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MIT student blogger Shannon M. '12

Today is a Super Important Day by Shannon M. '12

This is kind of a big deal.

Today is an important day. The end of an era, the beginning of a new one. I know that I, personally, have been counting down to this day for almost a year. Today marks the beginning of a change we can believe in. Today, we celebrate the power of democracy and the power of the human spirit.

Why yes, it is my 19th birthday. How’d you know?

While true, that’s not really a national holiday or anything, though, I mean, it probably should be. For those of you living under a rock the last year, or just living with a faulty internet connection, today is the inauguration of 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. This is kind of a big deal.

So big, in fact, that the following email was sent out to the MIT community from Chancellor Clay last week:

Dear MIT Community,

In response to employee requests, and due to the historic nature of this presidential inauguration, on Tuesday, January 20, cable viewingof the inaugural swearing-in and speech will be available in rooms 10-250, 3-270, 4-270, 32-123 and E51-151.

We request that supervisors and managers be flexible in allowing employees to use their lunch breaks to watch the inaugural swearing-in and speech. In addition, for those who wish to watch more of the inauguration than their lunch breaks allow, or whose lunch breaks do not coincide with the time of the inauguration, the Institute will allow employees to supplement their lunch breaks with release time of no more than 1 1/2 hours, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m..

(For those of you just living somewhere not-at-MIT, those hyphenated numbers are actually lecture halls. First number is building, second is room. Not really important, but just fun fact.)

Even the hacking community chimed in.




Even closer.


Yeah, this is cool. Go watch. This is history in the making. Any thoughts on the next 4 years?

63 responses to “Today is a Super Important Day”

  1. Oasis '11 says:

    I’m watching it on from Tokyo! smile

  2. Snively says:

    10-250 is PACKED!

  3. Dhvanit says:

    First!? As in as an applicant!?

  4. Dhvanit says:

    Ah yes! Sorry for being a troll there, but its the nearest I’ve been to that achievement.
    So Shannon, was this post intended to let us know of your birthday or you’re really in for Mr.Obama(Yippe!)..Kiddin..Happy-Dappy Birthday to you! The pictures are indeed B-E-A-U-tiful!

    As for the next four years, I hope to complete my Under-Graduate education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as in MIT [I love the name!]

    And lets hope Mr.Obama does manifest the changes he/we/us believe in! But yes, for one thing, I’ve presently got this gut feeling which tells me that there’re going to be some major * changes in the world over the next four years..No straight ideas about what, but just feeling that at the moment..
    [********** = substitute it yourself *no offense*]

  5. Mina Adel says:

    Well, 1st of all, happy 19th :D
    2nd, the inauguration is a really important event, and it’s going to be watched all around the world ( I think I know, cause I’m from Egypt, did u know that Obama received the nuclear missile launch codes today morning ?)
    and finally,even though it’s an important day and all, it’s really terrifying, cause my GCE AS November results get smsed to us when the clock strikes midnight…

  6. I just watched his speech. It was amazing.

  7. sepidehtje says:

    at last a new post…i thank presidenet obama for it(kiddin).well… the next four years … i think it’s completely obvious wink MIT!!!!!!

  8. Jacob '13 says:

    It was broadcast here in Ecuador in Spanish on EcuaVisa. The stupid newscasters wouldn’t shut up during the music, so I missed about half of Aretha Franklin singing. The half I did see, as well as Obama’s speech itself, was awesome.

    Does anyone else get the feeling that Joe Biden thought he was going to spend his whole life in the Senate, and now goes around in a constant daze, like he won the political lottery or something?

  9. fidel says:

    The Dow traded down from the open and plunged another 100+ after Obama’s acceptance speech. Now down 230. Watch the Australian Open on ESPN instead.

  10. James says:

    Are any bloggers involved in any hacks? I don’t recall anyone claiming to have been part of one or would it not be advisable on an MIT website?

