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Ask Nutty B

By Nutty B


Nutty B has returned to the building! After stuffing himself with loads of candies and drowning himself with Molson Canadian beer during the holidays, he has again returned! You know the drill!

Nutty B is currently a graduate student at MIT. Please e-mail him with whatever question you would like someone to listen to and help him have an excuse to procrastinate at 3 a.m. Please send all questions to

Dear Witty B,

I need some advice. I find in the latest Tech, a busy graduate student who devotes a few hours a week to writing a very funny column that provides advice on problems plaguing the MIT student. I appreciate and commend her efforts to introduce intentional humor to the Tech.

However, it appears that some students have misconstrued her column as a source for advice on problems of a more serious nature, such as depression and low self-esteem.

The columnist’s response, in accordance with her lighthearted and self-deprecating character, unfortunately reads as curt and insensitive. How can I ask her to, when necessary, save her readers' feelings now and her jokes for later?

-- Hurt@MIT

Dear Hurt@MIT,

First of all, thanks for calling me “Witty B!” I guess I just found another good quality of mine I hadn’t discovered!

How can you ask her? Simple, you go to Nutty B and let Nutty B help you solve your puzzle and ease your pain. Son, only the truth will set you free!

This columnist you mentioned in your question really does seem like a good one. I mean, with all the humors and compliments you have paid her, she does seem to know what she is doing. You mentioned you think some students have misconstrued her column as a source for advice, but darling, if she writes an advice column, I am sure she means to give out advice! I haven’t met any political columnists who only write about musicals and arts!

Moreover, you said this columnist was “lighthearted” and “self-deprecating”, but she appeared to be insensitive. However, if the only person she is “deprecating” is her “self” and she doesn’t mind, how does she become insensitive? Perhaps you are concerned about her well-being? Or ... perhaps you simply misunderstand her.

You see, it’s quite important to keep an open mind and try to look at the positive side of everything. MIT is a very diverse community and it’s like a big ocean where different streams of water bodies merge together. Everyone is bound to be different from everyone else. For a half glass of water, some people would say it’s half-full, but some would call it half-empty.

For the same gesture in some culture it’s consider polite, but in some it’s offensive. Maybe when you think she is hurting her readers’ feelings, the original readers who sent her the questions thought she has answered their questions and won their hearts. After all, if she has people who keep coming to ask her questions, she shouldn’t be that evil, should she?

My advice for you is to try to think positively. You will face many problems everyday, and if you turn everything against yourself, the only person getting hurt will be yourself. Now, go out and smile to yourself and instead of thinking yourself as “Hurt@MIT,” I want you to see yourself as “Blessed@MIT!”

Hi Nutty B,

Why is the Charles River green when it's frozen? It's really freaking me out!

-- Steve

Dear Steve,

For some reason, quite a few people I know asked me the same question before the holidays. I did wonder if the environmental groups at MIT have tracked me down and started to stalk me! At any rate, being a dedicated advice columnist, between my holiday Canadian bacon eating and igloo cleaning, I decided to perform some experiments and consult a few friends of mine to see if I could come up with an answer for you.

To see why the Charles turned green I tried to determine what’s in the river first. One of Nutty B’s best friends Miss Slowdah, who is an avid rower on the Charles and brilliant biologist, came to the rescue and told me with confidence that the Charles is full of sewage, garbage, and sometimes bodies of ... well, different animals.

Therefore, I mixed some water with leftover food, some unknown solids I picked up from a random garbage can on campus, and some raw meat from the supermarket (for the animal corpse) in a big test beaker (of course without my advisor’s knowledge) and let it sit there for a week. To imitate the actual environment, I varied the temperature around the beaker, too. After a week I froze the “thing”, and guess what? Voila! A stinky frozen green-yellowish solid!

Nevertheless, there is no need to panic, my dear Steve! As long as you don’t plan on drinking from the river directly or go in for a swim, you will be fine! Hope you have recovered from your traumatic Charles incident!