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The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Brian Knappenberger's The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz is available to watch for free in its entirety thanks to the Internet Archive. [more inside]
posted by gman on Jul 6, 2014 - 17 comments

Time : a flat circle :: Consciousness : a state of matter?

"While the problem of consciousness is far from being solved, it is finally being formulated mathematically as a set of problems that researchers can understand, explore and discuss.

Today, Max Tegmark, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, sets out the fundamental problems that this new way of thinking raises. He shows how these problems can be formulated in terms of quantum mechanics and information theory. And he explains how thinking about consciousness in this way leads to precise questions about the nature of reality that the scientific process of experiment might help to tease apart.

Tegmark’s approach is to think of consciousness as a state of matter, like a solid, a liquid or a gas. 'I conjecture that consciousness can be understood as yet another state of matter. Just as there are many types of liquids, there are many types of consciousness,' he says."
posted by Strange Interlude on Jun 12, 2014 - 235 comments

In the fall of 1961, a PDP-1 was installed in the "kludge room"

Spacewar! was perhaps the first true video game. Now, thanks to the Internet Archive, you can play it in your browser.
posted by Chrysostom on May 2, 2014 - 14 comments

Putnam 2013

“I wanted to use the intermediate value theorem but it just wasn’t happening.” MIT undergrad Zach Wener-Fligner reports from this year's William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, the nation's premier math contest for college students, a test so hard that the median score is often zero.
posted by escabeche on Apr 27, 2014 - 38 comments

The Ghost in MIT

The inside story of MIT and Aaron Swartz. The Boston Globe reviews over 7,000 pages of discovery documents in the Aaron Swartz case (previously): Most vividly, the e-mails underscore the dissonant instincts the university grappled with. There was the eagerness of some MIT employees to help investigators and prosecutors with the case, and then there was, by contrast, the glacial pace of the institution’s early reaction to the intruder’s provocation.... MIT never encouraged Swartz’s prosecution, and once told his prosecutor they had no interest in jail time. However, e-mails illustrate how MIT energetically assisted authorities in capturing him and gathering evidence — even prodding JSTOR to get answers for prosecutors more quickly — before a subpoena had been issued.... Yet if MIT eventually adopted a relatively hard line on Swartz, the university had also helped to make his misdeeds possible, the Globe review found. Numerous e-mails make it clear that the unusually easy access to the campus computer network, which Swartz took advantage of, had long been a concern to some of the university’s information technology staff.
posted by Cash4Lead on Mar 31, 2014 - 53 comments

the proof may be in the protein

Approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide suffer from endometriosis; 8.5 million in North America alone. Associated costs of the disease are estimated to be a staggering $22 billion annually. The pain can be debilitating and infertility is a common outcome. Yet after decades of research, the jury is still out on what causes it, and many doctors still don't even know when they should be looking for it. Now, a group of researchers at MIT have taken a new approach, one with a characteristic engineering slant.
posted by Koko on Feb 20, 2014 - 26 comments

Civic Crowdfunding

Rodrigo Davis of the MIT Center for Civic Media is currently researching crowdfunding for civic and community purposes. Some of the issues he covers includes the ethics of crowdfunding (including Kickstarter's seduction guide debacle and Gawker's attempt to crowdfund a video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack), a case study of Kansas City's crowdfunding campaign for their bikeshare program, a timeline of online crowdfunding since 2000, and how the Statue of Liberty was made possible via crowdfunding.
posted by divabat on Jan 19, 2014 - 8 comments

Aaron Swartz

Losing Aaron. "After his son was arrested for downloading files at MIT, Bob Swartz did everything in his power to save him. He couldn’t. Now he wants the institute to own up to its part in Aaron’s death." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 5, 2014 - 32 comments

Healthy cities: public health and urban planning

A new Report on the State of Health + Urbanism (pdf) from MIT looks at the relationship between urban planning and public health, with some surprising findings. The cities covered are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. [more inside]
posted by gingerbeer on Dec 31, 2013 - 52 comments

Tongue twister

MIT Researchers Say They Have Created The Trickiest Tongue Twister To Date [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle on Dec 8, 2013 - 75 comments