  11. grfan says:

    Happy 19th Birthday…forever linked with the presidential inauguration…liked the hack photos.

  12. Reena '13 says:

    Oh man, we got to watch it during class. It was so awesome.

    Happy birthday, by the way!

  13. fidel says:

    The stock market continues to vote on the Obama economic stimulus (spending) plan. The Dow is now down 300 and will likely close under 8000. Countdown to Armageddon.

  14. Roshini says:

    Hi Shanahan. I got linked here by a high school classmate when I asked for pics of the hack. Nice to know you’re on the ball. : P

  15. deng says:

    hacks at MIT are secret business ; )

    @everyone else
    the seniors got to watch it at school in our auditorium ^_^ It will make such a difference around the world just the fact that america has a black president. I think many less accepting countries will see racism in a new light, since it’s the US. and on top of that, obama gave an awesome speech! the second half was especially moving. I really hope he does well.

  16. Steph '13 says:

    I’m so tired of hearing about our first “black” president. Obama is biracial. The fact that we have a biracial president is something to be proud of in and of itself, but somehow we only hear about his African American side. We need to get rid of this white/not white mentality.

    Disclaimer: This isn’t meant as an attack on anyone, just a general observation.

  17. Stacy says:

    Happy Birthday!

    My entire school gathered in the auditorium to watch the speech. It was really something.


  18. Anonymous says:

    Today is my birthday too! Happy birthday to you and me!

  19. Claire says:

    Well, my class went on a field trip, conveniently scheduled right through the inauguration :-(

  20. Brandon says:

    I felt offended by the closing sentences of the benediction, especially “white do right.” I feel that was a very inappropriate comment during such an important ceremony and does not merge well with what president obama preaches.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I couldn’t watch the inauguration.
    Because today was my first day of finals.
    Inauguration day, and we have finals!
    ): So nobody at my school saw it.

    -proceeds to watch online-

  22. Anonymous says:

    And of course, a very happy 19th.
    (They merited individual comments.)

  23. Dang, Brandon C. You’re lucky!! I had my midterms today and I couldn’t watch it live..and I didn’t get home until 12:45 PM to watch it..

    But awesome pictures of the hacks!!! ^_^

  24. Tree says:

    Happy Birthday Shannon!

  25. Liz says:

    “Any thoughts on the next 4 years?”

    I think that one of the most important things President Obama will do for America is to restore confidence (in our government, in the economy, in our educational system)among her people. Of course, I sincerely hope and do believe he will be able to enact prudent reforms, but I think that his ability to inspire hope will be one of the most important things he can give our nation. I’m optimistic that President Obama will return some of the USA’s focus abroad to Afghanistan (I feel very strongly that it is possible to make a safe and secure Afghanistan by meeting the needs of its people – building public infrastructure and securing its borders). I’m certain that Mr. Obama can help the US regain the respect of other nations over the course of his term (as BBC news has reported, he was met with enthusiasm by Middle-Eastern leaders during his recent tour of the region). I’m excited that our 44th President is a former professor and possesses an inquisitive and intelligent mind. President Obama has often spoken of his belief that applying science and new technology can help us solve today’s problems in innovative ways. I believe he will stand by this and that his term will be a Renaissance of sorts for science. I think Mr. Obama will address the dire situation facing our nation’s youth today – approximately 50% of teens don’t finish high school. Through his inspiring example, economic stimulus package, devotion to education and experience working with Americans in the bottom quartile of yearly income I think Mr. Obama will do an excellent job as President.

  26. Goutam says:

    Everyone skipped 2nd period at our school or just watched it in class. Apparently, half of the Microsoft employees did too. I loved the quartet that played before the actual swearing in.

    I thought I’d see something more royal-like. Perhaps Bush handing over a sword/constitution/thing to Obama. Hmm…I’m getting those red squiggly lines under “Obama” and “Hmm”. Shouldn’t they be in firefox’s dictionary add-on?

