Talking About Religion

A Non-Christian’s Reflection on Christian Articles

As all Olin community members are invited to submit articles for publication in Frankly Speaking, the content of its articles tends to reflect the passions of the Olin community. Thus, it should be no surprise that Frankly Speaking has published several articles reflecting the religious and spiritual beliefs of our Christian community (e.g., Things Not-So-Well Known, Article 2, Sarah Strohkorb, October 2013; Foundations of World View, Jeff Hart, April 2013). Herein is a reflection on my mixed reactions to such articles as a non-Christian member of our community.

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Criticism of Project Learning

Olin’s goal is “to be an important and constant contributor to the advancement of engineering education in America and throughout the world,” which requires constant innovation and a willingness to spread said innovation. One of the key beliefs many people seem to hold about the advancement of engineering education is that project-based learning is essential, innovative, and even superior to traditional learning. However, I must disagree. In the course of my time here, I have found that all of my favorite classes, the ones I remember the most from, were traditional classes.

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GrOW’s Current Initiatives

greenSpaceGreen Space is for anyone who wants to contribute to or learn about green initiatives at Olin and the world.

Solar Updates

GrOW has been working with SunBug Solar, Boston Solar Company, and Borrego Solar to come up with a few options for a solar carport system in parking lot A. Boston Solar already has a rough proposal which can be viewed in the public GrOW folder under the name “Olin Proposal 1/10/14.” Boston Solar’s current design would only provide about 9% of Olin’s annual electrical consumption, but that’s not a very trivial number when you consider the $1,689,797 total savings and 10,019,154 lbs reduced greenhouse gas emissions over 20 years. We’ve been talking to them lately about improving the design and increasing the system output, so more updates on that next month! SunBug and Borrego aren’t as far in the process of making proposals. Both companies are still exchanging info with us, and are probably still a bit skeptical of GrOW’s sincerity in making the project happen. But let it be known that we are very sincere, and we intend for this to happen.

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A Parody of Risky Business

If you haven’t seen the latest email from Nick Tatar, you may not be aware of the new precaution that administration at Olin has decided to take. They hope to both protect Olin from the onslaught of lawsuits that come from its students each semester and to educate students about the dangers of activities usually assumed to be harmless, such as yoga and eating breakfast.

“I agree to assume and accept full responsibility for the inherent risks with the activities in which I choose to participate.”

“I assume and accept full responsibility for myself for bodily injury, death or loss of personal property and expenses as a result of those inherent risks and dangers.”

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Popping Olin’s [Social] Bubbles

A lot has changed since I first arrived at Olin in the fall of 2009. There are so many things to celebrate and remember fondly. I actually couldn’t even begin to list them, because I’d run out of pages before I ran out of memories and that’s not the point I want to make with this article (though it would be nice). No, I want to say this: I have just one more semester at Olin, and I want to use it to help make this place better for us all.

Before I say anything further, I’d like to recognize the many outstanding examples of closeness, camaraderie, and understanding between students, faculty, and staff. For instance, last week, I played SpaceTeam with my SCOPE advisor, there are a staggering number of co-curriculars this semester, Build Day is a cool thing that happens in May… and I’m only scratching the surface.

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A Puzzle By Midnight Math

midnightmathYou have a pizza, but your slicer is only good for 10 cuts. You want to serve as many people as possible before your slicer gives out. How many is this? What about if your pizza slicer was good for n cuts? Put another way, what is the maximum number of partitions a circle can be partitioned into by making n chords?”

Midnight Math is a club run by Ian Hoover ’15 who just returned from studying away in Spain.
Send in your solutions (with proofs) to If you are correct, you will be given the highest of accolades: your name mentioned here, next issue.

Airline Approximation

This month’s question: “What percent of humans who have ever lived on earth have flown in an airplane?”

Submit your responses through a link to be sent out to the carpediem mailing list on February 4. If you are not on carpediem, please forward your responses to or any of the Frankly Speaking staff.


Epic Video Game Trivia

Video game history is in a sorry state. We don’t know the release date of one of the best-selling video games.

Super Mario Brothers, for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), sold more than 40 million copies, including those that came with an NES. It secured Nintendo and the NES’s place in the video game market, revived video gaming in North America, and inspired generations of games and game-makers. But the exact date of its release in the United States is fuzzy, and no one is quite sure when it was. Indeed, discussion of this problem has exceeded 10,000 words on Wikipedia.

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