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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Why Chromebooks?

Many schools in the Mountain View Los Altos school district have opted to use chromebooks at school instead of Mac or Windows computers. As a junior in high school, I still remember the day when we had those opaque white colored Mac computers that ran around on COW’s (Computers on Wheels). Unfortunately, I also have memories of trying to complete a brochure about Japan while having the Pages application crashing every time I tried to save my file. Apparently the metallic colored new Macbooks were too costly for the school to buy in bulk, so we did not enjoy that luxury. So when my middle school replaced all of the old computers with fast, sleek Acer chromebooks, we were all overjoyed. Never again did we have to deal with slow computers, or so we thought.



Even though chromebooks are much less powerful than a normal computer, they make it up with their speed, portability, and battery life. For a normal computer, I would be happy to have 7 hours of battery life. When I first used a chromebook, I noticed that the estimated battery life was over 11 hours! Most computers can barely last 5 hours, yet a chromebook sticks through thick and thin, refusing to run out. A chromebook is also much faster for browsing the internet or typing essays in Google Docs. Lastly, it is small and light, so it can be carried around easily in backpacks by students just like how a small binder or notebook would be carried.


The reason for the speed and battery life of a chromebook is that chromebooks do not have as many background processes as a Windows or Mac computer. The problem, however, is that as a result of processing less information, a chromebook has less capabilities than a Windows or Mac computer, so chromebooks tend to be useless towards software developers and graphic designers. Yet, as a student, most of what we need to do at school is simply browsing the internet or working on Google Drive. With chromebooks, students have a light, portable device that fits their school needs, perfect for carrying around in a backpack and writing essays for school.

Do you like chromebooks for school? Or do you prefer to use a Windows or Mac laptop? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Post Written by Howard W., Homework Assistant

Monday, September 18, 2017

Google's Toughest Interview Questions

Have you ever wondered how Google hires employees? Tech companies like Google always ask the hardest and most extraordinary questions during interviews. These questions challenge your critical thinking skills and force you to think fast while the interviewer scrutinizes your every move. Try some of these questions for yourself, and see if you could be the next Google employee!


1. If ads were removed from Youtube, how would you monetize it?

This is a hard one. Monetizing an industry is figuring out how you would earn money from it. And imagine thinking up of something while being interrogated by the interviewer!

2. How many ways can you think of finding a needle in a haystack?

If you could hook up your brain to the internet you could probably figure this one out. Otherwise, you’ll probably have to improvise.


3. Estimate the number of tennis balls that can fit into a plane.

These are a type of question known as Fermi Estimation questions. The way I would approach this is that we know that there are about 30 rows of seats in a normal plane, with 6 seats in a row. That makes 180 seats. Each seat should have about enough room around it to hold around 1000 tennis balls each. That would make about 180,000 tennis balls to a plane, so I would answer 6 for the power of ten. For these types of questions, you just have to get your within the power of ten. Also, the interviewer is looking for your reasoning behind your answer, more than just checking if your answer is right or not. Still, these are very, very tough questions.


4. How would you explain cloud computing to a six year old?

Honestly, I don’t know how to say the word “information” without saying “information”. I’d probably use the word “stuff” a lot.


5. How would I explain the importance of HTML 5 to Larry Page and then to my grandma?

That’s going to have to be a very smart grandma, or I won't be working at Google anytime soon.


6. Do you prefer earning or learning?

I want to pick money but then I wonder what the interviewer would think.



7. How many cars travel across a bridge each day?

Another Fermi question? Can we please just say “a lot”?


8. How many degrees are there in the angle between the hour and minute hands of a clock when the time is a quarter past three?

7.5 degrees. The hour hand is a quarter of the way past the 3 hour/15 minute mark, which is 1/48th of the entire angle that the hands could go.



9. Why are manhole covers round?

So people can fit easier because people are also relatively round? A popular answer is that a round manhole wouldn’t fall through the hole, but a square one can.


10. Name a prank you would pull on a manager if you were hired.

I can’t tell if they’re asking this to protect themselves or to see if you’ll do anything questionable in the office.





Post Written by Howard W., HW Assistant
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trees


Trees are easy to forget about, despite being incredibly important for all life on Earth. But they take on many different shapes and sizes, creating unique and beautiful naturally occurring art. Here are some especially magnificent trees from around the world!


The rainbow eucalyptus tree (right), also known as the Mindgao gum, is found in the tropical forests in the Southwest Pacific, such as New Guinea. The bark sheds and matures at different rates, cycling through intense tones at different times. This creates the palette appearance of the tree.



  

The monkey puzzle tree (left) is native to the most southern countries in South America, such as Argentina. When the tree was first identified by Europeans, one individual remarked, "It would puzzle a monkey to climb that!", and thus the tree was named.



The crooked forest in Poland is more of a creepy phenomenon. This forest is 400 trees that have a 90-degree bend, mostly northward. In the area surrounding the forest is normal pine trees. There are three main conspiracy theories about the mystery. The first is that heavy snowfall caused the trees to grow irregularly. The second is that tanks in World War II caused the bend. The third and more accepted theory is that farmers bent the trees for construction, but fled during the German invasion.

This last one is an honorary mention since technically wisterias are vines. Wisterias are native to East Asia and are especially respected in Japanese tradition. The Wisteria festival celebrates their blossoming in spring, with Wisteria tunnels, like the one pictured to the right below, where people can walk underneath the tree to see the flowers above.


What's your favorite tree?

Post by Swathi P., Homework Assistant

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Lessons from Your Favorite Cartoons

Lion King, Kung Fu Panda, Finding Nemo… Other than being some of your favorite childhood animated films, these movies also had a larger message that you might have skipped over when you were younger. I didn't catch these profound quotes when I was a kid, but now reading these words of wisdom will make you appreciate the moral of the story.

“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”
First off, my favorite childhood film, ever, is Lion King. Naturally, Mufasa said this inspiring quote, which explains that we must confront past challenges in order to learn from our mistakes. Life is not about avoiding conversations on tricky subjects; it is about embracing them so that we can improve upon ourselves in the future.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present."

Oogway, the prophetic turtle in Kung Fu Panda, tells this to the protagonist, Po, when he feels dejected and as if he was not truly meant to be a chosen Dragon Warrior. This saying eases the worry that you might feel in a temporary moment and reminds us that we must find happiness today without endlessly hoping for it in the future.

Your differences don’t define you.
Finding Nemo talks about the little quirks of all of its characters make them unique. From Nemo’s little fin to Pearl’s constant inking (“aww, you guys made me ink!”) and Dory’s short-term memory loss (“P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney”), many of the marine creatures in this film have their own little imperfections but don't let their differences stand in their way.

Nobody gets left behind (or as Lilo and Stitch put it, ohana means family) The entire Toy Story trilogy is about toys saving each other. Saving Wheezy from the garage sale, saving toys from the evil neighbor's house, and saving toys endangered by the prospector. 

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant