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DRIVING THE MIGRATION TO INDOOR AGRICULTURE

While there is no absolute certainty in science, which is only able to estimate probabilities, we seem to be experiencing increasingly extreme weather and changing trends in climate. This is nothing new, as history presents to us a parade of failed civilizations, where weather or climate changes resulted in crop failures.   Egyptian hieroglyphics talk of the failure of the First Kingdom, because for three years the Nile failed to flood the Egyptian fields. Other hieroglyphics talk of survivors, eating each other.   To explain the end the Mayan civilization, one archaeologist presented evidence of seven years of drought, triggering the abandonment of cities.   Today, some tell us that climate changes many significantly reduce agricultural yields, possibly resulting in world wide anarchy. Do we wait to find out?   Today, increasing percentages of agricultural products are grown indoors or in green houses. For various reasons, marijuana legalization is driving the development of methods and technologies that reduce the costs of indoor agriculture.   For example, at Almeria, Spain, the once barren coastline provides half of Europe's demand for fresh fruits and vegetables, with 45,000 acres of green houses on 115,585 total acres.   NetZero Greenhouses builds greenhouses that are able to draw water from the air, power from the sun, use flow cell energy storage, and additional lighting from LED lamps. The clear panels that roof the green houses transmit the wavelengths of light that the plants require, while absorbing other wavelengths of light to generate electricity. With over 1.5 billion dollars in revenue, these new agricultural factories produce food from previously barren land and are profitable.   The LED grow lamps are designed to put out the wavelengths of light that plants require, which means indoor growing can be done even where sunlight is completely unavailable. LED lights are the most efficient method of producing light from electricity, and do not contain mercury as do most fluorescent lights.   Wise farmers have always loved the land and learned that weather may wipe out or damage entire crop seasons. These new technologies make much more efficient use of natural resources and reduce the many of the random risks of open field agriculture.   My concern is that our progress is too slow, and money is being spent diverting critical flows of water to inland open field farms, which may not be productive with climate change. Spend this money on indoor agriculture, providing low interest loans to farmers in arid areas to implement agricuture that doesn't require irrigation. With indoor agriculture, we capture water from the air.   The Green Real Deal requires a consortium of academics, students, small businesses, and larger businesses. Non-profits of many flavors might join with political support and assist in smoothing public understanding of the benefits.   Institutions, such as University of Santa Clara, have competed quite successfully in environmental demonstration competitions. They can build green houses to be used by students from most departments in researching new methods and learning the realities of agricultural productions.   Once we get one major school to decide to build the first on campus green houses in Silicon Valley, the concept will spread virally, particularly with the number of groups that see the immediate environmental benefits.   Farmers, businessmen, and investors, can tour public displays of student projects and be given seminars and guided tours, by students majoring in marketing or senior management careers.   With the availability of an educated work force and actual example of how technology provide better methods, small businesses and later larger businesses would naturally be attracted to these incubators.   Currently, most green houses use manual labor, just like open field agriculture. Working with ASME and a university, we can begin the development of full automation of indoor agriculture. There are many scattered solutions that already exist, but there needs to be accelerated development of interoperability standards.   Agricultural autonomous vehicles increase the productivity per worker, providing well paying skilled jobs.   As with semiconductor automation, much of the new equipment and systems will come from small companies, as we see in open field automation. Much of the semiconductor automation technology is transferable to agricultural automation. There is a massive pool of former semiconductor technical people, who could easily be retrained in the minor details,while share decades of practical experience and leadership with the younger people at and currently graduating.   At this point it should be clear that there is an infectious passion when people turn from doom and gloom to building things together. With passionate leadership, this becomes like Habitat for Humanity on steroids.   Semiconductor automation brought us methods of statistical process control and the mathematical foundation of today's machine learning. Image processes allows for fully automated inspection of harvested produce.   Reusable trays that stack can be used, similar to the JEDEC trays that we used for transporting delicate semiconductors. These same trays can be used to display the sorted quality produce in the store. Once empty of sellable produce, trays with unsellable produce are returned to the farm. Tray are cleaned and reused, until worn out or lost, eliminating a major source of pollution. Unsellable produce is mixed with remnants of plants can be used a hydrocarbon feed stock replacing oil or turned into methane in disgesters. Reusable trays would be more durable, reducing the amount of produce damaged in shipping.   Standardized trays facilitate robotic delivery, storage, and stocking. Greater productivity in retail groceries, facilitates the hiring of better paid people, who have fun helping customers and building good will.   Hydroponic growing is common in modern green houses. With no dirt, plants are monitored and fed the nutriments that decades of research show are appropriate.   With positive air pressure and hydroponic grow media, there are no flying insects nor eggs in the soil. Therefore, there is no need for the use of pesticides. This eliminates the need for expensive pesticide residue testing.   As the US and Europe transition to automated indoor agriculture, the technology will defuse throughout the world. Every increase in the well being of people, improves the environment of all of us. Imagine rebuilding Mayan cites on the Yucatan Peninsula, where never again will their children be hungry. People still speak Mayan.
