November 29, 2007

Worms! Da-da-daaaa-daaaaaaa!

Chemistry Results

Got my chem test back!

I PASSED! Alright prefrosh, take note, at MIT on a test, it is possible to be happy about a 59%.

Some fun things to note on my grades:

1) Question 1 and Question 3? Complete losses, but hilarious! 3/17 is just SO INCORRECT! Like, I think they gave me points because they felt bad for me.
2) Question 6? DOMINATED! This is funny, because the equation I remembered for that question had a bunch of variables in it and I forgot what all of them stood for. I spent about 10 minutes on that question switching numbers around, musical variables if you will, until I ended up with a number that was either non-negative or non-imaginary. Eventually I came up with something and went with it. It was right!
3) 4% of question 3 was over a topic that was never ever ever talked about in the book or lecture or anywhere. My recitation instructor wasn't happy about it, nor are we. Instant failure on 4% of the test. w00t!

So that's 3.091, I'll give you an update on class averages shortly (tomorrowish).


I am officially going insane. Everything is due and there isn't enough time!!!

As such, I will probably not be blogging as regularly as normal (but I'll still be blogging, no worries, none of this take 2 weeks off crap). Just bear in mind that my posts will probably have a lot to do with me going "AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"

Can you cope? I'm having a hard time coping, but hopefully I'll survive the next two weeks. AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Oh, and quick sidenote:

I can see what links people click on to get to my blog, it helps me figure out where to advertise and where most of my visitors come from. This is how I discovered the following lovely tidbit --

If you search Google for "wildanimal sex" you'll see my blog sitting there as the 4th result. Special, eh?

Off to go tool now, I'll bayl (blog at you later)

November 28, 2007

Dance Adam, Dance!

I'm no longer a member of the Sprague Olympian Marching Band :(

Fortunately, YouTube exists and I can surf around looking for stuff relating to my old band. Let me tell you guys, I found a gem today!

There's a kid named Adam Harris who plays percussion, pit in marching band. Apparently this year he's developed the nickname "Rack Boy." The "Rack" comes from the fact that all the percussion instruments he plays are attached to a rack. It's pretty standard that people in pit don't move when they play, they're always still and focused. Most pits are lame. Our pit is awesome, because of Adam. Adam is so un-still that he even developes a cheering section in the audience. Adam, you rock!

(btw, LOL at 1:40)

November 27, 2007

Chemistry Will Be Miserable Tomorrow

I've just come to the realization that even after doing all the supplemental reading, all the book reading, and watching the lectures, I will still fail the chemistry test tomorrow. Why is this? Because when I look back at past years' tests I realize that none of my preperation actually helps me with anything that was on the test. None of it. I was unable to answer a single question.

I think my only hope is tonight, to go through every quiz and every practice problem on all the old tests and just hold on. Thank God I got a 92% on my last test because I'll need every single one of those points to buffer what's about to happen.

Here's what I'm up against:

Test from 2005
Test from 2006


November 23, 2007

Scene From a Horror Movie

During our scavenger hunt today we were obligated to take Boston's marvelous mass transportation service: The T.

Don't get me wrong, subways are a great addition to a big city like Boston. They decongest the streets, the provide quick transportation, they lower pollution, and they give you a chance to meet interestingly creepy homeless people.

Subways also give creative movie producers a great location for trapping passengers that are suddenly placed in a large amount of danger. If you'll remember, "Volcano" had a great scene where a man leaped from a subway and melted into molten lava. Other movies involve criminals, explosions, and zombies.

The common link between all of these worst-case-scenarios is that the passengers are always stuck on the subway.

I took the subway to Thanksgiving today! We were trying to get from the MIT stop to Porter.

The three of us sat on the T patiently, waiting for our stop to arrive. We contemplated a sign in the train that asked "What's the shortest series of of words you can construct that's both a pangram and a palindrome?" We decided that we weren't smart enough to figure it out, so we moved on to the next sign. "If you were to spell out all the numbers from 1 to 999,999,999 and put them into alphabetical order, what would the 35 billionth letter be?" We gave up on this one too, but that's ok, because we were at Porter and it was time to get off. Normally this would be easy, just step off the train, but there was one small problem: the doors didn't open.

