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MIT student blogger Alina G. '11

Me again (but with flamethrowers this time) by Alina G. '11

yup, it's a shameless ploy to catch your interest. But it's working, right?

MIT these days is pretty up on the latest social media, as is befitting an Institute of Technology. (Just writing that sentence made me feel like a middle-age technology reporter. It’s like Fight Club, or being a hipster. You just don’t TALK about this kind of thing) For example, I’m friends with “MIT Engineers” on facebook, from whom I get the latest Tech sports updates (they also have a twitter). MIT News has a twitter as well, and there’s even an iphone app, which is super useful for tracking all the MIT shuttles (cue the: when I was your age, we stood outside in the snow waiting for buses, BOTH WAYS).

The shuttle tracker has been key this winter, as Boston has certainly received its fair share of snow. (As has most of the US, except Florida. It makes me wonder what the global snow:no snow ratio is. I bid someone to go forth and Google! And then get back to me).

Anyway, at this point, there is really no place for the snow to go anymore in Boston. The snowbanks beside the roads are 3-4 feet tall; my friend Giulia ’11 has trouble seeing over them. So what to do with all the snow? Well, back in 1948, the Mayor of Boston had the same conundrum. Except one of his ideas to get rid of the snow was flamethrowers . While totally awesome, this is also a really terrible plan. Luckily, he wrote to the president of MIT at the time, and asked for his opinion first. You can find the correspondence here . (Hat tip to the MIT news twitter (see, that whole first paragraph was relevant!) for linking from the MIT archives). I’ve got to imagine that this was a serious facepalm moment for President Compton, but when it’s the mayor asking I suppose you have to answer.

I’m a complete sucker for historical stuff like that, which is why I love twitter and the interwebs in general. For example, “Letters of Note” is this awesome blog that posts old letters from famous people, often in response to fans/kids but just generally interesting. (Check out the “most read” on the side for a quick idea of what it’s about). Then there is “Sunday Magazine” , which posts articles from the New York Times Sunday Magazines of 100 years ago. They are WAY more interesting than you’d expect. Some are funny in hindsight, some seem quaint, some sensational, and some are just plain hilarious. If I try to list examples this blog post will actually never end but here’s one about the “original” way things went viral. And info on the blog here .

And then there is the reason I joined twitter. I was resistant and fairly hostile for a while, but then I read in the Boston Globe that the Massachusetts Historical Society was going to tweet the diary of John Quincy Adams. His journal entries are just about the length of a tweet, and they were posting an entry a day recording his trip to Russia as American ambassador there. I was intrigued, I joined, and I haven’t looked back. They still post his entries here .

For all you lucky ones looking forward to a snow day tomorrow, I hope I’ve given you something to pass the time with. And as a final disclaimer, DON’T ATTEMPT THE FLAMETHROWER THING.

4 responses to “Me again (but with flamethrowers this time)”

  1. Phoebe says:

    Awesome blog smile

    I’m attaching the archive entry in an email to a large group of people… (yes, i know, chain emails are the epitome of evil, but this one is funny). I considered making the title “OMG FLAMETHROWERS” but on second thought that seems like poking the spam filter with a stick.

  2. Makes me kind of glad I live in southern Florida….it hasn’t gone below 50 degrees all year and I’ve never seen snow in my life. If I get into MIT, and I so hope above anything else I do, the adjusting period will be hilarious for other people to witness…50 degrees is freezing for me and I don’t even own a heavy jacket lol

  3. MIT'15 says:

    I innocently followed the “Letters of Note” link and ended up learning way too much about Mickey Mantle’s personal life…

  4. I visited the Boston area/MIT last week and the snowbanks covered up lots of cars. My dad and I thought it was funny.

    Toronto just had a snow storm and today we have a snow day. How awesome is that? First snow day in ages!~ I wonder if we will make snowbanks as high as the Boston ones. Hmmm