  27. Liz (again) says:

    I agree with you about the benediction. There’s a huge difference between being lighthearted and being offensive, and Lowery’s attempts at humor were blatantly racist and very inappropriate.

  28. Kiss '13 says:

    @Brandon (non-C)
    I believe the phrase was “White, embrace what is right.” The entire monologue of colors was from an old song popular during the civil rights era, so it was not supposed to be a modern sounding thing. The preacher also had a very Baptist style to him, and these things are often taken in a more light manner. It isn’t supposed to be offensive or shocking, just make you chuckle. I chuckled at “Red man get ahead, man”

    Overall, I have very high hopes for the Obama administration. I worked hard to help him get PA, and felt proud that I helped bring this about. I think that Obama represents a restored interest in the future by a generation that is increasingly marked by apathy. I haven’t been around that long, but I can’t imagine such fervor and excitement and hope is a common occurrence in American politics.

  29. Ruth '13 says:

    I was in my college linear algebra class for the entire inauguration. For real.

    @ Steph
    You’re right- the world isn’t divided into “white” and “non-white,” but a lot of people perceive it that way, and I think (having read Dreams from my Father) that Obama was pushed (for lack of a better word) into the non-white category and that that defined his experiences enough that we can fairly call him “black.” By the same token, the fact that his mother was white doesn’t make his election, or any of his other accomplishments, less extraordinary.

  30. jay says:

    i live 15 min from the white house but it was impossible to go to inuagaration; streets closed, and this morning a lady slipped into the train tracks. fortunately she was ok. i tell ya it was a crazy day for the metro system but still awsome

    congrats to president barack obama :]

  31. Ashwin says:

    I felt his speech was good, though CNN did not think so.

  32. I’m going to post more now that I’ve had a chance to compose by thoughts…

    I had midterms today so I got home at 10:45 and proceeded to spend the next 5 hours watching inauguration coverage instead of studying.

    The piece composed by John Williams was amazing. Obama’s speech was amazing. I really need to find a better adjective than amazing… but I can’t put it into words. His speech made me so happy that I turned 18 in time to vote for him, though.

    Now I just hope Kennedy’s alright.

  33. Steph '13 says:

    I agree with you on everything but the fact that we can fairly call him black. (Sidenote: I also don’t think it matters terribly how we refer to him, but it has been irking me since he won the election.) As a multiracial (African American, Native American, Lebanese, and Irish to be precise) girl growing up in a white middle class area that borders a predominantly African American city that hasn’t seen prosperity since the 20s, white and non-white has always meant black versus white. Since I was clearly not white, I must be black. It’s how I subconsciously thought of myself and continue to, to this day. Being partially African American did define most of my school experience in a number of ways from the child in preschool who told me he wasn’t allowed to play with me because of how I looked to the look of interested surprise on a teacher’s face when I walked in on the first day of an AP class. However, I still happily embrace all parts of my heritage, as I believe Obama does, judging from the way he speaks of his mother and her influence. Just because he grew up in a time or place that defined him as black because he wasn’t white does not mean that is what he is.

  34. Lainers '12 says:

    MIT classes were not canceled, I wish to note. So I officially skipped lecture to watch the inaugeration. I feel slightly guilty about this, of course, but how could one NOT watch?

  35. Banerjee says:

    Ooh, MIT is really pretty in the snow!

  36. HST says:

    Africans are so pof you OBAMA. I skipped a whole day of school just to watch CNN’s live coverage beginning from 10am GMT. I love him so much and i hope i get admitted so that i can share from the gains of the restoration of science to its rightful place

  37. HST says:

    Africans are so pof you OBAMA. I skipped a whole day of school just to watch CNN’s live coverage beginning from 10am GMT. I love him so much and i hope i get admitted so that i can share from the gains of the restoration of science to its rightful place

  38. deng says:

    “approximately 50% of teens don’t finish high school”
    nu-uh… really?

