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Michael C. '16

Nov 22 2014

10 reasons why MIT is beautiful

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Sometimes MIT gets a bum rap for not having a pretty campus.  I disagree. Sure, we may not have brick buildings and ivy-covered walls.  But we have wacky (modern? postmodern?) buildings, the best river views in Cambridge, and a whole lot more. 

So without further ado, 10 reasons why MIT is beautiful:

(1) Because I get to see this view every day walking home after class:

(2) Because even the Infinite (Corridor) has an ending.

(3) Because in between classes, I might eat lunch in Killian Court...

(4) ...or take a walk by the boathouse:

(5) I'd show you sailing photos, but I'm not confident enough in my abilities to bring electronics on board.  So here's the boathouse from another angle:

(6) Because sometimes you look up and nothing makes sense:

(7) Because engineering can be colorful:

^from 2.008 Design and Manufacturing II.  I'll write about the final product soon!

(8) Because we get cool toys to play with in class:

^a Form1+ we used in... read the post »

Discussion

Nov 20 2014

This is my spork.

Posted in: Miscellaneous

There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My spork has been high into the mountains, across desert islands, into Stata Cafe, and everywhere in between.

 

It’s been used to eat freeze-dried backpacking meals, ice cream, Shin ramen, and sous-vide’d New York strip streaks.

Today I used it to pry a Simmons window shut when the handle failed.


My spork is titanium, light, and little. But what’s not little is the hundreds of disposable plastic utensils I'm not throwing into landfills, because of one simple choice.

Living an examined life starts with the small things. For me, a love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them, and to help reverse the steep decline in the overall environmental health of our planet. Take the #RefuseSingleUse pledge here!

(thanks to Lydia for the, uh, blog challenge to "write about a single object")

Discussion

Nov 14 2014

I’m studying poetry to be a better engineer, and this is why

Posted in: Academics & Research

^Earthrise, 1968.

This semester, I’ve read over 160 poems, spent 30 hours in class analyzing those poems, and written 5000 words on a few dozen verses. I’ve pored over meter and rhythm, imagery and enjambments, em-dashes and alliteration.

Why?

There is a good argument to be made that art for art’s sake is reason enough. As Robin Williams said in Dead Poets Society, “Poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for…That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.”

I’m not going to make that argument. Instead, I’ll start with a thought that passed through my mind the other day:

Poetry is important for the same reason that a bullet is destructive.

Perhaps I should elaborate.

A bullet is not destructive because of the force behind it. (If it were, by Newton’s Third Law the recoil would have an equally deadly effect on the shooter). A bullet is destructive because that force is concentrated... read the post »

Discussion

Oct 17 2014

How do you know when you’ve chosen the right major?

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research

Sometimes I get so engaged by a project that I forget to eat.

Yesterday, I woke up at 7:35am.  Starving, I got a sandwich to-go at the Student Center and then trudged off to the basement of Building 35. Along with my friend Sally M. '16, I spent the next few hours CNC machining two rectangular aluminum blanks into a pair of finely detailed molds and then finetuning injection molding parameters to create some beautiful clear yoyo bodies.

My sandwich lay forgotten until well past noon.

How do you know if you've chosen a major that fits you? Fit is a fuzzy concept, hard to quantify or plot. But this is what it means to me:

Fit is having at least one class per year that I really, really, really look forward to. A class that I wake up thinking about and work late into the night for, not because it's required but simply because it's so interesting.

Fit is finding people who share my passion for design - who see it as so much more than just an aesthetic wrapper, but rather as... read the post »

Discussion

Sep 1 2014

What it’s like to work at NASA

Posted in: Academics & Research

Networking is a funny thing. It can be formal (and slightly artificial) - think of the scripted conversations you have with recruiters over and over at career fairs.

But it can also come about more organically - and be a whole lot more fun!

Take for instance the time I was climbing in Yosemite this summer. While cragging with some friendly strangers near Camp 4, one of them spotted the MIT Outing Club patch on my backpack and started asking about what Boston life is like.  Turns out he's going to be a Harvard Ph.D student this year, and we agreed to meet up and chat/climb in the Northeast this fall.

networking over crack(s)

^This is networking!

Or take the numerous occasions that someone has recognized the brass rat on my finger and struck up a conversation - at work, wandering Third Street Promenade, or even in the elevator of my parents' condominium.

Networking directly led to my job at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory this summer, too. In the fall, one of JPL's Curiosity engineers gave a... read the post »

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