Reviewing the Honor Code

How many clauses does the Honor Code have? What are they? Take a minute and think about it.

It turns out that only a small number of students really knows them all, as we found out last spring when a majority of the student body voted to append the Sunset Clause to the Honor Code, which states that unless the student body ratifies a new Honor Code, it will be abolished and OSL policies will be instated in its place. This amendment was intended to serve as a motivator to the college at large to start thinking about whether or not the Honor Code still reflects the values of current classes. This is not to say that something is wrong with it. The intention is to figure out how to encourage the student body to feel ownership of the Honor Code.

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What’s in the Olin Houses?

Olin has five buildings. No wait, six buildings, counting the project building. No wait, seven or eight counting those random houses out there… right?

Actually, Olin College is the proud owner of five houses on its campus, named Tesla, Edison, Curie, daVinci, and Curtis, bringing our building total up to 11… depending on how you count, of course. All of these houses were originally owned by Babson College, and came with Olin College’s land purchase. It seems strange that most Oliners (in the author’s experience) know little about what half of the buildings on campus are used for… so what does Olin do with them?

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Popping the Olin Bubble: October Edition

10/1 The White House confirmed that it was the target of a cyber-attack, but that said attack only affected a non-classified system.

10/2 An annual mangold hurling event in Sherston, England, had to be cancelled due to a lack of vegetables.

10/3 Turkey returns fire into Syria after a Syrian shell hit near a Turkish plant, killing five civilians.

10/4 The maple syrup stolen from the Canadian Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve was found unharmed. There was much rejoicing.

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Kennedy vs. Bielat for CD4

On October 15th, the two candidates for the 4th Congressional District in Massachusetts, Joe Kennedy (Democrat) and Sean Bielat (Republican), debated at Wellesley College. Olin is in the 4th Congressional District, and is currently represented by Barney Frank. At the end of this congressional session, he is retiring, in part because the district was redrawn after the 2010 census and now includes more conservative areas
Despite the saying that “all politics is local”, many of the issues touched on in the debate were of national significance. Both candidates reflected their party’s orthodoxy, though Bielat broke from his party in three ways: supporting certain military budget cuts, believing legislative authorization is necessary to use military force, and acknowledging that the EPA has a role in protecting the environment.

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A Candid Conversation with Vin Manno

The published version, cut to save space, is on top. Scroll down past the break to read the full interview.

One wall of Manno’s spacious (by Olin standards) office is covered by a sprawling bookshelf, his own mechanical engineering library. Artfully arranged on the shelves are memorabilia: models of elephants, for Jumbo, the Tufts mascot, are gifts from former students. And right next to his computer, for easy viewing, a digital picture frame scrolls through photos of his family.

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Submitted Anonymously

He sits at his cluttered desk in his room. Taps a pen to his desk, looks at his iPhone, checks Facebook, has no updates. Thinks about doing homework, but instead goes on Reddit. The next day, he will remember none of what he reads.

Looks at his outlook, has a meeting with his design team in a half-hour but he must eat first.
Instead, he takes a nap, wakes up late for the meeting, then goes to the dining hall to grab a calzone.
He arrives to the meeting late and apologizes, but he mostly just feels sorry for himself.

He walks out of class on Friday. “Man, I need to drink” He thinks. The emptiness in his stomach pulls at him. Wheaty, bitter beer—that is what he needs. He eats a large dinner so he can drink more. At the party, he talks to people, and successfully lands a few jokes. He drinks a lot of water before going to bed, and wakes up without a hangover. Damn, what a champ! But really he cannot carry the feeling of winning for long, recalling the beer pong loss the night before, and—aughhhh!–the person that he wanted to talk to but didn’t have the courage to.