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Why I Came to America

My new life began on that chill autumn day. That evening, l came home to tell my mom two pieces of news. First, I received the highest grade in my class for all our final exams. The second thing I wanted to tell her was that I needed to leave the country. At first she was calmer than I thought she would be.  “Did anything unhappy happen in school?” she asked. She always thought of me as a whimsical child. When I was younger, I loved singing one day then piano the next.   “I have to leave,” I told her. “I don’t think l will take the college entrance examination.” She leaned back and looked at me. She was having trouble breathing, but I had to continue. “I want to study abroad.” The words blurted out of my mouth, and I couldn’t tell whether I’d actually said them aloud. She had mixed emotions: surprise at first, and then a touch of anger. She knew after living with me for seventeen years that once I had made up my mind, I would go to extremes to achieve my idea. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that my past seventeen years were a rehearsal for the college entrance examination in China. On track to go to the best college in my country,I was thrilled when I placed into the most advanced class in my top-rated high school. After three years of competition, I received first place in my senior year class. All the people around me said that I could realize my dream of attending Fudan University  once I received the college entrance examination results. Then, in my senior year in high school, it seemed the harder I worked, the more I grew confused. The whole senior year was only preparation for the entrance exams. For example, the essence of Chinese literature was buried in the formulaic essays for college entrance. After each mock exam, teachers would read our rank and appraise each student. It was a game full of flesh and blood. I observed students around me with backpacks as heavy as stones wearing glasses as thick as beer bottle caps. They repeated the same routine everyday which I knew better than anyone else. I pitied them, but then l figured out I was actually pitying myself. Even my mom said she couldn’t remember her college experience because getting into a top school was more important than her time there. Leaving my high school, hometown, and family was a very difficult choice. I knew no one would understand as there were only six months before the entrance exam. And I would have to spend an extra year in high school if I went abroad. My family, teachers and friends all told me l would regret my choice. My mom wouldn’t tell our relatives I was going to study in America; they would say I gave up because the pressures of my senior year were too much for me to handle. That’s not true. I held the dream so firmly that I worked extra hard my entire educational life, but my dream fooled me. In fact, the dream fooled everyone. Looking back my choices 5 years ago, I am glad I was determinant and knew what I wanted. I am studying in UCLA majoring in statistics and minoring in Japanese. I have switched my major for three times after I entered the college. I don’t think I would have the same opportunity to explore where my passion truly is. I spent last summer interning in a start-up company in LA. That became my turning point in my college career. I was determined to learn more about data science and horn my skills for the industry. I was drawn into the projects and found out I really liked what I was doing. After my internship, I applied to different graduate school because I realized my lack of experience in the field. Having decided to go to University of San Francisco, I am excited about what this new journey will bring to me.   
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Discover meaning in travel

I love traveling. I have been to a plethora of countries spanning 6 continents and 100+ cities of the world. Being a world traveler, I realize, however, that what I enjoy most isn't just the beautiful landscapes or delicious cuisines, but my interactions with local people; those experiences were like stamps, carved in my mind and served as a permanent reminder of optimism, aspiration, and motivation in my life. I still vividly remember when I visited a rural area in Yunnan China, where a 7-year-old boy worked full-time in doing chores meant for adults, in order to ease the family burden. My heart squeezed. Wanting to help out, I offered him some food and books so he can temporarily supplement nutrition to the body and brain. At the end, when I was about to leave, he said: "I had a good time, can you please stay with me?" It touched my heart. I extended my stay for another hour or so. Before my departure, he hugged me tight and told me to come back again. I left devastated, wishing that I could stay with him or had a more sustainable way to feed him and release him from the shackles of physical labor. I know there are many more people like him out there. In another time, I met these sisters in a small village in Shaanxi China. It was late summer, where the weather was scorching hot and full of mosquitoes. The little sister's whole body was bitten by the mosquitoes and I felt so bad. I asked her if it was very itchy, and she said yes but that she was accustomed to it since she has to deal with it every day of the summer. I gave her two bottles of mosquito spray and showed her how to use it. After I left her, my heart ached -- their parents make a living by recycling the trash, their house is a few meters away from a giant dumpster, and the kids are raised with a bad-smelling environment with flies and mosquitoes everywhere. But even so, they are happy and optimistic.  I am grateful for everything that I have today, but knowing that there are many others who lack basic life essentials and have unfortunate lifestyles, I am motivated to make a difference in the world and change people's lives.   
