Letters to the Editor

Should MIT Accept Picower Money?

The recently filed will of Jeffry Picower, who granted 50 million dollars to MIT (2001 to 2005) to fund the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, specifies that much of his remaining assets be placed in a new charitable foundation devoted largely to funding medical research. What will be receiving attention at the MIT Treasurer’s office no doubt is that the will directs that the new foundation in its first year grant MIT an additional 25 million dollars for the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. It is now known from court filings in the Madoff case that Jeffry Picower received over 7 billion “net” in phony profits from the Madoff Ponzi, and that this constitutes the bulk of his wealth. So I ask:

Is Madoff Ponzi money passed through a tax free foundation sufficiently laundered to accept, or should it be considered dirty, stolen money that should be rejected? Should MIT accept the 25 million additional dollars for the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory that a new Picower foundation may soon grant, or in fact any additional money from Barbara Picower and the Picower estate, given that the source of most of this money is the Madoff Ponzi?

Predicting and Observing MIThenge

I thank The Tech for its recent article about MIThenge, particularly for the aspects about etiquette during the event.

Potential observers may wish to know that the current best source of predictions (and why making such predictions is harder than it might seem) can be found at http://futureboy.us/mithenge/, which is updated at regular intervals. If you would like to help make predictions more accurate (and earn the thanks of many), please read that page for how to observe in a way that will be the most helpful.