We stood there, confused, wondering why we were still on the train, when all of a sudden it lurched forward and Porter was gone. That was our stop! What, I mean, how, I mean, why did it go away?! Why no open doors?! We just stood there, not knowing what to do, confused. Soon the next stop came, Davis, and we stood to exit there, but again, the doors didn't open! Other people in our car started to figure this out too, leading to one of those brilliant group realizations of "Holy Crap! We're Stuck in the Subway Car!" What made the situation worse is that, as we looked down through the cars, we realized that all the other cars were working just fine. We all ran around frantically trying to find some sort of emergency call button but there wasn't one in sight. Luckily, we were in the front car and there was an attendant in a separate room. We started knocking on the door loudly, hoping to get her attention before the train left Davis.

She eventually came out and asked "What's going on?"

"Our doors aren't opening!"
"Really? Just for this stop?"
"No, we've already missed our first stop!"
"Hm, let me call somebody."

As she went for the phone I started to think back to all those horror movies with the zombies and lava (somebody make a movie about zombies and lava . . . greatest idea ever). Would we make it out of the train alive? Would we ever eat Thanksgiving dinner? Would my life ever be the same again!?

My melodramatic conundrum was interrupted when I overheard the attendant's hilarious conversation with somebody on the other line.

"Hey, did you open the doors at the last stop?"

We just gaped. It wasn't even a technical glitch; the door opener guy just decided to lock us in the subway car as zombie bait. Seconds later the doors opened and we were able to hop onto another train and head back to the stop we missed the first time. We survived the zombies folks, so let that be an inspiration to all of you who get stranded on subway cars: There is Always a Way Out!

November 22, 2007

My Roommate is What?!

I used to watch A LOT of Nickelodeon. I was an expert on all the shows that frequented channel 20:

Double Dare
Legends of the Hidden Temple
Hey Arnold!
Aaaaah! Real Monsters
Figure it Out
Wild and Crazy Kids

Have I mentioned that I love MIT? There are a bunch of reasons for this, one of them being you meet awesome people. Guess what I found out . . .

You've seen Figure it Out, right? Kids with crazy talents try to stump a panel of Nickelodeon stars and watch them get slimed. Who was the very first contestant of the very first episode of the very first season? Mr. Jon Estrada, my roommate, was apparently a child genius. His special talent for Figure it Out? He could bite cheese into the shapes of all 50 states. I REMEMBER THAT EPISODE!!! Do you have any idea how weird it is to discover that you watched your roommate on TV when you were 5? Apparently he was on more than just Figure it Out, he was also on Letterman! I found this article about him in The New York Times.

New York Times Article Quoted Below:

Early on, the pediatrician noted Jonathan Estrada's attention span. "At six months he liked watching 'Wheel of Fortune,' " says his mother, Mary. "He'd get all excited when they turned over the letters."

When Jonathan was 9 months old, Mrs. Estrada and her husband, Mario, were waiting in traffic at a red light. "I was saying, 'Do you think we should get him a Sesame Street ABC-123 video?' My husband says, 'What?' And Jonathan says, 'ABC-123.' We turned and stared. We were frozen. Cars were honking. I said, 'Jonathan, say it again.' "


By 16 months, Jonathan could read "Alphabet Soup" by Kate Banks, which begins: "A boy did not want his lunch. He squirmed." At 2 years, 8 months, he had the vocabulary skills of an 8-year-old and an I.Q. so high that the psychologist wrote, "160+, probably a low estimate."

But the specialty he has become famous for -- geography -- was nurtured at the family business, the Quick Way Deli in Levittown. Before he was 2, by using his teeth, Jonathan Estrada could shape all 50 states of the union from cheese slices. (For state capitals, he'd leave a tooth mark.) In September, 23 million viewers saw 4-year-old Jonathan form Utah and Rhode Island from cheese on the David Letterman show. Now, wherever the family goes around town, people say, "The cheese boy!" And Mrs. Estrada says, "His name is Jonathan."

People tell Mrs. Estrada she hasn't a thing to worry about, but that's all she does. "I want to know, what do we do with this boy?" she says. "He's dying to learn." (At 4, he reads at a fifth-grade level.)

