Often overshadowed by its engineering and science counterparts, the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) at MIT has been called the “hidden jewel” of the Institute. Now, the SHASS has one more award to add to its list of accolades. On Oct. 2, the MacArthur Foundation announced that it had selected MIT professor Junot Diaz to receive a MacArthur Fellowship for his outstanding talent in fiction writing. The foundation awards about 20 so-called “Genius Grants” each year, which each come with $500,000 of no-strings-attached prize money in installments over five years.
JERUSALEM — The mainstream newspaper Maariv is on the verge of closing, apparently having lost a fierce 64-year contest against the populist Hebrew tabloid Yediot Aharonot. On Thursday, Haaretz, the flagship broadsheet of Israel’s left-wing intelligentsia, was not published for the first time in three decades; the newsroom held a one-day strike to protest the planned layoff of scores of employees.
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, on Thursday accused the United States of playing a “double game” by fighting a war against Afghan insurgents rather than their backers in Pakistan, and by refusing to supply his country with the weapons it needs to fight enemies across the border. He threatened to turn to China, India and Russia for those arms.
TEHRAN, Iran — For months, since the imposition of harsh, U.S.-led sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, the country’s leaders have sworn they would never succumb to Western pressures, and they scoffed at the idea that the measures were having any serious impact. But after a week in which the Iranian currency, the rial, fell by a shocking 40 percent and protests began to rumble through the capital, no one is making light of the mounting costs of confrontation.
Autumn weather is often characterized by large swings in temperature from one day to the next, and this weekend will be no exception. After several days of cloudy, drizzly conditions, today will be warm and dry, with highs reaching into the upper 70°F’s. With southerly warm air advection, 80°F is not beyond the realm of possibility. The warm temperatures will persist tomorrow before a cold front that is trailing a low in Canada moves through tomorrow night. There is a chance of showers tomorrow afternoon/evening, but the main effect of the front will be to drop the temperatures. Indeed, Sunday’s high is expected to be quite a bit chillier, only reaching the mid 50°F’s. An intensifying low moving up the coast will bring widespread rainfall on Sunday afternoon and evening. Clear skies should rebound for the holiday on Monday, but with cooler than normal temperatures.
WASHINGTON — With harsh economic sanctions contributing to the first major protests in Iran in three years, Iranian officials have begun to describe what they call a “nine-step plan” to defuse the nuclear crisis with the West, by gradually suspending the production of the uranium that would be easiest for them to convert into a nuclear weapon.
WASHINGTON — Policymakers at the Federal Reserve were nearly united last month in their belief that the economic recovery needed additional help and that the central bank had the ability to provide it, according to the official account of the meeting released Thursday.
While I agree with the spirit and overall theme of Feras Saad’s article, “The arrogance of freshmen” (i.e. that taking advantage of opportunities at MIT is more important than the fact that you got in here), several sentences had a tone that belied another form of arrogance. The worst was, “ … taking four classes a semester and getting A’s … is not much to brag about, but taking the initiative to research with professors or intern in industry certainly is,” followed closely by, “One can take four classes a semester and cruise through an MIT degree by junior year.”
With the evolution of massive open online course (MOOC) and online learning, in the near future students will no longer need a lecture to learn material. We are already seeing the beginning of this trend; independent learners can teach themselves in an online environment and receive immediate feedback. This represents a major change in model of education. Teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge and students can take charge of their own educations. The democratizing of knowledge will completely reshape the classroom. When students no longer need to come to lecture to learn the material, what role does the classroom have in education? Where is the added value?
Chris Matthews looked like he was about to have a meltdown: “What was Romney doing? He was WINNING,” he yelled after what had roundly been viewed as a resounding win for Governor Romney in the first presidential debate on Wednesday evening. Echoing Matthews was a chorus of negative reviews by political pundits on the left:
As students and researchers, we often fall into the trap of disproportionately offering critique over praise and expressing misgivings over thanks. Regardless of whether this is some unavoidable part of human nature or a result of admissions selecting for overly critical creative thinkers, we must all make an improved effort to recognize instances of selfless philanthropy, compassionate leadership, and keen foresight and offer high praise where it is due. It was with great excitement and optimism that we read The Tech’s article breaking news of the new daycare facility at 219 Vassar to open in less than a year’s time. Though David Koch’s and Charles and Jennifer Johnson’s building will never host a cure to cancer or solution to the energy crisis, it will deliver in two equally critical ways which the Institute desperately needs right now:
By now you must have heard about Curiosity, NASA’s latest robotic ambassador to Mars. It has been making headlines for weeks, first with its nail-biting landing sequence, fit for a sci-fi movie, and more recently with its discovery of evidence of streaming water in the Martian past. Curiosity is the stuff geeks dream about: a largely autonomous laboratory on wheels, the size of a small car and loaded to the brim with the most sophisticated science equipment ever sent to another world.
Many of us have fond memories of time we spent in our younger years thumbing through choose-your-own-adventure books. These novels, now known as gamebooks, were exciting because the reader was responsible for the choices the character made and could spend time exploring different choices and story paths. Zach Weinersmith, creator of popular web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC), recreates and innovates upon this magic for an older (though not necessarily more mature) audience in the spacefaring adventure Trial of the Clone.
In a battle that would determine first place in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference women’s tennis standings, MIT swept the doubles matches against Wellesley College and then split the singles matches to come away with a 6-3 victory. The win lifts MIT into sole possession of first place in the NEWMAC standings, moving the Engineers to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the NEWMAC. Wellesley fell to 3-2 and 2-1 in the conference.