Want You Hosed

Looking through my old notes, I found these lyrics that I wrote for 5.12.

5.12 had a tradition of having a poem- or songlyric-writing contest at the end. Unfortunately, I was too hosed to write this before the contest deadline, but I did complete it after the class ended, nearly four years ago.

These lyrics are, of course, sung to this.

One more semester went
5.12, aren’t I a pleasure
Remember when you tried to pass me twice?
Oh how we punt and tooled
But you did all the tooling
I just sat there and learned to be
A slight bit less nice.

You want your free time? Have it.
Your scores will really show.
I used to want you failed but
Now I only want you hosed.

A lot of kids like you
(Maybe not quite as dense)
Have tried to play the hosing game here too
One day one of them woke
Just kidding; actually died
Like a t-butyl group
I blew his skull up too wide.

Go drink some LiAlH4
While I fail more bozos.
I used to want you failed but
Now I only want you hosed.

Goodbye my favorite derp
(What? No, of course I meant you.)
It would have been a joke if it weren’t so true
Too bad you’ll be replaced
With more dim-witted students
Their ways to fail the Wittig
Will resonate of you

Go live your short hosed life left
Time here; it quickly goes
Soon you’re 5.13’s problem
Now I only want you hosed
Now I only want you hosed
Now I only want you hosed

(Just to confirm: I never went ahead and took 5.13, but time here, it indeed quickly went.)

For the Force of Fascination, the News Fails at Science

There are now several news articles going around generally spouting “Zealandia? Eighth continent! Betcha didn’t know!”.

Most of these articles bother to go into what a geologic definition of a continent looks like, and shows that Zealandia would be categorized as such, but two of the ones linked above never manage to take a step back and realize that it’s completely preposterous for Europe and Asia to be considered geologically the same continent, despite many of them actually including a map that says ‘Eurasia’ (and the others mostly mention this as just a convention, and not something that is as geologically decidable as the topic they are bringing forward).

(I’m particularly saddened that my favorite bastion of journalism, The Guardian, one of very few media sources I actually respect, joined in on this train. At least it mentioned Eurasia.)

If they actually bothered to consider Eurasia beyond mention, they would realize that Zealandia really wouldn’t be the 8th continent, but the 7th. (Rather ironically, the first article is the only one that manages to get to this, despite being written in the most flippant tone.)

But beyond this, not a single one of these articles managed to point out that Zealandia is not the first proposed submerged continent. I’ve ran Ctrl+F through all of them for Kerguela. None of the articles return finds. Some of the maps on the articles point out Kerguela, but evidently none of the authors of these articles decided that was something they might want to take note on when they chose to include that map. This news, that Zealandia is a new continent, really isn’t that earth-shattering when one considers that this idea isn’t new. And since among these articles the demotion of Pluto has been mentioned, this is like how Pluto’s demotion from planetary status isn’t really that unprecedented given this happened to (to give one example) Ceres prior.

And really, this is what most news on science is like. Much of it just exists to catch people’s attention at the cost of any semblance of scientific legitimacy. It turns out most the public is too ignorant on science to realize lacks of background that really change what articles on science are putting forward. This is why ‘Science’ is usually one of my least favorite categories of news.

Ingress: Stats Upon Level 10

Just a few a minutes ago, I reached Level 10 in Ingress, by glyph hacking the portal ‘Sonia McGee Tree’, in the southwest of MIT’s Building 26.

One of the great aspects of Ingress as a game is that it comes with a comprehensive dashboard of statistics; I don’t even need to make one myself!

(Since leveling up, I have performed one recharge.)

One Institutional Memory Ago

At MIT, we often talk about the institutional memory: the fact that, for instance, undergraduate students are only here for about four years means that many things are quickly forgotten. Just to jog the forgotten past a bit, here’s a list of things at MIT that I can remember to have changed while I was here. If you came to MIT later than I did, you might learn about some things that you may have thought have always been that are actually really new. (And I guess, on the other token, if you left MIT a short number of years ago, here’s what no longer is.)

7.015 and 7.016 didn’t exist.
18.03 taught Laplace Transforms.
No class numbers had ten-thousandth places. 6.0001 and 6.0002 were the first ones. Soon after, Course 18 and then Course 15 joined the party.
Course 1 had only three degree path options: 1-C, 1-E, and 1-A.
Course 14 had only one degree path option.
Course 15 had only one degree path option.
18.100 had three versions: A, B, and C.
Course 21G was called 21F.

The EECS undergraduate lounge was 38-201.

Building 12 existed.
Building E33 existed.
Building E34 existed.
Building NW62 existed.
Building W13 existed.
Building W64 didn’t exist.