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Buying a House

Purchasing a home can be very daunting for many but for good reasons because it can be a huge investment and can cost a million! There are many ups and downs during the process of buying a house. It is analogous to job applications or even college applications -- there are so many potential people to choose from and a limited number of spots; in the housing market, there is only one who is selected in the end.  Some may not have the luxury to buy a house. Some may be too afraid to dive into the housing market. And some may just not have enough information to go on this path. For those who can afford to pay the down payment and the monthly mortgage costs, then it is absolutely worth it to buy a home rather than paying rent. Your costs can significantly decrease if you are able to lease extra bedrooms to potential roommates. For myself, the most important factor of a house is simultaneously the most obvious: the price. I had a limited budget for a given price, I needed to optimize the value of the house. I focused on homes with at least 3 bedrooms and at least 2 bathrooms. I highly recommend avoiding condos because the monthly Homeowners Association (HOA) fees are atrocious and can easily add up to a lot of money. I personally prefer not to buy houses that are too old so I would filter to those that were built after 1950. There are many sites that enable you to customize to your likings such as Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, etc. I suggest finding a real estate agent that will help search for houses based on your preferences. Real estate agents also have access to lockboxes, meaning that you are free to visit the house at any time, even late at night; otherwise you will need to wait until weekends during limited hours when there is an open house. My own approach was to research beforehand about 5 houses in roughly the same area and then visit them all in one sitting on a weekday night. If I liked the house, I would visit it again on the weekend to ask any questions and get a sense of the surroundings during the daytime. If everything goes well, I would make an offer to the seller as soon as I can. Buying a house is very time-sensitive because sometimes, whoever makes a good offer first is the one that the seller will choose. I only pay what I am comfortable paying and usually, it is slightly lower than the market price. This can be risky, however, because if it is way too low, the seller would not even consider giving a counteroffer. And this is exactly what happened -- I put in an offer for a house that I really liked -- it was convenient, large, and beautiful -- but nevertheless, the amount was under the listing price. As expected, my offer was not considered, in favor of other buyers that offered more money. A few days later, I was notified that the house was pending! I was devastated, regretting that I did not put in a little more money in. I continued to search for more houses, but could not find another house that sparked my interest. I was on the verge of throwing in the towel when one day, I got an email that the house that I really liked was contingent, did not go through, and was back on the market! I jumped immediately on this opportunity, calling my real estate agent at the time to ask about how much the contingent offer was and ended up winning with a bid for slightly under it. When I think back, I reflected on this event as a stroke of serendipity. I cannot believe that I was able to get a second chance after failing the first time. I learned a valuable lesson from this experience: to embrace life and be grateful when luck is on your side.
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Piano: an Reinvigorated Passion

One day, during my freshman year of high school, as I was walking home from school, I heard some beautiful piano music, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” coming out of a local church. I froze! I reacted! This music was so familiar, yet so tranquil. I suddenly remembered that I had used to be able to play like this. Every segment, every tune, every beautiful note now all resurfaced, floating and singing in rhythm. I did not know that the sound of piano could be so beautiful and soothing. Although I had used to play piano when I was seven years old, it was not long before I quit. My teacher, tired of me playing lifelessly and without effort, had told my mother to not bring me back to her house again—she did not want to teach someone who was completely indifferent to music. Hearing “Ode to Joy” instilled excitement in me as I returned home. The piano keys were dusty, the music books was old and battered, yet the music notes of a classical piece did not change. I played, I played, and I could not stop. I began to have an urge to play the piano again. In my spare time, I relished in the musicality of Mozart and Beethoven. I admired my peers as they played for me, far beyond the few lessons I had. I had begun to develop an understanding and appreciation for music. I gathered my courage to ask my parents for piano lessons, and though they initially refused, I eventually persuaded them to allow me to try again. I am very grateful for my parents who gave me another chance in learning the piano. Playing the piano has positively influenced my life in many ways. Playing piano in public performances, in particular, has given me more confidence. I distinctly remember my first piano recital in front of a relatively large audience. Because I was very nervous, I constantly stumbled in my playing, which was shown by my facial flushing. Even though I had practiced for hours the entire week before, it seemed as if I never played the song before because of my anxiety. However, as I performed at more and more recitals, I slowly overcame my public fear of playing in front of a large audience. My stress also incrementally subsided as I gradually immersed myself in tranquility whenever I played the piano. I am very proud of playing the piano because I have changed from a very timid to a more expressive person, both during as well as outside of piano performances. Had my parents never given me this second chance at piano, my life would be completely different. Because music notes of a classical piece never change, the fundamental composition of beautiful music does not evolve because of time.
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Embracing My Fear of Water

I still remember in my early days when I experienced rain for the first time, with water pouring on my head and drenching my clothes completely. I was cold and scared. I was uncomfortable and absolutely hated getting in contact with water. It was even worse when my parents tried to put me in the shower, because I would whine and burst into tears, hoping to get out the water immediately. Many years later when I turned 10, my parents decided to conquer my fear of water by enrolling me in a local swimming club where I would attend swimming classes every day after school. Becoming immersed in water for hours every day quickly dissipated any lingering fears of water. Instead, I started to embrace the beauty and calming nature of water. I started as a guppy, which was for first-time swimmers. I learned the basics of swimming, such as floating, treading, breathing, kicking. These are core skills that are vital to become proficient in swimming and prevent you from drowning. Floating and treading essentially mean staying on the surface of the water horizontally and vertically, respectively. Proper breathing patterns ensure that you have good rhythm and are getting enough oxygen every time you bring your head above the water. Finally, kicking is important because it is what propels you across the water. Once I mastered these skills, I increased my fish status to a goldfish, where I learned the four strokes: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. My favorite has always been freestyle, which is, in my opinion, relatively easy to learn yet challenging. It is the only stroke that rewards you for not breathing and staying underneath the water because any breathing would only slow you down. In swim competitions, I would take a deep breath and try to get to the end all in one sitting. I also liked breaststroke, because it is quite relaxing and I constantly get to breathe with every stroke. I would say my least favorite strokes are both backstroke and butterfly. For backstroke, I never felt comfortable swimming as fast as possible because I was always afraid I would end up hitting my head against the wall. For butterfly, raising your arms high above the water is painstaking, difficult to execute, and requires a lot of stamina. I am proud to have become a competent swimmer. I think that swimming is a skill that is very important but many people do not know how to do it. It is also an excellent form of exercise. I profoundly remember going through a marathon where we needed to complete 200 laps (one lap was 25 meters) within 2 hours. I was able to accomplish this with about 20 minutes to spare while taking only minimal breaks to drink Gatorade, which helped to temporarily replenish my energy and fatigue. After completing this marathon, I felt light-headed and utterly exhausted that I could barely breathe. To this day, I don’t think I have ever been as tired as this time before. I continued to participate in swimming for about 8 years. I would travel occasionally to go swimming meets, where I would compete against others, primarily in freestyle and breaststroke. Fast forward to today, when I no longer swim on a regular basis, I easily tire out after swimming 10 laps or so. Although I am far from my peak performance in the past, I am nevertheless much faster than the average swimmer and constantly impress others around me. Through my experience with swimming, I learned that some things in life take time to accustom to. It does not come easy, but rather through patience and determination.
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Hi Harvard!

I was excited when one day, I turned on my computer and found out that I received an email from Harvard, congratulating me for my admission to the Business Analytics Program! I am delighted to share my experience with the community and to the thousands of people out there from all over the world who also want to apply for the same program. I hope my personal statement can provide some useful tips on what constitutes a solid personal statement and topics that would be nice to cover. Please see below – hope it helps! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On a Sunday afternoon, I was browsing my newsfeed on LinkedIn, when I saw a post about the Harvard Business Analytics Program. This set off a memory of when I was only 10 years old with a Harvard student who tutored me math and English. That experience was so unforgettable and has positively impacted my life. With that excitement, I looked into the curriculum of the program and saw it is designed to strengthen core management skills and ability to find innovative ways to analyze, predict and apply data strategies across business sectors. As manager of customer analytics in a global fast-paced technology company, I find the deep necessity to enhance data-driven techniques, get exposure to digital strategy and innovation and sharpen my management skills. There is no better program and community than the Harvard Business Analytics Program to provide the skills and experience I need to excel at my current position, while preparing for my ultimate goal of building and leading a world-class analytics team at Dropbox. With a heavier background in business over technology, I sometimes find it hard applying right techniques in solving a business problem. Often it is due to unawareness of the existence of a technology and limited knowledge applying it. Also, it results in the lack of innovation and inability to optimize resources. Last week we were discussing how to turn unstructured survey data to structured data, ultimately to insights. We currently rely on a third-party vendor, but it’s not the ideal solution as it is very expensive and we have no way to validate their results due to lack of skillset and bandwidth. Realizing that if I want to change the situation or eventually bring the exercise back in house, I must develop some data science techniques to at least recognize the technology behind an exercise and the complexity of it. With my team growing I also need to enhance leadership skills. Becoming aware of the Leadership and Innovation class where the instructor employs the congruence model linking strategy to execution through alignment of