Drew Houston speaks at 147th Commencement
Over 2,600 students will graduate from MIT today, receiving over 3,300 degrees. Killian Court is expected to be filled with over 13,000 guests at the Institute’s 147th Commencement.
MIT, in a box
I arrived at the Institute in August of 2009 with two suitcases, a backpack, and a lot of enthusiasm. I was eager to begin my college life — to stay up absurdly late, make friends while psetting, have a swank dorm room, be independent etc. — and I had arrived at school early to participate in my Freshman Pre-Orientation Program (FPOP), the Freshman Arts Program.
Fandom in student groups
Fandoms come in all shapes and sizes, and MIT has a smattering of several groups dedicated to different aspects of pop culture. The Tech sat with a few groups on campus to examine where fandoms fit in at the Institute. Not all groups we wished to interview were available for comment.
Time to pretend
30 percent of MIT students who responded to The Tech’s survey (427 people) have dressed up as a character from Harry Potter, Firefly, Star Trek, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings. While many of this number are very likely casual fans who threw on a Gryffindor scarf to see the premiere of The Deathly Hallows, hidden within this statistic is a number of devoted MIT students who take costumes to the next level — cosplayers.
Bombings near Marathon finish
The following story was completed prior to the events early this morning. At the time of publication, according to the Boston Globe, it appears that one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has been captured. The two suspects were chased to Watertown by police, and one suspect is still on the loose. It is unclear if these events are related to the shooting near the Stata Center. For more information, see our coverage in this issue.
Course 20 launches BE-specific writing lab
Biological Engineering students looking to improve their writing now have a new resource: the BE Writing Lab in 56-205. The center, which opened last month, is geared towards helping Course 20 students with lab reports, UROP proposals, grad school applications, and more.
MIT in the storm
While students were out enjoying the snow, MIT employees were busy keeping the campus running. Though classes were canceled last Friday, hundreds of workers for Bon Appétit and facilities were hard at work. Due to the lack of transportation, many of them remained around campus on Friday night.
Winter storm brings headaches & fun to Institute
Winter storm “Nemo” (as named by The Weather Channel) swept through Cambridge this past weekend, dumping 24.9 inches of snow and leaving much of New England in disarray. MIT was closed on Friday, on Saturday, and for the first two work shifts on Sunday. The storm was the fifth largest snowstorm to hit Boston in recorded history.
Winter storm Nemo finds its way to Boston
A major snowstorm is expected to hit MIT today, as winter storm Nemo makes its way across the coast. MIT announced last night that it would be closed today — the second campus closure due to weather this year, after Hurricane Sandy shuttered the Institute on Oct. 29, 2012. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has declared a state of emergency that will be effective today starting at noon. Community members should check emergency.mit.edu for the most up-to-date information.
Winter storm Nemo to hit Cambridge tomorrow
A major snowstorm is expected to hit MIT tomorrow, as winter storm Nemo makes its way across the coast. MIT has announced that they will be closed on Friday ; Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has declared a state of emergency that will be effective on Friday starting at noon. Community members should check emergency.mit.edu for the most up to date information. The Tech will update this page throughout the night as we learn more.
Forces of nature converge on campus
Despite the blatant lack of the anticipated apocalypse, 2012 was a good year for disasters. Last year saw several out-of-the-ordinary occurrences, including a hurricane, two major power outages, and a small earthquake.
Video games of 2012
The first in the eighth generation of home consoles, the Wii U made it to shelves just in time for the 2012 holiday season. Nintendo’s latest console is its first to have HD output, but there’s a slow loading time for nearly everything. The system itself is sleek, and the newest addition, the gamepad, offers a new twist on console gaming. It allows one person a different view of the TV in what Nintendo is branding as “asymmetric gameplay.” While the gamepad’s touchscreen display is crisp, the controller is uncomfortable to hold for more than a couple hours and its charge depletes quickly. Despite these setbacks, the Wii U seems promising. Only time will tell if the Wii U can find its niche with hardcore gamers, and if the system can compete with the next generation of Playstation and xbox. —JJP
Flu epidemic in Boston, mild-mannered on campus
Heard any sneezing around campus recently? You should probably wash your hands. This year’s strain of H3N2 is particularly virulent and has hit Boston hard, though MIT has remained relatively unscathed by the illness.
