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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Driving On The Infinite by Ben Jones

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who do not understand how to drive on the Infinite Corridor.

I don’t have many pet peeves when it comes to MIT, but one of the biggest is people who do not understand how to drive on the Infinite Corridor.

The Infinite is essentially a 4-lane road with 2 lanes going in each direction. Of these two, the one closest to the wall is the lane for slow people, or people who wish to check out the bulletin boards. The other lane is the fast lane, or passing lane.

I drive defensively, but I still manage to get into accidents pretty much every day because of the surplus of amateurs on the road. People, really – it’s not that hard. Read and learn.

  • If the Infinite is crowded, consider the center line a double-yellow line. Do not merge into oncoming traffic for any reason. You will get run over.
  • If the Infinite is not crowded, consider the center line a broken yellow line. Merge into oncoming traffic only if you need to pass someone who is driving in your own passing lane (which is aggressive, but hey) – and yield to oncoming traffic if it should appear.
  • People already on the Infinite have the right-of-way, so you must imagine that every hallway leading into the Infinite has a stop sign. When approaching the Infinite, first stop, then look both ways, and then make your right or left turn onto the Infinite. Running a stop sign will frequently lead to a collision.
  • Bathroom exits have stop signs too.
  • If you are traveling with a group, do not, under any circumstances, use all four lanes to travel in the same direction. You will cause amazing gridlock and your Infinite Corridor karma will be damaged for weeks, resulting in parking tickets whenever you stop to use a water fountain.
  • There is no carpool lane on the Infinite. I don’t care how big your group is. No carpool lane!
  • Hang up the phone and drive.
  • Lobby 7 and Lobby 10 can be considered rest stops. When stopping at a rest stop on an interstate highway, do you park at the rest stop itself or just stop in the middle of the highway? The Infinite is no different!

I’m sure there are things that I’m forgetting, but these should get you started.

Anyone know where I can get a portable horn? Now that would make driving on the Infinite a whole lot better. ;-)

44 responses to “Driving On The Infinite”

  1. Christy says:

    Excellent! Just like the sidewalks of New York, only they’re more deadly. smile

  2. Snively says:

    lol, sounds like somebody is a little frustrated. It’s all really good advice though, one of those things you’d never know except by getting it wrong, and now I can cross one more thing off of my “Stupid mistakes I’ll be making as a freshman” list.

    I’m thinking that red-light green-light in the infinite, using plain red and green screens on all the monitors, would be a very exciting game!

  3. Hank R. says:

    What about people using bikes on the Infinite? I totally saw this guy doing that during CPW.

  4. Vytautas says:

    *cough* Where should I get the driving license for IC(hehe, IC is for everything: integrated chip, interactive c, infinite corridor)? :D

  5. Jess says:

    Not to be a joykill, Snively, but there are actually only like two monitors in the Infinite and one of them is in the entrance to building 4 so it would be a very unexciting game. I propose a Slip ‘n’ Slide!

  6. Sam says:

    The worst part was when they were remodeling the cashier’s office into the infinite lounge or whatever, and you had an awful four-lane to two-lane merge. Nobody could ever get the hang of tha. But remember, prefrosh, unlike a real highway, the infinite has two identical highways directly above it.

  7. Laura says:

    There’s also an identical highway directly below the Infinite as well.

    And seriously kids, study the rules! During Orientation upperclassmen are all like “Aw, cute little froshlings, we love frosh, let’s give them free food, yay frosh, omg you little morons LEARN TO WALK IN THE ?@#$! INFINITE BEFORE I %&?*!@# ?#@!*^!!!!!!!! Rar! I hate frosh!”

    No joke, it’s true.

  8. jh says:

    Sorry for being out of topic.. Has anyone here used the OpenCourseWare? Is it exactly just everything the MIT students learn in class? Ben, can you write about it? thanks..

  9. jh says:

    Is it possible to learn all the math and physics that MIT students learn on my own without any professor’s help? How can i get the textbooks? Only thru amazon?

  10. Keri says:

    jh – I use OCW to check out the material for my classes before I start taking them. Depending on the class, the site ranges from giving only a general overview of the curriculum (maybe just a list of the readings and some powerpoints) for some classes to having comprehensive lecture notes, readings, and old exams for others. It’s not an absolute substitute for the actual courses, though.

  11. jh says:

    Keri- I’m more interested in math and physics ( i’m a high school senior here).. Are the materials for these 2 subjects in OCW comprehensive?..

  12. Wings '11 says:

    Hehe, people just don’t know how to drive ANYWHERE. At my school, we have two sets of stairs to get up to the upper buildings (we’re built on a big hillside), and people rarely use the east set of steps. The steps are about 3 people wide, but most people leave the middle alone. It’s IRRITATING when people stop because then EVERYONE on that side stops. WHY ARE YOU STOPPING ON THE STAIRS?! Stupid freshman.

    Oh. I’m a freshman again. Dammit.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This is really funny and so true….

  14. Snively says:

    More free food!

  15. Lady Theta says:

    Is it just a coincidence that I just started driver ed classes, so I actually understand what you’re talking about??

