Interview with Anna Kohler on Dramashop’s “My Uncle”

This is the full interview I did with Music and Theater Arts Senior Lecturer Anna Kohler, the director of Dramashop’s new production My Uncle. Three performances remain (this Thursday the 16th, Friday the 17th, and Saturday the 18th, at 8:00pm, … Continue reading

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LiveBlog: The 54th Grammy’s

The Tech will be live blogging during the 54th Grammy’s! Stay tuned for more… 8:00 p.m. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are kicking off the Grammy’s with “We take care of our own.” 8:05 p.m. Welcome the host … Continue reading

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Plastic soldiers overwhelm MIT during finals week

Hackers at MIT formed an army that spread throughout the main buildings of the Institute on Wednesday of finals week. Made of green plastic, the toy soldiers were affixed with double sided tape throughout the Infinite Corridor and other main hallways, often spelling out messages.

Looking out from the entrance to Student Support Services. Joseph Maurer - The Tech

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OSHA letter to Yale re machine shop fatality

The United States Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) has released their letter dated Aug. 15 to Yale University regarding their investigation into the April 13, 2011 death of Yale senior Michele Dufault.

The letter is available here.

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June 24 is next stem cell deadline

U.S. District Court judge Royce C. Lamberth yesterday afternoon set June 24 as the deadline for both sides in the stem cell case to file briefs before the court.

Those briefs, limited to 10 pages, will provide each side’s view of the relevance an appeals court decision last month in the same case. That decision struck down a preliminary injunction against human embryonic stem cell research that was issued by Lamberth last year.

The case is Sherley v. Sebelius. It pits adult stem cell researchers James L. Sherley and Theresa A. Deisher against the National Institutes of Health, and by proxy, all human embryonic stem cell researchers who have NIH funding.

For more details on the recent filings, see our May 10 article (Stem cell plaintiffs propose schedule) and our more detailed May 3 article (Stem cells still alive: Courts support legality of research).

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Steer Roast

Senior Haus' flag, emblazoned with "Sport Death"

Steer Roast is Senior Haus’ annual, 48-hour music and food-themed party, and it’s also an item on the “101 Things To Do Before Graduation” list. With strict admissions, Steer Roast requires registration of guests days before the actual event.

The Music
This year, Steer Roast hosted performances by 10 different bands from across the northeast: JAPANTHER, MUX MOOL, Math the Band, The Streets on Fire, Viva Viva, Lespecial, Big Digits, Blue Boy Productions, Quilty, and The Nate Wilson Group.

The Food
Along with music performances and 48 hours of non-stop partying, Steer Roast’s main event is, of course, the roasting of the steer. As part of the tradition, the Steer Roast shield, made of 3/8″ stainless steel, is burnt in coals all night while the meat roasts. The process lasts from Friday night till Saturday morning, and the Steer Roast feast is enjoyed on Saturday afternoon.

The Inside

Senior Haus puts up some artwork especially for the weekend:

"Magically Painted" door — paint that reflects different color depending on the color of the black light in the room, creating an illusion of a spiral.

But everyone is welcome to experience Steer Roast in their own way.  The Tech has covered Steer Roast traditions in the past, and those continue today.

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Under the Dome – Student Edition

Glasswork from “Stellar Landscapes” by artist Josh Simpson was on display in Baker last night — yet another MIT150 event.

MIT continues the celebration of the institute’s 150th anniversary this weekend with the campus-wide open house on Saturday. While the event is open to the entire local community, Tech Blogs would like to highlight a number of student projects that will be showcased:
  • Transportation Open House (12-4PM, Edgerton Center): Watch the Society of Automotive Engineers, marine robotics team, and robocup soccer teams at work!
  • Greek Week Keynote (2-3PM, 6-120): Drew Houston ’06, founder and CEO of Dropbox, will be speaking
  • Glass Lab Demo (11AM-1PM, 4-003): Wear pants and closed-toe shoes!
  • Media Lab Demos (1-3PM, E14)
  • Origami and Math (2-3PM, 2-147): Grad student Joel Lewis will give a brief talk, followed by instruction on how to make a Sonobe unit

The weather forecast in warm and sunny – so there’s not excuse to stay inside and miss this!

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MIT Celebrates Exploration

Students from MIT’s Solar Electric Vehicle Team and the MIT Rocket Team display their designs. 

This week, MIT hosts another of its 150 Symposia — Earth, Air, Ocean and Space: The Future of Exploration. Students and alumni gathered in Johnson today for the Earth, Air, Ocean, and Space Vehicle and Systems Exposition. Expert panels today featured the likes of alumnus and astronaut Buzz Aldrin ScD ’63. The Exposition was preceded by the XCOR Student Showcase Competition, featuring the innovative ideas of five student teams on the next 50 years of exploration.