A chat with the Chancellor
“All things students” is how you’ll often hear Chancellor Eric Grimson, PhD ’80, describe his job. The chancellor is one of the two most senior academic officers at MIT (along with the Provost). He is responsible for graduate and undergraduate education, student life, student services, and other areas that affect the MIT student experience. The Tech sat down with him last Friday to hear his thoughts about the stresses and pressures of MIT.
In their own voices: MIT students talk pressure
At the end of the survey, respondents were asked to share any stories or thoughts they had about pressure at MIT. A few of the 500+ comments we received are published below. Thank you to everyone for sharing stories of your darkest moments, your pain, fears, and anxieties. Many of the stories were extremely personal and truly touching, and it was very difficult to select the excerpts you see here. We chose the ones that exemplified the diversity of voices on this issue.
MIT, Harvard, and the surrounding areas lost power from 4:26 to 6:37 p.m. yesterday. The outage threw the Institute into darkness — classes were canceled, MBTA service was delayed, and police were dispatched to direct traffic. Emergency power remained on in dormitories and around campus.
Power returns to the Institute
This article will be updated as The Tech learns more. Check The Tech’s storify for more information: http://storify.com/thetech/mit-during-the-cambridge-blackout
MIT Gangnam Style: gone viral
After a couple tantalizing teasers, MIT students woke up on the morning of Oct. 27 to the full-fledged “MIT Gangnam Style” video taking the Internet by storm. Since then, the MIT parody of Korean popstar Psy’s sensational “Gangnam Style” — which has skyrocketed to worldwide popularity — has garnered over 4 million views.
Sloan grad student found dead
Heng “Nikita” Guo, an MBA student in MIT’s Sloan School, passed away last Friday in her apartment in Cambridge. Her death has been ruled a suicide by the Medical Examiner’s office. She was 28.
MIT closed on Monday for hurricane
MIT was closed yesterday due to considerations for Hurricane Sandy. There were no classes, and all non-essential personnel were off work for the three shifts of the day. While most of MIT Medical was closed, Urgent Care remained open.
MIT prepares for the Frankenstorm
MIT is closed today due to considerations for Hurricane Sandy. There will be no classes, and all non-essential personnel will be off work for the three shifts of the day. Most of MIT Medical is closed, though Urgent Care is open.
MIT to open new daycare facility
MIT is opening a new daycare center at 219 Vassar Street, where the current building is up for demolition and will be replaced by a dedicated daycare facility. Slated to open by end of summer 2013, the new center will have spots for 126 children — nearly doubling the size of MIT’s current daycare population of 142.
The Tech explores... San Diego Comic-Con
San Diego Comic-Con International is an annual four-day celebration of the popular arts, that draws over 130,000 attendees from around the world. Originally started in 1970 as a comic book convention, the focus of the Con has since shifted from comic books to everything pop culture, from blockbusters and video games to the latest science fiction and fantasy novels. Some fans make the pilgrimage to see the people who create their favorite media, others to stock up on rare comic books or to spend thousands on the gigantic exhibition floor. Some people just come for the crowds.
Pixar’s newest heroine is no damsel in distress
Meet Merida, a spunky, fiery-headed young princess, and the first female star of a Pixar film in the 17 years the studio has been making movies.
Reif selected as MIT’s 17th president
Provost L. Rafael Reif was elected MIT’s 17th president last month at a special meeting of the MIT Corporation. He will officially replace President Susan J. Hockfield, who has served for seven years, on July 2, 2012.