culture, people, tasks, and executive leadership, I know this program will help me. To be a better manager, I am still trying to find the optimal balance between getting the job done and building relationships, I hope to find an answer through the class. There are numerous other examples to support the conclusion that I need to better data technology and management skills to maximize efficiencies and outcomes for my company. As an individual, I am passionate, culturally aware, and supportive. I bring positive energy to people as well as excite and motivate them to dream bigger. I have many topics to contribute – from having lived in four countries in the past ten years, to building a worldwide community (to learn more please visit www.sangclub.com). As a business professional I am extremely motivated, persistent, and willing to learn. If I had the honor to be admitted to the program, I would love to share my career stories, build meaningful connections, contribute my knowledge in business analytics, get involved in communities offering help, and discuss trending techniques around data and leadership. Thank you very much for your consideration! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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The Northern Lights

Many people have the Northern Lights as one of their items on their bucket list. I will talk about my absolutely amazing experience and how I was fortunate enough to see this phenomenon; I hope to inspire you and also provide some advice on how to see it! The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora, is a breathtaking natural event that happens in the sky during night time. They are extremely unpredictable -- I heard of many friends who went twice in an attempt to see the Aurora, only to go back home without ever seeing it! Because it is triggered by disturbances in the atmosphere, it can happen at any moment. What’s exciting about the Aurora is that it can be seen from many parts of the world. I highly recommend going via Alaska because you will be able to view it at essentially anywhere in this state. My trip started by flying into Anchorage where we rented a car. Our first agenda was driving to Fairbanks, stopping by Denali National Park and staying at an Airbnb in Healy. Note that you are able to check online on the likelihood of experiencing the Aurora. That night, in particular, said there was a small chance of seeing it. And so, we decided to stay awake until 3 a.m., only to be disappointed because the sky was empty and pitch dark. The next day, we went to Chena Hot Springs Resort (highly recommended) to stay for the night and relax in a soothing outdoor hot spring. The same night, we were told by the front desk that they will notify us if the Aurora would end up appearing. We relatively early this time, at 11 a.m. A few hours later, we jumped out of the bed, getting a phone call from the resort to immediately go outside. And there it was, green lights flashing through the sky at rapid speeds. It was unbelievably spectacular. It made me awe at the various moving parts in the natural world that allowed the Aurora to happen. At this moment, we were completely satisfied because otherwise the whole trip would be ruined. For us, it only lasted about 10 minutes, barely enough time to take some photos and admire its beauty. In addition to seeing the Aurora, we were able to see two more phenomena in our time at Alaska. We went during the fall season, so we could see the fall foliage, the period when leaves change color from green to brownish-orange. We would stop occasionally on the road to admire the natural scenery. Next, we visited Wrangell-St Elias National Park, which is known for its glaciers. It was an unforgettable and unique hiking experience, to walk on ice the whole time!  Last, but not least, we made sure to make our way to the North Pole, because who doesn’t like Santa Claus? So, the next time you think about seeing the Northern Lights, consider going to Alaska to make your experience as remarkable as mine!
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Scandinavian Adventure on the Seas

Two years ago, I visited Europe for the first time in my life. It was a spontaneous trip -- my family and I went simply because the cost was a great deal for the experience that you get. It was an 11-day cruise for only $1000 per person (taxes included) in addition to a $400 roundtrip ticket from Oakland to Copenhagen. The cruise enabled us to visit a total of 7 countries: Copenhagen (Denmark), Oslo (Norway), Berlin (Germany), Tallinn (Estonia), St Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm (Sweden). Before boarding the ship at the Copenhagen dock, we were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery that Copenhagen has to offer. I highly recommend visiting Nyhavn and seeing its famous colored houses. My absolute favorite part of Copenhagen was simply eating their Danish pastries. Compared to what America has to offer, the pastries in Denmark are cheaper, healthier, and significantly more delicious! The cruise offers many activities, from entertainment shows, rock climbing, swimming, dancing etc. I was delighted to see that there was an obstacle course ending with a zipline at the end. There is always high-quality food to eat at all times. So, cruises really get your money’s worth -- visiting new countries, unlimited food, and a place to sleep for a hundred dollars per day. Some downsides of cruises are that you have less time to explore the destination and see tourist areas. Also, if you easily get seasick then cruises may not be right for you. All of the countries that I visited each had their touching attributes; however, I loved Sweden the most. The metro stations, in particular, leave a mark on my heart. Each metro station is decorated in a unique way and feels like an attraction on its own. There are art, mosaic, and sculptures by various artists. It is refreshing to see and a stark contrast to the grimy metro stations in America. Because we only got a half-day to visit each destination, at times, it felt a bit too fast-paced, however, it was nevertheless an unforgettable experience. Overall, I would recommend the cruise experience for those who want to relax while getting the opportunity to explore a new country!
