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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

Our students, their stories. by Sam M. '07

Andy Partridge in a zamboni purple monkey dishwasher.

DID YOU KNOW? Every IP address of the form 18.x.x.x belongs to MIT. Thus, MIT effectively has 1 / 256 of all the IP addresses in the world.

There are two parts to this entry.

Part the First: Our Students

So here’s what’s been going on in my life.

Yesterday in 6.002, somebody brought a rabbit to class. A rabbit. She brought a rabbit to a lecture about Thevenin equivalence. I actually thought it was just a rabbit-shaped handbag or something, and she was just petting its head because she was bored, but then Joey ’08 drew attention to the fact that it was, in fact, moving, smelling, and walking around on the floor of 10-250. Okay. This was especially strange because I had heard a story the previous day about somebody bringing a cat into a modern music class to save time after a vet appointment and letting said cat jump on a piano, which actually turned into an apt demonstration of some modern music.

On Saturday the marching band headed over to the Men’s Ice Hockey game for a little Marching Band on Ice action and watched the team continue on their 9-game-long undefeated streak with a waffle-stomping 7-2 victory. Perhaps because it was fan appreciation day (offering free ice cream and challenging engineering-themed games), the crowd was particularly boisterous at this weeks game, and I’m sure that our periodic interjections of “We Are The Engineers” and “The Liberty Bell (Theme From Monty Python)” only lifted their spirits. Hockey is actually a tremendously violent sport even at the MIT level; even from our vantage point twelve rows back in the stands, I was still deathly afraid of being liberated from solid food for the rest of my life by an errant puck. Yes, we did do a 7-member-strong half-time show, although there were no skates or color guard involved, which might have made it a little less impressive than it could have otherwise been. Still, our sousaphonist Ken managed to plug his way through the olympic fanfare and “Rubber Duckie,” so I think he deserves some credit for the whole affair. And we got chased by the zamboni!

And did I mention that we painted the suite?

As the story goes, our floor is English House. Why? Oh ho. Many years ago, the cultural houses at MIT used to be in Burton-Conner, and Conner 2 was lucky enough to be home to Russian House. To help people learn Russian, they labeled most of the common household objects on the floor in Russian. When the cultural houses moved to New House and non-Russian speakers moved in, the new residents decided to dub themselves English House and decorate with myriad Union Jacks.

Continuing in this tradition, our suite is now…

thing.jpg

Welsh House.

Oh yeah.

Alice ’09, the paintrix, has decided to name the dragon “Angelina,” because it is both hot and kind of scary.

Part the Second: Their Stories

I have gone back through the last two entries and answered some of your more specific comments. Here are the answers to some of the more general ones that might get asked again:

Kate wrote, “I’m coming to visit MIT as a congratulatory gift from my dad! Any specific date you think sounds good? In this, my trusted ally you are.”

Well, Kate, I’m not exactly sure when you live, so the answer really depends on how many times you think you are going to visit MIT. In general, the objectively best time to come visit MIT is Campus Preview Weekend (CPW), but technically you have to wait until you’re an admitted student to do that. It’s totally great. There are carnivals and balloons and taekwondoists and good weather and people are smiling. If you were to come as a junior, you’ll still be able to see all these balloons and taekwondoists and smiles, but you probably won’t be able to participate in any of the official activities and you won’t get an official host and Mike’s pastries and free money and whatever else the admissions office throws at admitted students during CPW.

MORAL OF THE ENTRY: Don’t just show up to CPW just because Sam told you it was okay. In fact, don’t do anything just because Sam told you it was okay

If you want to see what MIT is really like, though, I’d wait until the weather is at least a little warmer–after a surprisingly mild winter, we’re a little bit in the middle of a cold snap here. When it’s warmer, your host will be more likely to take you out into Boston to show you what the city has to offer, which is really an integral part of the MIT experience. Stay away from the last week of March, because that’s spring break. I’d say middle of March to early April would probably be the best time–there’s always so much going on that it’s not like there’s one absolute best weekend to be here.

Alan wrote in response to Dan: “They (the powers that be) talk a lot about how little SAT scores figure into their decisions relative to other factors, so you should be more concerned with doing things involving grades and research and what-not. Even so, take the SAT again (

14 responses to “Our students, their stories.”

  1. Beth says:

    What instrument do you play in band? Are you in MITSO as well? Are people often in both?

  2. Sam says:

    I have played the tuba in my high school’s marching band for the past two years and I played the trombone freshman year. Will that help at all when applying to MIT?

  3. Sam K says:

    So MIT owns 18.0.0.0/8?

    IBM happens to own 9.0.0.0/8, and the American armed forces own a whole bunch of /8s. Kind of ridiculous how much of the address space is wasted.

  4. Jess says:

    Oh, I’m so joining marching band just so I can do Marching Band on Ice :D I have a feeling that might end up being the best experience of my life. Especially if I end up playing bass or quads or something! (yeah drumline, represent!) what do you play?

