Sure, the South End will soon have some of the world's deadliest pathogens, but only Cambridge has an urban nuclear reactor.
The photo led us to a Tech story about MIT students protesting what they consider the school administration delivering Star Simpson and sodium droppers to the cavalier hands of the media. The story includes a quote from MIT Chancellor Phillip L. Clay that suggests students aren't the only ones with some difficulties dealing with the non-geek world:
He added that, in the future, "if a student with a clever gizmo goes to an airport ... as silly as it sounds, go up and explain it to someone."
Or, Phil, howzabout they not bring it into the terminal?
Suddenly, the outside world cares a lot about it because of Star Simpson.
Chris Csikszentmihalyi, who directs the Computing Culture Group at the MIT Media Lab, discusses that culture, how Star Simpson fits in and what, exactly, that circuit-boardish thing she was wearing is (it wasn't a circuit board, to start). He also photographs some Fox News reporters who were hounding people on the MIT campus Friday.
... Sure, Star was being kind of dumb. Or absentminded. But Norbert Wiener, one of the most famous professors from MIT, used to forget if he'd eaten lunch or not. After speaking to someone in the hallways, he would ask what direction he'd been walking when they'd met, so that he'd know if he was coming from or going to the canteen. I find that pretty dumb - MIT is full of people who are math smart but socially naive. That's why we have a charm school - though not enough students enroll. ...
So this college student goes up to a counter at Logan with a blinking circuit board strapped to her chest and a blob of unidentifiable material ...
"She claims that it was just art and she was proud of the art and wanted to display it. I am not sure why she had the Play-Doh in her hands. She could not explain that," Pare said.
Channel 4 has more:
Simpson was "extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used," Pare said. "She's lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue."
Bonus: She's an MIT student who, according to her overloaded Web site (thanks, Google Cache) lets us know:
... I love to build things and I love crazy ideas. ... I lived for a long time in Hawaii, while traveling the world and saving the planet from evil villains with my delivered-just-in-time gadgets.
Simpson was released on $750 bail this morning after her arraignment in East Boston District Court on a single count of "possession of a hoax device." The Suffolk County District Attorney's office had asked bail be set at $5,000. She's due to return to court Oct. 29 for a pre-trial hearing.
There's got to be more to this story, though, right?
Julia Reischel at the Dig has more.
The student paper at MIT, the Tech, weighs in, says while the sodium may not have come from the annual big Sodium Drop, it might have come from one of the MIT fraternities along the Charles in Boston, says MIT should go easy on perps to make them come forward, but that in any case, MIT should help out with the boat and burn victims.
The group whose cleanup boat was contaminated by that exploding sodium says decontamination is so expensive the whole effort might be scuttled. One volunteer writes:
The real problem is the financial cost of the chemical decontamination carried out after the incident. This is an unexpected cost that must be paid by a small nonprofit that does not have any extra funds. Unfortunately, the Cleanup Boat may be forced to stop operating unless more funds are found to pay for the decontamination.
MIT officials, meanwhile, have yet to acknowledge the sodium that burned volunteers and EMTs came from the annual student prank known as the Sodium Drop, in which MIT students drop a large bar of the metal to watch it explode.
The Dig has more.
In these times what are the aims?..., current accomplishments?... and current achievements?... of the SIPB Student Information Processing Board http://www.google.com/search?q=sipb
Around the time of the founding of the SIPB Student Information Processing Board one aim was to develop what was not available elsewhere, hints, tips and pointers with respect to how to use hardware and software more effectively.
Update: Even though I recently got a new eyeglass prescription, I obviously can't see well, because I missed the fact that Halle wrote his plea 10 YEARS AGO, rather than as a reaction to the recent burning of five people by sodium (watch this year's MIT sodium drop). But that says something as well ...