She has looked everywhere. The Estradas visited Long Island School for the Gifted. Carol Yilmaz said she started the private school in 1980 because she couldn't find a program for her daughter Robyn, now a Harvard senior. But tuition is $5,400, and the Estradas say they can't afford it.

Mrs. Estrada thinks it's great that there are federally mandated public pre-school programs for handicapped children from infancy. But she can't understand why there's nothing for the Jonathans. "I'm not looking for handouts; I'm looking for some place to send my child," she says. "You wouldn't believe how many other parents I hear from who are in the same position."

The United States Department of Education last week released "National Excellence: A Case for Developing America's Talent," a report calling for the expansion of programs for the gifted. Education Secretary Richard W. Riley warns, "The concerns of students with outstanding talents must not be ignored." And yet the Clinton Administration is spending just $9.6 million for gifted programs, the same the Bush Administration spent the year before. New York State alone spends $13 million on gifted programs, and even that, says David Irvine, the programs' director, is a fraction of what local districts need.

The Estradas could make big money off Jonathan. "We had more than 100 calls after Letterman," Mrs. Estrada said. "Radio programs, clothing promotions, computer games, the Vicki Lawrence show. We turned down food companies trying to make him into a human billboard." (Imagine the endorsement potential of a kid who can bite states not only from cheese but from graham crackers, too.)

"I don't want my son to be exploited," she says.

David DePietto, owner of Futurekids in Dix Hills, a computer school that Jonathan attended, was quite impressed by the Letterman invitation. "He said if your son wears a school logo on Letterman, we'll give him a year of free school," Mrs. Estrada recalls. She said no and removed Jonathan from the school. Mr. DePietto says he was just trying to save the family some money.

It was a financial sacrifice, but the Estradas moved to this upscale suburb two years ago because they'd heard that the public schools were first-rate. But even here, the budget ax has fallen, and in recent years the gifted program has been cut in half. (It begins the second half of first grade with two and a half hours of "pullout" instruction.)

So Mrs. Estrada takes Jonathan to the library every day. And she and her husband have bought him a computer with a junior high geography program. Every night after dinner she spends an hour with him doing math. While putting her infant daughter to bed, Mrs. Estrada can hear Jonathan in the tub, reciting state capitals.

Mr. Estrada works 14 hours a day, seven days a week at the deli. When he gets home at 9, he and Jonathan speak in Spanish. The father, who was born in Colombia, thinks they should capitalize on the commercial offers. But Mrs. Estrada, from Queens, says: "Mario, you don't know what people are like in this country. They'll exploit Jonathan."

She says she agreed to do Letterman as a lark -- Tina Turner was scheduled that night. "My all-time idol," Mrs. Estrada says. But it has given her pause. "Why do you think all these kids go to Hollywood?" she says. "It's not all stage mothers. There aren't many places to go for kids like this. The Letterman people want him on again. But I tell them I think it's too soon." She is quiet. "I don't know," she says.

Scavenger Hunt!

This is the part of Thanksgiving when Michael realizes that he can't just go out and pick something up to take to a potluck. Everything seems to be closed, as if today is some kind of family holiday or something. So, now, lacking food for a potluck, three of us are going to run around Boston in search of any type of anything that's open. Wish us luck!

November 20, 2007

Humor for your day

I've compiled a collection of what I like to call "Laugh-ies." Essentially, they make you laugh, and laughing is good, especially since it's almost a 4 day break! Here are some laugh-ies for you.

And, to top things off, a(n) HILARIOUS comment showed up on the MIT blogs today, more specifically on Paul's post. Edna writes:

Paul. My name is Edna. Since I couldn't find your email, please excuse me if I'm being a little "too personal" now.

Case is, I've been following your blog for the past weeks and I truly discovered something special within your writing. Without you even knowing it, you've written about me several times, and this last entry made me feel so happy, almost in love.

I know this might sound a bit akward, but please drop by your email and we'll hopefully get.. in touch! :) My dad happens to be CEO of a Publishing company by the way, in case you want that book to be printed.

I'm quite "old", at least older than you, 46 years and I've got two small children. Hope this doesn't scare you away, tough.

I'm really looking forward to hearing from you, Paul.

