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MIT and the admissions office will be closed November 24–25 for Thanksgiving break, and will open on November 28.

MIT student blogger Allan K. '17

what’s on my desk? by Allan K. '17

creative furniture

quick post to check in and say happy tuesday. it’s 52 degrees and sunny and there’s a high of 73 degrees tomorrow.

i haven’t shared pictures of my new room at east campus yet so here are some pictures, because it’s sunny in my room right now.

yeah, i use a standing desk sometimes…surprisingly enough it’s nice to not be sitting down all day. here’s a closer look at the bookshelf in the corner:

my room was missing the standard-issue bookshelf when i moved in, but it did for some reason have a second desk. it turns out that if you turn a desk on its side, it makes a pretty serviceable bookshelf and doubles as a nice little reading corner. the blankets on the floor are on top of a standard foam mattress topper (i think they’re about $20 on amazon); i don’t usually sleep on the floor but it’s nice to know that i could if i wanted to.

that’s all for now — back to my cms.701 reading assignment, evgeny morozov‘s manifesto on how the internet isn’t all it’s hyped up to be. excerpt from the intro:

“The best and brightest are now also the geekiest. The Google Doctrine — the enthusiastic belief in the liberating power of technology accompanied by the irresistible urge to enlist Silicon Valley start-ups in the global fight for freedom–is of growing appeal to many policymakers…What could possibly go wrong here?

As it turns out, quite a lot. Once burst, stock bubbles have few lethal consequences; democracy bubbles, on the other hand, could easily lead to carnage. The idea that the Internet favors the oppressed rather than the oppressor is marred by what I call cyber-utopianism: a naive belief in the emancipatory nature of online communication that rests on a stubborn refusal to acknowledge its downside….

Failing to anticipate how authoritarian governments would respond to the Internet, cyber-utopians did not predict how useful it would prove for propaganda purposes, how masterfully dictators would learn to use it for surveillance, and how sophisticated modern systems of Internet censorship would become. Instead most cyber-utopians stuck to a populist account of how technology empowers the people…in their refusal to see the downside of the new digital environment, cyber-utopians ended up belittling the role of the Internet, refusing to see that it penetrates and reshapes all walks of political life, not just the ones conducive to democratization.”