    “Let’s just say I don’t know what Obama said in the next four sentences because there were endless eruptions of screaming and applause. I love MIT. :D”
    hahaha.. it’s little things like these that make up the most important reason I want to go there

  39. SRV says:

    !!………..Happy Birthday Shannon

  40. Reena '13 says:

    @ Sarah
    One of my favorite parts of the speech too smile When I watched it I was actually like “I bet MIT just cheered.”
    But the few lines after it were also among my favorites, so…. xD

  41. Reena '13 says:

    Oh, sorry for the h

  42. Sara says:

    I watched the inauguration in Stata (totally packed, by the way). The best moment was definitely when Obama promised to “restore science to its rightful place.” Let’s just say I don’t know what Obama said in the next four sentences because there were endless eruptions of screaming and applause. I love MIT. :D

  43. Liz says:

    I went to this summit and Alma Powell mentioned it a few times(ok, more than a few times. It was like the rallying cry of the weekend lol). Going back and reading one of the more recent reports though ( it looks closer to about 60% graduation rate, which is still alarming. Sorry for reporting hearsay!

  44. deng says:

    it’s ok, but I’m still shocked that it’s so low…
    I always thought most people graduated.. like 90%+
    I guess I was naive.

  45. Kim'13 says:

    Happy birthday Shannon! What are the possibilities of seeing a blog post on the political scene at MIT? Is it mostly liberal, middle-of-the-road, or apathetic? Is it hard to find political conversations? Do most people know what’s going on week-to-week with the economy or in the middle east? Or do they not tend to care as much? Any info would be appreciated!

  46. The real man we need in the oval office is Mike Huckabee. You should check out his book Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That’s Bringing Common Sense Back to America.

    His stance on illegal immigration and the replacement of the IRS with the FairTax system are wonderful. Not to mention he is pro-life and fights for the teaching of creationism alongside evolution. America needs a man of the moral and Christian standard that Huckabee embodies.

    Had his name been in the public arena, he would have been the GOP party’s nominee in 2008.

    It’s a shame that this country has slowly fallen away from the standards that our forefathers built it on.

  47. i says:

    Kind of a big deal… massive amazing big deal!!

  48. Kiss '13 says:

    @Huck For Prez
    “…fights for the teaching of creationism alongside evolution.” Careful saying that on an MIT site, all the course 7s and such might just tear you apart.

    I thought Huckabee was funny to watch, but could not agree with a single stance he took.

  49. Brandon C. says:

    Uh oh, I guess I’ll have to put my initial now… haha.

    My AP Gov teacher stopped us in the middle of our final so we could watch it, haha. smile

  50. Narce says:

    What I love most is that I will be in my senior year at MIT when I get to vote to re-elect President Obama!!

  51. Narce says:


    @Ruth ’13

    I’ve successfully made all 4 of the college classes I’ve taken during my high school career, including the linear algebra I am currently in, during the evening! Why on earth would you want it in the middle of the school day?!

  52. @Liam ’12

    Straight from the Huckabee campaign website:

    “Huckabee’s immigration plan for the presidential campaign is to build a border fence, increase border patrol, prevent amnesty, enforce the law on employers, establish an economic border, empower local authorities, ensure document security, discourage dual citizenship, and modernize the process of legal immigration. He says the United States’ number one priority should be to secure America’s borders, and supports building a 700-mile border fence. He said of the border, “Police it, absolutely. Militarize it, no.” Huckabee supports increases in visas for highly-skilled and highly-educated applicants. Huckabee does not support an end to birthright citizenship.”

    Seems fairly strict on immigration to me.

  53. rankeya says:

    i know this is inappropriate but can any one tell me of the best book to start rigid body mechanics…

    i read kleppner and kolenkow but after the first 75 pages they compress the material too much and i do tend to get lost quite often reading the thing.

    feymann is too short and theoretical. any other book will be good if anyone can suggest one to me.

