Southern Cambridge: An Ingress Territories Map

I made an attempt at depicting the southern half of Cambridge, MA in a map showing territorial control in Ingress, pointing out areas well controlled by one faction, like Cambridgeport (an Enlightened stronghold) and West MIT (a Resistance stronghold), also highlighting fronts and battlegrounds where control frequently shifts and action is relatively fast.


Well, in my head it was a lot cooler than it turned out. Perhaps with symbols crafted with more nuance this could look more like a battle map.

I’m at MIT; What’s My Street Address?

Here’s a visual aid for street addresses of MIT buildings. It’s not exhaustive, particularly for buildings in the periphery (and, of course, buildings not even within this snippet).

Note that street address may be different from mailing address; this is unfortunate.


Some notes:

  • Buildings 3, 5, and 7 are respectively 33, 55, and 77 Massachusetts Ave.
  • Building 32 is 32 Vassar St.
  • The MIT Tunnel System spans buildings with addresses that span 6 different roads.
  • Sloan third-floor connections span buildings with addresses that span 4 different roads (and curiously, main campus third-floor connections also only span 4).
  • Building 8 is a main-group building with an Ames St. address.
  • Buildings 17 and 57 somehow have a street address to themselves despite not touching a road.
  • Westgate Apartments (Building W85 and lettered extensions) spans 3 different roads in street addresses.
  • Building W53 (Carr Tennis Facilities) is addressed to Memorial Dr. despite having Amherst St. between it and Memorial Dr.

The background map is OpenStreetMap.

The Merciless Speed of Institutional Change

I’ve seen the construction of Building W64. I’ve seen Building 12 torn down, and a new building probably also numbered 12 gradually form in its place. I’ve seen Buildings 2, 4, 6, 9, 24, 26, 31, 35, 36, 37, 66, E19, E25, E52, E62, W15, and W31 undergo significant renovations. I’ve seen E17 and E18 undergo significant renovations twice. I’ve seen the renovation of the G8 floor of Building 32, and the dedication of the Charles Vest Student Street in its lobby. I’ve seen the modernization of the roofdeck of Random Hall (NW61). I’ve seen that roofdeck catch on fire and get restored. I’ve seen NW62, NW95, and NE80 lose their status as MIT numbered buildings. I’ve seen E94, EE19, EE20, N50, NW23, NW32, NW98, W36, W41, W55, W56, W57, W97, and WW25 gain status as MIT numbered buildings. I’ve seen the demolition of Buildings E33 and E34, and the plans for the future demolition of Buildings E38, E39, and E55, to completely change the structure of the area, the last of those being a graduate apartment and one of the tallest buildings at MIT. I’ve seen the beginning of construction for Building W83. I’m sure there’s many changes I didn’t even notice; I have only vague memories of a Building E28 north of E25.

I’ve seen the closure of Bexley Hall (W13), and its demolition, and with it, its line of unique i3 videos. I’ve seen the closure of Senior House (E2). I’ve seen the impending closure of New House (W70). With each of these, the home of an entire MIT community vanishes.

I’ve seen the Housemaster of East Campus change. I’ve seen the Head of House of Random Hall change. Between these two, I’ve seen the position of Housemaster be renamed the Head of House. I’ve seen every GRT position at Random Hall swap out at least once, and only one of them just once.

I’ve seen the Dean of Engineering change. I’ve seen the Dean of Science change. I’ve seen the Dean for Student Life change (to much fanfare and rejoicing). I’ve seen the Dean for Residential Life and Dining change. I’ve seen the Dean for Undergraduate Education change, in fact to my 6.01 instructor freshman year.

I’ve experienced no longer filling out Add/Drop forms on paper and doing them online instead.

