MIT’s Ludwig Center receives $90 million for cancer research
MIT’s Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology, housed within the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, has received a gift of $90 million from Ludwig Cancer Research to study metastasis, the spread of cancer from a primary tumor to other parts of the body. In FY2013, MIT received $58 million research funds from non-profits, according to the treasurer’s report.
Hazel Sive steps down as assoc. dean of science
Hazel L. Sive stepped down as the associate dean of the School of Science on Dec. 16. Sive, who has served in the position since its inception in 2007, has returned to her post as a professor of biology.
Admissions says yes to 9 percent of early applicants
MIT admitted 612 students for the Class of 2018 under its early action program this year. This number represents a record low early acceptance rate of 9.0 percent, a decrease from the 9.9 percent admittance rate last year.
Charles M. Vest, champion of diversity and openness
Former MIT president Charles M. Vest — a tireless advocate for research and science, and a passionate supporter of diversity and openness — died of pancreatic cancer at his home in the Washington area on Dec. 12. He was 72.
BEIRUT — The leader of the Nusra Front, an affiliate of al-Qaida in Syria, on Tuesday proposed an initiative aimed at halting the worst infighting yet between the armed opponents of President Bashar Assad since the start of the conflict nearly three years ago.
New Jersey enticing businesses with revamped tax credit program
The tax break wars are heating up again, as New Jersey aggressively pushes a revamped program to encourage businesses to stay or move within its borders.
Another worryingly low inflation rate for the eurozone
PARIS — Consumer prices in the eurozone barely increased last month, raising fears of deflation and putting pressure on the European Central Bank to take further action.
Obama lost faith in his Afghan strategy, Gates’ memoir asserts
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama eventually lost faith in the troop increase he ordered in Afghanistan, his doubts fed by top White House civilian advisers opposed to the strategy, who continually brought him negative news reports suggesting it was failing, according to his former defense secretary, Robert M. Gates.
BANGKOK — Anti-corruption authorities in Thailand announced Tuesday that they were opening investigations against 308 lawmakers, most of them from the governing party, on suspicion of “malfeasance in office,” in connection with a constitutional amendment that was later ruled by a court to have been enacted illegally.
What is a polar vortex?
The weather has been a major news story this week across much of the United States, as extraordinarily cold weather has swept the central and eastern parts of the country. Temperatures well below 0°F combined with blustery winds to create dangerous conditions, forcing the closings of schools and businesses as people were advised to stay indoors. Many recent news reports have attributed the extreme cold to a “polar vortex”— but what exactly does that mean?
Hundreds of police officers are reassigned in Turkey
PARIS — About 350 police officers in Ankara, the Turkish capital, were removed from their posts overnight, Turkish news outlets reported Tuesday, the largest single purge of the police force since a corruption investigation plunged the government into crisis last month.
In about-face, Sudan denies talking with South about a joint force
KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan on Tuesday backed away from its assertion that it had held discussions with South Sudan about creating a joint force to safeguard oil fields in the South, an economic lifeblood for both countries that is being threatened by the fighting in South Sudan.
A bipartisan solution to gun violence — better bullets
Set phasers to stun — technology like Star Trek’s phasers lies under the radar and behind red tape, but it has the potential to solve a problem that has afflicted America for decades: gun violence. Unfortunately, solutions to gun violence discussed in mainstream politics have only brought limited effectiveness and intense partisan gridlock. Fortunately, other solutions have tremendous potential, and they are politically feasible.
An article on 2.009 presentations in the Dec. 10 issue mistakenly referred to the Silver Team as the White Team.
Science fiction war memoir in a surveillance state
Joe Haldeman’s latest book Work Done For Hire is a riveting near future science fiction story of the dangers of living in a surveillance state. Former sniper Jack Daley was drafted to fight in the continuing war abroad and has been coping with the trauma for nine years since returning home wounded. He has found some solace from his memories in writing, but no commercial success, and so he readily agrees to write the novelization of a horror movie that’s in the works. It may be just work done for hire, but Hollywood’s money will spend.
Inside Llewyn Davis focuses on the life of a young folk singer in Greenwich Village during 1961. But the titular Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is extremely unlikable. He is a homeless travelling musician, dependent on his successful friends who allow him to sleep on their couches. Yet he believes it is his right to lecture them on selling out. At times he’s so cruel that I couldn’t help feeling repulsed by his narcissism and neediness.