Michael W. Halle writes in the MIT Tech that it's time for MIT students to grow up and stop dropping sodium bars in the Charles:
.. Today, society increasingly stereotypes scientists as people who act without regard to consequence. Behind every toxic waste dump is someone who thought it wouldn't matter, or did what had always been done before. The Sodium Drop exactly fits the stereotype, albeit on a smaller scale. At MIT, we're supposed to be different. We're supposed to be the ones who can think for ourselves, who relish breaking the status quo when it becomes outmoded. The tradition of the Sodium Drop has become just that: outmoded. I ask that those who organize it find an alternative and equally alluring tradition that doesn't sacrifice the quality of the fragile river environment that is MIT's backyard.
Oh, those wacky MIT kids. Seems every year, they steal a bar of sodium from the school chemistry labs so they can drop it in the Charles and watch it explode.
Only this year, the bar didn't totally dissolve and now we have five people with burns on the other side of the river.
If Mayor Menino were to get outraged about this, I'd be right with him. But he probably exhausted his yearly outrage quota back in February.
Great: The Charles is flammable.
The Grammar Vandal has a fan at MIT - and he's armed with a marker.
We got a warning on Monday morning's news that there was an extremely high danger of brush fire in the area. I wouldn't have believed it given the torrential rains that had flooded us just recently, and the continued drizzle and showers that hung on all last week. But I believed it big time when our building began to fill with choking white smoke and a burning leaf smell. ...
Could you hum a few bars? In any case, Suzie reports beginning to feel just a bit more like a Bostonian: Sure, she got lost on the way to a meeting at the Dr. Seuss building, but on the way back to the T, somebody else asked her if she knew where the building was:
... I couldn't help my excitement at actually being able to help another lost citizen. I walked back to the T station feeling like a true Boston resident who even knows my way around Cambridge. Next weekend I might even venture into Somerville. ...
For more than 20 years, small theater groups have "borrowed" rooms at MIT for rehersals (specifically, at 50 Vassar Street). But when a group of MIT students reported feeling threatened by one of the ensembles, which allegedly refused to give up space the students had reserved, MIT police cracked down. Big hoo-hah in the local theater community now.
And so ends nearly 20 years of Boston theater history, rightly or wrongly (because let's face it, it's been 20 years of squatting) because one righteous ass decided that he/she was entitled to something they were borrowing.
Philip Greenspun notes that the main gym at MIT re-opened this week, and that the men's locker room has a new scale - registering up to 500 pounds.
Jay Levitt posts the real story behind those feuding neuroscientists.
He notes the exhibit might be shown at MIT, which is having some censorship issues of its own.
Dan Kennedy notes the involvement of the Zionist Organization of America in the protest and tells the Globe to dig deeper into what's going on in Waltham.
Meanwhile, over at BC, some people object to Condoleezza Rice getting an honorary degree, which leaves Carpundit wondering:
... If a speaker has a history of hostility to racial groups, or religious ones; or a criminal history; or views antithetical to the college's stated purpose (Rosie O'Donnell speaking at Liberty University, say). But I cannot understand why anyone would oppose the presence of the Secretary of State of the United States. Is BC just another college full of clueless, lefty professors?
That was rhetorical.
What, nothing on the Harvard internalizer case? Michael says the real plagiarism scandal is not some 19-year old getting caught, but the head of a local multinational getting away with plagiarism (also see today's piece on how he even stole from Dave Barry):
... [A] 57-year-old should presumably have better judgment than a 19-year-old. Shouldn't he admit his mistake and take steps to see that credit goes where credit is due?
At the very least, it does seem unfair that Viswanathan is undergoing such a public pillorying at the same time that Swanson's plagiarism is essentially being ignored.
Looks like there should be some interesting content regarding Hollywood DRM schemes that will soon effect anyone who consumes entertainment. The talk at Harvard is titled "Set Top Cop: Hollywood's Secret War on Your Living Room".
I'll be out of town but sure hope someone goes and posts the scoop.
While Boston struggles to build wireless coverage in a select number of neighborhood commercial districts, MIT and Cambridge are looking at blanketing the entire city of Cambridge with WiFi by the end of the year:
... The initial testing phase and service will be provided by MIT free of charge to Cambridge, Kurt L. Keville '90, a research specialist at the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT, said in an e-mail. But if MIT has underestimated the traffic on the network, the service will have a charge rather than being free; however, Keville said he does not anticipate any problems because MIT's bandwidth is "ridiculously high." Cambridge has over 100,000 residents. ...