  54. Anonymous says:

    @ Rankeya
    I have a few:
    If you want something broad, there’s a rather old one by Jay Orear you could look into.
    A text slightly easier to digest than K&K is Resnick and Halliday
    If you want a high-school-textbook style, Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Tipler and Mosca presents the calculus-based curriculum with glossy pages and ample color pictures wink

  55. Liam '12 says:

    Huck for Prez: You’re right. I was incorrect… I thought Huckabee’s immigration plan was more lax than it actually is. It is worth noting, however, that by Republican standards Huckabee is fairly lax, something he received a lot of flak for during the primaries. He has stated that he would raise immigration quotas for highly educated immigrants with no criminal record. The whole fence thing is a fairly new development (ie since he started receiving national scrutiny during his presidential bid). Although his stance on immigration is tougher than I originally thought, I still wouldn’t say that he is any tougher than any of the other Republicans.

    In any case, this debate is pointless as Barack Obama has already been elected president. I doubt we’ll be seeing Huckabee on the national stage again for quite some time, if ever — I think his chances of becoming president at this point are about on par with Dennis Kucinich’s.

    And Narce — if only I were class of ’13 I would accompany you to the voting booth. Alas, my MIT vote for Obama has already been cast. In November 2012 I’ll be off in the real world… what a scary thought.

  56. rankeya says:

    @ anonymous: thanks. i dont think i could find orear in India. I have read resnick and halliday. i will just attempt to go back to feynman once and then back again to K&K to c if they make more sense than last time. the problem is that i don’t like Physics that much. more of a math guy, so I fail to connect easily to read world problems. thanks anyway….

  57. Liam '12 says:

    “Had his name been in the public arena, he would have been the GOP party’s nominee in 2008.”

    I don’t think so. Remember, George Bush made his presidential bid by appealing to the (relatively) far right — and remember that for the last few months Bush’s approval ratings have been hovering around 25%. I think one of the main reasons Huckabee didn’t get the nomination (besides the fact that he’s a lunatic…) is because the Republican Party realized that the country would not elect another conservative Republican after the fiasco of Bush’s presidency. They decided to take a bet with middle-of-the-road McCain, who was about as far as a politician can get from Bush while remaining a Republican. Of course, the fact is that Bush had dirtied the name of the Republican Party so much that they could have nominated Jesus Christ and Obama still would have been elected… it’ll be interesting to see what they come up with in 8 years, though.

  58. Kiss '13 says:

    Altho the GOP screwed the idea of the “middle-of-the-road Republican” with the nomination of Palin as the VP Running mate. She is farther right than Huckabee (if that is possible…), and just seemingly idiotic to boot.

    That was a real shot in the foot for the GOP.

  59. Liam '12 says:

    Kiss — good point. I think at that point McCain was losing by a pretty hopeless margin, and he just decided to throw a wild card in, because he was losing anyway and Palin at least offered him the slight chance of taking the feminist Hillary supporters. Fortunately, women are a lot smarter than McCain gives them credit for (Palin excepted), and Obama got elected.

    It’s worth pointing out that, socially conservative though Huckabee is, he’s actually pretty liberal on a lot of other issues. For example, Huckabee did support a government-mandated universal health care system, which is unusual for a Republican. He also had a strong stance on global warming, calling for aggressive measures protecting the environment and reducing emissions. Finally, he basically believes that we should open our borders to immigrants — I believe during one of the debates he stated his opinion that illegal immigrants end up paying more in taxes than they receive in benefits. In fact, with all these discrepencies, I find it a little odd that Huckabee chose to run in the Republican primaries, instead of as an independent candidate. Now that I think about it, that’s another reason he didn’t get nominated — his positions on so many issues differ from the GOP stance.

  60. Arfa '13 says:

    I live in the Washington DC area and the inauguration was incredible to witness! Even if it was from a screen.

  61. Alex says:

    I bet there’s a lot of pressure on President Obama’s shoulders right now. However, I believe that President Obama will achieve what he plans to do. I hope in the next four years, everyone will have more happiness in their lives.