May 7, 2011
How many engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
Posted in: Miscellaneous
Answer to the subtext: Meta-phor!
Also, a clue to the answer to the title of this entry.
If you haven't thrown up yet, hang on. My friends from high school are starting to come back to Boston for the summer, and my punny ways are a lot stronger when I'm around them; this entry is proof that a post could be hazardous to your mental health.
Did you see that coming? Well, too bad. That will only make the rest of this worse.
Before I get fired for writing a blog post containing only puns, however, allow me to write some content.
The answer to my riddle: It takes about 8000 engineers to change a (metaphorical) light bulb; 12 to play with the iPad (sigh), a few hundred for the fanfare, and a few thousand more to watch, eat cookies, and clap a lot.
I'm talking about the MIT 150 convocation! The subject of several recent entries (see below), MIT is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary; it's an awesome time to be in, at, and around MIT. There's all kinds of art, celebration, and other shindig going on; if you've been living under a blogrock (like a normal rock, but blog) recently, though, here's a few examples:
- A flash mob!
- An open house!
- A dude with a yo-yo!
- Art! Oh boy. I'm a little less excited about the art as a whole because every piece of MIT150 art around campus seems to be in white. Could we have had some color? Grumble, grumble, grumble...*
- and other historical goodness (I dig the pictures)
- And something shiny tonight that will likely end up in the blogs... stay tuned!
Oh, and a Mood Meter:
Happy yet? Maybe more links will help!
A little while ago some friends and I decided to go play some late night ping pong; we were surprised to stumble upon another large group of people, staying up late and being generally happy in the media lab:
Anyway, back to the matter at hand: the circus!
My way of saying that ceremonial robes look silly.
MIT's 150th convocation was held at Boston's Convention and Exhibition Center; all morning, there were buses leaving from all over campus to take people there for the big event. When we got there, we filed into the biggest auditorium I'd ever seen - I think it could've doubled as an aircraft hangar. There were rows of seats for as far as the zoom lens could see.
After we sat down, we were treated to music by Rambax, MIT's Senegalese drumming ensemble, and several of MIT's orchestral / other music groups whose names I couldn't recall. When it seemed that the crowds had mostly stopped arriving, we were greeted by a video on the absolutely giant display, talking briefly about MIT's history of innovation while pictures of MIT through the ages flashed by.
The convocation ceremony (which, from the Latin, I take to mean "assembly", more or less, but from the event, I take to mean "assembly for the renewal of a charter"?) consisted of speeches from several important and awesome figures in recent MIT history; we heard from the Chairman of the MIT Corporation, current Institvte President Svsan Hockfield, The Honorable David S. Ferriero -- 10th Archivist of the United States, who came to us with a special message from his boss...
I'm pretty sure he said his boss was one of these guys. Unless they're one and the same?
We listened to six more presenters after that, among them MIT Institvte Professor and Nobel Prize winner Phillip A. Sharp; however, the one who left the strongest impression on me was Institvte Professor Sheila E. Widnall, also one of two (if I recall correctly) United States Secretaries of the Air Force from MIT. As somebody who's long wanted to learn to fly and is looking at taking pilot lessons over the summer, I was particularly impressed when she told us that she could fly every plane owned by the U.S. Air Force -- as long as it had a passenger seat :-P -- and that she'd been up in a U2 spy plane.
After all those presentations, President Svsan brought out the new charter for MIT, to be signed by twelve Important Persons.
There was, however, one major disappointment at the ceremony.
They signed it using an iPad.
Afterwards, we gathered for ceremoniously large cookies (like 6" diameter -- seriously, ceremoniously large, right?) and other snacks. I stopped to take a picture of some particularly bright tulips:
shrug, they were pretty. I don't know. Blog relevance? None!
And then left.
So, now what? Well, now that the metaphorical lantern has been replaced by a low-power LED controlled by an iPad, and the necessary 8000 or so engineers have gathered to ensure that the replacement occurred without a hitch, I guess it's on to the next one hundred and fifty years. Right?
But first, the next one hundred and fifty psets due before finals. Adios!
Schwag. And a pset.
PS: If you're curious as to where all the puns went: I wrote the first part of this after hanging out with the aforementioned high school friends; I wrote the second part after having not seen them for a few days. Ah, well. More puns next time!