Kisses, Edna

I laughed quite heartily! So those are the laugh-ies, I hope you enjoyed. At some point I'll write about something interesting, but that'll probably be when I have a new digital camera (my current one broke, note the absence of pictures taken by me in the last several weeks). Adios!

November 19, 2007

Gorillas in the Myst

Welcome to the post with the strangest and most conveluted title I've managed to come up with. In fact, I'm quite proud of it! Yesterday (Saturday) I woke up at noon and went to bed at 3:00 AM. That's being awake for 15 hours. This morning I woke up at 6:00 AM. For those of you who haven't done the math yet, that's 3 hours of sleep. In fact, my alarm clock went off as my roommate got into bed to go to sleep. . . that's how early I was up today. It's now midnight and I'm still awake since 6 AM, a time of 18 hours, meaning in the last 36 hours I've been awake for 33 of them. What happens when I'm deliriously tired and I decide it's a good time to blog? Really weird freaking titles like "Gorillas in the Myst", but that's ok because I can explain why I titled it that.

Two weeks ago I was sitting in the main lobby of MIT, Lobby 7, chatting with a friend. Suddenly I see a guy in a banana costume sprint as fast as he could across the lobby. This is weird. Then, even weirder (but perhaps more understandable) a guy in a gorilla suit appeared, sprinting after the banana. The ran several laps around the lobby before fleeing into a hallway that shoots off from Lobby 7. This is just when my roommate walks through lobby 7, so I jumped up and ran over to tell him the good news:

this is when I notice the girl James is walking with. She's holding a suitcase and I've never seen her before. This is the exact moment when I remember that James had a close friend from home come visit.
"Uuuuuh, Amelia, this is my roommate, Snively."
"Um, hi. I'm not normally like this, it's just that there was this banana and he was running around and this gorilla -- "
"Snively, it's ok, we need to go"
"Right, ok, nice to meet you!"

Alright, so that's the gorilla part of the story, what about Myst? I discovered that my school is one giant game of Myst.

For those of you who don't know, MYST is a computer game whose plot revolves around dumping the main character (you) on some abandoned island with no people. Your goal is to get off. Everything on the island is a clue or a piece of a puzzle and you have to think through how everything is tied together in order to escape. People have been known to spend days tackling MYST, writing everything down in spiral notebooks and getting frustrated enough to actually take several years off their lives. Sounds like MIT, right? Here's the real reason why I think MIT is like Myst. I picked up a pamphlet today and read something interesting. Apparently in a hallway that I walk every single day there are random black and white tiles on the ground. I've noticed them before but I've never paid any real attention to them.

There are 18 of these rectangles down the hallway and according to the pamphlet THEY SPELL OUT A SECRET MESSAGE IN CODE! Leave it to MIT to actually tile a cryptic message into a hallway! The tie-in to Myst is that everything is a clue, even if it may not appear as such at first.

Well, knowing that there was a code waiting to be solved was just too much for me so I wrote down all of the different combinations of blocks and loaded them into a spreadsheet. I noticed something fairly important while recording the patterns of tiles: what looked like a key in tiny writing at the bottom of a wall. Here's what it looked like:

*Ponders* A CLUE!

I haven't had a lot of time to really try to crack the code yet, so I figured I'd give you guys a shot at it. I'm going to post the diagrams of all the tiles and the key that I found. Good luck!

Key (Not Solution)
Tile patterns (top left across the top row then bottom left across bottom row.)

Let me know if you figure it out, but don't post the solution. Post vague hints but don't ruin it for everybody.

So there you go, Gorillas in the Myst. I'm tired, it's time for bed now!

November 17, 2007

Another Tech Inclusion

Quite possibly the best movie review EVAR!

"Transformers” is awesome like winning the lottery while having a threesome, on a roller coaster, on your birthday. Which also happens to be a snow day. It’s amazing like dipping a deep fried candy bar
in a jar full of peanut butter. Make sure you wear protection, kids, because this movie will blow you away.

The term “greatest movie ever” gets thrown around a lot these days, but I think that it’s safe to say that we have found it.

The course of humanity has always been guided by great women and men doing great things, even when others called them crazy. A caveman named Grug dared to play with fire. The Wright brothers dared to fly.

