Category Archives: Academic Stuff

School, college, standardized testing, and the like

Back from CIT

CIT wasn’t as great as I had expected. The classrooms I visited were much more crowded than I had expected from a college that proudly advertises a 3:1 student to faculty ratio, and the students sure didn’t seem as enthusiastic or passionate as I thought they’d be–I was the only one who answered the professor’s questions in Math 1C (Multivar. calc, etc).

To add to that, they were quite insistant that I won’t be getting any money, despite the huge (600 million dollar) allotment from Intel Co-founder Gordon Moore, among other sources of money. My lunch buddy said the donors earmarked all those funds to research, meaning I won’t be able to fully take advantage of my share in undergraduate studies. See, CIT has less than 1000 UG students, so if those 600 million were distributed equally among us UG students, each of us would have enough to purchase a decent Almaden house :P . Is the extra 25k/year, 100k total, over UC Berkeley worth it? I’m starting to doubt it.

The admission officers were especially cordial, though, after they realized I’m an admittant. They did basically tell me to f-off when I asked for a tour, but when I retorted that I got a package from them that INVITED me to take a tour (CIT in a day), the front-desk lady called over the counselor who promptly invited me into his room and gave me a lecture on CIT. And then he suggested I observe the Math 1C and Bio classes, and after that, he gave me 20 bucks to eat lunch with a Junior at CIT. The lunch was nice, and I found out a bit more about Caltech from the Junior CS major, like how the CS major emerged only a few years ago.

Desecration

Princeton University Rejection Letter

Look at how Princeton’s printer desecrated my rejection letter! Some parts of the print are noticeably shifted; it looked like the printer’s motor wasn’t in sync with the printer itself; and the printer spewed some random residual text on the bottom! Gosh, Princeton, I was going to hang this on Mr. Miller’s Wall of Shame, but now you’ve tarnished it beyond relief! At least let me be rejected with dignity! — Give me the opportunity to paste this on Mr. Miller’s wall. Actually, pasting this Princeton blunder might not be a bad idea.

Just for a comparison and to prove the quality is not derived from my shaky hands (My cam comes with image stabilization!) look at how much cleaner Caltech’s letter is:

Caltech Admission Letter

MIT Non-Admissions Office

MIT waitlisted me. Apparently notification of whether I’d be accepted or denied admission will come AFTER I notify my other college(s) whether I want in or not. MIT, if you really don’t want me, I don’t want you either. You won’t even give me stats for the waiting list and for admissions. I had to Google them up.

For the 2005-6 year, 7600 men and 2800 women applied to MIT, of whom 750 and 740 (respectively) were admitted. Those numbers are pretty demoralizing. I highly doubt that ALL of those 740 women were more qualified than ALL of the other 6850 unadmitted men (basically, I doubt the LEAST QUALIFIED of the 740 exceeds the qualifications of the MOST QUALIFIED of the 6850–something I believe is very unlikely). This is just a clear example of politically- and institutionally-endorsed discrimination (The P.C. variant of the terminology is the familiar “affirmative action”) gone completely wrong; instead of admitting students solely based on their ability, their past contributions, and their other records, MIT gives a 200% (3x) lead for women simply because they are women.

Let’s see how many men would have been admitted if the total numer of admission were the same, but men were admitted at the same ratio: total = 750+740=1490 ~ 1500. At this rate, 400 women and 1100 men would have been admitted. This means, IF ALL of the women in the waiting list were more qualified than I am, I still would have had 90.2% chance of being admitted.

Also from the same page, I see that of the 470 put on the waiting list last year, 0 were offered admission. Isn’t that just wonderful? Because of this, and the second period of uncertainty (third time for early applicants who got waitlisted), the experience is like being temporarily stored in purgatory while god determines whether there is space in hell (or heaven) for you.

I did not expect admission into MIT anyway, but the admissions office should have been frank with the waitlisted applicants by offering them detailed statistics of their chances of admission, how many applied, how many were admitted (both with men/women breakdowns), etc.

MIT is not the place for me anyway. I bid the rest of you guys good luck in finding suitable colleges that appreciate your admission.

Intel Stocks

Not because its chips are the best mass-produced consumer computer processors, not because it is the biggest manufacturing company in the Silicon Valley, not because it is one of my most favorite companies, but because its stock results don’t reflect reality.

I bought Intel when it dropped below 21 (I got it at 20.91, I think) on Friday, after the huge tumble down thanks to unfavorable oil price fluctuations. I was pretty confident 21 is pretty much as low as it can go, with such a bright future ahead of it: AMD’s losing market-share, nVidia’s inevitable obsoleteness (as Intel rolls out chips that eliminate the need for an independent graphics core), and its new Metal-K technology combined with 45nm wafer-etching abilities. It probably can go higher in the next few days, but the immediate result is abysmal.

In the morning today, Intel announced a teraflop capable processor that runs at 62 Watts! That basically allows any willing consumer to purchase a supercomputer that uses half the power normal desktop chips use (If you were to get a supercomputer network this fast, you would need a huge room full of processors). This could replace whole datacenters with a pair of servers running these chips, and reduce power usage by data networks by 98%. Intel stocks inched up a bit from the opening price, and strangely, tanked after that.

This is what doesn’t make sense to me–here, the company unveiled the most powerful chip and the most ambitious invasion tactic to date, but the stocks tumble on the positive news. What’s going on? If stocks were more predictable than typical brownian motion maybe I wouldn’t be jumping all over the place. Do you have any major experiences with inexplicably illogical stock movements?

