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rand.random by Selam G. '18

Random photos of 2016

There’s a lot of things that happen to us that we simply don’t think about, that we easily forget, that comprise the in-between points of time and space. But thanks to modern technology (particularly, in this case, Google photos and Snapchat) the random moments of daily life can be more easily recorded than ever before.

So here is a random assortment of photos from throughout the duration of last year that I would not have any reason to share otherwise, and little captions of what was happening in them. I think it’s interesting to look back on all those little, unimportant things, and see how they were sometimes tied to big, important things. Or, more often, they’re just fun, and, well, random. I tried to include at least one photo from every month of the year, and they’re arranged in order.

( by the way, ‘random’ is a Python module that helps with generating pseudorandom numbers. Random.random() returns a pseudorandom number in the range [0.0, 1.0). )



Guess where these photos are taken? I bet Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was not what you were thinking. In perhaps the msot culturally aligned experience I have ever had ever, during my trip to work on the Muti Water Project (see the blog post “A Story About Muti”) in January, I stopped for lunch at a Chinese hot pot place in Addis. I was speaking Amharic with my cousin Gedion, English with my teammate, Alberto H. ’17, and Chinese to the waitress.


Someone took down our hack before it saw the light of day, sadly…but hopefully it can be immortalized here on the internet.


Seen on a trip to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts during spring break.

A trip, also during spring break, to the nearby Walden Pond with my friend Shalom A. ’16, MEng ’17, for a picnic.


Researching at the Media Lab is honestly one of my favorite MIT activities.



My robot for 2.007:Mechanical Design I, at our final competition. It lifts lanterns onto ledges!


Bags all packed for travel–and good thing, too, because I end up spending this summer on three different continents. First, China for a summer program and to visit family, Boston/California for my UROP, and Ethiopia for continuing work on the Muti Water Project.


This picture was taken in front of Nanjing University of Technology (now renamed Southeast University), which is where my grandparents on my mother’s side met and attended college. My grandmother worked her whole life as an engineer in communist China. I’m proud to represent her at another tech school a bit to the west of there!


I spend two weeks in July at some warehouses in Mountain View, CA, as a UROP. I UROP in Mediated Matter at the Media Lab, but our project is sponsored/housed at Google. We create the largest 3D printed object that’s ever been printed in the world! (but, we had to tear it down a couple weeks later) You can watch a time-lapse of the whole print here! –>


A selfie with my cousins Gedion and Tesfahun on the road from my father’s home village of Warwara, Kafa, Ethiopia. Headed back to Muti to keep working on the water project, after a short stop to say hi to my grandmother.



Back to MIT for the fall semester! Here’s a cool Course 16: Aero/Astro lab warehouse museum thingy next to the Wright Brothers’ Wind Tunnel.


Fall retreat with my sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, in Becket, MA.


The day after the election. Lots of MIT community members gather in Lobby 7 to write on the posters taped to the pillars there.

Javier W. ’17 and I go to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (the second time this year haha). Look closely, that’s not his shadow on the wall–it’s a painting!


A day in the life of a Media Lab UROP….well, not exactly. My team moves from Google to the new Autodesk BUILD incubator in Boston that just opened this past fall. Our team also shrank with some graduating students, so that now I’m half of it. Lots of fun robots to play with here! 

Thanks for being pretty sometimes, Boston.