The producers of “Transformers” dared to combine cars with fighting robots. It’s that sort of revolutionary thinking that has created the wonder of human culture as we know it.

“Transformers” begins with a helicopter metamorphosing into a massive, killer robot, firing a missile-launching scorpion out of its chest, and then pummeling the living crap out of an army base. If that doesn’t turn you on more than late night Cinemax, you might as well stop watching right there, because the majesty that is “Transformers” is clearly wasted. And then you can sterilize yourself, for the benefit of future generations.

“Transformers” tells the confusing tale of a race of aliens visiting earth, and overall the plot is more convoluted than the Massachusetts State laws concerning statutory rape (trust me). There’s something about a magical cube, a war on some other planet, some old dude’s glasses, and all sorts of other extraneous garbage. Essentially, Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LaBeouf) and his quasi-girlfriend Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) team up with giant transforming robots and the U.S. army to fight other, meaner, angstier robots, and nobody cares as long as they blow each other up. Let’s be honest: watching “Transformers” for the plot is like watching “Sleepless in Seattle” for the ninja warfare. “Transformers” is a film built for one purpose — eye-candy — and it delivers more than a Dominoes guy making his rounds using an F-16.

The producers of “Transformers” know their targeted demographic (18–30, male, plays too much Xbox), and they latch on to it as if they’re a horde of blood-sucking lampreys. Combining cars and fighting robots in one place is like filling your room with an endless supply of beer and cheeseburgers: what more could you ever hope for out of life? In addition, the CGI graphics in the film are, in a word, beautiful. In ten words, they’re the most unbelievable spectacles I’ve ever witnessed in my life, but beautiful also suffices. The extended combat sequences (complete with slow-motion over-dramatic insanity) make “Saving Private Ryan” look like an episode of “Teletubbies.” Fittingly, it all ends in a missile barrage from good old Uncle Sam. If the Star-Spangled Banner were a movie, it would be called “Transformers.”

And of course, this is completely ignoring the significant contributions of Megan Fox (I can think of at least two right off the bat). Megan Fox is so hot that I’m honestly surprised (and disappointed) that her clothes are not totally obliterated in a blast of flames. She’s so hot that she can probably scramble eggs just by being within five miles of them, while they’re still inside the chickens.

Despite the obvious magnificence of the film, however, the world is always filled with nay-sayers. One might say that “Transformers” lacks many of the qualities that define a cinematic classic – a classic such as, say, “Citizen Kane.” You might propose that “Transformers” would benefit from such minor details as good acting, coherent dialogue, and a plot that makes more sense than a coked out third grader’s English essay. I challenge you, however, to honestly tell me how many times in “Citizen Kane” a gigantic robot roller-blades through the side of a bus. How many times a taxi is cut in half with a side-spinning helicopter rotor. How many times a massive robot bitch-slaps the hell out of a fighter jet. That’s right, none. Absolutely zero. And that is exactly what makes “Transformers” the greatest movie ever.

November 16, 2007

Why I Like "The Tech"

"The Tech" is the MIT newspaper and like any newspaper, everybody claims that it sucks. I don't mind, I find it entertaining, especially the comics! I found a particularly good comic in today's issue, it's representative of MIT.


18.02 is MIT-speak for Multivariable Calculus. I'm happy to report that I passed my makeup test (87%) and am doing fine in the class now. Woo-hoo!

November 15, 2007

Important Statistics

I'm a Sad Sad Toaster

A little less than a year ago I stumbled upon a video on teh interwebs. It involved a toaster who, sadly, was made of glass. Check the link:


Great, right? Well, I quickly forgot about it. Then, later, I was introduced to a song on the internet about killing zombies:


I'm never one to just see one thing on a website and leave, I always explore to see if it's a good site. "Shoot the Zombies" was comfortable nestled on a website called "Songs To Wear Pants To". As I explored, I found something exciting! I found the original recording and history of the sad sad toaster song!


I'm all for figuring out why things exist, it brings closure (like figuring out who Mary was), but it all got even weirder. . .

It turns out that the floor I'm staying in at MIT (Burton-Conner, Conner 2) is kind of obsessed with SongsToWearPantsTo. This last weekend an MIT alum from Conner 2 visited, some of you may have heard of him. Sam and Mason (sophomore on the floor) decided to grace us with their renditions of these two famous songs.