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Command Line 101

This post is inspired by a friend who has never heard of the command line before. This is not too surprising because I only started about two years ago. Now, I use it every day. One of the most important tools in data science is the command line (synonymous phrases include terminal, shell, console, command prompt, Bash). Especially when working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), familiarity with the command line is a must. You may ask, “Why can’t I just use my own computer?” Well, the answer is simple — as data volume increases, it becomes impossible to process terabytes of data with merely 8 or 16 GB of RAM. Using AWS enables scalability when working with Big Data. You are no longer using one local computer, but perhaps 40 computers on the cloud, a concept known as parallel processing. In a nutshell (pun intended), you are paying Amazon to borrow their computers. The purpose of the command line is to interact with the computer (local or remote) and its filesystem. It provides a text-only interface (yes, no more point-and-clicking) to provide commands for your operating system to run. Some use cases: - Read, write, edit, find, move, copy, remove, download files Git/Github - Basic data exploration/manipulation - Logging onto a remote computer aka SSH-ing (Secure Shell) - Watch Star Wars (Open your terminal and type telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl) Some dangerous use cases: - Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks Hacking and stealing people’s information Let’s begin by grabbing some text (Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen) from Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1342/1342-0.txt Anything inside [brackets] will be the definition of the term and anything starting with $ will be command line syntax.  [wget: download a file from a website] $ wget http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1342/1342-0.txt [ls: list files in your current working directory] Your terminal should show one file called 1342-0.txt when typing ls. $ ls 1342-0.txt Files with the prefix of . are hidden files. The argument -a will display them. Some arguments are mandatory while others like -a are optional. [man: view manual page for a command] Typing man ls will provide you with information on each argument. Multiple arguments can be done by typing them consecutively, i.e. ls -ltr will show your files in a long list format, and sorted by modification time, with oldest entries appearing first. [head: print the first 10 lines] $ head The Project Gutenberg EBook of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Pride and Prejudice   [tail: print the last 10 lines] What you see on the screen is referred to as the standard output. Let’s combine three commands into one. [cat: print the contents of the file(s)] [ |: pipe operator that passes the output of tone command as input to another] [wc: word count] $ cat 1342-0.txt | wc 13427  124592  724726 First, the text content will be printed to standard output. Then, the standard output will be passed to the wc command, which will provide the line count, word count, and character count of the file. [mv: move a file (can be used to rename)] [mkdir: create a directory/folder] [cp: copy a file] [rm: remove a file] [cd: change directory] Let’s rename the text file to pride_and_prejudice , create a directory called books , copy the pride_and_prejudice file to books. $ mv 1342-0.txt pride_and_prejudice $ mkdir books $ cp pride_and_prejudice books/ [grep: filter based on a pattern] [ >: write standard output to a file (overwrites if there is an existing file with the same name)] [ >>: append standard output to the end of a file] [touch: create an empty file] [echo: print a message to standard output] Let’s store all lines containing the word “happy” into a file called happy.txt. Next, let’s store all lines containing the word “sad” into a file called sad.txt Then, create an empty file called subset and combine the two files together. Add a message to the end of subset that says “Finished!” $ cat pride_and_prejudice | grep happy > happy.txt $ cat pride_and_prejudice | grep -sw sad > sad.txt $ touch subset $ cat *.txt >> subset $ echo "Finished" >> subset On the second line, the optional argument -sw is used so that words like dissadvantage are not captured as well. You can use the asterisk * to perform operations on all files ending with the extension .txt. Let’s say you were tasked with downloading 100 files (Books 1000–1099) from the Project Gutenberg website AND changing the file name to the title of the book. It might seem like a very monotonous task, but using the command line, it can be done in just a few lines! We need to learn how to do for loops. for i in 1 2 3 4 5 do     echo "Hi Person $i" done The output would be: Hi Person 1 Hi Person 2 Hi Person 3 Hi Person 4 Hi Person 5 A slightly more complicated example: for i in $( ls ) do     echo file: $i done The output would be: file: books file: happy.txt file: pride_and_prejudice file: sad.txt file: subset The $ enables you to use a command inside ANOTHER command. From the Gutenberg website, the files will be http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1/1-0.txt or http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1/1.txt (it is inconsistent whether or not they have a -0 in the file name. To account for both scenarios, we can use the || command which will only trigger the second command if the first one fails. [tr: translate a character (using -d will delete the characters)] The code will be the following (step-by-step details can be seen below): $ mkdir gutenberg $ cd gutenberg $ for i in {1000..1099} > do > wget -O file "http://www.gutenberg.org/files/$i/$i.txt" || wget -O file "http://www.gutenberg.org/files/$i/$i-0.txt" > name=$(cat file | head -n 1 | tr -cd "[:alnum:][:space:]") > name="${name/$'\r'/}" > mkdir "$i" > mv file "$i/$name" > done Typing ls should give you this: 1000  1007  1014  1021  1028  1035  1042  1049  1056  1063  1070  1077  1084  1091  1098 1001  1008  1015  1022  1029  1036  1043  1050  1057  1064  1071  1078  1085  1092  1099 1002  1009  1016  1023  1030  1037  1044  1051  1058  1065  1072  1079  1086  1093 1003  1010  1017  1024  1031  1038  1045  1052  1059  1066  1073  1080  1087  1094 1004  1011  1018  1025  1032  1039  1046  1053  1060  1067  1074  1081  1088  1095 1005  1012  1019  1026  1033  1040  1047  1054  1061  1068  1075  1082  1089  1096 1006  1013  1020  1027  1034  