Just To Share

Here’s Building 54 on the MIT campus, more or less right now:

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As some commenter somewhere on the ‘tubes pointed out, this facade is more often used to play tetris.  But not tonight.  Usually I  sneer at Bldg 54 as I. M. Pei’s worst building — which it may well be. (Its primary users, the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science folks, loathe it for its resistance to collaborative schmoozing.  It’s only real virtue is as a pretty good  perch from which to watch the July 4th fireworks.)  But tonight the crazy MIT kids wanted to make a statement, and have.  Good on them.

Talk about whatever.

PS: the Brooklyn Academy of Music — BAM! before Emeril ever sniffed a TV camera — is doing us proud tonight too.






46 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    That. Is. Awesome. Maybe I should have gone to college back east…

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @Tom Levenson That’s the spirit.

    @Bob In Portland: Fela was singing about repressive governments like the military dictatorship in Nigeria at the time he released Sorrow, Tears and Blood. Thank God the situation here is not even close.

  4. 4
    dm says:

    It’s probably worth pointing out that the building faces the city of Boston across the river. People a few floors up in the buildings around where the explosions were can see it. There might even be places it can be seen from street-level.

  5. 5
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Brown did the Tetris-in-the-windows thing in a similar building as well. IIRC, they did it first (ahem.)

  6. 6
    aimai says:

    Yay us. I mean that.

  7. 7
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Gin & Tonic: And also, too, they invited Wozniak to play it, and he came and did.

  8. 8
    Valdivia says:

    I loved the BAM thing. Put a smile on my face.

  9. 9
    Lyrebird says:

    MIT visitors just dislike the bldg because it’s called the Green Building, after a donor, but if someone gives you directions there, you’re all like, hey, the green building, that’s not a number, I can find that! And it’s not green a t all, it’s cement colored.

    But I blather.

    Thank you TL, and good thoughts to all the first responders & wounded today.

  10. 10
    MikeJ says:

    It’s only real virtue is as a pretty good perch from which to watch the July 4th fireworks.)

    The *best* seat in the city is in a boat at Community Boating. They’re the people with all the mercurys out on the river, and it’s cheap.

    ETA: Here’s a handsome lad on a laser.

  11. 11
    Joey Maloney says:

    Yesterday I posted that since I live at GMT+2, by the time I get up the evening’s activity on the blog is mostly over.

    Hell of a thing to wake up to. I checked in on Facebook and by phone with my friends and acquaintances in the area and thankfully everyone is accounted for.

    If no one else has yet, I’m laying down my markers:

    1. Domestic. White guys, racist/militia loonies.

    2. Somebody in the House calls for Obama’s impeachment over this within the week. Proceedings start by midsummer.

  12. 12
    MikeJ says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    Yesterday I posted that since I live at GMT+2, by the time I get up the evening’s activity on the blog is mostly over.

    I’m GMT-7(on DST), but I was awake at 3am local for a meeting in GMT, which means I took a nap from 12PM-3PM and awoke to hear of a bombing.

  13. 13
    p.a. says:

    @Gin & Tonic: the 14 story SciLi back in the 70’s, 80’s.

  14. 14
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @p.a.: It was actually in April of 2000. Yes, the SciLi.

  15. 15
    p.a. says:

    doesn’t work on my device, but I want to add that the Brown SciLi is also an ugly building.

  16. 16
    third of two says:

    Nobody deserves it.

    Obama, lying as usual.

    Bring on the zombie apocalypse.

  17. 17
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Dammit, I am now wondering how they pulled off the colors. And yes, the first thing I thought was “tetris”.

    The women’s dorm is a good place to watch fireworks, or so I hear.

  18. 18
    Another Halocene Human says:

    I do not know this Brown SciLi (when I was on MIT campus somebody had to buzz me in if you know what I mean) but it cannot be half as lulzy as the WEB Du Bois library at UMass Amherst (yes, quite a step down from MIT, I know, I know) which is sinking into the fucking earth.

    Oh yeah, and the geology building at Umass practically has a line of sight on the place. Really confidence inspiring, that.

  19. 19
    hamletta says:

    American General Insurance in Nashville used to do this kind of thing, spelling out “Arts, Music, Dance” during the Summer Lights Festival. Then the state bought the building, and it had to stop, because allowing an office manager to map out an oversized cross stitch pattern a couple of times a year was a frivolous use of taxpayer money.

    So sad. You could see it from the interstate, and it made for some great photos.

  20. 20
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Brown SciLi refers to Brown University in Providence, which is most def not MIT. Similarly ugly as Bldg 54 at MIT, though.

