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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

Bicycle Race by Sam M. '07

More things happen, and I pretend that I've read your comments.

DID YOU KNOW? The song “Holland 1945” by Neutral Milk Hotel is about Anne Frank.

Two quick anecdotes minus three quick answers equals negative fun!

Today in 10.37: Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design, we had a pop quiz. That’s pretty uncommon for MIT as a whole, but I’ve had a few Course 10 classes with closed-notes pop quizzes that last about 10 minutes. What was really strange, though, about today’s quiz is that Professor Green stopped in the middle of lecture at 11:22 to administer it, and it was about things that he had just talked about in lecture, which he left on the chalkboard as a reference. In his words, the quiz was to “test if you still had a pulse.” I still don’t think anybody got all of the correct answers. That is not uncommon for MIT.

Today in UROP Andy presented to me an article that he found while perusing the most recent issue of The International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. The article described a new gaseous and combustible form of water discovered by some guy at the Institute for Basic Research, which is run out of a PO Box in Florida. The new combustible form of water, which is created by an electrode and is perfectly stable at room temperature, is ten times more efficient than gasoline, and actually better for the environmeny. Why, you ask? Well, you need oxygen to make something combust, right? Well, water already has oxygen in it. So you’re not depleting the worldwide supply of oxygen when you combust water, unlike when you combust fossil fuels. Duh. We finally decided that the article was either a joke, or submitted by a crazy person and given to incompetent peer reviewers.

And that is how science works.

To take a page from the Book of Mollie-valations, here are some answers to some general questions posed recently in the comments.

Mia :) — “Hey Sam…I was reading the Emerson scholarship requirements and I found that vocal scholarship recipients have to participate in “one of the music department groups”, etc. Does MTG count? I don’t think so because when I visited MIT, I went to the Music and something Department looking for MTG info and they said that it wasn’t in their department. Why can’t Musical Theater Guild be a part of these requirements? You did it through high school…we sing too! Personally, I find it necessary for musical-theater students to have vocal lessons given the screamy/belty nature of recent MT music that many people try to emulate. I guess that was more of an opinion question for you.
Here, another one: Say that I did want to take voice lessons while I’m up there and the Emerson scholarship still doesn’t include MTG. Are there any other opportunities for relatively cheap voice lessons?”

MTG is a student-run organization and not part of the Music and Theater Arts department. Why? I’m not too sure really. I get the impression it’s like that at most colleges. However, I do know people who sing more musical-theater oriented music and received the Emerson Scholarship. My friend Kenny ’06 got the scholarship after singing “Razzle Dazzle” from Chicago.

There are a bunch of opportunities for voice lessons, and Dr. Cutter would be happy to enumerate them to you. Relatively cheap? Not so much. I took a few my Freshman year from one of the less notable (but still pretty good) teachers in the area before realizing that $50 an hour just wasn’t worth it anymore. The Emerson Scholarship is definitely the way to go if you want to take voice lessons in Boston, I think.

Kallie — “I have another question about the Emerson Scholars. It says you have to participate in one of the departmental music groups, but under the group listings it lists Vocal Repertoire and Performance. However, that class is already required for vocal scholars. Sooo… does a vocal scholar participate in Chamber Chorus/Chamber Music Society/Concert Choir [where slash = or] and Vocal Repertoire and Performance?”

Yes, as a vocal scholar you have to:
a) take private lessons
b) be in Chamber Chorus, Chamber Music Society, or Concert Choir
c) take the class Vocal Repertoire and Performance, which I believe meets for 2 hours per week only in the spring

Really, it probably adds up to about one extra class worth of time for you, which isn’t too bad considering the opportunities you get in the program. From people I know who have done the Vocal Repertoire and Performance class, it’s a pretty sweet deal. You get to learn the International Phonetic Alphabet and yoga, sing to each other, and get occasional master classes from prominent Boston singers.

Anonymous — “What is the advantage of owning a bicycle at MIT? I was not able to attend CPW so it is like hard to imagine how big is campus and how far are the buildings from the MIT map.”

