How eliminating the smartphone has simplified my life
The smartphone has become an essential technology for many of us nowadays. Three years ago, I wrote an ominous article in The Tech about the worrisome dominance these devices have over their owners, and in 2015 the effect is more prominent than ever. At an outing this summer, I was caught sneakily using my phone under the dinner table and not paying full attention to the speaker, at which point I was subtly called out by a friend who remembered that opinion piece. The point was spot-on, illustrating my own downfall to the little device. The decision was made: the phone had to go.
Statistics and the new Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Earlier this semester, Provost Martin Schmidt and the Deans of the five schools announced the establishment of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, headed by Professor Munther Dahleh. This exciting new entity aims to “address societal challenges using analytical tools from statistics and information and decision systems,” and will officially launch on July 1.
While MIT sleeps, Night Watch keeps campus safe
New security policies in undergraduate dormitories have attracted considerable attention over the last year. While controversy has overshadowed the tenure of security contractor AlliedBarton, a more low-profile and less contentious unit, known as Night Watch, continues to operate quietly behind the scenes.
Bike lanes on campus in need of redesign
Used by students, staff, and faculty to shuttle around campus, cycling has become an integral part of MIT’s transportation network. While bike racks, service stations, and lanes are very common, there remain key issues which must be brought to the attention of the Office of Campus Planning and the greater cycling community to improve the safety and efficiency of bicycling.
Wearing headphones while commuting is dangerous
I am biking down Vassar Street when suddenly a pedestrian hops on to the pavement, seemingly unaware he is obstructing the bike lane. Unable to brake due to bike traffic behind me, I ring my bell and yell “watch out!” to warn him of the dangerous situation. To my great confusion, these warnings are continuously ignored even as I approach closer and closer. All I can do next is take a sharp turn to avoid a crash, sending me flying into the fence. The pedestrian strolls blissfully away, forever unaware of the accident he has caused.
MIT needs computer science requirement
Programming lies at the heart of a modern education. Whether it relates to engineering, finance, or even the arts and humanities, computation is used across all fields to achieve what was once unimaginable. Yet, despite its ever-increasing prominence in industry and research, MIT has not instituted introductory computer science as a General Institute Requirement (GIR).
America on the edge
As the fervor of elections slowly draws to a close, early signs indicate an imminent storm of controversy — the so-called “fiscal cliff” — coming our way.
The arrogance of freshmen
Playing pingpong reveals a lot about the players at the table. I was involved in an intense game with a group of freshmen when we lost track of whose turn it was to serve. After some arithmetic to clear up the confusion, one freshman declared, “I am a math major,” with a haughty smirk sprawled across his face.
The soccer intramural system needs serious reform
The MIT Athletics Department runs a year-round soccer intramural program where MIT clubs, societies, and dorms register teams to compete against each other in different tournaments. While this arrangement is, in theory, intended to bolster community ties and act as a sanctuary from the rigors of academic life at MIT, its blatant mismanagement means the benefits of intramurals remain largely unrealized.
The smartphone has made us dumb
Going to a restaurant with friends is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. But if it happens to be with smartphone-fanatic friends, then such a trip is not suitable for the weak-hearted. I had to learn this the hard way.