1041  1048  1055  1062  1069  1076  1083  1090  1097 To view the files inside the folders, you can use ls -R : ./1095: 'The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Light of Western Stars by Zane Grey' ./1096: 'The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Faith of Men by Jack London' ./1097: 'Project Gutenbergs Mrs Warrens Profession by George Bernard Shaw' ./1098: 'The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Turmoil by Booth Tarkington' ./1099: 'The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Riverman by Stewart Edward White'   Making a folder called gutenberg and changing directory to it $ mkdir gutenberg $ cd gutenberg Starting the for loop where i will be a number from 1000 to 1099 (inclusive) $ for i in {1000..1099} do The argument -O will rename the file to the namefile . It will first try to download .txt and if it fails it will try -0.txt. $ wget -O file "http://www.gutenberg.org/files/$i/$i.txt" || wget -O file "http://www.gutenberg.org/files/$i/$i-0.txt" This will take the text file, retrieve the first line (where the title is located), keep only alphanumeric and white spaces, and store the string as a variable called name. [:alnum:] and [:space:] are character sets for alphanumeric and white space respectively.The next line will remove weird, bash-specific characters that remain, e.g converting 'The Project Gutenberg EBook of the Riverman by Stewart Edward White'$'\r' to 'The Project Gutenberg EBook of the Riverman by Stewart Edward White' . This uses the concept of variable substitition, and uses this syntax: ${parameter//patern/string} . In this part, the /string component is empty so it replaces \r with nothing. $ name=$(cat file | head -n 1 | tr -cd "[:alnum:][:space:]") name="${name/$'\r'/}" This last part will end the for loop by making a folder with the appropriate number and moving the file inside it. $ mkdir "$i" mv file "$i/$name" done Thank you for reading! I hope you were able to learn the basics of the command line from this tutorial.
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Landing That First Job

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in the 2016-2017 academic year, there were 4.5 million college graduates in the United States. Evidently, that's a lot of people. Let's make an assumption that most of these people are also in the job market. From sheer numbers, it is clear that job hunting is an extremely competitive landscape. To land the first full-time job is one the most fulfilling yet frustrating experiences in life. Although I am happily enjoying my work right now, I faced a long uphill battle to get to where I am today. I hope to shed some light on job searching tips and provide some motivation for those who need it. A critical mindset to have is that job hunting is a numbers game. This mean that even if you are an extremely qualified candidate, you will still need to submit many applications regardless. Looking at some data online, for every job, there were on average 250 potential applicants, culminating in only a single job offer. So, don't be discouraged -- part of this process is just luck! To clear up any confusion, however, I want to emphasize that this does not mean to send in half-baked resumes and cover letters, hoping one will stick. Every job that you apply to should be done with due diligence. Spend the extra few minutes to customize your approach on why you are interested in this particular company and position. This strategy may be less effective for larger companies but crucial for mid-size to small startups. Especially when getting an initial interview (usually with the HR or hiring manager), you should know basic information about the company and what the job position entails. My experience is pertinent to those looking for a job in the tech industry. It took me 200 applications before landing my first full time job; of these 200, many were automatic rejections -- companies nowadays use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS), meaning that the computer scans your resume prior to having a human read it. Amusing aside: I applied to a fairly well-known company back in May 2018; in January 2019, I received a generic rejection email, meaning the response time was 8 months! It is not uncommon to either be ignored completely or get an significantly delayed response. A rule of thumb is to keep your resume simple; fancy graphics or format will only confuse the ATS and cause it to throw your resume in the trash without any further consideration. Furthermore, I am a fan of the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to eloquently and concisely describe your work experience and/or projects. It is widely known that recruiters only spend a few seconds scanning each resume so having a structured response is critical for your application to be further considered. For each job application, I recorded all of the relevant details in a spreadsheet and updated it if I heard any response from the company. During the job searching process--I encourage you to do the same--I strived to have 20 live applications at any one time. If I did not hear anything for 2 weeks, then the application was considered “dead". This encourages me to consistently apply to jobs and always have something in the pipeline for interviews and/or coding challenges. Whenever I had an interview, I would make sure to comment on what went well, but more importantly, what I could have improved on. This allows me to learn from my mistakes instead of recycling the same errors in subsequent interviews. Whenever possible, use LinkedIn as a resource. If the company you are applying for has a connection, whether it's a close friend or simply an alumni, do not hesitate to reach out. Referrals are a two-way street benefiting both parties -- they guarantee your resume will be looked at, and can potentially result in a job offer; on the other hand, the person giving the referral will receive a juicy bonus paycheck if you are accepted. Regarding cover letters, even if it is optional, make sure to submit one anyway. It is typical for companies to perform a simple filter on those who submitted a cover letter to narrow down the candidate pool. Thinking from the perspective of the company, it is practical to hire candidates who put the extra time and effort when applying for the job. I hope that I was able to provide some useful guidance in the difficult job searching process. All I can say is to keep pushing because a job will land eventually, whether it takes days, weeks, months, or even a whole year!