Skype me a high five with it

Check out this rad MIT pin grid gizmo.
posted by rollick on Nov 15, 2013 - 21 comments

The Science of a Great Subway Map

Researchers at an MIT lab have devised a way to determine how well straphangers can comprehend a subway map in a single glance. Massimo Vignelli really DID know what he was doing.
posted by Chrysostom on Oct 30, 2013 - 91 comments

M-Bots: modular cube-shaped robots

Researchers at MIT have created M-Bots, small cubes with internal flywheels that use angular momentum to move and magnets to help them stay aligned, as demonstrated in a video. At this point, the robots are not strictly autonomous; rather they are controlled by commands sent by radio.
posted by larrybob on Oct 7, 2013 - 44 comments

Project Needles: not a hipster knitting collective

It's 1963. You're in a cold war with Russia. You want to keep up communication capabilities globally. Communication satellites haven't come into their own. The ionosphere is fickle and jammable. What do you do? You fire 480 million tiny copper wires into space to create an artificial dipole antenna belt around the earth. You call it Project West Ford. It works. [more inside]
posted by cortex on Aug 27, 2013 - 26 comments

Would Pavlov Approve?

Spend too much time on Facebook? Shocking and shaming new help now available! [more inside]
posted by tafetta, darling! on Aug 24, 2013 - 14 comments

Aaron Swartz' 14,500 page Secret Service file

The U.S. Secret Service has begun releasing their roughly 14,500 pages on Aaron Swartz in response to a FOIA lawsuit against the DHS by Kevin Poulsen (DHS filing, groklaw). Poulsen's FIOA was delayed by MIT and maybe JSTOR fighting against the release. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Aug 14, 2013 - 49 comments

Report to the President: MIT and the Prosecution of Aaron Swartz

Report to the President L. Rafael Reif releases the Aaron Swartz report to allmit. [more inside]
posted by condesita on Jul 30, 2013 - 62 comments

I spy Party Planning Committee, Finer Things Club, & Here Comes Treble!

Immersion is a tool from the MIT Media Lab that analyzes the metadata from your Gmail account, displaying a beautiful visualization of the networks of people you contact most frequently. [more inside]
posted by estlin on Jul 8, 2013 - 37 comments

Best of the webbing

MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion, a geometric structure machine-woven with silk thread and then reinforced by the efforts of 6500 silkworms. Watch the beautifully-done making-of video.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jun 6, 2013 - 16 comments

Cameras, Cartography and Competition

PITCHF/x and SportVU data analysis shows... [more inside]
posted by Groundhog Week on May 18, 2013 - 7 comments

Boston in lockdown as hunt for marathon bombers unfolds

What started as a report of a convenience store robbery near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last night has sprawled into a chaotic manhunt for the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon. The deadly pursuit, involving a policeman's murder, a carjacking, a violent chase with thrown explosives, and the death of one suspect, has resulted in Governor Deval Patrick ordering an unprecedented lockdown of the entire Boston metropolitan area as an army of law enforcement searches house by house for the remaining gunman. The Associated Press has identified the duo as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, who remains at large. Both are immigrants from wartorn Chechnya in southwestern Russia. The Guardian liveblog is good for quick updates, and Reddit's updating crowdsourced timeline of events that has often outpaced mainstream media coverage of the situation. You can also get real-time reports straight from the (Java-based) local police scanner.
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 19, 2013 - 4937 comments

HTBYERRF

A few years ago Charles Guan was a teacher's assistant in MIT's 2.007 introductory design and manufacturing class. To help out his fellow students he made a guide to building robots quickly and efficiently. Now he has expanded the original guide, retitled it How to Build your Everything Really Really Fast (HTBYERRF) and published it on Instructables, available for anyone wishing to progress from the "zip ties and duct tape" stage of building things.
posted by Harald74 on Mar 22, 2013 - 15 comments

Tony Stark, eat your heart out.

