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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Joel G. '18

Sep 25 2017

How To Make (almost) Anything

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research

I switch between saying I study "computer science" or "math" but neither one can hide that I usually live my life lost in abstract-land without anything to tether me down to things that actually exist. So to hedge my bets, I've set out on a crusade to learn more about regular old everyday physical objects, starting with "How To Make (almost) Anything" (aka 4.140 aka MAS.863 aka 6.943) with Zany Inventor Scientist Neil Gershenfeld.

The class "How To Make (almost) Anything" (also "How To Make" or just "Make") is sort of legendary. Gershenfeld has taught the class every year since 2004 while directing the Media Lab's Center for Bits and Atoms, and the class sparked an entire international "Fab lab" movement. Each week we cover a different fabrication technique on our quest to make (almost) anything: it's a semester-long crash course on making for those who have never made before.

(Gershenfeld is also credited in Minority Report and Big Hero 6, and in the spring he teaches "How To... read the post »

Discussion

Aug 7 2017

Fran Sancisco and Spother Oonerisms

Posted in: Miscellaneous

This all starts with a minister by the name of William Archibald Spooner, who Wikipedia advertises as "notable for absent-mindedness". This from the first sentence of the introduction, where Obama is noted as the 44th President of the United States and Beyonce is identified as an American singer.

Spooner was particularly plagued by a tendency to swap syllables between adjacent words, often to comedic effect. An inattentive student had "tasted a whole worm" (wasted a whole term); our Lord was a "shoving leopard" (loving shepherd); an efficient machine ran like "a well-boiled icicle" (a well-oiled bicycle); and so on. These became known as spoonerisms (or oonerspisms for the similarly absent-minded), and at this rate may well outlive the legacies of either Obama or Beyonce.

Spoonerisms are deathly contagious. As soon as someone sarts stopping swyllables, snoonerisms speak into speveryone's eech. Please hend selp; I'm luck thike stis.

Anyway, I've been living in Fran Sancisco... read the post »

Discussion

Sep 21 2016

Dream Machine

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

You know you’re in a sad place when you’re so desperate to procrastinate an assignment that you organize your life, clean your room, get a job, exercise, drink 8 cups of water, consult your doctor, and resurrect a blog you’ve ignored for almost 6 months (!!). So welcome to my sad place, featuring life updates and interior decorating tips.

It’s a new semester, which means another dramatic housing lottery at Zeta Psi. Every year, the brothers participate in a rather chaotic room assignment process, with all the tranquility and order of the Republican National Convention, except that at the slightest hint of instability we throw out our progress and start over from the top. As you can imagine, this usually takes a while.

When the dust finally settled, my new roommate Robert Tran ‘18 and I moved into Dream Machine, a cozy double in the third floor of 233 Mass. Ave. The beds - like all the rooms in the house - were lofted to save space, which left us with the entire space to... read the post »

Discussion

Apr 5 2016

That wasn’t skiing, that was falling with style!

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

Hello everybody! My name is Katy and I’m a senior studying electrical engineering (6-1). Joel has kindly let me write a blog post for him about my favorite thing about MIT – the ski team!

For those of you who don’t know, at MIT the month of January is not part of the normal school year. Instead, we have Independent Activities Period (IAP). During IAP students can choose to take condensed classes, conduct research, work on projects, work at an externship, travel, or really whatever the hell they want. I prefer to spend the duration of IAP with the MIT Alpine Ski team, living in a cabin in New Hampshire, and skiing all day every day. Yeah, I’m pretty much living the dream.

I’ve always been a somewhat cautious person, or to put it another way, a total wuss. I avoid compromising situations, whether it be going to a party where I don’t know many people, or refusing to try a back dive off the board even when all the younger kids do it no problem. I guess you could say I have a finely... read the post »

Discussion

Mar 9 2016

IAP, CES, and other acronyms

Posted in: Life & Culture

January is “supposed” to be an off-month for MIT students - a break between the semesters to relax, recharge, recoup, and reflect*. But somehow I managed to be at least as busy as I was in October or November, which, despite the excitement and adventures, has wrought havoc on my personal health, just in time for me to start the spring semester at the tail end of a prolonged battle with the flu.

* I’m actually not sure about the last two; I just started with ‘relax’ and ‘recharge’ and then felt obligated to continue. Sometimes I feel like I’m slowly devolving into a Markov Chain.

I drafted most of this post in the eerie, apprehensive calm before the academic storm, when classes had started but I didn’t yet have any work, but then life happened and school exploded and my to-do list overflowed its buffer in memory. But without further ado or apologies, let’s recap the last 106 days (!!!) since my last post.

During IAP, the MIT Alumni Association runs an “Externship” program in... read the post »

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