FSILG participation in orientation grows
The Review Committee on Orientation’s (RCO) final report, which was released in April, and an accompanying MIT News Office press release, misleadingly suggested that individual FSILGs would be able to participate in the Orientation Activities Midway. Individual fraternities, sororities, and living groups (FSILGs) will not have booths at the Midway, but the broad FSILG presence during Orientation will be expanded for informational purposes, according to MIT officials.
Reif is new MIT president
Provost L. Rafael Reif was elected MIT’s 17th president this morning at a special meeting of the MIT Corporation. He will officially replace President Susan J. Hockfield, who has served for seven years, on July 2, 2012.
Comments from the religion survey
At the end of the survey, students were invited to write about their thoughts and experiences with religion at MIT. We selected the best comments and stories from the survey to fill this page. To publish all the comments would require several pages in an issue of The Tech, so these responses represent just a small sample of the nearly 400 answers we received.
No ’16s to come from waitlist
For the first time in seven years, no students will be admitted off the waitlist for the incoming freshman class. By last Tuesday, 1,130 prospective students, or 70 percent of admitted students, confirmed their enrollment at MIT for the coming fall — MIT’s highest yield ever.
The ‘holy grail’ of hacks
153 windows, 153 pixels. Two weekends ago, the front of the Green Building lit up in a colorful display of the popular puzzler Tetris. The 17x9 pixel screen spanned over 80 by 250 feet — making it the second largest screen in the nation. Appearing mysteriously on Friday night, the Tetris hack was the culmination of over four and a half years of work by an undisclosed number of hackers. With the completion of the hack came the conclusion of a dream; the idea of transforming Building 54 into a working game of Tetris has been a fantasy of hackers for decades.
Games and panels at PAX East
Do video games get reviews, or criticisms? What’s the difference? This panel, hosted by a number of editors from The Escapist, Ars Technica, and the Boston Phoenix, among others, focused on the distinction between the two types of writing. A review, it seems, is focused on a product and potentially convincing a reader to buy something or not. A criticism, the panelists argued, is a piece written with a much deeper intent — to truly understand the game and communicate a particular experience to the reader. A review might be something you read before playing a game, and a criticism something afterwards. Reviews give you a comprehensive view, while a criticism is more on an in depth snapshot. Which is more effective and useful for the reader? That’s for you to decide.
PAX East 2012
PAX East, a three-day-long festival of everything game related, returned to Boston for the third time, this year at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). PAX is a gaming convention started by webcomic Penny Arcade (PA) founders Mike Krahulik (known as “Gabe” in his comic alter-ego) and Jerry Holkins (“Tycho”) in 2004. The show is meant to cater to gamers of all types — handheld, console, PC, and table top. Originally held in Seattle, PAX has also come to Boston for the past three years in the form of “PAX East”, and recently booked the annual event at BCEC until 2023.
Ten years of Anime Boston!
Students and passersby taking the T this past weekend were likely baffled by the high number of folks in strange costumes; they were here due to the arrival of two conventions in town. Cosplayers flocked to Boylston for Anime Boston, and to south Boston for the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX). I split my time between the two cons, though I spent considerably less time at Anime Boston than PAX — I was there only for Saturday morning. This is Anime Boston’s 10th year since its inception in 2003, when it was created by the New England Anime Society Inc.
Committee on Discipline releases 2010-2011 report
The MIT Committee on Discipline (COD) gave its annual report Wednesday at the March faculty meeting in 10-250. Prof. Robert P. Redwine, the chair of the committee, presented the results from academic year 2010-2011.
A symphony fit for the goddesses
Last Wednesday, over a thousand Zelda fans descended on San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall in the heart of the city. The event? The 25th anniversary celebration of one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchise: The Legend of Zelda. “Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses,” is a musical tribute to the history of Zelda and the great scores composed by Koji Kondo. The concert, directed by Irish conductor Eímear Noone, works with local musicians in each town to put together an entire orchestra to play the show.
