Saturday, May 4, 2013

SFGI lectures

Going shoe and clothes shopping with a friend later today. Haven't been doing very much after my Stanford trip. I've been spending some time organizing files on my computer and helping mom with some little things around the house. Never seem to have enough time to do everything I want to do. I was hoping to do a few more productive things on this vacation. 

I went to the annual SFGI lectures on Friday. This was my first time. It's pretty well attended by the whole geotech community in the Bay Area. People go back year after year. The topics were not as technical as I thought they would be. The first one was about CPTs and I thought that was somewhat useful. The second one was about engineering for developing countries by a professor who basically started Engineers Without Borders in the US. His talk was interesting but I thought it was sort of all over the place. One of his main points was that there is money to be made by entrepreneurs who are willing to market low cost solutions to these 90% of the population. He really believes in a for-profit model. I definitely agree because a solution that is profit driven would carry a lot of incentive for success. It would be interesting to do something like that but it would be time consuming and risky. The third talk was about using geophysics to do treasure hunting in this mountain. I wasn't paying very much attention to that talk. 

The lectures were held at Berkeley. It was a really hot day and for some reason, they didn't have the AC on inside the auditorium. I really don't understand why because I was definitely falling asleep from the stuffiness. I stayed for the social and dinner afterwards and got a chance to chat with some people. The geotech community is definitely very small, much smaller than in Hong Kong. It seems like companies are doing okay in terms of getting jobs and projects. But definitely not as busy as the HK construction industry. 

I also met up with a friend in Berkeley who is doing is MS/PhD. We had lunch on Euclid street where there are lots of little shops and very walkable streets. I really miss that in HK. Nice, quiet streets lined with trees and small shops. Of course, it would be nice if the trees didn't trigger my allergies... 

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