plus one ear
" is the official length of the MIT bridge between Cambridge and
Boston. In 1962, pledges to an MIT fraternity
to measure the bridge
using the shortest among them, Oliver R. Smoot, as
. Since then, members of the fraternity have repainted the marks on the
bridge twice a year. Oliver Smoot's daughter
eventually went to MIT but was not used to remeasure the bridge since she was
shorter than her father. Her
an MIT student, was too tall. Oliver, of course, was just right. He eventually
went from being
a unit of measure to controlling
units of measure:
in 2001 he was chosen to be
chairman of ANSI
and in 2003 he was selected to be
president of ISO
posted by Steven C. Den Beste
on Sep 9, 2006 -
is a project that maps the dynamics of the wireless network on the MIT Campus in real-time. The Intensities map is very nice indeed.
posted by tellurian
on Jul 19, 2006 -
has surprisingly readable (albeit few) and informative reports
about scientific principles and devices.
go into a folder and open the .html file. its old school style.
posted by dminor
on Jun 26, 2006 -
Revamping the browser
Browser add ons such as Browster
for IE and Firefox or entirely new browsers such as Flock
(limited info) promise to rework the way browsing has been done during the IE only years from 1997 to 2004. More inside...
posted by hockeyman
on Jun 12, 2006 -
New hope for blind hamsters.
According to the Guardian, scientists at MIT have repaired brain damage and restored eyesight to rodents using nanotechnology. In the study, minute particles were injected into damaged parts of the brain, and subsequently arranged themselves into a "scaffold" gel throughout the damaged area. The scaffold allowed severed nerves to regrow and form new connections. 75% of test animals' injuries were improved with the new technique. (The article did not note if the test subjects offered any resistance to the therapeutic measures.)
posted by rob511
on Mar 14, 2006 -
Well over 100 universities
around the world have set up searchable digital repositories to make available journal articles, datasets, theses and other academic materials using the DSpace repository system. DSpace at MIT
alone hosts over 11,000 theses. Also, the software
running the sites is freely available and open source.
posted by cog_nate
on Feb 22, 2006 -
MIT Media Lab's Counter Intelligence Group,
which develops innovative kitchen designs, has created a machine that makes dishes on demand and recycles them after diners have finished a meal. The dishes are made from food-grade, nontoxic acrylic wafers, which are shaped into cups, bowls and plates when heated, then resume their original wafer shape when they are reheated and pressed.
posted by Shanachie
on Oct 15, 2005 -
Archimedes Death Ray: Idea Feasibility Testing.
Ancient Greek and Roman historians recorded that during the siege of Syracuse in 212 BC, Archimedes (a notably smart person) constructed a burning glass to set the Roman warships, anchored within bow and arrow range, afire. The story has been much debated
and oft dismissed as myth. TV's MythBusters
were not able to replicate the feat and “busted” the myth. MIT
posted by mrkredo
on Oct 11, 2005 -
MIT students pull prank on conference.
"In a victory for pranksters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a bunch of computer-generated gibberish masquerading as an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference." The paper's title? "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy."
posted by adrober
on Apr 14, 2005 -
An MIT student has designed an alarm clock with built-in wheels and motion sensors. Upon hitting the snooze button, Clocky will roll of your nighttable, bump around your room, and hide, forcing you to have to get up and look for him instead of hitting the button again.
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Mar 29, 2005 -
MIT's OpenCourseWare project
. Course materials for over 700 classes offered at the school, including syllabi, reading lists, related educational links for the self-learner. Get your knowledge on!!
posted by archimago
on Jun 21, 2004 -
MIT's blog survey results are in
Some highlights: 55% of respondents use their real names on their blog, 63% of respondents are male, 36% of respondents have gotten in trouble because of things they've written, and almost no one has a good idea of who's reading their blog.
posted by Vidiot
on Mar 18, 2004 -
Black ships and samurai
In 1853 four ships under Commodore Perry anchored off the coast of Japan against the wishes of the Japanese. According to historian John Dower, "This initial encounter between the United States and Japan was eye-opening for all concerned, involving a dramatic confrontation between peoples of different racial, cultural, and historical backgrounds. We can literally see this encounter of "East" and "West" unfold through the splendid, yet little known, artwork produced by each side at the time." This beautiful exhibition includes many examples of this artwork, juxtaposing scenes of the encounter from Japanese and American artists' points of view. (Part of MIT's open courseware initiative.)
posted by carter
on Mar 14, 2004 -
The MIT Gallery of Hacks.
Good-natured creative pranks
by MIT students. The pinnacle was possibly 1999's Great Droid
, with the Great Dome made to resemble R2D2's head to mark the release of some film or other at the time. In the spirit of the tradition, students left detailed instructions for the safe removal of the decoration.
posted by nthdegx
on Jan 4, 2004 -
Necessity Is the Mother of Invention. (NY Times, reg. req.) Amy Smith
teaches MIT students about the politics of delivering technology to poor nations and the nitty-gritty of mechanical engineering and helped start the IDEAS competition
; she herself designed (among other things) a screenless hammer mill
suited to third-world conditions and using "materials available to a blacksmith in Senegal."
Smith's entire life is like one of her inventions, portable and off the grid. At 41, she has no kids, no car, no retirement plan and no desire for a Ph.D. Her official title: instructor. ''I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. Why would I spend six years to get a Ph.D. to be in the position I'm in now, but with a title after my name? M.I.T. loves that I'm doing this work. The support is there. So I don't worry.''...
Likewise, the inventors who most inspire her will never strike it rich. ''There are geniuses in Africa, but they're not getting the press,'' she says. She gushes about Mohammed Bah Abba, a Nigerian teacher who came up with the pot-within-a-pot system. With nothing more than a big terra-cotta bowl, a little pot, some sand and water, Abba created a refrigerator -- the rig uses evaporation rather than electricity to keep vegetables cool. Innovations that target the poorest of the poor don't have to be complicated to make a big difference. The best solution is sometimes the most obvious.
A rare optimistic story for these downbeat times.
posted by languagehat
on Dec 3, 2003 -
This year, MIT is free.
Well, not really -- you won't get the degree, and you won't get to talk to the top minds in science or stay in a really cool dorm
. But OpenCourseWare
provides, as Wired puts it
, "Every lecture [sometimes on video, sometimes only the notes], every handout, every quiz." Curious about Psycholinguistics
? Urban Transportation, Land Use, and the Environment
? Non-linear Programming
? Cognitive & Behavioral Genetics
? String Theory for Undergraduates
? They are in Kenya.
posted by Tlogmer
on Sep 4, 2003 -
It's about Time
this guy was recognized with accolades as the premiere whistleblower in the US. Just think of all the tax money that could be saved if everyone learned what Postol already knows!
Is NMD more theology than science? It would appear so.
posted by nofundy
on Jan 3, 2003 -
Turning immigrants into cyborgs. A small video monitor and loudspeakers are installed at the center of the instrument and in front of the user's mouth. The monitor and the loudspeakers replace the real act of speech with an audio-visual broadcast of pre-recorded statements.
posted by riley370
on Nov 6, 2002 -
of vision science at MIT understands that life isn't just black and white, even though we often see it that way. This
amazing illusion proves it, and these
slick, fast-loading, Flash demonstrations of lightness perception show how it's done. (My favorite is the "Koffka Ring
".) White paper here
, for deeper background.
posted by taz
on Sep 27, 2002 -
I just read
will be offering free education via it's OpenCourseWare
project (starting September 30th). This makes me very happy. Are there any other universities that offer similar services?
posted by Rattmouth
on Sep 22, 2002 -
Lying with video.
Researchers at MIT have created videos of people uttering sentences they never said that consistently fool viewers and are accepted by them as real. Once upon a time, it was a lot harder to be false with film, but whether the medium will be in any way trustworthy going forward seems doubtful. What will it mean when you can't even believe your own eyes?
posted by zoopraxiscope
on May 15, 2002 -
Was MIT or her parents to blame for a suicide?
Challenging NYTimes article on the suicide of Elizabeth Shin, an over-acheiving college student. With the increasing focus on student achievement from earlier and earlier ages, it's clear that children can be deeply affected. How do we, as a society, raise children to standards that we expect without pressure-cooking them to damage or worse?
posted by gen
on Apr 27, 2002 -
MIT's Erotic Computation Group.
"By developing advanced sexual appliances and techniques, we seek to broaden the range of human amative expression and heighten our potential for sexual gratification." Good to see that at least some people are doing research that will benefit all mankind.
posted by Eloquence
on Nov 25, 2001 -
Northeast could face energy chaos, MIT expert warns
"The existing transmission grids were designed to serve regional needs. Power transfers from one grid to another were meant for emergencies only. Computer simulations performed at MIT show that heavy use of grid interconnections to tap cheaper power sources can have unintended effects. Trades between two regional grids can adversely affect operations in a third regional grid, potentially leading to frequency and voltage disturbances." But don't panic, MIT's Competitive Power Systems Group (funded "from a variety of industrial sources") has a solution. FUD or useful idea?
posted by Allen Varney
on Sep 19, 2001 -
has been doing an excellent job of analyzing the world media after the tragedy. If you're in the MIT
area, check out the scheduled and ongoing events
posted by jakd
on Sep 18, 2001 -