EppsNet Archive: Cal Tech

Screw Economics

One of the classes I’m taking on Coursera is Principles of Economics for Scientists, taught by Prof. Antonio Rangel at Cal Tech. First of all, it’s a great class. Rangel has a real passion for the material and he’s provided extra resources to accomodate online students, many of whom probably don’t have the math background of the average Cal Tech student. He’s from Madrid, so his pronunciations and mannerisms are different, like the gesture below, which I captured from one of the video lectures. He was explaining how something or other would increase our understanding of economics and he punctuated the word “understanding” by pointing at his head with two fingers. I don’t know what this gesture means in Spain, or if it means anything at all. Probably he knows what it means in America, but as I said, he’s passionate about the material and I think he loses himself… Read more →

Don’t Check Asian

Asian kids are putting a different race on their college applications to boost their chances of getting into the top schools. Lanya Olmstead was born in Florida to a mother who immigrated from Taiwan and an American father of Norwegian ancestry. Ethnically, she considers herself half Taiwanese and half Norwegian. But when applying to Harvard, Olmstead checked only one box for her race: white. — Some Asians’ college strategy: Don’t check ‘Asian’ – Yahoo! News That’s a rather modest strategy. Identifying yourself as white does give you a little bit of a boost but to really improve the odds, I’d advise everyone to go ahead and check the Black or Hispanic box. Or Eskimo. Eskimos are kind of Asian-looking. Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it’s 2400). Espenshade found that Asian-Americans needed a 1550 SAT to have… Read more →

My Kid is Going to Cal

I always kind of assumed that the boy would follow in his pappy’s footsteps at USC, but he just sent in his intent to register at Cal, thus ending (effectively) a journey that started on his first day of kindergarten last week. It wasn’t last week? It was 13 years ago? It seems like last week. I picked him up after school and he sat in the back seat of the car sipping a juice box while we talked about his day. I have a video of it. There are three schools in California that you could plausibly go to ahead of USC: Stanford, Cal Tech — two small, private schools with ultra-low admit rates — and Cal. Cal has a better academic reputation than USC. USC has cranked up the academics over the last 20 years, and especially over the last 10 years, to the point where if you… Read more →