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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

Reality is merely an illusion… by Sam M. '07

Ben : The OC :: Sam : ?? . Oh wait, you took the new SAT.

“…albeit a very useful one.” –Albert Einstein

I think I found the coolest person of all time. No, really.

So, I’m MIT’s biggest fan of reality television… well, I’ve declared myself that and nobody has ever contradicted me, so I’m sticking with that title. I mean, it’s not on my resume or anything. But should it be? Hmmm…

You have no idea how excited I was for The Amazing Race season finale tonight, even though every episode this season has been horrible. Sigh… it’s been my dream to go on The Amazing Race for three years now. A short twelve-and-one-half months and I will be of age. Then I just need to find a partner. I need somebody who can balance out my weaknesses. That is, you need to be able to:

1. Drive like a maniac
2. Eat mass quantities of exotic foods
3. Lift heavy objects

Everything else, I can take care of. Any takers?

Anyway, since MIT Cable gets NASA Television but doesn’t get Bravo, I was reading the fantastic recap of Project Runway at Television Without Pity to keep myself up to date until I can get home and watch the show in its full glory. Yeah, I really am done with all my work for the semester if I can be reading about Project Runway on a Tuesday night. Project Runway is a fashion design competition, the first season of which gave us the imminently quotable Jay McCarroll, Austin Scarlett, and Kara Saun.

Anyway, in the middle of the recap, I came across this description of the (literally) magnetic muslin gown of designer Diana Eng

Up next is Diana Eng’s design. She interviews that she is afraid that the magnets in her design will not work. Lo and behold, they don’t. Let me describe the design: It’s a black and white dress. The skirt is black and the bodice is white. The neck is high with a black brocade print. The skirt opens at the front to reveal a slightly shorter skirt. The flaps are then pulled around and ostensibly fastened to two magnets on the back of the skirt. The fabric revealed on the inside of the skirt flaps is satin-y with a kind of abstract black and white lightning-bolt print. The magnets don’t hold, but I’m going to say I think this design is badass. She is a for real fashion designing science geek. That’s pretty cool. She interviews that she is worried.

Nina says to Diana, “What are you telling me with your design?” Diana explains that she likes to research her designs. As well, she wants the final product to be more than clothing. Nina asks to see the back of the dress, and, after fighting with the magnets, Diana explains that the magnets won’t work because the “polarity is rotating.” Oh my god, I love Diana. I guarantee you, rotating polarity has NEVER been discussed on any fashion runway. Ever. Keep breaking down those walls, Diana. Both Michael and Nina say they didn’t know the gown had magnets on it. Michael adds, “I’m not sure why it does that.” I don’t know if he’s talking about rotating polarity or the design having magnets. I hope he realizes how freaking cool a magnetized gown is. Not only for the geek factor, but it does really change the silhouette of the design when switched.

I thought, “hmmm, this sounds like one of those uniquely geeky MIT things I could blog about.” So, since after two orals, a major composition project, two German quizzes, a pset, and a Transport test, I really, really have no work for the next, like, two days, I headed on over to the Project Runway website to check out Ms. Eng’s bio. Sure enough…

Eng holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design in apparel design. She has also researched biomimetics at the University of Bath in England and has collaborated with MIT on the “Seamless” fashion show. Eng is a repeat guest lecturer at the Florida Teachers Council of Mathematics Annual Conference on the use of visual aids and hands-on models including origami and spirolaterals as teaching tools. Her work has been featured in outlets such as ID Magazine and the Boston Globe.

As it turns out, I was actually in attendance at said fashion show, which featured color changing clothing, something about crazy paint guns, LED-studded couture, and an iPod deconstructed and wired throughout an entire leather jacket such that you operate it by pressing different parts of your body. The fashion show was a collaboration with the Media Lab. Have you heard of the Media Lab? According to certain books, it’s “Inventing the Future.” The best description I have heard is that it’s where you go if you want to spend six years making toys and get a PHD out of it. Seriously, they have a flipping Lego Room, as Laura so elegantly photojournalized.

In conclusion, because she is both associated with MIT and a contestant on Project Runway, Diana Eng must be the coolest person in all recorded history.


A close second would be, of course, Randal from The Apprentice 4, who holds 3 MIT degrees. Check out the season finale Thursday at 9.

6 responses to “Reality is merely an illusion…”

  1. Ben says:

    Summer got 2300 on the SAT. Just so you know.

  2. vincent says:

    oh, sam. you’ve spliced GFP into my heart and are causing it to enter an excited state.

    *green glow*


  3. Katie says:

    I don’t even know you, but I could totally go on Amazing Race with you! I drive like a maniac (I’m from Los Angeles…what can you expect?), I eat mass quantities of any food, and….well, heavy objects is not my forte, to say the least (I am applying to MIT…how often does that go hand in hand with buff-ness?)

    Amazing Race finale was great….it was actually the first full episode I had ever seen, I didn’t know any of the teams (only that I didn’t want the Weavers to win), and I was literally shivering the whole time (probably somewhat due to unfinished homework/MIT decision letter not showing up).

    What is of age to compete in Amazing Race? I’m totally signing up.


  4. Rafael says:

    Back here where I live we’re just at the end of season 2 of The OC!! I didn’t know that you are a fan ( I assume that) of THE OC, Ben. But then I read “Everything from the philosophical side of admissions to my secret obsession with The OC.”

    Then we are at least two… wink

  5. Jess says:

    Hate to say it, Ben, but The OC has definitely lost its flair lately. That episode with Summer and Seth both applying to Brown kind of made me want to eat my own head.

    And I’ve been a Reality-TV maniac ever since Survivor. Despite Richard Hatch and all that.