January 3, 2014
How MIT Became the Most Important University in the World

How MIT Became the Most Important University in the World

I was at an event last night where the CEO of WiTricitydemonstrated wireless electricity, a technology invented at MIT. It was astounding, mind-blowing, and you could feel — pardon the pun — the electric excitement flow throughout the room at the site of…

View Post

June 3, 2012
GZA Finds Inspiration in The Stars

Things we learn from this Wall Street Journal article about the Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA:

  • He’s working on a few concept albums, the first one, titled ‘Dark Matter’, is about the solar system and will be released in the fall.
  • He worked with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and cosmologists from MIT and Cornell on the science aspects of the album. As for the music, GZA is teaming up with composer and producer Marco Vitali, a Juilliard-trained violinist, to help score the record.
  • He plans to package ‘Dark Matter’ with a short illustrated book containing the album’s lyrics and a glossary of science terms that GZA describes as “an epic textbook”.
  • The second album will be about the oceans, a subject he’s learning more about with visits to the labs of marine biologists and researchers, as well as meetings with the likes of Philippe Cousteau.
  • He’s got ‘Liquid Swords 1.5’ in the works where he’s going to re-record the lyrics to his classic 1995 album, but this time instead of samples he’ll be backed by live bands in the studio — hopefully The Roots, but it would be cool to hear a panoply of bands interpreting the sound textures.
  • This makes his appearance at MIT recently make so much more sense.
  • Holy fucking shit! The GZA teamed up with Neil DeGrasse Tyson for a hip-hop album about outer space. Chew on that for a moment.
  • There aren’t enough explanation points in the world for this post.
  • All of this continues to make GZA my favorite member of the Wu-Tang Clan, but also probably hip-hop in general.

May 23, 2012
MIT’s Non-Stick Coating Keeps Condiments Flowing

The notion of a “condiment lubricant” sounds revolting disgusting, but the technology behind this new initiative from a group of MIT engineers is just fascinating.

LiquiGlide, a “super slippery” coating made up of nontoxic materials that can be applied to all sorts of food packaging—though ketchup and mayonnaise bottles might just be the substance’s first targets. Condiments may sound like a narrow focus for a group of MIT engineers, but not when you consider the impact it could have on food waste and the packaging industry. “It’s funny: Everyone is always like, ‘Why bottles? What’s the big deal?’ But then you tell them the market for bottles—just the sauces alone is a $17 billion market,” Smith says. “And if all those bottles had our coating, we estimate that we could save about one million tons of food from being thrown out every year.”

As Smith describes it, LiquiGlide is a surface that’s unique because it’s “kind of a structured liquid—it’s rigid like a solid, but it’s lubricated like a liquid.” It works with many types of packaging—glass, plastic—and can be applied in any number of ways, including spraying the coating onto the inside of bottles. Now, thick sauces that would normally move like sludge seem to just fall out of LiquiGlide-coated bottles, as if they were suspended in space. “It just floats right onto the sandwich,” Smith says.

Amazing. Just amazing. [via theatlanticwire]

May 3, 2012
Harvard & MIT To Put Classes Online For Free

Harvard and MIT, both bastions of high-priced quality (aka elite) college education, did something fairly remarkable. They both embraced the Internet to make their educational curriculum, well, less elite:

MIT and Harvard are each pouring $30 million into a nonprofit partnership edX, which they hope will make the top-notch faculties and courses of their schools available for free to millions of people around the world — free for anyone with an Internet connection. In presenting edX, the initiative’s new president, Anant Agarwal, called the opportunity presented in online education “the single biggest change in education since the printing press.”

Though the online platform will have a second-fiddle status compared with the on-campus experience (online students will be able to attain certificates of mastery but not traditional degrees), the effort reveals a public-minded spirit that animates both schools. At the core of this program is a belief that the excellence of the education available at MIT and Harvard should be available — in an online format — to anyone who has the commitment and desire to make it through an online course. It’s a reminder that these schools aren’t just institutions with long, venerable  histories, but also collections of living people — people whose values and ideas shape how these universities exist in the world today.

April 23, 2012
MIT Turns Building Into a Giant Playable Game of Tetris

Score another point for MIT and its long, illustrious list of pranks. On April 20th, hackers at the college turned the Green Building on campus into a giant playable game of Tetris. The photo speaks for itself, but there is an awesome video of the prank as well.

MIT hackers have long considered “Tetris on the Green Building” to be the Holy Grail of hacks, as the side of the building is a wonderful grid for the game. The game started off scrolling the words “TETRIS” and then would start into the first level. As the player progressed, the second level would start with more pale colors, making it harder to identify the type of block. The third level involved the colors shifting on-screen. Upon losing the game, all of the blocks would fall to the bottom of the building.

I really don’t know how anyone at the school is going to top this prank, save for creating a playable version of Super Mario Bros. across several campus buildings. [via BostInno]

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »