Yesterday (Tuesday) was a very eventful day. It began with me in lab building toys (for anybody who is unsure, this is a good way to start the day). After working for 3 hours I decided to study for my 18.03 test that I had today. I worked for a little bit but then got distracted because a prefrosh (Danny ’12) is in town and I decided to go on a campus tour with him and Jordan ’11.
For many of you, a campus tour will be one of the first things you do at MIT. To be honest, I really enjoy them! I get weird looks from anybody who knows me, but whatever, it’s still a good time. I tried to be as tourist-y as possible and take a bunch of pictures of stuff. Unlike the typical tourist, however, I decided to take pictures OF the tour, not IN the tour. I present to you a glimpse into what the average MIT student sees on a daily basis.
The tour has stopped in the student center. They are learning about the wonders of Dunkin Donuts and Subway.
After leaving the student center they head towards the main part of campus, listening intently.
At this point we get to Lobby 7, home of the big interior dome. Danny asks me “Is this the spot you were complaining about? The spot where people take terrible pictures of the skylight?” “Yes, this is it, just watch, you’ll see it happen.” Sure enough, the lady to my right took a picture, the lady behind her took one, and then another guy took a picture. I stepped out of the crowd and got my camera out in hopes of capturing and documenting this horrible sense of photographic taste. As I waited I saw, to my amazement, that Danny decided to take a picture of the skylight.
But I warned you! Why would you do it anyway!?
Anyway, the tour moved on, and eventually we were in Killian Court looking at the great dome. This is the part of the tour when the tour guide talks about hacks, which is convenient, because guess what was sitting right by the steps into Lobby 10.
What’s that black dot off in the distance?
It’s a hack!
On March 4th, 2008, Gary Gygax (the creator of Dungeons and Dragons) died. He was important to many of the students here and so to commemorate his passing a group of hackers created a huge D20 and displayed it in Killian Court. Rest in Peace Gary.
So that’s the tour and the hack, what about the math? I’ve discovered an awesome way to study for math tests. Basically, find a board room with a wall-sized white board, grab some friends, and fill the entire white board with math. Write everything from the entire unit on the board. Solve the practice tests, do everything, and don’t leave until you know math.
At 8 pm Maddie ’11, Megan ’11, Danny ’12, and I all met at the Media Lab and commandeered a board room. We then proceeded to just spew all math onto it. When we started we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. Seriously, I haven’t been to lecture in 3 weeks, Maddie missed the last several lectures, and Megan just writes stuff down and doesn’t actually pay attention. Danny has taken DiffEQ before but hadn’t covered some of the stuff we were doing, so we were essentially teaching ourselves math the day before the test.
I hope you realize that it’s impossible to study without getting distracted. When you’ve got white board markers and no idea what you’re doing, some interesting things get written on the board. At first they were fun drawings.
About halfway through harmonic oscillators we realized that we had no idea what we were doing.
Us: “Megan, why did you write that on the board?”
Megan: “It was in my notes.”
Us: “But what does it mean!?”
Megan: “I don’t know! It was in my notes!
Us: “But, but, shoot.”
Conversations like this spawned the following distracted drawings:
But what’s Figure 1?
Oh. That makes sense.
As we continued grinding through math we got to something called the “Exponential Response Formula.” Our teacher took the liberty of abbreviating it.
Did you know that to the rest of the free world, ERF DOES NOT stand for Exponential Response Formula. It stands for Error Function. In 3.091 it stands for Error Function, in Mathematica it stands for Error Function, it stands for Error Function EVERYWHERE but in 18.03. This brought about this drawing:
Quick sidestep. We all had our computers with us so I decided to take pictures of them. Here are the ’11’s computers:
Two Dells and a Mac.
And here’s Danny’s computer:
That’s right, he was showing off his new EeePC.
Anyway, I’ve just noticed that all of these pictures have been pretty zoomed in. Let me give you an taste of the bigger picture here. This is one panel of six.
That’s a lot of math!
We continued work, coming on 1 o’clock in the morning, and now had little gems like this scattered across the board:
Math. Math. lol.
Gotta love real solutions!
Then we got to the devil’s math. That’s right, math that is pure evil. It looks so innocent, right?
The Exponential Shift Law
The exponential shift law makes absolutely no sense. We stared at it for the longest time and still couldn’t figure it out. Eventually we kinda figured it out, but realized that it was completely useless because it could be easily replaced by another method that we already knew. We expressed our displeasure.
Signed of course
In the end, we had our way with the Exponential Shift Formula board.
Admire my awesome MSPaint editing skills
At 3 AM we finally finished studying and went to bed. I woke up this morning at 8 for a 9 o’clock class, meaning I got a grand old total of 5 hours of sleep. Add to that how hosed I am and a bunch of other stuff and you get a very unhappy/unhealthy/unfun Snively. Ask Danny, he knows. Anywho, that’s all for now, it’s time for me to go start calling you guys at the telethon. 5 hours of phone calls, woo-hoo!