  5. Phil says:

    That’s pretty crazy that MIT owns THAT many IPs. What is the benefit in having so many public addresses (aside from the obvious awesomeness of being able to say you do)?

    On a side note–at the risk of sounding as anal as humanly possibly–isn’t having 18.0.0.0/8 actually 1/254 of available addresses (because 0 and 255 aren’t valid)?

    Yeah, I could really be doing better things with my time…

    -My two cents

  6. Sam says:

    Sam K — Well, I guess that’s what I mean, yes. Computers are not so much my forte, so I’m not really up on this issue. Are there other people who could be using this address space to advertise their bakeries online or something?

    I can’t believe there are this many people named “Sam” who read this blog.

    Beth — I am not in MITSO because it was way too expensive to buy a French Horn after high school and the marching band had a mellophone I could borrow. I also tried my hand at trumpet before we bought the mellophone (on eBay), and that’s not something I want to return to. I know some people who are in the MIT Wind Ensemble and Marching Band, which is of comparable quality to MITSO.

    Sam — It will definitely help in the sense that it shows you’re committed to an extracurricular activity enough to learn two different instruments and that you have the time management skills to do this while keeping up your studies. I did four years of marching band in high school and listed it second on my application because I was really proud of that. However, do you mean, say, is the marching band director going to talk to admissions about recruiting you for tuba? No, that’s not going to happen. Unfortunately, we haven’t got that much sway… yet.

    Jess — Well, I can’t say that it was the best experience of my life, and your life is probably way more interesting than mine. Still, I have to say it’s definitely something to bring up at a dinner if conversation dies down, just like…

    “Hey, my job is to turn turkeys into lamp oil.”

    “So, have I shown you my brass rat? Notice how the beaver is sitting on eight ivy leaves?”

    “MIT has a great music program! One time I did Marching Band on Ice.”

  7. Rachel says:

    Hey – I’m thinking of applying to MIT. I was just wondering if you could give me any cool info on why this school is great (assuming, of course, that it’s as great as everyone says). I love math – as much as you can love the subject – so I thought it might be a good option.

  8. Kate says:

    We’re performing the Dies Irae from Mozart’s Requiem, in honor of his birthday.

    Also I’m probably going to come up and visit (from Philly, btw) during our spring break–it’s two weeks after yours, I think.

    I need to meet this Chris H person…prom’s coming up and he sounds perfect…hahaha.

  9. Dan says:

    “I think that somebody said that 37 digits is enough to calculate the volume of a sphere the size of the entire universe down to the nearest atom.”

    That’s an awesome trivia fact! But where does pi come into volume of the universe? Is the universe a spheric bubble or something?

  10. sam k says:

    Cymru? thats awesome. i wanna live there.

  11. Maria says:

    that’s awesome that the marching band performs at the men’s games– does it also perform at the women’s ice hockey games? just curious, because if i get into MIT this year, i’ll hopefully be playing for the women’s team smile

  12. Dinyar says:

    Sam: “Are there other people who could be using this address space to advertise their bakeries online or something?”

    Sorta. You obviously need an IP-adress to surf the web. With the advent of mobile devices capable of going online, ordering food with your fridge on the internet, etc. the request for public IP-adresses is enormous. Western countries don’t have that much of a problem with this because they “own” quite a bit of the availible public adress space but south-east asia is apparently already feeling this. (That is, by the way the reason that those countries are the ones pressing towards IPv6, which has a much (much!) bigger adress-space than the current IPv4) On the other hand this issue is being solved by technologies like NAT afaik already, so it’s been not su much an issue anymore.

    (Disclaimer: this is all from memory and I might be wrong in some points.. well in all points actually, but I don’t think so wink )

    Kate: cool.. a friend of mine performed the whole Requiem in January with her choir smile

    Dan: Yeah.. I guess the whole big band-theory would imply that the universe expands spherically, doesn’t it?

  13. Sam says:

    Phil and Dinyar — Thanks for your lending your expertise on the IP address issue. I was going on the basis of some information session that SIPB held during Orientation, so my memory was a little cloudy.

    Rachel — I hope I don’t sound, but checking out any of these blogs is a great way to get a student perspective on just why this school is a great place to be. MIT does have an excellent math program in both theoretical and applied areas, along with schools like Harvard, Caltech, Princeton and Chicago.

    Maria — We played at a women’s ice hockey game last weekend, along with a diving meet and an indoor track competition. I was, unfortunately, unable to go to any of these, because of the Tau Beta Pi initiation described above. Maybe next time, gadget.

    Kate — Well, now that Chris H knows when you’re coming to visit MIT, I’d be a little worried. Also, I’m not sure Mozart’s Dies Irae is exactly the kind of music that I’d want to hear on my birthday, but maybe if I were Mozart.

    Dan — I’m not too sure about the whole shape of the universe and relativistic spacetime and whatnot… I think the idea is that if you just made a sphere that enclosed the volume of the entire known universe, that you could measure the volume accurately with pi to 37ish decimal places. It’s an order of magnitude thing… the known universe is less than 37 orders of magnitude larger than an atom.