Southern comfort food
How many squares around MIT can you name? Kendall, Central, and Harvard probably come to mind. You may even be familiar with Tech Square. But one square that I only recently discovered is Inman Square. Located north of Central Square, the neighborhood is a bit out of the way but boasts a wide selection of culturally diverse restaurants. I decided to check it out and went to dine at Tupelo, which offers southern comfort food.
Too emotionally cold-blooded for a mammalian audience
Walking With Dinosaurs draws on what is currently known in paleontology to tell a coming-of-age story about a young Pachyrhinosaurus named Patchi (Justin Long), who tries to win over his crush, Juniper (Tiya Sircar), while being bullied by his brother, Scowler (Skyler Stone). The directors, Barry Cook, who is best known as an effects animator with Disney, and Neil Nightingale, who was the executive producer of several nature documentaries, teamed up to create a fictional extension of the acclaimed BBC miniseries of the same title. The 3D computer animated dinosaurs roam a beautiful live background filmed in Alaska and New Zealand while they face predators, fires and teenage drama.
A spoonful of saccharine
It should come as no surprise that a movie with the Walt Disney Company imprimatur shows their founder as a kindly fellow, who insists that he only wants to make a film adaptation of Mary Poppins to fulfill a promise he made to his daughters when they were children.
An adventure worth watching
Tolkien fans have been eagerly awaiting the release part two of The Hobbit, and that day has finally come. The Desolation of Smaug was as exciting, funny, and adventurous as to be expected from a Tolkien universe brought to life by Peter Jackson. The main cast from the first movie returns so this movie is as full of great actors as before. Of course the scenery is breathtaking, featuring incredible spans of mountains and forests — just as magical as Tolkien describes in his series.
A touch of Wuxia
In A Touch of Sin, writer-director Jia Zhang-ke and cinematographer Nelson Yu Lik-Wai depict the violence and moral confusion of a new, materialist China. Divided into four main sections, the film presents stories from four different provinces across the mainland.
Science fiction writer and MIT professor Joe Haldeman on his newest book
Joe Haldeman is a well-known science fiction author and adjunct professor in CMS/writing at MIT. He recently spoke with The Tech about his latest novel, Work Done For Hire.
José Mateo’s Nutcracker
With the grand production of Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker embracing the winter season in Boston, many ballet goers might be unaware of another production that happened in the secluded Sanctuary Theatre, located at Harvard Square. While the José Mateo Ballet may be somewhat less familiar than the Boston Ballet Company, this ballet company has been putting out shows for decades. This winter, they returned with their 26th annual production of The Nutcracker — a small-scale and intimate show that delivers the best of the Christmas magic.
UPCOMING HOME EVENTS
Wednesday, January 8
The MIT curling club team swept their way to victory in their second tournament of the season, hosted by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at the Schenectady, NY curling club on Dec. 7 and 8. The team, consisting of skip Phillip Nadeau G, vice Andrea Dubin G, and second Greg Dooley G, defeated Colgate University in the finals with a decisive 9-0 win, and gained 10 points towards qualifying for the National Championships in Blaine, MN in March 2014. MIT is currently undefeated this season, with an 8-0 overall win-loss record. The MIT curling club practices weekly at the Broomstones Curling Club and is always looking for new members.
Women’s basketball falls
Host Wellesley College capitalized on a 15-of-21 performance at the free throw line along with 26 points off turnovers as it defeated MIT, 54-42, in a NEWMAC women’s basketball game on Saturday. Sabrina M. Drammis ’16 led the Engineers (5-5, 2-3 NEWMAC) with a game-high 16 points as Mari R. Kordell ’15 tallied 11 points and five assists.
I am a meerkat
As a scientist, I like to imagine myself as a meerkat. Not in the “I’ll eviscerate my grandkids someday” sense, but in the “I both dig deep holes and survey the land at the same time” sense.
Without Your Permission
In the place of the usual formulas and diagrams, a small alien, chipmunk in a scarf, and pig with bread wings had appeared on the chalkboard. Yes, Alexis Ohanian, the “startup guy” of reddit, hipmunk, and breadpig fame had taken over E51-345 on a Saturday night during finals week at MIT to inspire the beavers to embark on a mission of making the world suck less. Within a couple of years of graduating from the University of Virginia, Ohanian sold reddit for millions and has since gone on to start many other companies, such as hipmunk and breadpig, all while representing the seed accelerator Y Combinator and investing in over sixty other tech startups. A lover and defender of the Internet, Ohanian is launching his book, Without Your Permission, to evangelize entrepreneurs to use the Internet, which he describes as arguably “the most powerful and democratic tool for disseminating information in human history” to make awesome things that change the world. (A photo of a breadpig on a flat globe popped up on the slideshow.)