Approximately 200 students gathered in Lobdell Dining Hall last Saturday to participate in the first phase of MakeMIT, a hardware hackathon organized by TechX. While the past year has seen college hackathons (including TechX’s very own HackMIT) increase in both scale and number, most of the emphasis has been on software, with few options for non-computer science students to get in on the action.
Last week, Burton 1 became the second floor of Burton-Conner to have a mural repainted this year, after Burton Third’s summer renovations left them without their signature bar and with several murals painted over. On Burton 1, a mural based off a strip from the Penny Arcade webcomic was altered to remove certain language. The mural originally read: “This floor will eviscerate you with pleasure. You will bleed to death.” After being brought to the attention of the housemasters, the word “eviscerate” and the phrase “bleed to death” were painted over without advance warning.
This past Tuesday, MIT was graced by geek royalty in the form of J.J. Abrams, the producer and writer-director most famous for his television shows, which include Lost and Alias. In the latest installment of the Media Lab’s Conversation Series, Abrams sat down with lab director Joi Ito to discuss the creative process and the unexpected similarities between their respective ventures. I arrived at the lab thirty minutes early to secure a seat, and for good reason — the third floor atrium filled up quickly with aspiring storytellers looking for bits of wisdom and excited fans looking for the answers to the ending of Lost.
MIT will receive up to $25 million in funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as one of seven university partners in a newly-launched Higher Education Solutions Network. The network aims to engage institutions of higher education in addressing global development challenges. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah hopes this initiative will “recapture the legacy of science, technology and innovation as core drivers of development — as well as inspire and support the next generation of development leaders.”
Last weekend, the biggest names in Internet fame, academia, and entrepreneurship descended upon MIT for the third installment of ROFLCon, a biennial celebration of web culture. From accidental celebrities such as Scumbag Steve and Chuck Testa to researchers like hacker anthropologist Biella Coleman and MIT’s own Ethan Zuckerman, a diverse cast of guests came together to unite under the common banner of “the Internets.” Prior to the keynote speech, event co-founder Christina Xu put it succinctly: “One out of eight people in this room has done something crazy on the Internet.”