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Democrats, Republicans, sportsmanship, books by Sam M. '07

The unbearable awesomeness of literature at MIT.

DID YOU KNOW? The combined weight of all the termites in the world is 10 times the combined weight of all the humans in the world.

Confused thanks to Ariel ’09 for sending me a text message at 2 AM with only that fact.

There exists an old joke about various scientific professions that goes like this:

“An astronomer, a physicist, and a mathematician were on vacation in Scotland. From a train window, they saw a black sheep in the middle of a field. “How interesting”, observed the astronomer, “all Scottish sheep are black.” To which the physicist replied “No, no! Some Scottish sheep are black!” The mathematician gazed heavenward, then intoned, “In Scotland, there exists at least one field, containing at least one sheep, at least one side of which is black.”

So today I came home and started a conversation with Mitra. “Blah blee blah blee blah.” I said. “La la la la I’m going to read Interpreter of Maladies and then The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” said she. “OH SNAP!” I cried. “I HAVE THAT BOOK OUT FROM THE LIBRARY RIGHT NOW!”

So what can we learn from this experience?

1. There exists at least one library at MIT.
2. There exist at least two books that are elements of this library system.
3. At least two of the books contained in this library are The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.
4. There exist at least two students at MIT who are not only literate, but also check out works of fiction from libraries.
5. The probability that two bloggers who live next to each other would randomly check out The Unbearable Lightness of Being within four weeks of each other is nonzero.
6. Given the above hypotheses, the probability that two such bloggers would take a stupid picture involving these two library books is 1.


Seriously! People at MIT read books! QED.

11 responses to “Democrats, Republicans, sportsmanship, books”

  1. Colin says:

    Interpreter of Maladies is brilliant. I haven’t read any Milan Kundera yet, though. SADFACE.

  2. Kelly says:

    And the biologist said nothing because he was busy pondering the genetics.

  3. elizabeth says:

    OMG I LOVED the Unbearable Lightness of Being!!! Milan Kundera is my new favorite person. I read Ignorance this summer and I’m working my way (slowly) through L’Identite, in the original French.

    What do you think is the probability that submitting exactly one paper on ULB for which I got an A where 94OMG I LOVED the Unbearable Lightness of Being!!! Milan Kundera is my new favorite person. I read Ignorance this summer and I’m working my way (slowly) through L’Identite, in the original French.

    What do you think is the probability that submitting exactly one paper on ULB for which I got an A where 94<A<97 as a supplement to my application? I read Matt’s entry on submission… I’m just not sure… Doesn’t say a lot about me, except to show how I write and think about literature.

  4. A surgeon, an engineer, and a computer scientist were arguing about which profession was the oldest.

    The doctor said that God took a rib from Adam, making surgery the oldest profession.

    The engineer noted that God separated heaven and earth from chaos, so engineering was the oldest profession.

    The computer scientist smiled and said, “But who do you think created the chaos?”

  5. Arkajit Dey says:

    Awesome joke – I loved it!

    About what we can learn from the library experience, it seems that there are some implicit assumptions in the list of conclusions. Namely, it makes the assumption that “goingToRead(X)” implies “checkOutOfLibrary(X)” wink.

    Actually, we just read Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel The Namesake in English class, and I found her style interesting. So I’m also considering reading the Interpreter of Maladies, her collection of short stories, next. Maybe Mitra will tell us how she liked it after she finishes reading.

    — Arkajit

  6. elizabeth says:

    Haha, I tried to use the less-than and greater-than signs and it cut me off. And then my internet shut off because it does that at midnight… Anyway I was just wondering about sending the paper as a supplemental. It doesn’t say a whole lot about me personally, but it does show how I analyze literature. (I did read Matt’s entry about supplementals… I’m just paranoid)

    Thanks Sam!

  7. Mike says:

    Dude great title

  8. Mikey Yang says:

    Is that really Mitra in that picture? She looks weird for some reason.

  9. You made a couple errors,
    You cant assume that she checked her books out from the library, so only your book counts. If you do assume that she checked both of hers out from thelibrary, there exist atleast 3 books. While its still logically true that if 3 exist then 2 exist, its better to be specific, no? Also, you cant assume that she is literate, she said she was GOING to read, not that she WAS READING.

  10. Sam says:

    elizabeth — I already answered you by e-mail, but to paraphrase for my other readers… I didn’t submit any supplemental material like research papers or music compositions, and I did fine getting in to everywhere I applied. I would say that it’s not necessary to submit such material unless it tells a lot about you personally or shows something that you can’t otherwise express on the application. The fact that you are a good writer and analyze literature well can be shown in other parts–your humanities teacher recommendation and your essay, for example.

    Mikey — Yes, really! I don’t know, I think she looks like Beyonce in this picture for some strange reason.

    Math-E-matician — Ha, nice. This is why I switched to Chemical Engineering my sophomore year, I think. I hope Mitra does not read my comments, though.

  11. Michelle says:

    The Interpreter of Maladies = absolutely BRILLIANT. =)

    If I can only wrestle away The Unbearable Lightness of Being from my sister, I’d be… really, really happy. =P

    Have you tried reading Kiran Desai’s new book The Inheritance of Loss? I suggest you read it – now. It won the Man Booker Prize this year. =3 It’s good.

    Go ahead and be literature eggheads – it’s great to expand your mental viewpoint. Really. =D

    Nice proof, btw. =)