MIT says Jeffrey Epstein gave $800,000, issues statement on MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito, Seth Lloyd

The following email was sent today to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif. Read the rest

Open archive of 240,000 hours' worth of talk radio, including 2.8 billion words of machine-transcription

A group of MIT Media Lab researchers have published Radiotalk, a massive corpus of talk radio audio with machine-generated transcriptions, with a total of 240,000 hours' worth of speech, marked up with machine-readable metadata. Read the rest

A machine-learning system that guesses whether text was produced by machine-learning systems

Gltr is an MIT-IBM Watson Lab/Harvard NLP joint project that analyzes texts and predicts whether that text was generated by a machine-learning model. Read the rest

To do tonight in San Francisco: commemorating the sixth anniversary of Aaron Swartz's death

Lisa Rein writes, "there is a big event going on tonight at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco on this Sixth Anniversary of Aaron’s tragic death; with a Q & A, followed by DJs, history and art till 2am." Read the rest

Scratch is hiring an executive director

Scratch creator Mitchel Resnick -- head of the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindgergarten Group -- writes, "Until now, Scratch has been developed by my research group at the MIT Media Lab. In the coming year, the Scratch Team will be moving out of MIT into a separate nonprofit organization (the Scratch Foundation). We’re looking to hire a new Executive Director to help build this organization and develop strategies to sustain Scratch as a free, creative platform." Read the rest

MIT Media Lab announces this year's Disobedience Prize winners: #MeToo and #MeTooSTEM

For the second year now, the MIT Media Lab has awarded a "Disobedience Prize" of $250,000, no strings attached, awarded to people whose disobedient work has benefitted society; this year's prize is share among three leaders of the #MeToo and #MeTooSTEM movements: BethAnn McLaughlin, Sherry Marts, and Tarana Burke. Read the rest

MIT Sloan Management Review suspends its paywall for two days

Sara from MIT Sloan Management Review writes, "MIT SMR is unlocked for all visitors on October 2 and 3. For almost 60 years, MIT Sloan Management Review has been dedicated to providing evidence-based insights to your most pressing and complex business issues. To celebrate our history and our readers, we’re unlocking our site for 48 hours. Every article, report, video, and webinar is free to access. Don’t know where to start? We’ve put together a list of article recommendations for you." Read the rest

Joi Ito's dissertation, The Practice of Change: using networks, not markets, to solve problems

Joi Ito (previously) is the Director of MIT's Media Lab, an appointment that raised a few eyebrows because Joi never got an undergrad degree, much less a doctorate. Read the rest

MIT has an open course in winning at Texas Hold 'Em

MIT's How to Win at Texas Hold 'Em is a CC-licensed open course taught by Will Ma in 2016 and now free to watch online; the game is the perfect combination of psych and stats, and learning to play is a great way to improve your basic reasoning skills. (via Kottke) Read the rest

3D printed origami robots that crawl and grab when activated by magnets

A team at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have created a set of foldable, 3D printed robots that are doped with magnetic particles that are precisely aligned during printing; when triggered by a control-magnet they engage in precise movements: grabbing, jumping, rolling, squeezing, etc. Read the rest

3D printing arbitrary shapes without sprues, by embedding them in 3D-printed clear plastic

3D printing complex shapes is hard; the additive nature of most 3D printing means that the printer has to create sprues (struts that support parts of the structure during printing, which have to be removed later), or add in material that can be dissolved in a solvent bath after main production. Read the rest

Lecture videos from MIT's "The Human Brain" undergrad course

MIT 9.11, "The Human Brain," is taught by Nancy Kanwisher, the Walther A. Rosenblith Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, MIT; Kanwisher is an engaging and lively science communicator and has posted videos of the complete course lecture series for your perusal; her own speciality is neuroimaging, and the introductory lecture is a fascinating (and, at times, terrifying) tale of her colleague's neurological condition and what she learned from it. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Podcast: Petard, Part 03

Here's the third part of my reading (MP3) of Petard (part one, part two), a story from MIT Tech Review's Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Bruce Sterling; a story inspired by, and dedicated to, Aaron Swartz -- about elves, Net Neutrality, dorms and the collective action problem.

MP3 Read the rest

The MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award: $250K for "disobedience for the benefit of society"

For the second year in a row, the MIT Media Lab is giving out a no-strings-attached cash award of $250,000 for "disobedience" that benefits society; the prize is a reaction to MIT's shameful historic instances of throwing disobedient researchers under the bus, from Aaron Swartz to Star Simpson to bunnie Huang. Read the rest

Ampli: A construction set for medical diagnostics

Our team of researchers at MIT’s Little Devices Lab have developed a pocket sized laboratory for biology that allows anyone to invent and deploy rapid diagnostics to detect diseases like Zika and Dengue, as well as everyday biomarkers like cholesterol. Using plug and play reaction blocks, it can be as easy as snapping Legos together. The current approach to developing diagnostic tools involves shipping out samples to faraway labs for the development of tests that take too long and cost too much - but what would happen if everyone could have the tools they needed to design and make diagnostics? If the ability to diagnose disease was directly in the hands of those who most needed it?

Announcing "Petard," a new science fiction story reading on my podcast

Here's the first part of my reading (MP3) of Petard, a story from MIT Tech Review's Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Bruce Sterling; a story inspired by, and dedicated to, Aaron Swartz -- about elves, Net Neutrality, dorms and the collective action problem. Read the rest

MIT students create and circulate open source, covert RFID rings to subvert campus tracking system

A reader writes, "A couple years ago MIT changed their dorm security/student tracking policy. They hired security contractors to work in dorms and required everyone to tap their RFID cards upon entry (no vouching for friends/guests). Most students complied. Some moved out. Some got in trouble ;)" Read the rest

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