Fire leaves Back Bay ashen, powerless
The Boston skyline went dark Tuesday evening after a major transformer failure in Boston’s Back Bay, causing a three-alarm fire that destroyed the parking garage of the Back Bay Hilton and left over 21,000 people without power. The outage left large swaths of Boston dark; from Kenmore and the CITGO sign all the way to the Public Gardens. MIT fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups (FSILGs) lost power from Tuesday night until late Wednesday or Thursday evening. As of press time, NStar, the power company, reports that most of Boston has had power restored though the lights; the Prudential Center was the last skyscraper to regain power at 11 p.m. All living groups have had their power restored except Sigma Nu and Fenway House.
Anderson’s cause of death still unknown
No conclusion has been reached as to the cause of death of Brian G. Anderson ’13, the MIT junior who was found dead in his Next House dormitory room last Monday.
Hockfield announces resignation
Susan J. Hockfield, MIT's 16th president, announced this morning her decision to step down from the presidency after 7 years.
A short history of Hockfield and her influence on MIT
During her seven years as president, Susan J. Hockfield oversaw an aggressive expansion of MIT’s global footprint. Her years as president have been markedly outward-facing. During her tenure, she skillfully advanced MIT’s long-term interests by engaging in parnterships overseas and by securing a variety of donations for the David H. Koch Institute on Integrative Cancer Research and Fariborz Maseeh Hall, among other things. Hockfield’s administration has raised over $3 billion, more money than any one president has made during his term. She has created a number of relationships in politics and abroad. From bringing Obama to campus to creating alliances with Singapore and Russia, Hockfield has brought MIT’s influence around the globe.
VIDEO GAME REVIEW Zelda fans, rejoice
Skyward Sword might just be the best Zelda game ever made.
In wake of theft, security revamped
Dormitory desk workers around campus have been urged to be vigilant about security in wake of a theft at Baker House late last month. With desks as the first defense against intruders, many dorms have recently rolled out new policies and been more strict about basic desk policies. Sign-in sheets and guest lists have been emphasized, and two desk workers have been posted during dining hours in dining dorms. Spare room keys have been pulled from behind the desks of several dorms and that policy will likely be applied to all dormitories soon, according to MIT’s office for residential life.
Bizarre blizzard hits Boston area
The first snowfall came early this year with an accumulation of 1 inch in Boston and 1–2 inches in Cambridge this past Saturday in a rare October blizzard. The snowstorm dumped over a foot of snow in some parts of western Massachusetts, leaving over 620,000 people without power, mostly in the western part of the state. The outage is ongoing; as of 8 p.m. last night, 450,000 people are still without power in Massachusetts.
No East Campus roller coaster this year
There will be no East Campus roller coaster this year, revealed Mike T. Nawrot ’12, EC rush chair, in a video released last week. The City of Cambridge required the dormitory to obtain building permits for their coaster, but the process was not completed in time.
Colorful characters unite at Anime Boston 2011
Last weekend, I returned to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) for my second convention of the year, after the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in March. As I stepped from the cab so graciously paid for by The Tech, I was surprised to see no one outside the building in costume or actually, anybody at all. I approached the doors and peered inside to see … no one.
Gamers invade Boston
The Penny Arcade Expo East came to Boston last weekend to a warm welcome from over 69,000 people. Fans of the Penny Arcade webcomic, tabletop games, and digital games made it to the convention to celebrate three days of gaming goodness. A number of exciting panels, concerts, game tournaments, and a stunning exhibit hall all contributed to the fun of the show. An atmosphere of gaming community was prevalent throughout the weekend; gamers showed their support for the Child’s Play charity and were generally warm to one another.
2013’s Brass Rat unveiled
It wasn’t the iPhone 5 or a new video game console that had a few hundred members of the class of 2013 waiting outside in the cold last Friday night. Bundled up in a large line outside Kresge Auditorium, sophomores patiently waited in 20-degree temperatures for an early seat to Ring Premiere — the unveiling of the iconic Brass Rat, MIT’s renowned class ring. The first 400 students to arrive at the auditorium were promised a mysterious free gift, and it was this lure that attracted so many students to arrive two hours early to an event that was only an hour long.