Ode to a Sad Sad Toaster

Shoot the Zombies

November 13, 2007

Look What I Get to Figure Out Tonight!

Guess what lovely integral just cropped up in my math homework!

A cookie goes to the solver.

November 11, 2007

Fun Games at the Mall

A bunch of Conner 2-ians decided to go to the Cambridge Galleria (the local mall) today. I didn't have anything in particular that I wanted, but I try to visit the fun game/toy/puzzle stores in any mall I visit. Luckily, I found one in the Galleria!

Actually, before I talk about that, we need to discuss Christmas. It's not Christmas. Christmas isn't for another month and a half. Would somebody please tell the Cambridge Galleria this? They obviously have no clue because they have Christmas music blasting from all the speakers, trees everywhere, and thousands of lights hanging from everywhere! Huge ornaments, Christmas sales, ornaments for sale, what's going on?! IT'S NOVEMBER ELEVENTH!!! Is their clock fast or something!? BY A MONTH!? AND A HALF!? Give the pilgrims some credit, they happened before Christmas, at least pretend to acknowledge that whole Plymoth rock, make nice with the Indians thing that happend a couple of hundred years ago. But no, "Joy to the World" is now stuck in my head and I'm trying to drown it with Wicked Music.

So, back to the game store. Back in 8th grade my science teacher had this awesome little toy that he showed us on the last day of school that I didn't have a chance to truly play with and appreciate. I've been looking to buy it since then but didn't know what it was called and haven't been able to find it. As luck would have it, I found it tucked back on some random shelf in this game store!

It's called "Spin-Out" The goal is to rotate the pieces such that the black plastic piece can slide out of the white shell. All the blue pieces have to be horizontal but they're constrained such that you can only rotate one at a time.

I'm happy to say that it's fairly addicting and just easy enough to solve that it passes the time quite nicely.

I also found another fun game called "Flip-Side." This one is much more devious and we've yet to solve it, but we'll get it, no worries! I mean, this is MIT, it's what we do.

Oh, and, one more thing, the second chair was up in a tree, as was mentioned in one of the comments. I went to look for it today and it had been removed, but general concensus by those parties involved is that the second chair did exist and that it was in a tree. If you have ABSOLUTELY no idea what I'm talking about, check out this site, it'll explain.

November 10, 2007

I Finally Figure it Out

Somebody named Mary has, for a very long time, been leaving strange messages on my blog. I generally just read them, allow a brief "wtf?!" flash across my brain, and then continue on with my life. Who's Mary and why are they so persistent in leaving fairly worthless comments like:

As they say, "A kind and compassionate act is its own reward!"
The choice is always yours.

A couple of days ago I was looking through my website statistics and noticed that a lot of people were linking to my website from some forum with URL

Wondering why my site was mentioned on a forum I surfed to the site and started to look for where I was linked. Unable to find an obvious link I searched the source code for "Snively" and, lo and behold, it directed me to the 100th post. It said:

The Grandstanding Oddball says:

November 8th, 2007 at 9:00 pm
For a second there, I thought that the quotation marks at the end of Mary’s “well-known” “quote” were actually a trademark TM. And I was terrified that anyone would have trademarked such an awkward and horrifically uninteresting quote.

As it turns out, only one person in the history of the world has ever said this, and they were just quoting Mary.

Hm, very interesting! But still, who is Mary? I decided to dig around more and try to find out. Turns out that there's a lot of mention of a "Mary Worth" throughout the post. I looked up Mary Worth on Google and guess what I found!

So, there you go, some random person is leaving Mary Worth quotes on my blog. WHY!?!?!?!

I offer up a scavenger hunt, whoever can find the most Mary Worth comments on my blog wins. Bonus points if you can find the corresponding comics online. Godspeed!


After taking an official tour of MIT (which I've never done before, it was quite fun) I got back to the dorm and crashed. Then, I created a search party and set out to find the second red chair. After an exhaustive search to no avail we returned to the dorm to relax for the rest of the night. As I sat in the floor lounge, munching on french fries, watching somebody play video games, a friend ran in.