Monday night, he tries to do homework. He looks out the window and watches people walking past the Great Lawn in the rain. Their feet are moving quickly, pressing the fallen leaves into the pavement. The cold air and fall leaves remind him of that night freshman year, walking back to the train station at the end of the line, the scent of crushed, dry rot filling his nostrils, feeling the cold air pulling at his flesh. What a night, the last night he saw Taylor. It was skin, Bananagrams, hipster hip hop, dinner in Newton and clothes on the floor. Was this the beginning of something? Taylor—What if?
But unfortunately, no. Taylor had an idea of him, and loved that idea. But ideas are ideas, and one can’t hold the hand of an idea or kiss an idea.
He falls asleep, dribbling a bit on his paper, blurring the ink. Ohhhh, damn. Another meeting! He wakes up, prints out pictures for his personas and rushes to the studio.

Weekend Wednesday, walking through Parcel B, he tries to be profound. He looks at the colors of the leaves, the layers of colors and shapes, mixed together by the sunlight. Nature, and Nature and—well, not really. But trees. He’s walking in an area with a lot of trees, so yeah, that kind of counts. A branch brushes against his arm, and he pulls his arm in, imagining an itch where there’s none.
He walks to the lake that he heard about on Carpe, and it really is there! It shines and sparkles in the sunlight, as bodies of water do, and he feels a little more beautiful and peaceful inside. But this is an odd feeling. It makes him anxious.
He kicks a rock into the water, and it splashes. Not much, but enough to disturb the surface. He smiles.

Thursday evening, he’s biking to back to Olin after picking up food at Roche Bros. In the poor lighting, he sees a smudge on the road–a squirrel, flattened on the pavement. Its guts are drying as dark red lumps and strings, stuck to tufts of fur. Gruesome, but visually fascinating. He stares at it in shock, and rather than steer away he just goes bump over the body. He shivers. That body felt real.
The dry air is making his lips crack so he licks them and pulls them together, focusing on Olin just a few minutes away.

Living a Life Without Love

We all are familiar the different types of “love”: platonic, heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, pansexual, etc. But many often exclude the possibility that being aromantic or asexual is one of them.

Love is everywhere. You grow up with it on television. You read about it in books. You start dreaming about it sometime in puberty. You hear about it every single day of your life. People who lack that desire are depicted as twisted or deprived: they’re either the villains bent on world destruction (like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named) or someone who has not yet met that special someone (like Batman before Catwoman). People seem to forget that there ARE people in this world who have no desire to experience the “joys” of a relationship.

I am one of them.

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A Puzzle by Midnight Math: November

A puzzle, courtesy of the Midnight Mathematicians: “A passel of math students are kidnapped and held captive in some unknown, and probably unfriendly, vector space. On the forehead of each student, without their knowledge, is drawn either a 1 or a 0. The hyper-intelligent, pan-dimensional captor will only give the information necessary to leave said vector space to students who correctly identify the mark on their forehead. At the end of each day, each student has the opportunity to guess, but an incorrect guess means they will be trapped forever. The students are not allowed to communicate in any way, but every day they see each other for their one meal together (also, there are no surfaces which produce clean reflections in this space). The only information they are given is that there is at least one student with a 1 and at least one student with a 0. What is the largest number of days it could need to take for n students (n>=2) to all set themselves free?”

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Highlights from Doctor Horrible

Congratulations to the cast, crew, and pit of Dr. Horrible for a stellar show. Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, directed by Ilana Walder-Biesanz, was so compelling that some members of the audience came to watch twice!

The stage paid good tribute to the geek-popularity of the original online production. Audience members’ favorite lines include “Did you notice that he threw you in the garbage?” and “Sometimes there’s a third, deeper level, just like the one on the surface. Like pie.” However, this production also brought extra depth to characters, as only live theater can. Brian Liebeson, in his endearingly awkward role as sidekick Moist, tap-danced and flipped around the stage during his plot-incidental but entertaining solo “Nobody Wants to be Moist”, borrowed from “Commentary: The Musical”, and his specific performance changed a bit every night.

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