Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Saturday 6 June 2009 - Nerd Day

Bagel breakfast again at La Verde's, the green grocer in the MIT student center. We missed the tech breakfast that I'd paid for because we're still on Colorado time and getting up in the morning is not something Josie or I do well.

Then on to the morning session of Technology Days presentation by an MIT professor of neural science about how the brain controls the mind. Excellent talk! The research looks at the area of the brain that controls how we think about what other people think. The research was stimulated by wanted to understand autistic brains. She clearly demonstrated that there is a certain region of the brain that is active as we think about how other people are behaving and that region of the brain develops between ages 3 and 5.

Next was a nap and a melt down in our dorm room followed by an expedition on the T into Boston to find an open post office to ship some things to friends and family.

We made it back to MIT just in time for the Tech Challenge games where the different reunion classes compete against each other for...well nothing, but it's great fun. The first challenge is to have as many people there as possible at 3pm. Then the paper airplane contest started. We had 5 minutes to make as many paper airplanes as possible. Each team was seated in the stands at the football stadium and there was a kids plastic swimming pool for each team on the ground in front of the stands. You got points for each plane that made it into the swimming pool and teams got points for furthest flying distance also.

The next challenge was a modified 2.70 contest (the 2.007 contest). For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the 2.70 contest is an undergrad class for Mechanical Engineering students. They are given some materials and a task to accomplish and they have to build a device to accomplish the task. The device can also be defensive by attacking its opponent, and it might need to defend against attacks from an opponent. Our task was to build a windmill to wind a kite string and raise a weight from the ground to table-height. Given it was our 20th reunion, we had a pretty big group of people. So I opted out of helping with the building and instead attempted to organize and participate in the 3-legged race. Oh dear. Someone had told me it was organized chaos. I think just plain chaos is a better description. We sadly came in last place in the race because we didn't follow directions, but our windmill design team pulled through being the only team to accomplish the task and doing it in only 8 seconds!! Teams were allowed to provide “wind” in any way they could, so you can imagine amount of hot air that was flying around along with some serious hyperventilation.

The rest of the challenges included a haiku and limerick contest, a water balloon toss, hexagonal close packing and finally the quiz bowl. We won everything except came in last for the water balloon toss (we had lots of little kids and they had a blast). The little kids were great for the close packing contest...we won with 46 people in the 6 ft. diameter circle!

In the end we tied with the class of 1984 for first place!!

Josie and I compromised for dinner with a bagel and other food from our favorite La Verde's for her and Mary Chung take out for me. Ooooh...I ate a whole order of peking ravs. Oh my.

While doing laundry we took a walk across the Harvard bridge so Josie could see the Smoots. Why aren't they painting them anymore???

Then we had a fun night-time tour around the 'tute. Visiting Strobe Alley and the sculptures in Killian Court and other deserted hallways. We found the wheelchairs left over from graduation and were sorely tempted to have races, but there were to many families around taking pictures of graduates in front of the Great Dome. And, we didn't go back later. Oh well....back in the old days...