They'll be using Roofnet "mesh" technology, developed at MIT, that reduces the costs of the network by turning each participant into a router, reducing the number of dedicated routers needed. A Roofnet is also being built at the South End's Tent City.
Note: To be fair, in addition to the Boston Main Street program, every Boston Public Library branch offers free WiFI.
MIT Tech link via Ben Brophy, who says:
... They are focusing first on housing development, so we might get early access since we are near the Putnam projects (and thatâ€™s a good thing for once!). ...
Alyssa's husband went to MIT. Every year, he faithfully returns for the annual three-day MIT Mystery Hunt - in which bands of nerds try to solve a series of puzzles and find a hidden coin. Alyssa writes:
... This year most of the nerds have crossed over from the late 20s into their early 30s. And some of them have been domesticated â€“ they have wives who keep them clean and fed. I have heard rumblings that some of the nerds are more high maintenance this year demanding food without trans fats and asking for actual beds to sleep in. No more sacking out on the floor in a pile of backpacks. They want a good night's sleep. They want fresh water! ...
Cienne45 provides Stata Center photos, both the outside shots you've come to expect and photos from inside the Seussian complex.
Cynthia says the Stata Center (the Seussian MIT complex) has really grown on her now that she's had to spend some time amidst the dreary slabs that are MIT's Technology Square:
... I am happy and relieved to see a building that stands out as different and individual and reflective of something human among all these huge impersonal dehumanizing concrete facades.
Michael reads the news that that alleged drug lab where MIT graduate Kevin McCormick died was actually set up to make more sophisticated drugs than meth and says it all might just be a continuation of a long tradition at Cambridge colleges:
... We remember, thirty years ago, the organic chemistry departments of Harvard and MIT were locked in thier own intercollegiate space race, to design the perfect drug. Every week the lab rats would scurry out of the depths to display their latest designs and discoveries at proto-raves in dorm rooms up and down the banks of the Charles. MMDA was a novelty in those days, along with a veritable alphabet soup of stimulants, halucinogens, morphine analogs, exotic plant extracts and even certain substances reputedly available only from living human donors.
As far as we were able to ascertain, the perfect drug was never isolated. It is interesting to note that the search goes on 30 years later, and that MIT is still at the forefront of these efforts to expand the frontiers of science, just as it is undeniably a tragedy that it has cost the life of a young artist.
His death will probably forever outshadow his life, but Kevin McCormick was a sculptor who worked in an unusual medium: Blinking lights. You can see some of his work online:
Chromodome (scroll down the page a bit)
Corona (scroll down the page a bit).
A piece in the 2005 CyberArts Festival
A work at the 2001 Burning Man (scroll down for Shadow Engine).
A work at the 2004 Burning Man
A photo of Kevin McCormick (scroll down for the "Frostbyte" entry).
Tronster had known McCormick since high school:
... I haven't cried (yet) but have come close. I'm in disbelief, anger, disbelief, and acceptance. It all keeps washing over me. I was told by the reporter he had died of a drug overdose (E) which doesn't surprise me but still hurts. I had hoped Kevin would realize how stupid he was doing drugs; Just like in middle and high school I want to work through the logic and show him how I was right in this situation ... I don't want to be right; I want Kevin to be alive.
Chillonia was a year behind him at MIT:
... We sat in his room, with his newly orchestrated light symphony painting the walls red-green-purple-blue, and listened to Koyaanisqatsi.
That evening was quiet, and calm - just this side of uneventful. It stays in my mind because of the way that Kevin made me feel comfortable and welcome. He allowed me to experience the things that he wholeheartedly loved with him. He taught me a hundred things about music, two hundred about light, and more than I could ever count about love for beauty. Kevin was an aesthete of the rarest variety: he loved beautiful things, his imagination had no bounds, and his spirit compelled him to always share. ...
... I hope he's now somewhere really, really pretty.
Know of other McCormick links? Post a comment or let me know.