"Does anybody want to go to Wicked? We have an extra ticket and we're leaving right now"

So, that's how I ended up seeing a Broadway musical tonight. Funny how things work like that! We took the T into Boston, got some food at Quiznos (my second dinner for the evening) and headed to the Opera House.

I was a bit skeptic, and here's why. Wicked has what is typically described as a cult following, but in this case the cult consists of the entire East Coast. I'm not a big conformer, especially when something is THIS popular, but at the same time, it's a Friday night, I'm with friends, and it's Broadway, you kinda have to go. So, I went, and I have to say, I was very impressed.

If you haven't seen Wicked, I'd recommend going if you have the chance. Just tell the non-conformist side of you to shut up for a bit and enjoy, you will enjoy it (even just the lighting is amazing).

So yeah, that's all, I just wanted to share that Wicked was very fun, and if you go to college in Boston you can do fun stuff like this too! That's why you should go to school in Boston/Cambridge. There are a bunch of colleges here, just take your pick!

November 08, 2007

Slippery Slope

I learned what slippery slope meant 2 years ago in debate. Basically, it means you're starting down a path that slippery, and once you start slipping you can't save yourself, and then you just slide on down the hill until you crash into the bottom.

I got my 18.02 test grade back today and, sure enough, failed it. No surprise there, but I wanted to see what went wrong, so I looked back at the test and what I found made me sick.

You can't take the integral of without using a trig identity, mainly . So, in the very first part of a three part problem, I was asked to take the derivative of (while also doing other complicated things, which I'll leave out of this entry). Instead of just using the chain rule and realizing that , I used the identity that I normally would have used for an integral, forgetting that I didn't have to use it for a derivative. This, in turn, was supposed to be set equal to something else. For those of you mathy types, setting trig functions that are in terms of equal to trig functions in terms of just and expecting things to cancel is a mess. The result was me spending about 10 minutes on the first part of the problem alone, and not even ending up with an answer that was close to looking correct. That, in turn, hosed up part b of the problem, and subsequently part c. All in all, that one problem on the test took me 15 to 20 minutes, eating up a HUGE chunk of time. Huge enough, in fact, to eliminate any time I had to finish the last question on the test. Add that to a few minor mistakes in other problems due to rushing (trig identity's fault) and you end up with a 54/100.

But remember, I understand this material, and I'm not lying when I say that. When I got back to the dorm from dinner tonight I sat down, extremely frustrated, and took the test again (he posted it online, along with the answers). I did each problem, including the last one (the one I hadn't looked at while taking the test), just to prove to myself that I know what I'm doing. What happened? I finished the entire test in 27 minutes with a 100%. I promise I can do math, but I also promise that one simple little trig identity can be disastrous enough to destroy an entire test. Thank you little trig identity, I hate you. Now I have to take the make-up test on Tuesday, which I'll probably get a 98% on, just like the last one. FRUSTRATING!

What to feel . . .

It's strange. I spent a good 7 to 10 hours over the last week studying for my math test. By the end of yesterday I could solve every problem on the practice tests in my head and could recite all of the important concepts and theorems.

I went into the test today excited, I knew what I was doing and I was ready to pass with flying colors.

What to feel? With 10 seconds left in the test I was just starting the last problem, worth 15% of the entire test, after frantically struggling through the first 4 questions. How can you be completely prepared for something and still fail? I don't understand, and I have mixed feelings. I'm upset that I probably failed and will have to take the make-up test, but I'm happy that I understand the material.

There's that nagging feeling that I don't understand the material, as evidenced by the inevitable fail-mail I'll get tonight, but I do! Why did I fail? Confused!!!

Medal of Honor Airborne (in a nutshell)

Great video, language can be a little strong, so maybe you should put on the headphones (although it's not nearly as strong as this or this)

The Little Things

A lot of people say college is where you gain the majority of the skills that will help you later in life. This is true, but oftentimes not exactly in the way you might suspect. Many people assume that the knowledge gained in college is geared specifically towards some career or profession, but I'm here to tell you a lot of the knowledge you get in college has nothing to do with actual schooling.

Since I've gotten to MIT I've learned so many little things that are just plain neat. Some are useful, others novel, and some downright useless but cool, and almost none relate to school at all. I've decided to tell you about a couple of the "life skills" I've developed at MIT.

