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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Yan Z. '12

Jan 18 2011

Mr. E. Hunt

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Truth be told, I have no idea how to use the MIT admissions web interface anymore after taking an unintentional sabbatical from the esteemed blogging position for 1/38th of my life. Therefore, this post will be in 100% plain text and you should just stop reading now and visit Reddit.

Truth be told honestly this time, I've actually forgotten how to write sentences without the crutches of LaTeX syntax and an average math density of 1 equation per 3 words of English during my previous semester as a Physics major and.

But on the bright side of the other hand, I spent 42 hours this weekend surviving on three food items which were (1) peanut butter and jelly on bread, (2) water, and (3) the best roast lamb, tomato chutney, and goat cheese sandwiches that I have ever had from the irreproachable Flour Bakery+Cafe by MIT. 36 of 42 hours were spent either staring at puzzles, running around campus looking for a man dressed as a mutant mushroom, staring at puzzles, or staring at puzzles.

... read the post »

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Jul 1 2010

This Entry is About

Posted in: Miscellaneous

I might as well tell you straight away that this story ends with Lady Gaga defacing my MIT ID with a permanent marker.

Be warned: the newspapers will spin you a cybertastically-juiceless tale of a bleach-haired megastar appearing at the MIT museum yesterday with almost as much advance notice as a truckload of detonated TNT, of a Polaroid press conference culminating in the unveiling of a 20”x24” Polaroid portrait of Polaroid's Creative Director (whose name begins with “L,” I believe, and ends with “ady Gaga”) photographed on the top floor of the MIT museum using a Polaroid camera that more-than-kind-of looks like a droid from The Clone Wars, of Polaroid donating the portrait to MIT along with a 9000-piece collection of Polaroid artifacts, of Polaroid's future plans to publicize its digital images and digitize its public image. (Grapevines for the curious: Polaroid will “soon” release a fully-digital camera with the capability to print instant Polaroids just like Grandma used to do... read the post »

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Mar 27 2010

40 Hours in Cape Cod

Posted in: Life & Culture

On the first night of my mandatory vacation, I walked to the beach with the taste of fresh complaints in my mouth, trying to wrestle down the symptoms of workaholic withdrawal through the ancient zen technique of inefficient breathing. Inhale: one exam in quantum mechanics, three physics problem sets, sketches for a full-length blues arrangement for jazz ensemble due in a week. Exhale: raw spring air blistering against penuriously-hydrated throat, harbor lights smeared in black seawater, the breeze-perforated silence of Cape Cod two full months before the season of tourists and hideous polo shirts. I peered across the pier with my peers, homonymically. Overhead, a countable infinity of little stars twinkled, and I pondered their elusive nature, up above the world so high, appearing like diamonds in the sky. (In fact, I pondered this in C Major, diatonically.)

You might recall that I joined a cooperative living group in January. As it happens, cooperative living involves sacrifices,... read the post »

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Mar 11 2010

Unedited notes on gravity, etc.

Posted in: Miscellaneous

[Tonight I worked on a problem set in General Relativity until 4 AM and walked home under soft, acidic streetlights to an empty house with shadows peeling off like blue paint. In the sleep-killing luminosity of a laptop display I searched for comfort amidst the suburban silence of post-midnight residential Cambridge and instead found a page of half-finished notes wrung from my brain during the last two weeks, mostly typed at within 4 minutes of entering slumberland. Reproduced as follows with sporadic punctuation intact.]

consciousness at the scale of gravity, if neurons could tune to the fine geometric structure of space and time

science is nothing but an extended frame of reference. the human mind imposes its own coordinate system upon the fluid topology of our perception, gingerly constructing a set of logical principles as its basis vectors.

thoughts have mass, carve ripples into spacetime

each entry of transformed tensor is a multiple of the determinant of a matrix whose... read the post »

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Feb 15 2010

Generally Unrelated to General Relativity

Posted in: Miscellaneous

This semester, I'm taking a graduate class in General Relativity that conflicts with lunchtime in pretty much every single reference frame. Let me repeat that for emphasis. Conflicts. With. Lunch, the refuge of covert slackers since time immemorial, an oasis of idle leisure amidst the dessicated hours between 12 and 5 pm. Recall that the most cherished hallmark of the American K-12 education system, besides the fostering of creativity and free-thinking, is the venerated observance of Lunchtime in the plasticky temple of Cafeteria (often accompanied by the brutal rituals of Recess for the worship of spherical projectiles and various incarnations of tag). Never, in a dozen years of pre-college schooling, was the sin of Scheduling-Anything-During-Lunch whispered within the tender earshot of young, impressionable students training diligently to become Pokemon masters. Never was any child denied the pursuit of half-squashed peanut butter jelly sandwiches and phalanx-like carrot sticks at... read the post »

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