MIT's Admissions Blogs are Interesting
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January 25, 2014
MIT’s admissions blog has been having a bunch of interesting blog posts up lately, either in a foreign language or in some sort of code.
Here’s a listing of the ones so far that been put up.
Written with what appears at a first, quick glance to be a substitution cipher. I would guess off the bat that “[” is “e,” but there’s a cool way of doing substitution ciphers completely automatically using a large preexisting English corpus, which I hope to get into in a later blog post.
I hope ultimately to get all of the non-foreign language entries translated (especially since once I show the automated substitution cipher, all the substitution cipher ones should be done at once). For now, I’ll translate the binary one (written originally by Erick P. at this link) because it’s simple and caught my eye. The typos should be from the original (although I didn’t really check my code at all so it’s possible that I messed something up in translation).
Senior year of high school, I worked for my school’s technology department, fixing computer and network problems throughout the school. The office I worked in had a supply closet stockpiled with computers, RAM, hard drives, monitors, cables, and any other computer part I could think of. I imagined all the things I could do with those parts. But, since they belonged to the school, I wasn’t allowed to take them home, even after they were thrown in the trash.
At MIT, instead of being thrown out and sent directly to a landfill, computers are sometimes left out in the hallway or thrown into dumpsters to idly lay for weeks. Occasionally emails are sent out to firstname.lastname@example.org, letting anyone on the list know what items are up for grabs. Students then turn into a flock of hungry vultures and scavenge these locations like hungry vultures, picking out any computer parts they find useful or think looks co ol.
Back in September, a research team had just cleaned out their lab and put a massive amount of old computer parts, office supplies, and books out in the hallway. The email was sent out, and MIT kids ran to the lab, eager to grab anything they could get their claws on. By the time I got there, most of the good stuff was gone. But I’m proud to say I got myself a Macbook…box.
I just got the box. The research team hasn’t decided to throw out their Macbook yet.
I also found a fully computer behind a stack of books. Surprisingly, it was still fully together. Carrying the entire computer along with the rest of the parts back to Simmons was a huge pain, but when I finally got back, I locked myself in my room and began to play with my (sortof) new computer.
I cut it open and spilled out it guts.
Picture of my computer before the gut-spilling
Check out all of my blog photos here. Feel free to email me at email@example.com with questions or comments
For the short and dirty Python script I wrote to translate this blog, go to here or if you have Git installed, run
git clone https://gist.github.com/8612594.git