I recently got the following comment, and it asks a few questions. Since this comment wasn't all that related to the post it appeared next to, I thought I'd just create a new post for this reply.
Hey, just wanted to thank you for your blog and especially your post on Chaos Theory- it's exceptionally clear, and has some really eyepopping info. The pics from your trips in China are pretty cool too.
Since you're linked to Harvey Mudd, I'm going to assume that you go/went there. What's it like? (Classes, atmosphere?) What kind of people would benefit the most from going there? I'm a few years from having to apply, but I've heard some raves and a few less enthusiastic opinions, so can you help?
Oh yeah, on the topic of marriage equality (or the lack thereof)- as an Iowan, there was a huge (by Iowa standards) throng of people celebrating when same-sex marriage was legalized; we're not all cantankerous conservatives who can't spell. As far as my age group goes, most people at my school accept people who are out, but gay is still a common insult and guys who act effeminate are ostracized.
Fajitas are delicious =D. Keep posting!
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm hoping to post some pictures from my trip to England before too long, so hopefully I'll be able to keep that up too.
I graduated from Harvey Mudd College with a degree in math and computer science in 2000. I've also been involved with the alumni association and served a term on the Board of Trustees, so I've been pretty involved even after graduating. It's a pretty intense science and engineering school, but one of the things that makes it unique is that everyone is required to take a third of their classes in the humanities and social sciences.
I'd say that if you're pretty sure you want to go into a technical field that Harvey Mudd is a good school for you. When I started at Mudd, I thought I wanted to study Physics. My second choice was Computer Science, and my third choice was Math. My fourth choice at the time probably would have been music (and that would've been hard to do at Mudd, at least as a major.)
One of the big distinguishing characteristics Mudd has is that it's a small school. That does mean that there's a bit of a lack of diversity that you might find at a bigger institution, which is mitigated a bit by the fact that it's one of the Claremont Colleges and you can get access to all the classes and activities going on at all 5 undergraduate colleges. It's not like going to UC Berkeley, though, where you might find a full set of graduate level courses (if that's the sort of thing you're looking for.) The advantages this gives is immense, though: the professors not only know their students, they actively do research with them. I did research with three different professors while I was there, something which would have been unlikely at a larger institution.
When I compared Caltech and Harvey Mudd after I was accepted but still hadn't decided, I visited both schools. Caltech students were only happy about the visiting prospects because the food was slightly better (ignoring some of the cool things that were going on, like Nobel Laureates coming and speaking... Even though the students weren't trying to impress us, the school was...) On the other hand, Harvey Mudd students were actively trying to figure out fun things to do in the spare time in our schedule. You'll be spending a lot more time with other students than anything else, so make sure not to ignore student culture.
As far as Iowa and marriage equality goes, I've been to Iowa a few times, and I'm not surprised that it's one of the first states to recognize the rights of gay people. I'm just hoping it stays that way: out of state groups are trying to funnel money into Iowa to elect homophobic senators. As much as I believe that the people of Iowa are sensible when it comes to these question, I also believe that the homophobic organizations putting money into races like this have figured out pretty effective ways to muddy the waters and get their base out one election day, so if they're pouring this much money into a race, I start to worry.