I’ve seen the development of 6.02 alternatives 6.03 and 6.S04, and of 6.034 alternative 6.036. I’ve seen the formation of 6.008 and 6.009 (out of 6.S04). I’ve seen 6.00 split into 6.0001 and 6.0002, and then optionally re-coalesce. I’ve seen the fission of 6.005 into 6.031 and portions into 6.009, and the bifurcation of 6.041 into 6.041A and 6.041B. I’ve seen the overhaul of the 6.UAT/P requirement, as well as 6.UAT becoming recognized to fulfill a Course 3 requirement. After Course 6 brought about the ten-thousandth digit in course numbers, I saw Course 18 adopt them systematically, in the process causing multiple classes I’ve taken here to come by different numbers before I leave: 18.404 becoming 18.4041 and 18.443 becoming 18.6501. I also saw Course 18 massively refactor the 18.100 versions. I’ve seen part of 18.03 become the independent class 18.031. Who knows what I’ve missed changing in the courses I don’t pay heavy attention to, but even on the courses level, I saw Course 21F get renumbered Course 21G, the coming of IDS, and the merger of CMS and 21W.

Continue reading “The Merciless Speed of Institutional Change”

Categories MIT

Opinions without Names Attached: MIT Communities

In this post, I share my generalized thoughts towards 22 different living communities at MIT, from my experiences interacting with them, without explicitly labeling the descriptions with which community I’m sharing my thoughts on. (This, hopefully, helps dodge influence of judgment in people who aren’t themselves familiar with the described communities.)

1. Reckless and bold. In it to make things interesting by force. Usually consider their brazen attitude towards life positively, yet consistently feel too sketched out to get my personal self involved in their activities. Most of the time smile at the presence of their attitude, but occasionally feel it is too much and hard to stop.

2. Good with the rebellious and anti-establishment spirit, but that’s pretty much it. Mostly people yelling and circlejerking rather than actually doing anything. If more of them would actually bother to get themselves involved in processes rather than just complain about the incompetence of people actually doing the work, maybe they would get more of what they want and maybe people would have more sympathy for them.

3. A beautiful balance of wholesomeness and silliness. Community generally has a great collective sense of humor. Only sometimes gets too carried away with it.

4. Community constantly in search of ways to make there not be nice things. Makes fun of other communities all the time, yet when others make fun of them, complain about how the joke’s not funny and only they should get to make fun of themselves (and of course, others). Has several people that don enough levels of irony to irony-stack overflow. Loves to take a concept where there isn’t a clearly defined boundary of starting when things are not okay and pushing just a tad bit more into uncool territory than everyone else does. Has some members that are nice people to get to know as individuals.

5. Eccentric but cool community. Unfortunately many of its members are hard to get to know, let alone become friends with. Some of the things they do I still don’t really understand.

6. One of the greatest celebrations of nerdiness, a floor that goes far both with exhibiting the awesomeness of nerds and self-aware making fun of the derpiness of nerds. Has respectable dedication to what they bring to the overall community, and carries down ridiculously good running jokes. One of my favorite communities at MIT.

7. A community trying to jump onto the bandwagon of cool rebelliousness, and actually has done pretty well so far. Has slipped up from time to time, and also has had to deal with certain things, but quite has everything together now. Glad they exist.

8. Too small to be much of a community. Sometimes feel sorry for them due to other communities using their space and not taking care of it enough.

Continue reading “Opinions without Names Attached: MIT Communities”

Expanded Overthinking on Elevator Usage

I’ve previously talked about choices regarding elevators in this post.

Many of you have probably experienced or can understand the feeling of being minutely judged upon accidentally hitting the button for the wrong floor on the elevator and/or the feeling of minutely judging someone who you saw pushing the button for the wrong floor.

Today, as I entered an elevator in the MIT student center, alone, I accidentally pressed the wrong destination floor. As no one else was in the elevator, I corrected myself. (See the above link for why I might not have corrected myself otherwise; this situation reduces to the “a nearby floor was already called” case.) As the elevator headed up, I thought about what I would’ve done if at the moment, someone else was rushing to enter the elevator.