- 2 second shirt folding
- How to shoot a gun
- How to pick locks
- How to play Guitar Hero
- How to add light saber effects to movies
- How to code in Python
> More specifically, how to code on the OLPC
- How to cook smores with just a lighter and a stick
- How to build a robot out of screwdrivers
- How to enjoy a riot
- How to take control of the security camera in MIT's main lecture hall

Tons of awesome skills that I've somehow gained between all of the impossible classes. College is awesome, take advantage of as much stuff as you can, you'll never regret it.

Tomorrow I promise I'll blog two things:

1) I quick tour of the $100 laptop (actually around $188) and some music I wrote for it.
2) How to fold your shirt in 2 seconds (the Japanese way)

Stay tuned, it's gonna be a blast!

November 05, 2007

Remember Remember . . .

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Hackers at MIT never sleep.

So remember remember the fifth of November
Hacking and sneaking a lot,
I see no reason why hacking and sneaking
Should ever be forgot...

Pictures courtesy of Eric Schmiedl
E-mail: unlocked [at] mit [dot] edu

November 04, 2007

Dance Board Dance!

I'm fairly convinced that this should happen sometime in one of my lectures, because this is awesome!

November 02, 2007

Some Randomness [Update]

I found an article online today that I found really amusing so of course I share it with you.

In Japan there's a boat race course that gamblers frequent. Where there are gamblers, there are losers, and losers generally just throw their losing tickets on the ground when they leave in a fit of anger. Luckily, the boat race managers have devised a solution.

It's a robotic goat that eats losing lottery tickets! Just what the world needs! Rumor has it that it can devour up to 500 tickets a day. Now that's a goat with an appetite!

On an unrelated note, holy cow guys, hits on my blog are going through the roof! Honestly, I thought September was going to be a temporary spike, but I just checked the numbers for October and this is what I saw.

That's amazing, thanks for reading! Also, check out the November column, look how many hits there already and it's only halfway through the second day! Based on the traffic in the last day, I'll have 8,500 page views this month, which is ridiculous!

Again, thanks for reading, I really appreciate it, it's good to know that I'm writing to people instead of just vomiting my life onto the tubes.

DanN asked:
Do you know what % of the visitors come from within MIT and what % from the outside world?

As a matter of fact, I do! 14% of my hits are from within MIT, the rest are from elsewhere. Here's a pie chart:

Leeeeeeeroy Jenkins!

For you WoW (World of Warcraft) gamerz our there, the story of Leeroy Jenkins is practically legend. For those of you who've never seen it/heard of it, let me fill it in for you:

A bunch of friends are planning a raid on a room, creating an elaborate plan for success. One of their friends, Leeroy Jenkins, is AFK (Away from Keyboard) during all of the elaborate planning and returns just in time to lead the charge into the room by himself, obliterating the element of surprise. He screams his now-famous battle cry and leads all of his friends to an early and absolutely catastrophic death.

I've found the video for you, it's extremely popular all over the internet (it even made an appearance in a Jeopardy! clue once. Don't believe me? Look it up!) so you should definitely see it at some point so you can catch any veiled references to it in the future.

The reason for this blog post is because of a recent internet find a friend showed me. Leeeeeeeroy Jenkins: Live Action! Enjoy, and LAUGH!

Oh, and here's the Jeopardy! clip, because I don't expect you to have to go look it up.

November 01, 2007


Do you ever feel as if everything is going along quite nicely in school, and then all of a sudden you realize one week in advance that pretty soon you have a day where everything is due? I had a realization like that today. It was bad. I almost hyperventilated.

Let me go over with you what's due on Thursday of next week:

Physics PSET
6 page Modern Art Essay
Math Exam

What does this mean? It means

a) This weekend is going to be a long weekend
b) Wednesday is going to be terrible! Absolutely Terrible!

So, next week, if blog posts seem cynical or maybe non-existent, it's because I'm trying to get far too much work done in far too little time. Wish me luck.
Go throw yourself off a bridge Physics. Nobody likes you and everybody would be better of if you just ended it for yourself. Go ahead, make the jump, I'll laugh and live a happier life!