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Finding My Passion

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.” This invaluable piece of advice—articulated by Steve Jobs in his commencement address at Stanford— resonates with me. Growing up as a Chinese-American and a classically obedient son, my parents controlled many aspects of my life. Reflecting on the past, I now know from first-hand experience the consequences that can result when consistently succumbing to your parents without cultivating independence. Reminiscing the earliest memories when I was younger, I recall children around the neighborhood flocking to our house to have studying sessions with my mother. At the time, my mother provided complimentary tutoring simply because she enjoyed teaching and working with children. It was not long when our home became too cramped to fit so many children; one of the parents then suggested for us to start a formal tutoring center, triggering the transition from a pastime to a business. As small business owners, my parents would inevitably and reasonably begin to pave the path for me to become a businessman. Starting with relatively trivial tasks such as creating math exercise worksheets to necessary responsibilities like managing payroll, I was on track to take over their business. I never particularly enjoyed the work I did but was unable to express my discontent to my parents. Studying economics previously in high school, I was reluctant to have to touch this dull subject again. I nevertheless regrettably followed their wishes and studied business economics for my undergraduate degree. However, my indifference for economics became evident as my grades quickly deteriorated. My academic outlook had hit rock bottom, for the first time in my life. When I began deliberately skipping classes and refusing to prepare for exams, I realized that I needed to take charge of my life or else. Albeit long overdue, since my grades had already plummeted, I decided to talk with a counselor at the end of my second year. That is when I learned to take charge of my own destiny. My counselor recommended that I try statistics because of its shared prerequisites with economics. Fortunately, I was much more passionate and attentive about learning statistical theory and programming languages. My subpar grades served as a catalyst to start afresh and thus my academic performance skyrocketed in the latter two years of college. It was a life-changing period in my life where I fully grasped the utter importance of having passion and carrying the right mentality. In retrospect, I associate my discovery of statistics as sheer serendipity. I did not intend to study statistics, nor did I know what it entailed. Yet, I soon became enamored with statistics and its practicality. Statistics has the power to unlock the mysteries of data, enabling us to make sound decisions with quantitative significance and to better understand the real-world phenomena around us. While analyzing data, I am most fascinated by the idea that there is no correct answer. Unlike the archetypical math problem of solving polynomials with an irrefutable solution, statistics favors a probable explanation with margin of error. For data analytics, there are typically many ways to interpret data and synthesize solutions to the same problem, constantly forcing me to think outside the box. After completing my undergraduate degree, my knowledge of data science was still rudimentary, only touching the tip of the iceberg. I craved for something more so I decided to further study data science at graduate school; I became more adept at programming and widened my data science skill set. Now, I am enjoying my first full-time position in the field of data science. I cannot imagine how different and unsatisfying my life would have been if I allowed my parents to dictate my destiny. Although I am extremely fortunate to find my career path, simultaneously, I regret not having done so sooner. I did not explore enough options at the time and made the mistake of simply following my parents’ wishes. I cannot stress the need to make your own decisions in life. I encourage everyone to identify their passions, even if it is haphazard and through trial and error like me. The concept of passion was critical to my personal development by revitalizing my thirst for knowledge -- I was constantly looking to learn more and was genuinely interested in the field of data science. I was able to overcome a low point in my life by abandoning economics and simply searching for my passion. Furthermore, I was content because I can easily find myself doing data science in my day-to-day job for the many years to come. Your parents do not necessarily know what is best for you. I have many friends who followed their parents’ requests and ended up having regrets many years down the road. You are the only one that knows what type of career you will enjoy doing for the majority of your life. The words from Steve Jobs encapsulates my life story: your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.