Friday, February 10, 2012

NASA's Blue Marble

So NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (the NASA facility where I worked this past Fall) released it's 2012 version of the Blue Marble which is of the Eastern Hemisphere.

Basically, it went viral. Check it out here.

It's interesting to note that the Blue Marble from 2002 is the most used on the iPhone. Food for thought.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Importance of Writing

*Image provide from

"Why do I need to take this writing class!? I'm an engineer! I don't need to write!"  WRONG!

Okay, I'll admit, I've said this too. But you shouldn't! Writing is such a wonderful skill. Writing is the ability to express your thoughts and ideas on paper!

Don't be surprised, but your engineering job in industry will probably consist about 80% of writing (emails, memos, technical writeups, recommendations, the list goes on and on). The clearer you can explain yourself, people are more likely to recommend you for higher positions.  However, if you boss has to change numerous grammatical errors in your work or rework your memo to make sense, she might as well do it herself. Somebody isn't getting a promotion anytime soon (because it appears they don't care!)....

Moral of the story: Start to truly work on your writing. Start a blog (my writing's already better), write in a diary, fill out scholarship applications, pay attention to your lab reports (do they make sense?).  Trust me, it'll be critical later. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Being Well-Rounded

My latest stint in DC showed me the importance of being well-rounded. People would walk around saying things like, "Well what do you think about the ____ bill, because this, this, and this."  And I would read the paper daily, but still had no idea of what was going on in the world.

Educated citizens have the ability to make a difference in their society, and by educated, I don't mean has-a-college-degree.  By knowing about a few details about a variety of topics, one is able to network with others.  

Being completely honest: Washington DC is a massive club.  It's not what you know- it's who you know. Therefore, if you have some knowledge about a topic, this person may want to network.  Networking NEVER hurts the individual...especially if you simply listen. 

So here is Serena's advice for being remotely well-rounded (especially after doing hours of homework):

1. Visit Museums. Take notice of the people around you. Take a tour (I will mention: I took my brother to a abstract art museum in LA, and he was much better entertained after a tour....however, he still didn't see a point :-P). Learn something different. 

2. Talk to people. Listen to their stories.  I've talked to extreme liberals and extreme conservatives.  Both sides have very valid points.  I've also met people who have traveled to world, and met wonderful people. It made me appreciate people so much more.

3. Scan the newspaper. At first, you'll probably have to Google everyone's names and read the entire story. But after a week or two, you'll get the gist and have a general understanding of what's going on around you.

4. Occasionally, read a FUN book. My personal brain candy consists of fictional books containing characters that live in New York.  (I often read the 1/2 hour before bed). Many times, the protagonists/authors (they are one in the same) are from New York, went to some prestigious school, and are writers.  It often lets me think about an alternate life...

*Image Courtesy of