Alcator C-Mod may lose funds
President Obama’s budget request to Congress for fiscal year (FY) 2013, announced in February, proposed to shut down MIT’s federally-funded Alcator C-Mod, a tokamak (toroidal magnetic confinement device). To give itself six more months to agree on a formal appropriations bill, Congress will pass a continuing resolution this month. The resolution will likely sustain funding for Alcator C-Mod at current levels until the final budget for FY 2013 is out. If the final budget passed by Congress is in line with the president’s request, technical, engineering, and administrative staff would be laid off, and some 30 PhD students in Nuclear Science & Engineering (Course 22) would be forced to graduate by October 2013.
Far from ‘junk,’ DNA dark matter crucial to health
Among the many mysteries of human biology is why complex diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and psychiatric disorders are so difficult to predict and, often, to treat. An equally perplexing puzzle is why one individual gets a disease like cancer or depression, while an identical twin remains perfectly healthy.
Differing views on Koch’s Main Street
One of the side issues in the city’s planning process is the Main Street streetscape at the new Koch Institute, Building 76.
Three fraternities join rush
Fraternity rush was busier than ever this year, with three additional fraternities joining the recruitment craze — Phi Beta Epsilon (PBE), which was on rush suspension for two years; Alpha Sigma Phi (Alpha Sig), whose founding fathers are expanding their group; and Beta Theta Pi (Beta), which is recruiting a group of founding fathers to start anew.
MIT unresponsive on Kendall development
With six hours of public meetings on Kendall and Central Squares this week across two committees, the city is trying to decide between competing plans for Kendall Square, but MIT has still not weighed in definitively on its intentions.
EdX to offer proctored exams worldwide
Yesterday, edX announced a partnership with Pearson VUE that would allow students the option of taking a proctored final exam for their online class. Under the agreement, those enrolled in an edX course will have the option of taking the course final exam at one of over 450 Pearson VUE test centers in more than 110 countries, for a nominal fee. The proctored test will be the same rigorous test that those who take it fully online experience.
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia sauntered into U.S. presidential politics on Thursday, praising President Barack Obama as “a very honest man” and chastising the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, for describing Russia as “without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe.”
Arizona immigration law survives ruling
TUCSON, Ariz. — A decision by a federal judge Wednesday paved the way for the most controversial section of Arizona’s sweeping immigration legislation, requiring the authorities to verify the status of people who they suspect are in the country illegally, to finally take effect.
KYOTO, Japan — The Japanese government has struck a tentative agreement to buy three uninhabited islands that are part of a chain at the center of a heated territorial dispute with China, a person close to the talks said Thursday.
European Central Bank moves aggressively to ease euro crisis
FRANKFURT, Germany — The European Central Bank on Thursday took its most ambitious step yet toward easing the eurozone crisis, throwing its unlimited financial clout behind an effort to protect Spain and Italy from financial collapse.
Assassination highlights rifts facing Syria rebels
BEIRUT — The assassination of a Syrian rebel fighter linked to al-Qaida called new attention Thursday to the ideological differences among the Islamists fighting the government of President Bashar Assad and threatened to set off new strife among the rebels.
Enthusiasm in Europe helps lift US stocks
Decisive moves by the head of the European Central Bank to preserve the eurozone pushed the benchmark U.S. stock index to a four-year high Thursday and fueled hopes that the rally may have staying power.
Weekend weather goes from warm to wet
This weekend’s weather will alternate between sunshine and showers as a set of disturbances creates an unsettled atmospheric pattern. First, southwesterly flow associated with a low pressure system to our northwest will bring warm air to campus, making for a sunny day with temperatures into the 80s °F. However, a weak cold front will also pass through the area today, possibly kicking off a few showers and thunderstorms along the way.
A love letter to MIT
I received my bachelor’s from Wellesley College (‘06), master’s from Boston University (‘08), master’s from Harvard University (‘08), and will be receiving my doctorate from Harvard; but it’s you, MIT, that has made the biggest impact on my life — academically, socially, and personally. And for that, I love you. You have succeeded in making a positive impact not just on your immediate family members, but you have touched the lives of people who are only a mere part of your extended network.
A fairer PE policy
In prepared remarks to the MIT community last year, President Reif declared that one of his most cherished values includes “a commitment to meritocracy.” Indeed meritocracy is one of the values which make MIT great. Recognizing, rewarding, and encouraging the talents of its students and general population help MIT attract the brightest people in the world and keep these people happy and productive during their time here.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
A note from IS&T
Fifty shades of ignorance (rebutted one by one)
Guy Harrison, one of the standard-bearers of the new skepticism movement, has written a book carefully classifying and then mercilessly shredding 50 very popular — and very wrong — beliefs. Ranging in topic from UFOs to the concept of biological races, this compendium of beliefs may very well be a “who’s who” (make that a “what’s what”) of some things some people get wrong. All the usual suspects are there — faked moon landings, Roswell, Area 51, Bigfoot, Nessie — as well as many religious ideas.
On the pillars of our craft
If you are reading The Tech, there is a good chance you have learned the basics of engineering at MIT. In which case, an invitation to read a book called Engineering: A Very Short Introduction might strike you as — mildly put — unnecessary. If you are the cocky type, you may even be tempted to declare, with a smile and a zinger (“Why don’t you go ask the College of Cardinals to attend Sunday school?”), that this book is not for you. But you would be wrong.
DARE to get high?
A time for experimentation, college life is rife with pleasures — legal or otherwise. Those proud graduates of DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) have already been introduced to the evils of drugs. Those who haven’t heard the stern warnings and strict admonitions can still be saved from the stroll down sin lane. Now, both can find a refresher course on the most pernicious gateway drug of them all.
UPCOMING HOME EVENTS
Saturday, September 8
Packers and 49ers expected to go far this season
1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)