MIT scientists benefit from US budget deal
Massachusetts fishermen and MIT scientists are among the winners in a $1.012 trillion spending deal released Monday night by Congress.
MIT Medical adds new portal system
On Jan. 1, 2014, MIT Medical fully converted to a new healthcare portal called Follow My Health, replacing an older portal called Patient Online. Follow My Health will support features absent from Patient Online, such as the ability for patients to view lab results. Like Patient Online, Follow My Health has the right to sell aggregate data, but will not compromise any patient privacy in the process.
On Jan. 1, John Charles became the new vice president for information systems and technology (IS&T). He succeeds Marilyn T. Smith, who stepped down February last year. “It’s an extraordinary honor and opportunity for me to serve MIT and its talented IS&T organization in this leadership capacity,” he told the MIT News Office.
James Roberge, MIT faculty since 1967, dies at 75
James K. Roberge, a professor of electrical engineering and a member of the MIT faculty since 1967, died Friday, Jan. 10, at age 75. Roberge continued teaching in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) through last semester.
Boris Magasanik, professor emeritus, dies at 94
Boris Magasanik, the Jacques Monod Professor Emeritus of Microbiology, passed away on Dec. 25 at his home in Cambridge. He was 94.
WASHINGTON — House and Senate negotiators reached accord on a trillion-dollar spending plan that will finance the government through September, reversing some cuts to military veterans’ pensions that were included in a broader budget agreement last month and defeating efforts to rein in President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Tunisian constitution, praised for balance, nears passage
TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly is close to passing a new Constitution that legislators across the political spectrum, human rights organizations and constitutional experts are hailing as a triumph of consensus politics.
Temperatures above average in Cambridge
Over the past few days, temperatures more than 10 degrees higher than average melted most of the snow remaining from the last storm. The daily average for this week in Cambridge is normally below freezing (32°F), but we have barely dipped below freezing even at night since last week. Expect warmer weather to persist through Friday before a return to normal temperatures this weekend.
NSA devises radio pathway into computers isolated from web
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the U.S. to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.
Federal judge rejects Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban
A federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Tuesday that the state’s constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage violated the federal Constitution, the latest in a string of legal victories for gay rights and one that occurred in the heart of the Bible Belt.
WASHINGTON — FBI investigators do not believe Internal Revenue Service officials committed crimes in the unusually heavy scrutiny of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, a law enforcement official said Monday.
Court rejects FCC rules on equal Internet access
WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out Federal Communications Commission rules that require Internet service providers to give all traffic equal access through their networks.
Taming the firehose
One of the reasons MIT is one of the best universities in the world is because it is hard. The workload is vast, the problems are difficult, the exams can feel impossible, grading is harsh, and it often feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day. But there is an often-overlooked reason the Institute is challenging — for most, the problem isn’t a lack of desire, ambition, or effort, but rather a lack of proper preparation.
A guest column on CityDays in the April 20, 2012 issue gave the incorrect class year for Cory D. Hernandez. He is a member of the Class of 2014, not 2013.
Of aliens and orgasms
Fans of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC) rejoice — the long awaited, crowd-funded webcomic series has finally launched! Starpocalypse, the first of three series, is a space opera set in the far future where the last liberal arts professor and his brother, a physics professor, have outlived their usefulness to a society where everyone can achieve instant orgasms through existing technology. In a desperate attempt to find some purpose for philosophy, they encounter a being in outer space who claims that she is the long-lost god who created humanity. But she’s entirely mad and takes them hostage. They can either refuse to take her to Earth and die a painful, head exploding death or rely on their academic prowess to convince her to spare humanity and humanity to worship her. After all, any sufficiently advanced alien is indistinguishable from god.
A Tale of Two Betas
Given that Magic: The Gathering has been around for two decades, I have to imagine virtually everybody reading this paper has at least a passing familiarity with the popular trading card game. At a minimum, we’ve all seen one of its millions of players playing it, and those of us who actually got into the game could come up with a dozen ways to describe it. Maybe “complex,” or “deep,” or “competitive.” Personally, I’d summarize it in three words: “Expensive as hell.”
James Ashby on Starpocalypse
James Ashby founded SMBC Theater with Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comics writer Zach Weinersmith in 2009, and they have just released Starpocalypse, the first of three planned web series.
Swimming and diving defeats the Coast Guard
Racing for the first time in over a month, the MIT women’s swimming and diving team defeated New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rival U.S. Coast Guard Academy at home on Saturday afternoon by a score of 195-83. Throughout the day, the Engineers were able to swim events not normally raced at dual meets and claimed first place in 13 of the 16 events.
UPCOMING HOME EVENTS
Wednesday, January 15
Track & field wins first
After having last raced over a month ago, the MIT men’s indoor track and field team continued its 2013-14 at the Bates Invitational on Saturday afternoon, finishing first with 194 points. Host Bates College was second with 100 and Colby College came in third with 67 points.
THE NATURALIST’S NOTEBOOK: Cold fish and icy insects
Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are,
Late thoughts on being a research scientist
I have one of those roommates who is constantly curious, and often tactless, but usually insightful. She waits all of five minutes after I roll out of bed before insisting I explain to her how I perceive my relationship with my mother. Or, she wants to know if I think the app Tinder is morally okay. Most of the time, these questions fall by the wayside while the tea I’m brewing receives my full and undivided attention. However, the other day breakfast was served with a comment that caught my attention.
One chess champion per laptop
Search in YouTube for “too weak, too slow” and you will find a video of two young men sitting across from each other at a small table, frantically moving carved tokens on a wooden grid and slapping a clock mercilessly. They are fighting each other to the death, with bravado and gusto, in one of the oldest battlefields known to the human mind: the chessboard. The cocky guy in the green shirt, with the looks of a Viking and the nose of a boxer, is a 22-year-old chap named Magnus Carlsen, who happens to be the strongest chess player to ever walk the earth. The other guy, at the receiving end of Magnus’ Muhammad Ali-esque taunts (“Too weak, too slow! C’mon! What, you wanna play?”) is his close friend and sparring partner, Grandmaster Laurent Fressinet.
Events Jan 15 - Jan 21
Events Jan. 15 – Jan. 21 Wednesday (1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.) Pleasures of Poetry — 14E-304 (3:30 p.m.) Chemistry and Biology of Antibiotics class — 68-180 Thursday (8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) Choose to Reuse — 32 (2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) It’s Always Darkest Before the Cosmic Dawn lecture — 37-252 Friday (11:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.) TIM, MIT’s Mascot’s 100th Birthday Party — W20-lobby (3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.) Director Gavin Hood & MIT alum Matt Butler present “The Making of Ender’s Game,” attendance gains free admission to movie (4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.) LSC shows Ender’s Game — 26-100 Saturday (9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.) Free Figure Skating and Ice Dance classes — Johnson Ice Rink (3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.) Boston Chamber Music Society Winter Concert — Kresge Auditorium Monday (7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.) Advancing Toward the Equality of Women and Men, dinner provided — W11-155 Tuesday (12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.) Feyman Lectures: The Great Conservation Principles — 6-120 (2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.) Having more Time per Minute - An Introduction to Time Management, sign-up by 1/20 — E51-145 Send your campus events to firstname.lastname@example.org.