Investopedia Frustration

So far, I have made $500+ off Intel, $600+ off nVidia, $400+ off TiVo, $250 off IBM, $300 off Xilinx (my mom’s company), $50 off China Life Insurance (I sold it because it was too risky), $950 combined off China Mobile and VFC, and $50 off Marvell. Those stocks consist of 9/10th of my stock history, and all nine of them have returned a decent profit–pretty good for an extremely cautious and conservative investor such as myself. They total to around $3100 bucks, or 3.1% above the starting cash of 100k. That’s pretty good; momentarily, those profits put me in 1st place in my class (period five).

I suppose you’ve noticed I’ve listed 9 stocks of my 10 that have profited me in an acceptable manner, but have left out the last one. That is the one I want to discuss mainly here: EVCC. Before you accuse me of simply and blindly jumping onto the EVCC bandwagon that propelled many to the top 5, I will tell you that this purchase (4000 EVCC stocks at the onset) was part of a calculated profit plan that should have reaped $950-$1000 a day or so, but instead, because of a malfunctioning limit-sell function of Investopedia, I am down $5000 (down $6000 if you include the potential profit) because of it.

What was the plan, you ask? Well, I noticed that EVCC was highly fluctuating, changing as much as 20% a day, and then back, so I realized I could profit immensely from the limit buy and limit sell functions, setting Investopedia to purchase at price x, then sell at price x+y immediately when that happens. The plan would have worked perfectly if Investopedia had worked.

How did I execute the plan? I set up a limit-buy on Monday for 4000 EVCC shares at $4.5 per share, which Investopedia purchased yesterday morning at $4.45. I also had a limit-sell at $4.64 per share, so that I can reap an immense amount of profits from the hourly fluctuations. When I checked back half an hour later, I saw that the EVCC stocks were at $4.69 per share, and I was quite elated, too, because that meant I would have gotten more than I had expected. I would have gained $960 ($920 after minusing 20 dollar commission each way) from the transaction, from that single fluctuation alone.

But when I checked the stocks at lunch, instead of seeing them sold by Investopedia (the limit sell requirements have been met! I even saw the data loaded onto Investopedia!), their values plummeted 13% or so. Although this had dropped me from the momentary high to 31st rank, I decided to keep them, not knowing what to do. Unfortunately, they plummeted again today–this time by $3000 in total value–dropping me to rank 159.

Oh yes, someone logged in as me and made market transactions at 12:49 PM Pacific time (3:49PM Eastern)–when I am in class–and screwed around with my EVCC stocks, causing me an additional 500 dollar loss, but that is insignificant amid this insane $6000 loss from one stock. I’ve changed my password, by the way, although I was sure that I had pressed the log-out button every time I checked my stocks at school.

So instead of being at 103850, I am at 973xx. This sucks. Damn you Investopedia! Good thing this is “fake” money, though, and I did pretty well on the test. Still, this 6000 dollar loss is undeserved; I cannot blame myself for Investopedia not following through with the limit-sell.

Stocks don’t make sense

I’ve fluctuated between 99800 and 100950 or so in the past two days in the simulated stock game. I bought Intel when it was supposedly down, but because I bought after the market closed–which I must, because school ends after the market closes–I was subjected to the mercy of the market. And I lost. The next day, the price began at a pretty insane high and dropped back to the same place, but because I placed my order the night before, Investopedia made the purchase the second the market opened.

But off that note, the recent financial announcements from Google, Nintendo, IBM, AMD, Intel etc and the resulting stock-price changes in some of the world’s most-known companies did not make sense.

Google, which announced that its quarterly profit tripled to 1.03 billion or so dollars, saw its shares drop 20 points, or 4%.

Nintendo, whose Wii propelled its profits to a record 1.1 billion dollars for the nine-months ending Dec 2006, saw its shares decline 2%

AMD, devastated by a miserable 500+ million dollar quarterly loss and a losing market-share (to Intel), saw its shares climb 2%.

IBM, which earned 3.54 billion dollars last quarter after a staggering 25% growth, saw its shares tank 5% (4.51 dollars)

Intel, whose new announcements of the 45 nm chip and Metal-K technology combined with its regaining market share and marketing momentum led Wall Street to declare it the winner in microchip corporations, saw its shares decline 3% before rebounding slightly.

I wish stocks were more logical.

Badminton or Harvard

First off, I don’t even know why exactly I applied to Harvard. I am not going to be a politician or a lawyer, or major in any liberal arts field. So the exact reason is quite elusive to me. Maybe it was the business school, but that’s for graduates. Maybe it was the connections I hoped to forge. Maybe it was the huge cash cache that I wanted for research. But whatever it was, I paid the application fee and now I feel obligated to respond to the interview. After all, my interviewer emailed me and called me to schedule an interview, and after several back-and-forth emails we decided that Thursday was the best day.

But I missed it and an hour before the interview I called her to reschedule–to Monday.

Unfortunately Monday I have badminton practice too. A mandatory one. I like playing badminton, and I don’t like having to drive an hour at 75mph just for one interview with the school I least want to end up at. If I reschedule, my interviewer will be pissed, and I won’t be able to go to Harvard :(

Big deal.

Involvement in the “scandal”

Just a note: Because Albert is not a Lelander his views are not officially sanctioned by the Math-73 class :)

Also, keep the name-blurting to a minimum. Although I admit I do have popular support in this endeavor I understand they do not want to be involved if possible. Direct any questions or commentary you have here, and I promise I won’t censor them unless they are 1. spam (advertising, etc), 2. illegal or 3. otherwise pointless.

Thank you.