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MIT staff blogger Chris Peterson SM '13

Aliens, Bitcoin, Camps by Chris Peterson SM '13

now i know my ABCs

The blogs have been pretty quiet for the last week. Most of our bloggers are home, with some recently graduated, or have just begun work and UROPs. Meanwhile, the admissions team has been attending conferences, picking up long-dormant projects, and starting new initiatives.

I’m currently at nerd camp, but anytime the blogs go unblogged for too long, I get antsy, so I wanted to make a quick post and point your attention at two things.

First: some of you may follow alien/human (and MIT PhD student) @jonnysun on Twitter. If you don’t, you should; his persona, and associated art projects (like @tinycarebot), are earnest, lovely things in the world. Jonny was also just profiled in the New York Times on the occasion of the publication of his new book (!!!), Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book.

everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too is the illustrated story of a lonely alien sent to observe Earth, only to meet all sorts of creatures with all sorts of perspectives on life, love, and happiness, all while learning to feel a little better about being an alien—based on the enormously popular Twitter account, @jonnysun.

Here is the unforgettable story of Jomny, a lonely alien who, for the first time ever, finds a home on our planet after learning that earthlings can feel lonely too. Jomny finds friendship in a bear tired of other creatures running away in fear, an egg struggling to decide what to hatch into, an owl working its way to being wise, a tree feeling stuck in one place, a tadpole coming to terms with turning into a frog, a dying ghost, a workaholic beaver, a puppy unable to express itself, and many more.

Through this story of a lost, lonely and confused alien finding friendship, acceptance, and love among the creatures of Earth, we will all learn how to be a little more human. And for all us earth-bound creatures here on this planet, we can all be reminded that sometimes, it takes an outsider to help us see ourselves for who we truly are.

This is what the book looks like. It’s not the one on my desk, because I’m at nerd camp, not at my desk. But trust me, it looks like this, and you should have it on your desk, too, because it’s lovely.

Second: some of you may remember (or know of) the MIT Digital Currency Initiative and the associated project to distribute free Bitcoin among MIT undergraduates to see how they used it. That initiative is beginning to bear fruit in the form of scholarly research published to

Professor Christian Catalini, the professor leading the research team, recently gave a talk on the project and what they’ve learned from the MIT experiment; I’ve embedded it below.




When I come back I plan to post the blogger application by July 1, so stay tuned!