I might have actually let the elevator doors close instead of holding them, from embarrassment that I’ve pushed the wrong elevator button. This is arguably not the most commendable action, but I may have justified it to myself with an argument that entering the elevator may very well have not been the best choice for them as my incorrect elevator button push would have contributed to unnecessary time-inefficiency in their travel, and thus the other elevator might have been faster. This justification, sadly, reeks of an issue that seems analogous to the Gettier response to the “justified true belief” definition of knowledge: it seems that we’re really asserting a justification that happens to coincide with truth about the relative acceptability of letting the elevator doors close to an elevator whose ride is likely to visit an extraneous floor (it’s not even destined to visit an extraneous floor: that floor may well have been the floor of interest to the hypothetical person-rushing-in).

It is curious to consider these options, as much as this is an issue of very tiny importance in the grand scheme of life; it could encapsulate the ideas behind choices in decisions that matter much more.

On a higher level, elevator button-pushes really should just be revocable before fulfillment.

(On an even higher level of consideration, floor buttons shouldn’t be inside the elevator cars in the first place; a set should exist outside the elevator on each floor it services. This has actually been implemented, but the force of tradition led to people finding this awkward enough that they managed to successfully resist a better system.)

Let’s See, What Have I Done For SIPB

Yesterday, a certain member of SIPB has accused me of never having contributed anything productive to SIPB. The effect of the outrage of the moment aside, let’s consider this claim, in case people had doubts.

What have I done for SIPB?

Let’s start with serving as Treasurer for a year. I helped people get reimbursed for their events for the board, and I fulfilled office supply requests when they were made. In addition to this, I am currently in my third semester serving as Member at Large.

I have presided over 8 meetings. I have taken minutes for 14 meetings. Both of these are despite never having been elected Chair or Secretary.

I co-organized SIPB’s 45th Reunion with the help of…just kidding, both my co-organizers ditched the effort, so for a substantial time, I was single-handedly organizing SIPB’s 45th Reunion. Fortunately, on the day-of, the Reunion was saved from understaffed disaster due to the wonderful help of A. Carney (as well as some contributions from one of the alums attending the event, J. Kamens). In addition to this, J. Dove credits me upon my nomination for helping with the former year’s LibrePlanet, but I would honestly say that what I helped with there was insignificant enough to not necessarily deserve mentioning, though I appreciate the callout.

Although I must credit M. Ong for the bulk of the work, I contributed to building, helping prospective members, visitors, and people seeking computer help evaluate an empirical likelihood that the office will be staffed at a time of day.

I wrote the mu script for easy piping to zsr, which M. Young later developed into his sipb-play script.

I have numerously contributed to the spreading of technical knowledge for SIPB. I have instructed for SIPB IAP as well as Cluedumps, multiple times, including “Introduction to Athena”, which helps orient students with MIT’s computing environment. I have more than once taught for a Cluedump, and afterwards helped file a reimbursement for L. Foner, dedicated Cluedumps organizer who among other things provides food for Cluedumps, thus contributing to SIPB multifacetedly in the same day.

The frequency with which I have worked in the SIPB office has led to me helping dozens of members of the MIT community with computing help, including both people walking in and people calling the office on the phone. Although I have often been unable to answer their questions, I have definitely became more able to as time went on and have been otherwise usually able to redirect them to someone helpful.

Continue reading “Let’s See, What Have I Done For SIPB”

Categories MIT

Five Bostonian Winters

(the latest five winters in Boston, in forward chronological order)

“For the sake of beautiful juxtaposition, I’ll arrive just after the hurricane. Don’t worry, I won’t be in full force until a few months later. But I will be in full force.”
“Ha, scared ya. Time to just chill and watch people needlessly panic.”
“I think I’ll pretend I just don’t exist.”
“Oh shit, I’m late! Let’s thoroughly catch up on make-up work.”

Categories MIT