“Mother, I know you can hear me. Mother, you were wrong! And now that I have your attention, can I stop eating my broccoli, please?” Donald L. Unger raised his hands in mock rebellion. He had defied his mother’s words for three quarters of his life systematically cracking the knuckles on his left hand and leaving his right knuckles free for 60 years, demonstrating (if only anecdotally) that knuckle cracking does not cause arthritis. For this achievement, he won himself the Ig Nobel Award in Medicine, presented last night at the 19th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony yesterday evening.
MIT President Susan J. Hockfield delivered a 20-minute overview of the Institute’s financial climate in front of several hundred staff and a few students at the State of the Institute forum on Wednesday. Hockfield noted an intent to finish MIT’s $150 million in budget cuts in two years, rather than the three years initially proposed by the administration in 2008. Following this speech, administrators answered both pre-submitted and impromptu questions from the audience (select questions, p.13).
Construction of the new Media Lab is on track to finish in November, according to Arne Abramson, who is managing the project.
Unlike in other cities taken by the People’s Liberation Army during China’s civil war, there were no crowds to greet the victors as they made their triumphant march through the streets of this industrial city in the heart of Manchuria.
Iran agreed on Thursday in talks with the United States and other major powers to open its newly revealed uranium enrichment plant near Qum to international inspection in the next two weeks and to send most of its openly declared enriched uranium to Russia to be turned into fuel for a small reactor that produces medical isotopes, senior U.S. and other Western officials said.
Early last year, Sen. John Ensign contacted a small circle of political and corporate supporters back home in Nevada — a casino designer, an airline executive, the head of a utility and several political consultants — seeking work for a close friend and top Washington aide, Douglas Hampton.
Fall is officially here! There are several ways one may have noticed that the seasons changed. First of all, Halloween merchandise is all over the stores (time to start planning your costume). Yesterday’s cool temperatures were another hint, a trend that will continue today. Finally, this weekend is the “Great Glass Pumpkin Patch,” in which the MIT Glass Lab displays and sells over 1,000 handblown glass pumpkins. Unfortunately, the weather may not cooperate this weekend and we may have a wet and rainy pumpkin patch.
On Sept. 21, I attended the second forum for the Planning Task Force. While I am not against everything in the Task Force Report, it is appalling that the report has sections on cutting down the very nature and purpose of the Institute — academics and research — without any clear and specific attempt at cutting down the costs of having a workforce larger than the student body. At the forum, I mentioned that the Task Force report did not include a section specifically reducing the administration and its overhead. However, it does have a section on reducing academic costs and another section on reducing research costs. In the research section, it even goes so far as to suggest cutting the graduate student population (in other words, the main researchers) by up to 1,000 students. I received no answer to my comments from any Task Force member or any other administrator at the Forum; only repeated information or attempts to “correct” my statement.
Summer vacation. Lectures. Math, Science, English, and History as discrete subjects. All things of the past. Today, more and more schools are shifting into the realm of project-based learning, interdisciplinary instruction, and, to the sound of millions of children wailing, longer school days and years. Let’s look at the facts: According to the OECD’s (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Program for International Student Assessment in 2003, American “15 year olds ranked 24th of 38 in mathematics, 19th of 38 in science, 12th of 38 in reading, and 26th of 38 in problem solving. In the 2006 assessment, the U.S. ranked 35th out of 57 in mathematics and 29th out of 57 in science.”
The article “Proposed Minor Asks: How Does Technology Alter the Environment?” (September 29, 2009 of The Tech) leaves readers with the impression that the new undergraduate Energy Studies Minor emphasizes traditional forms of energy supply and treats renewable energy, energy efficiency, and environmental impact as marginal concerns. This portrayal is not accurate.
The mere title of <i>Coco Before Chanel</i> may intimidate moviegoers with no interest in fashion. But even the least fashion-aware recognize the name as the face of haute couture. Perhaps these moviegoers will be happier to know that <i>Coco Before Chanel</i> is an almost biographical portrayal of Gabriel Chanel (‘Coco’ was her pet name), played by the adorable French actress Audrey Tautou, before Chanel became the legendary fashion icon and businesswoman.
Inman Square in Cambridge is packed with pricey bars and Portuguese/Brazilian cuisine that will give you a classy dining experience provided you give them most of your money. Instead, wander into the small, unassuming Indian restaurant at the center of the Square: Punjabi Dhaba, a little restaurant that Harvard students swear by but MIT students seem to have largely left unexplored.
There are a lot of ways to change a song. Obsessive fans tend to covet rare gems like acoustic strip-downs, jazz renditions, or the occasional remix. For the real collector, though, there’s always another avenue: the string tribute. Often unadorned, and painfully obvious in its recapitulation of a melody, the string tribute does no more for a song than a fancy carrying case does for an iPod — you may think you’re stepping up in class, but you’re right where you began.
Imagine a sci-fi thriller that is original, witty, and well directed. Imagine watching a sci-fi thriller without fear of cheesy dialogue, pointless chases, and imminent apocalyptic doom. Now imagine the opposite, and that sums up <i>Surrogates</i>, a whodunit graphic novel adaptation starring Bruce Willis and directed by Jonathan Mostow (<i>U-571</i>, <i>Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines</i>).
U2 is about as big as it gets when it comes to rock bands. Since the Zoo TV tour of the early ‘90s, they’ve insisted on including the most prodigious, high-tech, and sometimes outrageous — think mirror ball lemon from PopMart — gadgets on their stage sets.
Ryanhood, formed by Arizona natives Ryan Green and Cameron Hood, gave a free concert last week in their second home of Boston to a small but excited crowd of fans and newcomers. Defined primarily by smooth vocals and slick guitar work, the duo performed a mixed repertoire of flashy jams and deep ballads that demonstrated why, in spite of not having a Wikipedia page about them, they continue to gain new fans with every show.
It’s hard to put a finger on Ahmad Jamal’s music. It speaks slowly, suggestively, and delicately. He’s seen his fair share of music, and his style fits into the spectrum between breezy carelessness and angsty desperation. Perhaps its greatest quality is its use of space. Few other artists out there can tap out of melody with as much natural, composed structure as Jamal can without it sounding inevitable and rigid. Jamal’s playing is unfettered but rational, well-balanced, and smooth. Above all, it feels good.
This Saturday, MIT will hold its annual Fall Athletics Weekend to highlight fall varsity sports. They will be showcasing three of the most prominent fall sports — men’s football, women’s field hockey, and men’s soccer — throughout the day, with fun activities and events for fans. The festivities will begin at 12:30 p.m. outside the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center with a basketball shooting contest and pull-up contest. Participants and MIT sports fans will be given free lunch as well as markers and poster board to make signs for their favorite MIT players and teams.
After leading the MIT men’s cross country team to a fourth-place finish at the Codfish Bowl last weekend, Hemagiri Arumugam ’10 was named the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Runner of the Week. It was the second consecutive week that the MIT senior has received this honor and fifth time overall.