“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.
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.
"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]
openculture.com is offering hundreds of links to free online courses from the top universities in the United States (and Oxford).
"Former Harvard student Adam Wheeler was indicted [yesterday] on multiple counts of identity fraud and larceny. According to the Boston Globe, Wheeler allegedly built a 'fraudulent life history that led to his admission to Harvard, and for using forged academic materials from Harvard when he applied for the prestigious Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships.'"* In his transfer student application to Harvard "...Wheeler claimed he got a perfect score on the SAT, straight A's at prestigious prep school Phillips Academy Andover and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...In reality, he had never attended either school..."* He has plead not guilty to the charges. [more inside]
Academic Earth collects lectures on a wide variety of subjects from UC Berkely, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Yale that the universities have released under Creative Commons. The site is still in beta so it doesn't quite have the thousands of lectures its frontpage promises. It has many full courses, for example Benjamin Polak teaching game theory, Amy Hungerford on the American novel since 1945, Charles Bailyn's introduction to astrophysics, John Merriman on the history of France since 1871, Shelly Kagan on death and Oussama Khatib's introduction to robotics.
Blind, Yet Seeing : New research into blindsight from Harvard University and M.I.T. showing that people who have been blinded by brain injury have resources beyond sight to do such tasks as navigate an obstacle course (movie).
"There are 4 different Worlds on Earth. Yours is 1 of them. You're ignorant of 3 of them. Such ignorance is damnable." Gene Ray's "Time Cube" has been joked about and marginalized for years, but now it looks like he'll finally get his wish to lecture on the subject and debate with MIT and Harvard "representitives."