Wednesday’s schedule will feature two panels on exploration visions and a keynote address by Peter Diamandis ’83, SM ’88.

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Extras: Hacking the curve: do less, but do it better

Here is more of the interview with Calvin Newport. We couldn’t fit it all in the paper, so here’s the rest!

The Tech: So how would you address the problem of keeping your options open?

Calvin C. Newport: As far as I can tell, your options will come from your ability to demonstrate that you’re a star at something. It’s not really important what you’re a star at – it’s more about showing someone “I took this capability and I was a star at it.” That’s what people want you to do, be it in a job or a project, and that’s why I advise people to do much less, but do it much better. It’s not about what specific opportunities this will open up, because in some sense, just being a star at something opens up a broad amount of opportunities, so I downplay the notion of figuring out what you want to do and matching it, and I emphasize the notion of proving that you have the capability to be a star at something.

I call it the law of complementary accomplishments: if you start doing something well, all of these really fascinating opportunities start popping up. Your core resource in the world is your ability to do something useful, and the better you are it, the more you get of this resource, and you can invest it to get more and more interesting things.

TT: So it’s like you’re advocating the lifestyle of the one kid in high school who had their entire life planned out?

CCN: No, far from it! Don’t worry so much about what specifically you’re going to do, worry more about practicing how you’re going to do it. Take something and be a star at it, and don’t worry so much about what it is. What you’re doing essentially is showing the world that you have the capability to be a star at whatever you’re doing, and the best way to do that is to be very minimalist: one major, very careful with your activities and your courses. Don’t sweat too much about the exact right major – think to yourself: “It’s an interesting major so I’m going to take that and run with it.”

Of course, there are certain things that require certain courses, so if you have something in mind, do that something, but if you don’t, just do something and do it well. I’m not this big believer that there’s some sort of special, right thing for people, that people are meant or destined to be, you know, an investment banker, for example.

TT: What about extracurriculars? I think in the case of MIT students, extracurriculars play a large role in what most people are bogged down by – students are often part of three different clubs, each with leadership responsibilities.

CCN: I think that’s a bad approach. There’s no admissions board in your future. Really, once you’re at MIT, no one’s going to care about the quantity of extracurriculars you do. If you’re applying to graduate school, I don’t think the admissions committee, which is made up of professors, is going to care about the salsa club or whatever it is you’re doing.

TT: What if you have a lot of varied interests?

CCN: Well, my philosophy is this, and I tell students this all the time: let’s say you have five different things that you love to do. That’s a great situation to be in – you have plenty of things you love to do. You’re not going to love your life any less because you’re doing one of those things instead of five, so I say do less extracurriculars: have one thing that’s major and then one not very time-consuming social thing. I think that when I talk to college students, it can seem kind of radical when I say to do much less, but often, when you step out into the world beyond college, it’s a normal thing. Let’s use the Oscars for an example. James Franco is kind of weirding people out right now – he’s doing all of these different things and they don’t really mesh together – but then they take Natalie Portman and say oh, look at her, she’s a craftsman. In the world of acting, we really respect her because she’s done this one thing very well. Out of college, it’s weird to do five or six things kind of half-assed.

TT: What are your current ideas on addressing the problem [of the culture of overwork]?

CCN: So my high level idea is that we need models, that students need to be told “hey, here’s a model for what it means to be a successful student and what it takes to get there.” What I do on my blog is that I present a particular model, and I’m very specific. However, the big picture is that there should be more models out there. Colleges should have models for their students; different departments should have competing models – students shouldn’t have any shortage of examples, or here’s-one-way-to-thrive-heres. That’s sort of my big picture mission. What I do on my blog right now is give one particular model, one particular answer, but in my perfect world, there should be a lot more to choose from.

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He is back!

I was starting to miss him.

But here is Assange, “in a rare public appearance”:

Assange: The Internet Could Create a “Totalitarian Spying Regime”
Assange said the web could allow greater government transparency, but also gave authorities their best ever opportunity to monitor and catch dissidents.
March 15, 2011 |

“The internet is the “greatest spying machine the world has ever seen” and is not a technology that necessarily favours the freedom of speech, the WikiLeaks co-founder, Julian Assange, has claimed in a rare public appearance.”

So, the Internet can be used for evil purposes, as well as for good ones.

Groundbreaking. [He must have been reading Evgeny Morozov's highly publicized The Net Delusion - The Dark Side of Internet Freedom during his free time.]


“(…) he told students at Cambridge University. Hundreds queued for hours to attend.”

So, is he on a speaking tour now? [after the book deals...  he seems to be a busy man:)]

And I thought he was under some “strict” house arrest – – [although I admit I haven't been following developments with the extradition decision that closely].


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