MIT didn’t have buildings in the EE sector.
MIT didn’t have Building E94.
MIT didn’t have Building N50.
MIT didn’t have Building NW32.
MIT didn’t have Building NW98.
MIT didn’t have Building W97.

Building 2 underwent a renovation. (As did all of its classrooms.)
Building 9 underwent a renovation.
Building 35 underwent a renovation.
Building 66 underwent a renovation.
Building E52 underwent a renovation.
Buildings E17 and E18 underwent two renovations.

4-270 underwent a renovation.
4-370 underwent a renovation.
6-120 underwent a renovation.
24-1’s classrooms underwent renovations.
26-100 underwent a renovation.

Building 2 didn’t have a name.
Building 9 didn’t have a name.
Building E52 was called Sloan. (Often referred to as ‘Old Sloan’, in comparison to E62.)

The lobby of Building 32 wasn’t named the Charles Vest Student Street. (And Charles Vest was still alive.)

All of Random Hall’s bathrooms had two toilets.

Students of dorms worked their front desks during the day, exclusively. (Allied Barton workers weren’t there yet.)
In all dorms but Random Hall, all you needed to say in order to be allowed inside a dorm was that you’re visiting someone.

2-032 was an Athena cluster.
2-225 was an Athena cluster.
12-182 was an Athena cluster.
37-312 was an Athena cluster.
38-370 was an Athena cluster.
56-129 was an Athena cluster.
The W20-575 Athena cluster was larger.

LSC’s main office was W20-469.
LSC ran films during the summer.

Both ESP’s main office and its secondary office were accessed by numerical code rather than card reader.
ESP’s secondary office was in Building 50. That meant that if one was doing things there in the summer one was doing so in searing heat.
All of ESP’s Splark Teacher Appreciation Dinners were at Royal East.
The members of ESP endlessly squabbled over which juice was better rather than what the name of the printer was (and that printer wasn’t there yet (or the other printer)).

The card reader in front of SIPB’s office wasn’t there (not that it does anything these days).

The Tech published twice every seven days.

Saté was called momogoose, and vegetarian entrees were $4.
There was Sepal, which was replaced by Sonoma Greens, which was soon after replaced with Shawarma Shack.

Centrifugues didn’t exist yet.

MIT Gangnam Style happened.

Sean Collier was shot and killed, and a memorial was built for him near where he was shot, between Buildings 32 and 76.

Hidden from Canada

R-znvy lbhe fbyhgvbaf gb mlklil-chmmyr[ng]zvg.rqh, fcrpvslvat n hfreanzr/zbavxre lbh jvfu gb hfr, gb or vapyhqrq va gur yrnqreobneq. Srry serr gb r-znvy nafjref sbe nal abarzcgl fhofrg bs chmmyrf.

1. Beautiful






2. Longtailed


ERRATUM: For about five minutes since publishing, the wrong image was posted here. The above is the right image.

3. Rustic


4. Vast


5. Meta

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Book Reference Condescension

Today, I’d like to talk about an annoying conversational mechanism. Often, someone’s contribution to a conversation about a controversial topic will come in the form of stating or implying that some views are plainly wrong and citing a book that they should read to correct themselves, typically with the connotation that if only they read the book, they’d understand why their viewpoint is wrong.

Since it appears there exist quite a substantial quantity people who think this is a helpful and effective way to present an argument, I think this needs to be addressed seriously, so I’ll take some time to point out some problematic aspects of this approach.

First off, given that the topic is controversial (evidence: this discussion was happening), chances are, while this book exists for this point of view, there probably is another book out there defending the other point of view. Just citing one’s book makes no attempt at convincing the listener why the mentioned book should take precedence in consideration over other potential books with conflicting conclusions.

Second, this is clearly a choice over simply explaining the point to be made from the book. Certainly, a person citing the book themselves understands the ideas brought forth from the book, otherwise we have larger issues here. If it really takes so long to explain the position being posited such that one does not have the patience to do so in the moment, maybe the citing person should grant that it is not so obvious that there is a clear correct viewpoint to the issue. This point expands in relevance if the citing person expressed shock or amazement at the actual viewpoints brought forward.

Third, it is simply absolutely not reasonable to demand that someone read a book to understand another’s viewpoint. Reading a book is a substantial commitment of time, and I’d postulate most people consider it not a leisurely thing to read a book even in their area of interest. This means of argument discounts consideration for other present parties in a discussion.

In reality, what such a manner of conveying one’s viewpoint is likely to effect in an audience is really a feeling of being condescended to (that is, that certain aspects of one’s resources mentioned above need not come into consideration for an issue, and that one believes that the self is necessarily exposed to the superior forms of media), and to distance themselves from people who argue in this fashion. In all, this causes conversations to either reach an awkward halt or progress forward from a previous point, and does not effect an edification of the difference in viewpoint involved among discussing parties.