arpit and Mathis finally developed a miracle antidote for our narcoleptic computers, and we will hopefully be putting OD anxiety to the back of our minds for a few hours tomorrow during our field trip to downtown Santa Fe.  If only someone could concoct a cure for the mysterious outbreak of lecture narcolepsy recently falling upon many of our students…  Despite the ever-challenging lectures that may or may not be competing with our Tempur-Pedic binder pillows for attention and the looming pressures of the OD submissions, we still find time for crucial study breaks and light-hearted fun.

The main attraction as of late at the Weir 128 Carnival has been TA Mathis Habich, to now be referred to only by the self-proclaimed title of “King Fishy.”  If the word “Fishy” doesn’t prompt recollection of some of your greatest childhood (or grad school) memories, then it’s safe to say that the King Fishy himself would pity you immensely for your sheltered, unfulfilled existence.  For those now feeling oddly insecure about their life’s pursuits, please follow the link below and experience one of life’s greatest pleasures to your heart’s content.  It would be wise to give yourself a non-negotiable 30-minute playtime limit, as many a student and TA have borne witness to the game’s addictive qualities ( à la “Lindsey this is important can you check their code for me?!”).  Rumor has it the game has even received critical acclaim for its riveting storyline and astoundingly accurate portrayal of natural selection.

Gaming Gold:  http://fishy-flash-game.com/  


Note: The King Fishy crown is currently up for grabs to the player who destroys the ecosystem with the highest score.  Endgame screenshots can *hopefully* be sent to nmtfaculty@mailinator.com , and the lucky winner will *hopefully* be sent their prize free of charge.

Additionally, in light of the recent heinous attacks on SSP NMT’s legitimacy and, erm, telescope size, I feel compelled to leave a short message to our compatriots at the CU Boulder campus.  Seeing the expressions of despair on our faces before this morning’s amazing lecture, Dr. Rengstorf bestowed profound wisdom beyond his years upon us eager SSP NMT scholars.  Channeling his inner Mahatma (quote not verbatim even from Dr. Rengstorf), he gave the group instructions along the lines of, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong,” and actually told us to, “Respond to their belligerence by effusively complimenting their redeeming qualities.”  So, given our indomitable strength and characteristic blind adherence to the doctrine of our all-powerful AD, I would like to share this highly nuanced, artful expression of SSP NMT’s sincere admiration of the CU Boulder campus’s online presence.

Friends, motivated scholars of the SSP CUB campus, please allow this post to serve as a message of kindness, an offer of forgiveness, and a sacred olive branch extended to rekindle once and for all the amazing bond between our two sister campuses.

[Title credits to Rosita, and meme credits to Victor, Arpit, Annie C., Daniel T., and Kathryn]

Alex M.



July 17th

Good ol’ SSP. What a G.

God, I love Sundays.

I recently met the devil. His name is Astro 8.5.

I’m not really sure how to begin this post.  I’ve always found it hard to start things, and being right in the middle of all the action makes it a bit difficult to reflect on it. But now since I’ve found this super clever way to launch into my post without actually having a beginning, I can freely ramble about stuff.

SSP is probably the first experience I’ve had where almost every person, place, thing, etc. can be classified as some sort of meme. The definition of a meme is fairly fluid, but basically what I mean by it is some sort of definitive characteristic that can be repeated later for comedic effect. I know I’ve been spamming phrases like “Good ol’ ”,  “What a legend” and “PJSalt” when referring to some (most) things and interactions I’ve witnessed at SSP, but the fact is that all of you are so distinctive, wonderful, and memorable in your own ways that these memes materialize faster than Mathis’ corny jokes do. It’s absolutely amazing to me that all of the things we learn, places we go, people we hang out with, and most importantly, moments we share, are each worthy of being heartily chuckled over at someone’s dinner table ten years from now, and yet we’ve now accumulated so many of them that we don’t really give most a second thought. Thinking back to what my life in Pleasanton is like, consisting of stress, school, homework, occasional social interaction, and more stress, the culture here at SSP, within this group of like-minded yet fantastically unique individuals, is almost incomparable. We’ve had too many quirky and “memeful” moments to list them all (Zhengdong’s post is an excellent starting point), but I’d just like to advise all of you, in the midst of frantically trying to finish your OD, or grading homework, or preparing a PowerPoint for tomorrow’s lecture, to stop for a moment and reflect on the awesomely mind-blowingly amazingly beautiful experience we’ve all been a part of for the last month, and be as sad as I am that in about a week, we’ll all leave this wonderful bubble and go back to our lonely lives.



July 15

Here’s a short look at what we did today:

First up was Dr. Anderson’s morning lecture, which started with videos of a human outrunning a cheetah and a train getting struck by lightning. From there we revisited our friends Alice and Bob as we wrapped up our discussion of special relativity. We next moved on to the tidal effect and finished with an introduction to Hamiltonian mechanics. After lunch, in Dr. Rengstorf’s lecture, we continued our discussion about the formation of our solar system. Momentarily sidetracked, we also contemplated the definition of intelligence and learned how we can use the SkyX to become rich astrologists. In the evening, we had an optional TA lecture by Mathis, who taught us why L = T-V in Lagrangian mechanics and the correct way to pronounce Einstein and Minkowski. In between lectures and meals, if not playing Assassins, Diplomacy, or Frisbee, we spent most of our time in the computer lab, our “second home,” working on problem sets and asteroid projects.

Probably the most exciting thing to me right now is the progress my observing team, the Pie-thons, has made on our asteroid. Although we started out with some weather challenges, we’ve been able to get three successful image runs of our asteroid, 1999 ML, thus far. The following is a picture of me removing the grating on our telescope with Kathryn holding the ladder (thank you to Kathryn’s parents for taking the picture):


Shown below is my observing team in front of the colorful progress board with one of our TAs, Mathis, who looks even shorter than normal.


Overall, it’s been an awesome several weeks so far, and I can’t wait to see what the final (less than) two weeks has in store. To end my blog post, I thought I’d add a meme of our TA Mathis:

download (1)

(credits to Victor for the caption)

-Annie C.

July 14


“Poetic…” according to https://www.16personalities.com/personality-types, introduced lovingly by Anna Banana.

Honestly, am I really “poetic?”

Since that word made me laugh so much… I’ll just write this blog post out in a “poetic” manner as to honor the description of the personality type.

July 14

My day started out very lovely. The sun was so kind to sear my retinas with its harsh electromagnetic radiation and arouse me from my deep slumber. What was I dreaming about? I could only wonder with my fantastically imaginative mind who delights in plaguing me with dreams of perpetually receiving error messages from the Python code.

Breakfast was in a cafeteria, infused with dancing light rays from the darling sun. As I delicately nibbled on a delightfully delectable bagel and plotted the demise of the sun’s light rays in my dorm, Rahul was brutally murdered before our eyes. The culprit is none other than the devious Annie P. who emerged victorious from the carnage, holding the heart clothespin o­­­f Rahul’s target. I gently dabbed my mouth clean, smiled at my fellow SSP-ers, and departed the scene.

The lecture regarding gravity’s rude effects on time and space went by lovingly as we listened in awe at Dr. Anderson’s enlightening analogies. I could not help but close my eyes in amazement for twenty minutes and all the while, the wonderfully abstract concepts flowed over my mind. Towards the ultimate conclusion of the thoughtful lecture, I embarked upon an engaging discussion with Canada Anna about gravity’s distortion of time and space, understanding more and yet simultaneously less about it.

Apparently Einstein harbors more leniency towards corks than Newton. I must pardon for any of Newton’s outcries of rage against accelerations that aren’t directed perpendicular to gravity’s acceleration.

Dr. Rengstorf’s lecture was equally enlightening as Dr. Anderson’s as we were raptured by the equations that summed up the birth of our solar system. Delightful numbers flowed across our visions, rendering us speechless in their ephemeral positions on the whiteboard.

Multiple students were assassinated in one fell swoop in Weir’s hallways. Their remains have yet to be scraped off the walls, and the sun was thoughtful enough to light its golden rays upon the bodies.

I had a quaint dinner and felt at peace amidst the gentle chattering of students. As lovely as the day was, I felt that it could be better without the horror. What was the horror? Oh… the lemon tarts ran out. It was very distressing.

Conclusion: the 16 personality types seems to be a very poor test for me.

Have a picture of the TAs riding a cow over the moon. Yes… it was for QoD 15.


(Graphics by Lucy Zhu)


July 13

Today was the bomb.

The game of assassins officially began this morning at 6:30 and within an hour, first blood was drawn (it’s ok Diana, someone has to die first). When we woke up to the bloodstained battlefield that is now New Mexico Tech campus, alliances were already beginning to form (or “The Tribe” as Alex M. likes to call it). People were backstabbed, lies were told, secrets were spilled, and backpacks were turned into front-packs.

One person who you would not guess would be into killing is our very own beloved Dr. Andersen shown below.


Sprinkled throughout his math and physics lectures are little morbid nuggets of death. Most of his physics examples includes death of some kind, whether it’s an airplane crashing and killing 60+ passengers, firing a missile to kill a city, or shooting a monkey as it falls out of a tree. Instead of simplifying a derivative, Dr. Andersen prefers to kill off the terms. Sadly, he too was honorably murdered by none other than Jason.

Before teaching at SSP, Dr. Andersen was actually making gadgets and weapons for a French criminal mastermind named Gru. Luckily for us he took a break from attempting to steal the moon in order to teach high school students that angels don’t push planets, they kick them.

Here is a candid of our favorite mad scientist, keeping in tradition with the Facebook find of the day:


We had a blast today at EMRTC. For those who don’t know, EMRTC is an acronym with the C standing for Childcare due to the inappropriate number of young children watching a truck get vaporized.

The explosion blew our minds (bad dad puns credits to Mathis).

Everyone was super energetic.

Apparently Arian and Abby sat in front seat of the truck and survived because Arian did an epsilon-delta calculation to prove they were going to be ok. If you don’t believe me, ask Arian to explain it to you in Greek (trust me, it’s hilarious).

After a fun yet fearful day, we got some much needed rest and have now been rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever exciting new problems we get to do here at SSP! #CUBblog2k16