$24M donation breathes life into Ashdown
After a donation of $24 million from Fariborz Maseeh ScD ’90 in September 2010, Ashdown House (W1) will rise again as Maseeh Hall this fall. The new dorm space will allow the undergraduate population to grow by about 200 students over the next three years.
At Logan, delays are imminent
Flying home for Thanksgiving? Better pack your patience. You can expect long lines and new security measures at Logan Airport this week.
A flurry of packages at desk
Dormitory desks have recently been flooded with packages — and tense e-mails asking residents to please pick up their packages.
Physics concert charges up 54-100
“There are going to be real musicians here tonight!” declared physics professor Christoph M.E. Paus — harnessing the energy in the room.
Penny Arcade comes to town
“My gravy trainnnnnn!” exclaimed Jerry Holkins, co-creator of Penny Arcade after losing an arm-wrestling match to co-creator Mike Krahulik at a Q&A session at the Penny Arcade Exposition last weekend.
Paul Krugman talks money
On Friday, February 5th, Princeton professor Paul Krugman PhD ’77, 2008 Nobel Laureate in Economics, New York Times opinion columnist and former MIT professor spoke about the economic crisis, comparing it to the Great Depression.
Obama Visits MIT, Pushes Clean Energy
On October 23, 2009, President Barack Obama came to MIT to speak about clean energy and the Recovery act. He also toured several Institute labs that are working on energy issues.
At MIT, Ritalin Use on Par With Peer Schools; Formal Disciplinary Action is Rare
“If you’ve ever been like super ridiculous caffeinated and drank two Rockstars and didn’t have anything to eat, sort of get that brain fuzz and can’t look at anything straight and everything is peripheral vision; that’s how being on Ritalin feels to me.”
Randall Munroe, xkcd Creator, Holds Q&A and Signs Books in 26-100
“XKCD is here in 26-100 tonight.”
Cheung Becomes Youngest Council Member and First Asian-American
Leland Cheung, a graduate student in the Sloan School of Business, will become the first Asian-American and the youngest member ever of the Cambridge City Council, preliminary results from the city show.
Larger & Smoother Rush Sees More Frosh Bidded
As of Wednesday afternoon, 338 freshmen out of the 591 freshmen men were offered a bid to join a fraternity. A total of 437 bids were handed out, up from last year’s 405, said Interfraternity Council Recruitment Chair David B. Stein ’10. The biggest change in the this year’s Rush process was an overhaul of the Clearinghouse system, the software which tracks rushees.
Cambridge Council Candidate Knocks For Votes
Have you seen Leland Cheung? As Election Day nears, the Cambridge City Council candidate and Sloan School student has been trying to talk to as many people as possible. He’s even made the rounds in some MIT dorms to ask for your vote.
DSL Releases Break-down of Student Life Fee; UA is Surprised
After several years of inquiry from the Undergraduate Association and <i>The Tech</i>, the office for the Dean for Student life released the breakdown of the student life fee last Tuesday.
MIT Graduate Student Runs for City Council, Hopes to Represent Students
On November 3, Cambridge voters will decide whether an MIT student is fit to serve on city council. Leland Cheung, a graduate student in the Sloan School of Business is running for a position on city council because he believes “[We] need a student voice representing our interest,” a “liaison” between the students and the city government.
Sorority Numbers Positive
Sororities gained 187 new members during a record recruitment this year. Thirty-six percent of freshmen women joined a sorority.
Not All White, Still All Nerdy
MIT never seemed like a feasible option for college for me. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was something for Nobel Laureates, audio company founders, renowned architects, and Iron Man. Not for me, someone who applied to MIT without any expectation of acceptance whatsoever.