  16. Grace '11 says:

    Wow this will be really helpful for loads of unsuspecting victims! As for the portable horn, maybe a bicycle shop? Or a service bell, that’d be pretty awesome blossom

  17. Paul '11 says:

    Crap, I just know I’ll be one of those “stupid freshmen” causing traffic jams as I frantically rush to 10-250 for my 18.02 lecture. Can I buy insurance?

    @ Snively/Jess: If you hack it, they will come.

  18. donaldGuy says:

    Jess, in consideration of Paul’s comment .. wait for me! (I will hopefully be ’12 ..) It sounds like fun!


  19. Becca says:

    I’ll keep it in mind for my driving test….

  20. oasis '11 says:

    Print licenses and generate revenue.

  21. Keri says:

    This is why I use the second floor.

    Also, I hate everyone. But we knew that already, right?

  22. hawk says:

    Hahahaha what are you talking about Ben offense is the best defense

  23. hawk says:

    you’ll never catch me, I have an out of state license.

  24. milena '11 says:

    You know what really annoys me? HORDES OF PEOPLE SLOWLY WALKING THROUGH THE INFINITE WHILE TAKING PICTURES. I’m trying to get to class, tourists. It’s really annoying to be practically running down the Infinite and then find like 30 people posing for pictures smack in the middle of the corridor and not being able to dodge them.

    A couple of days ago I was working on a p-set at the Stata center, and the tourists were there, and one of them took a picture of me. Working. On my p-set. If you’re coming on a tour to MIT, don’t do this, it’s VERY embarrassing (to you, of course; you never know what I’m going to bust out).

    Oh, by the way, great post.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I had a hard time trying to take a clear picture of the door to 3-108 , and 3-107 after my campus tour last Friday; people kept walking by.
    I didn’t know if we were allowed to actually visit the INSIDE of those rooms even though it had some “welcome to come in” sticker on it. So I kept walking >.I had a hard time trying to take a clear picture of the door to 3-108 , and 3-107 after my campus tour last Friday; people kept walking by.
    I didn’t know if we were allowed to actually visit the INSIDE of those rooms even though it had some “welcome to come in” sticker on it. So I kept walking >.<

  26. Rachel '12 says:

    Haha, installing traffic signs/lights in the infinite and posting angry fake cops would be a cute hack.

  27. to milena: I didn’t take pictures of anyone… I didn’t do it XP And I waited till there was almost no one to take my picture.
    there are classes in the summer???

    If I ever get in, I’ll make sure not to take pictures in it ever again!! I promise~

  28. slivovica says:

    I (MIT old-timer) actually knew the “project manager ” of the Massachusetts Toolpike hack. His name is Kevin Theobald ([email protected]). Feel free to email him about the ‘Pike and anything else about MIT. He was a 6-3 (computer science) specializing in parallel architectures, has some neat papers out, and now works in Oregon for Intel. He also was an active political libertarian (do you read Reason? Virginia Postrel? Ayn Rand?) and was EIC of *Ergo* (former MIT pro-liberty newspaper). Feel free to discuss ideology/politics with him too!

  29. Sauza says:

    I propose that bowling pins be placed at the end of the slip n’ slide

  30. Snively says:

    c^ *cough* Oregon *cough* c^

    Best state ever! Oh, and if you pronounce it O-re-gone, well, you’re wrong. Quick, everybody take this opportunity to learn something new! It’s pronounced Or-uh-gin or Or-uh-gun. Same goes with the Oregon trail.

  31. Ken says:

    Anyone have pictures around of the 1985 Massachusetts Toolpike hack?

  32. Hawkins '12 says:

    Who is this “hawk” posting comments? I must know… Whoever it is, they’d better not steal my kerberos username before I even get it! =
    Anyway, yay for road rage! Maybe you should just start intentionally crashing people who disobey the rules…

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hi. Sorry for being out of topic, but I just wanted to clear some of my concerns about the interview in the freshman admissions process. (I don’t think that’s possible through emailing the admissions office; THEY might not reply this one, but maybe someone here can.)

    I am going to apply to MIT and am yet to schedule my interview with my EC. I read a few EC blog entries and their responses by other ECs.

    Like any other applicant, I am getting a little nervous about the interview. But I have a few concerns that I’d like to get addressed. Now, I completely trust the ECs and don’t expect any nasty experiences in my interview. But I just thought, what if because of something (that is completely out of the applicant’s control) the interview report that the EC sends is not exactly as it should be? For example, what if the EC is in a bad mood during the interview (or while writing the interview report) because of something that didn’t happen during the interview at all? Or if the EC writes two or more reports at once, what if he/she mixes up with the reports of two or more applicants? (I’d hate to think about someone else being described in my report and me being described in someone else’s report.) And (I’d shudder to think about it, but here goes) what if my interview’s report doesn’t even reach the Admissions Office? (For whatever reason.) There are so many things that could affect the admissions decision. Sorry if I sound a bit too concerned, but it’s just that I don’t want anything wrong to happen with my application process.