Defense contractor takes break from F-35 JSF, finds a way to eliminate 99% of the energy cost of desalination. Lockheed-Martin has developed a way to craft sheets of carbon a single atom thick, which can filter the salt (and just about anything else) from water with a tiny fraction of the energy required by current processes. "Lockheed officials see other applications for Perforene as well, from dialysis in healthcare to cleaning chemicals from the water used in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," of oil and gas wells." Previously.
posted by Morriscat on Mar 15, 2013 - 67 comments

The Factory Floor

Andrew "bunnie" Huang (previously) offered MIT students insight on how to bring electronic designs from paper to manufactured product. He summarized the process in a four part series: The Quotation, On Design for Manufacturing, Industrial Design for Startups, and Picking (and Maintaining) a Partner. [more inside]
posted by rider on Jan 29, 2013 - 7 comments

Stress at MIT

The Tech, a newspaper at MIT, has published a report about MIT students' stress. (via) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Dec 10, 2012 - 70 comments

DJ Focus

DJ Focus couldn't wait to get back to Sierra Leone. AKA Kelvin Doe, this young man makes beautiful, functional and very useful electronic devices out of trash found in his native Sierra Leone. It's not clear whether he or M.I.T. was more impressed after his visit there.
posted by not_that_epiphanius on Nov 22, 2012 - 6 comments

What's gonna happen outside the window next?

Noam Chomsky on Where Artificial Intelligence Went Wrong
posted by cthuljew on Nov 18, 2012 - 55 comments

This is The Song That Never Ends...

Ever wished your favorite song could be extended infinitely? Well, today's your day. Behold: The Infinite Jukebox. [more inside]
posted by SomaSoda on Nov 13, 2012 - 137 comments

A Slower Speed of Light

A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype, built by the MIT Game Lab, that emulates the visual effects of special relativity.
posted by brundlefly on Nov 2, 2012 - 32 comments

MIT Gangnam Style feat. Sadoway and Chomsky

MIT Gangnam Style feat. Sadoway and Chomsky
posted by d. z. wang on Oct 27, 2012 - 42 comments

Automatic building mapping could help emergency responders

Researchers have developed a backpack that generates building layout map in realtime. (yt) The prototype system automatically maps the wearer’s environment, recognizing movement between floors. It was designed at MIT to be used by emergency responders. Read more.
posted by crunchland on Sep 27, 2012 - 38 comments

New hand-held CNC from MIT

You supply the muscle to move the tool and the computer supplies the accurracy. The tool shown here is a router but it seems like a more general technique. You move a hand held power tool around sloppily and a computer makes small movements of the tool as you do that keeps it to a corrected path.
posted by aleph on Aug 10, 2012 - 35 comments

How MIT students beat the lottery

Beating the system: The Boston Globe reports how a group of MIT students beat the Massachusetts state lottery by working out that you were almost guaranteed to get a return on the game Cash Win Fall at certain times, and only buying tickets at that point. It's reckoned that they made $48m on a $40m stake over several years, that other syndicates were also involved, and the state 'bent and broke' the rules by allowing them to buy tickets in bulk. The game was closed down after the Globe started to investigate. [more inside]
posted by DanCall on Aug 8, 2012 - 45 comments

This perpetual motion machine she made today is a joke! It just keeps going faster and faster!

As they become more readily available to consumers, LEDs will undoubtedly replace CFLs as the primary light source for residential and commercial, inside and out, due to their dramatic efficiency gains. In an unexpected turn of events, however, MIT researchers have developed an LED with 230 percent efficiency. Previously [more inside]
posted by CynicalKnight on May 30, 2012 - 70 comments

No more tapping the 57

Have you ever been frustrated because you can't get the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle? MIT has a solution for you.
posted by tocts on May 24, 2012 - 64 comments

Everything we know about basketball is a lot

"Ever wondered why there are only 5 positions in basketball or how a player’s position is determined?" Maybe not. But analytics are becoming more and more important in basketball, to the point where some are questioning some fundamental 'facts' about the game. After the MIT Sloan Sports conference this year specifically addressed the role of analytics in basketball, there has been a bit of a backlash against the practice among commentators, coaches and fans. Yet the projects just keep coming, including this recently updated web project using some amazing mapping analysis: Courtvision [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 14, 2012 - 16 comments