  21. 21
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Another Halocene Human: The great and omniscient Wikipedia says: “The final myth is that the building is sinking into the ground at a rate of about a quarter to a half inch every year. This myth is also false. The library is resting on a gigantic slab of concrete underground, which hasn’t moved since the library was built in 1974.”

  22. 22
    p.a. says:

    Tetris was released in 1984, so my 70’s comment is bs, but I do remember the library being tetris-ized long before the 2000’s, when I would have been waaay out of the loop for campus activities. ‘Course, my mind really is shot…

  23. 23
    the Conster says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    That can’t be right – the library was already built when I started school there in 1973. It’s unforgettable, because my freshman year we watched a guy jump off the top of it. It’s 20 something stories tall, so most of the campus got to see him fall for the first 15 floors or so.

  24. 24
    jeer9 says:

    Thanks for posting the BAM photo. Brought a tear to my eye. What a fucking depressing day!

  25. 25
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I’ll see your urban legend with one of my own. The student center at my first university was built over a karst formation. The geology department thought it was hysterical when the school went ahead with construction without proper testing. The then-dean of the geology department swore to my geology-for-engineers class that they lost several pilings into the caves before they stopped assuming they would hit bedrock.

  26. 26
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I thought tetris on MIT campus happened well before 2000AD. (I’ve seen the photographic evidence?)

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I think every big university has a library that’s supposedly sinking into the ground (usually because “the engineers forgot to take the weight of the books into account”). I know the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) purportedly had one, which my friends pointed out to me when I visited them on campus.

  28. 28
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Damn, okay, guess I fell for that one.

    I was told there were whole floors empty of books because the weight was too great. Hm, I guess they tell all the newbies that. It’s not like I checked.

    Okay, more googling, apparently the building was dropping brick chips for years, probably the source of the rumor, plus the way the damn thing dominates the campus (not in a good way), it like looms, and then the school still sells postcards of a campus skyline right before the damn thing was built, like I’m sure it’s an asset to the school (never did study on the top floor like I’m finding suggested online … hm… probably got a mold headache every time I went in, that or I felt like the building was going to fall on me when I walked through the entrance), but it’s psychologically all wrong.

    Did find online another UMass urban legend (this is a new one) — that certain of the dorms are sliding down the hillside. (Those dorms suck, too.)

  29. 29
    hamletta says:

    @the Conster: Dear Lord, do you mean a suicide? Because that’s awful.

    I was working on the top floor of the L&C Tower in Nashville when a young woman jumped off our balcony, right outside my group office. It was awful.

  30. 30
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Unless the MIT hackers faked that, too!!!

    (I learned about MIT hacks the day they got an entire Cambridge PD squad car on top of the big dome. Epic. They knew it was epic, that’s why they had a blowup police doll in the driver’s seat with a box of Dunkin’ Donuts in the passenger seat. The Cambridge PD were soooooooo pissed. I was in high school and we couldn’t talk about anything else all day. E. Pic.

  31. 31
    Mart says:

    What happened is horrible, but get a grip. Where I live in North County St. Louis Missouri I have a better chance of being killed or maimed by a tornado than a terrorist. We all have a much better chance of being killed or maimed traveling than by a terrorist. This will be another reason why we have to have corporations and the government to have unlimited access to everything; and unlimited billions for defense.

  32. 32
    hamletta says:

    @Mnemosyne: Books are heavy!

    Nashville’s beautiful downtown library was originally going to take over a failed downtown mall that had been built a mere 10 years before, but they found the structure couldn’t support the weight of all those books, so they demolished the mall and built a whole new building.

    The attached parking garage is the same, though, so the demolition experts and engineers and architects must have worked with surgical precision.

    Too bad the city’s so broke it’s only open for limited hours. It’s so stunningly beautiful.

  33. 33
    hamletta says:

    @Mart: Um, did you mean to post this comment to some other site, or are you just randomly copyin’ ‘n’ pastin’?

  34. 34
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    It’s not an urban legend that the old Downtown Seattle library (well, the first one on the current site) settled constantly from when they opened it in 1959 to when they tore it down in 2001. Problem is, there’s no bedrock under Seattle, just hardpan.

    When they started the new library, it took over two years before anything showed above ground—I think they dug piers to the freaking center of the Earth!

    ETA: 1) Domestic.

    2) So inept that the perps will have left a ton of clues.

    3) It won’t matter because white people can’t be terrorists and it’ll wind up all Obama’s fault.

  35. 35
    Mart says:

    @hamletta: I am not trolling. The OMG the window lights look like a our flag, America fck ya comments seem over the top. Take a breath. Let the facts come to light. Let the evil fcks who did this get prosecuted. The USA fck ya comments remind me of ones I read 11 years ago, and that scares me. It was a nasty piece of criminal murder; not a threat to the US, or us.

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    The right wing sites seem to have been surprisingly quiet about the whole thing — I think they suspect the same thing we do and they don’t want to say anything that will make them look completely stupid.

    Though I do find it fascinating that the Alex Jones crowd is already out and about. Apparently we’re also not allowed to do anything about either guns or fatal bombings because FREEDOM!

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mart:

    The USA fck ya comments remind me of ones I read 11 years ago, and that scares me.

    And if it does turn out to be homegrown right-wing terrorists, will those comments still scare you? Because, frankly, what we should be doing in that case is banding together against domestic terrorism since their entire purpose is to tear us apart and start a civil war.

  38. 38
    Nemo_N says:

    Talking head at CNN just told me it’s most likely Al-Qaeda because they used bombs targeting lots of people, and domestic terrorists don’t do that. According to him, domestic terrorists just attack government buildings. Not lots of people.

    Seriously.

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nemo_N:

    According to him, domestic terrorists just attack government buildings. Not lots of people.

    So Eric Rudolph was just a figment of our collective imaginations?

  40. 40
    Nemo_N says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    It makes me think how many people hold that belief; that right-wing terrorists are only targeting the buildings/government and all the dead people are simply unfortunate occurrences, barely related to the act, if at all.

  41. 41
    SFAW says:

    @The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    3) It won’t matter because white people can’t be terrorists and it’ll wind up all Obama’s fault.

    Alex Jones already has you covered there, but probably not in the way you meant.

  42. 42
    SFAW says:

    @Nemo_N:

    It makes me think how many people hold that belief; that right-wing terrorists are only targeting the buildings/government and all the dead people are simply unfortunate occurrences, barely related to the act, if at all.

    Yeah, Timmy McVeigh was taken by surprise when he found out that people were in the Murrah Building that Wednesday.

  43. 43
    Morzer says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    There’s a nice urban legend that the Queen Mother visited (real) Cambridge and referred to the new University Library as “The most monstrous erection I have ever seen”.

  44. 44
    marshall says:

    I used to have an office on that side of that building, on the 6th floor (really, the 5th, as the big classroom at the bottom is given two floors, and the numbering goes 1,2,4,…). That was long, long, long, before the colored lights, back when the wind tunnel effect at the bottom made it occasionally impossible to open the doors (and I mean, impossible as in several heavyweight wrestlers pulling / pushing at once can’t do it).

    By the way, Building 54 is officially the Green Building, a name which was commonly used at MIT when I was there, even though the building is of course white in color. Most buildings only went by their numbers…

  45. 45
    marshall says:

    @Lyrebird: @SFAW:

    MIT visitors just dislike the bldg because it’s called the Green Building, after a donor, but if someone gives you directions there, you’re all like, hey, the green building, that’s not a number, I can find that! And it’s not green a t all, it’s cement colored.

    Two donors to be precise, Cecil and Ida Green (that was HP money IIRC). I met them once at one of the tea and cookie breaks they paid for every afternoon upstairs.

    MIT directions are always tough. A typical one might go something like, “Oh, he is teaching 12-102 in 54-200. You need to enter at 77 Mass Ave, take the infinite corridor down to Building 8, and either pass under Building 18 or, if you want to stay inside, take the stairs down at Building 7 (or 8), take the tunnels to building 56, and then the tunnel to 54.”

    Any techie will nod and say, OK. Any non-techie…

  46. 46
    marshall says:

    The statement of the MIT President, kept down to only one impenetrable acronym.

    To the members of the MIT community:

    This afternoon, we all shared the feelings of horror and disbelief at the terrible news of the bomb attack at the Boston Marathon. It will take some time before we can understand what has happened.

    I am writing now simply to let you know that, as far as we know at this moment, none of the direct casualties were members of the MIT community. Yet, they are fellow human beings, victimized in the most appalling way, and our hearts go out to them and their families.

    If you live on campus, in any of our FSILGs or elsewhere nearby, it may be helpful to safety officials if you can stay home tonight. The Boston route of our Saferide shuttle service is cancelled tonight because of bridge closings; the Cambridge route will run as usual. If this event has further practical implications for our community, we will offer updates via text and the MIT homepage. As always, MIT Medical is available to anyone who might need expert counseling services.

    Times like these require that we stay together and take care of each other.

    In sympathy,
    Rafael Reif

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