    And since the interview is important in an admissions decision, it must serve its purpose. I do hope that ALL the ECs realize the enormous responsibility on their shoulders. (The report they write is important for us!)

    And I’m not trying to say that we applicants are completely free of responsibility. The major part of the application is, of course, done by us, and is our responsibility.

  34. ENewt says:

    Chill mate. Were all going through that. Life doesn’t end if you’re not accepted, although it does kinda suck but theres plenty of opprotunities for the bright minds applying to MIT. I’m pretty sure the ECs are fairly good at what they do and unless you show up with a bloody shirt carrying an axe, i don’t think the ECs will be too harsh on you. Just be yourself man, trust them to do their job and just focus on your own.

    Good luck man and hopefully I’ll see you come September next.

    Back to the topic, I’m from SoCal and i thought the driving here was bad…I must admit my ignorance. Drivers in Boston are something else. As for the IC, it didn’t seem that bad, but hey that was during summer.

  35. Farhad says:

    Yeah, chill, ECs are not dumb. I’m actually having my interview next week and I’m really looking forward to it.

  36. Wings '11 says:

    @Anon – Don’t fret about everything that can go wrong about your interview that’s out of your control! Don’t fret about ANYTHING, actually – just give it your best go, and be content at that no matter what the outcome.

    But if it puts your mind at ease, here goes… EC’s take notes, and the first thing they write is your name – or atleast, that’s what mine did. They’re not stupid people (they DID graduate from MIT, after all). Bad mood? These are people who volunteer to meet the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed prefrosh of tomorrow! They want to meet you. And if MIT doesn’t get the report, they’ll ask for another one. The EC probably saves them until the season is over.

    Don’t be too nervous about the interview itself. I was extremely nervous, but my EC was very nice (and he told me a lot about when he was at MIT). In the end, just be yourself, relax, and remember, this does not decide the rest of your life, only modifies your application, which in turn affects your next semester. DEEP BREATH.


  37. Kim H says:

    I started reading this blog because I was extremely entertained by Ben’s take on the “infinite corridor”. I was also fortunate (if you could call it that:-) to be pulling an “allnighter” when the Mass Toolpike was created. I got to travel it sometime early morning (the exact time escapes me now) before most other students had seen it. Sadly, we didn’t carry cellphones with cameras at that point but it lives on in my memory.

    I should introduce myself, I’ve been an EC for a while but am now the new Director of the Educational Council so thought it would be appropriate to chime in here. Now that that part is out of the way, I’d like to briefly address Anonymous’ concerns about the interview.

    It’s easy to say, “don’t worry,” when you’re not the one on the hot seat. However, after doing 10 years of interviews I think I’ve learned to put the student at ease. I hope that when the interview is over the student feels that it was an enjoyable hour. I still keep in touch with some of the students I’ve met over the years either as an EC or at new student events and one is now an EC.

    Think of the interview as a chat with a family friend. You’ll be asked about what interests you. You can even brag about your accomplishments but mostly just have a conversation. They’ll ask questions and ask you to elaborate further on the things that matter to you most. The interview is also a great opportunity to ask questions of someone who has lived at MIT as a student and liked it or they certainly wouldn’t have offered to be an EC. Most interviewers feel it is a privilege to have the chance to meet students who are applying for admission so they will do their best to make it less painful if not enjoyable grin

    But most of all–don’t forget to breathe!

  38. borski says:

    that pisses me off more than many things. Especially when groups crowd lobby 7

  39. jw '06 says:

    Hahah… this is so true, Ben! We should put these instructions in a Freshman Welcome packet and spam all the upperclassmen so that people can follow these ‘rules.’ smile And talking on the phone down the Infinite is *certainly* an annoying one wink

  40. Hawkins '12 says:

    Wings has it. The interviewers are intelligent, and they volunteer so they’re not likely to let a bad mood screw up their reports. After all, they probably had to worry about their own interview way back when they were applying to MIT and they know what you’re going through. They do take thorough notes, and mine was helpful enough to kind of prod me in the right direction (asking me to be more specific in certain areas, asking me questions about things I was interested in, all to see if there was anything else that would be helpful in her report).

    I wound up having to fill out the online form on MyMIT that has the admissions office request the documents from the interviewer if it has been more than 2 weeks since your interview and they haven’t received them yet. All that said, the process is mostly out of your hands. Come to the interview prepared, with your own things to talk about and some questions about MIT. Besides that, try to de-stress and focus on your application. Even a horrible interview will not break your application by itself.

  41. Thanks, everyone (especially Kim H), for all the great advice. I think I’m more confident now about the interview. I just hope everything goes well…

    And yeah, ENewt, hopefully I too will see you September next (If I get admitted, that is).

  42. 11' nwahS says:

    Heh, this post amused me muchly. I know what you mean, though. People at my high school used to drive either like old ladies or drunken teens. That, and they have no idea that there are other people in the hallway. I’ve actually got caught between a few hugs. I felt loved….except by random strangers.

  43. Wings '11 says:

    Yeah, so it took me a while to figure out how to pronounce “nwahS” – and then the capitalization confused me.

    … but I DID eventually get it wink