I have a bike. My senior year of high school, I won a bike on Capital Blue Cross Brain Busters. It was a tightly contested match between my school and Manheim Township, but I ultimately pulled ahead with an answer of “tort,” and then my buzzer malfunctioned for the remaining minute of the match, preventing them from ever buzzing in. That used to be the greatest moment of my short and ignoble life.

But I digress. Okay, so as Ruth said, campus-crossing times depend on dorm and on major. In general, dorms are about a 12 – 15 minute walk from classes. It takes me about two minute and thirty-four seconds to walk down the Infinite Cooridor when I’m doing the “MIT Shuffle,” so I usually try to leave at about 8:50 to get to your average class by 9:05. With my bike, I could If you live in ZBT, which is in, like, Mongolia or something compared to the MIT campus, you’ll be quite a bit of a longer walk from campus. But if you live that far away, anyway, they’re going to be running a shuttle. So, a bike is not essential for getting to class or anything. One thing you shouldn’t worry about, however, is parking, which is usually pretty abundant.

But a bicycle is not just for getting to and from class a little more expeditiously–as the Zoroastrian poet Farrokh Bulsara once said, “I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like.” Having a bike makes getting anywhere else in Boston a lot less of a hassle than it would otherwise be. If I need an item from the grocery store and don’t feel like getting gouged by La Verde’s in the student center, it’s not much of a problem to run out to Star Market. The BSO gives out free tickets to concerts as part of , but you have to get there by 4 PM to pick one up. With a bike, this is no problem–just find a half-hour break in classes. If an old friend wants to meet you at Harvard or Fanueil Hall or something, there’s no need to worry about an unsightly subway ride in the middle of the day. Anyway, it would probably take at least five or six hands to count the number of times I’ve said to myself, “Gee, I’m really glad I bought this bike to MIT.” But, like I said, it’s not necessary. Probably 90% of the campus lives a happy, bikeless existence.

Hey man, Jaws was never my scene.

4 responses to “Bicycle Race”

  1. Ruth says:

    “Zoroastrian poet Farrokh Bulsara”

    Awesome.

  2. Dan says:

    Does anyone at MIT own a BMX bike? ANYone?

  3. Emily says:

    and I don’t like Star Wars…

    sort of.

    Thanks for the post on music, the ruminations of Freddy Mercury, and bicycles! I recently acquired my bike for free, too! (But I got mine from the community dump, and the front tire is a little bent so that it veers to the right when I ride it.) Hopefully I can fix it before August!

  4. matt says:

    I am still kind of skeptical but this is the scientist that published the paper about this stuff…

    Ruggero Maria Santilli

    Dr. Santilli was born and educated in Italy where he achieved the highest available degrees in theoretical physics. He emigrated with his family to the United States in 1967 and became a US citizen in 1985. Dr. Santilli held visiting, research or teaching positions at the University of Miami, Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University and received research support from NASA, the US Air Force, and the US Department of Energy.

    Prof.. Santilli is the author of about 200 papers in theoretical physics published in various countries. He is the author of fifteen post Ph. D. monographs in theoretical physics and applied mathematics. He is the editor in chief of three technical journals, editor of various other journals and an honorary professor of physics at various institutions.

    Dr. Santilli is the originator of various new theories, most notably, a structural generalization of quantum mechanics known as hadronic mechanics, and the recipient of various honors, including two gold medals, a lecture hall in his name, and the nomination by the Estonia Academy of Sciences among the most illustrious applied mathematicians of all times.

    Currently, Prof. Santilli is president of the Institute for Basic Research in Palm Harbour, Florida, and the Director of Research at USMagneGas, Inc., Florida, EuroMagneGas, Ltd, London, and AsiaMagneGas, Lim.

    A paper released by USMagneGas describes Santilli as “the sole scientist in history who was capable of discovering a series of structural generalizations of the entire pre-existing mathematics based on generalized units and products, and then apply them to a series of structural generalizations of physics, superconductivity, chemistry, biology, astrophysics and cosmology”. The paper adds: “By comparison, numerous other scientists discovered new “individual” mathematical structures (such as Hamilton and his quaternion, Jordan and his algebras, Lie and his theory), but not a comprehensive structural generalization of the entire mathematics and physics as achieved by Santilli”.