Telnet Times Ten Thousand

If you've ever worked with the command prompt on a Unix-based computer, you're likely familiar with SSH (Secure SHell), which is a program and a protocol that allows you (yes, you!) to securely access a remote system. While SSH has certainly earned the "Secure" portion of its namesake over the years, it's functionality as a shell has ironically received very little attention, and has begun to show signs of age and obsolescence: SSH doesn't work very well on mobile connections, and its support for Unicode is buggy and incomplete. A group of MIT researchers think they've found solutions to these problems, and have created Mosh as a potential successor to SSH, which fixes many of the old protocol's annoyances and shortcomings, while retaining all of SSH's security features.
posted by schmod on Apr 12, 2012 - 77 comments

To-Go-Bots

MIT is leading an NSF-funded project with researchers from University of Pennsylvania and Harvard that aims to enable anyone to "design, customize and print a specialized robot in a matter of hours." Constructed from "cyber-physical primitives," the robots (some early examples here) would be able to be made in bulk on demand and could help change the entire workflow of device and robot creation, from engineering to warehousing to assembly.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Apr 3, 2012 - 14 comments

I see you!

MIT's new laser camera can see around corners (excellent explanatory video included). [more inside]
posted by darkstar on Mar 22, 2012 - 36 comments

Pushing Mushrooms

"We want to eat, not be eaten by our food, right?"[TED]. Artist/MIT graduate Jae Rhim Lee's current project explores the possibility of, and interest in ecologically responsible interment. She is currently cultivating personalized Infinity Mushrooms, which in combination with the Mushroom Death Suit will promote postmortem mycological growth, and more importantly intimacy with and acceptance of the physical realities of decomposition as vehicles toward death acceptance. [more inside]
posted by obscurator on Feb 22, 2012 - 18 comments

America's Deep, Dark Secret

"One of the deep, dark secrets of America's past has finally come to light. Starting in the early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of American children were warehoused in institutions by state governments." An early part of the American experiment with Eugenics, the Walter E. Fernald State School inspired scores of similar institutions across the country, and more recently, one of the definitive histories of the era. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 21, 2012 - 37 comments

The faster Fourier transform

A quicker picker-upper. "[A] group of MIT researchers will present a new algorithm that, in a large range of practically important cases, improves on the fast Fourier transform."
posted by Ardiril on Jan 18, 2012 - 34 comments

Ivy Level Education-with no debt

MIT today announced the launch of an online learning initiative internally called “MITx.” Think you can hack it at MIT? If so, the world-renowned university is willing to give you a new kind of credential to prove it. [more inside]
posted by Ruthless Bunny on Dec 29, 2011 - 50 comments

Encrypted database queries

CryptDB executes database queries over encrypted data without ever decrypting it. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 20, 2011 - 37 comments

The Speed of Light, Caught on Film

Capturing light in motion at a trillionth of a second. MIT, using a new technique called Femto Photography, consisting of femtosecond laser illumination, picosecond-accurate detectors and mathematical reconstruction techniques, has captured the movement of pulses of light.
posted by quin on Dec 13, 2011 - 32 comments

"Science writing tackles big ideas, important issues. It’s ambitious, creative, hard to do—yet utterly compelling."

SCOPE is the all-online student publication for MIT's Graduate Program in Science Writing. [more inside]
posted by kagredon on Dec 3, 2011 - 4 comments

It's like KittenWar for urban spaces

Which place looks safer? Which place looks more unique? Which place looks more upper-class? MIT is crowdsourcing a "perception network" to analyze people's subconscious judgments about urban spaces. Preliminary results for Boston, New York City, Vienna, Salzburg, and Linz (Austria). [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Sep 28, 2011 - 45 comments

Tom Scholz

Donald Thomas "Tom" Scholz (born 10 March 1947) is an American rock musician, songwriter, guitarist, pianist, inventor, and mechanical engineer, best known as the founder of the hard rock band Boston. He is also the inventor of the Rockman guitar amplifier. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 15, 2011 - 59 comments

The GOP War on Voting

The GOP War on Voting [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 3, 2011 - 263 comments

St. Quirinus and the Dragon

MIT scientist Dr. Todd Rider has developed a viral infection treatment that works by triggering host cell suicide when it finds the cell has been producing double-stranded RNA. Since dsRNA is the mechanism by which all viral infections proceed, but is not part of normal cellular function, the treatment seems both universal and safe. [more inside]
posted by seanmpuckett on Aug 11, 2011 - 49 comments

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