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Articles by Michael Lin

September 9, 2008
Having now seen Iron Man at least three times on a screen with more square footage than my dorm room, I have by now heard at least three times that Tony Stark graduated from MIT “summa cum laude,” to our everlasting bemusement. Tee-hee-hee. Obviously, since MIT does not give out Latin honors or have class rankings (rendering Weird Al’s white and nerdy achievements conveniently unverifiable), this would be impossible. Unless, of course, MIT administrators both a) found Tony Stark’s underage aptitude worthy of a change in policy, and b) decided that hoity-toity Latin honors would be more befitting the reputation and background of the Institute than modifiers such as “12th level intellect,” “Ph.D. in Epicness,” “Jedi Uber-Master,” or some combination of the above. At this juncture, I’m not really sure whether (a) or (b) is the less likely. To be fair, the “summa cum laude” gaffe stems from way back in Iron Man’s origins in the comics, so the movie’s mistake actually represents faithfulness to the comic book canon, rather than simply poor research. (Sam Raimi, take note.)
May 13, 2008
Oh, Summer … so long have I longed for your kind and merciful embrace. For two semesters, I have quested through the academic labyrinth. I have endured perpetual confusion and ceaseless frustration, hoping to find you around every corner, only to find another serpentine passageway in my path. Now that I have traveled so far through this dim dungeon, the glimmer of your reward shines clearer even in my tired eyes, but one more challenge lies between you and me. The Minotaur of finals week stands ominously before me, offering one last, fateful change to strike me down. Yet as worn as I am, I am prepared to stand tall and slay it with the last of my energy, if only so I may crawl from beneath its corpse and find myself at your feet, bloody and bruised, yet ready for you to lift my spirits.
February 19, 2008
There are an awful lot of student organizations available at MIT, but for a school as unusual as ours, they start to seem a little boilerplate. I suppose I’m not really an authority on student clubs here, since the only thing I’m a card-carrying member of is Blockbuster, but even so, I can’t help but feel like we could be weirder and more distinctive — no offense meant to the Tiddlywinks team.
January 30, 2008
I feel sort of weird wearing a Hawaiian shirt in the middle of a raging snowstorm, but college has an interesting way of economizing one’s wardrobe, or at least my wardrobe. I can only store so many clothes in my dresser (meaning, on my floor), I can only afford to do so many loads of laundry, and I can only hang so many clothes in my cubicle — I mean, my dorm room. Yes, I hang dry my clothes, and unless you have frequent company that might be put off by damp unmentionables dangling from the ceiling, I will gladly explain the merits of hang drying if you ask me. Go ahead, ask.
January 23, 2008
People often assume that we have relatively poor English skills just because we go to a school that’s predominantly scientific and engineering-ic. That, of course, is simply not true. Well, not necessarily, anyway.
September 18, 2007
With the possible exceptions of RSI and Camp Bohrmore, no experience comes closer to approximating the combination of nerdiness and summer camp than the first few weeks of term at MIT. It could be just me (it usually is), but I can’t help feeling like it’ll be a while more of eat-sleep-pset-rinse-repeat before it occurs to me that I’m here for the long haul — that I’m not in the newest of the litany of summer academic adventures that sucked the life out of my vacations, but instead that I am in the next iteration of my educational career.
September 7, 2007
There’s something overwhelming about arriving on the MIT campus that makes me sound both apathetic and verbally primitive. “Why did you show up a week early without an FPOP or a sport to go to?” “Just ’cuz,” I said. “Why did you choose that major?” “No reason,” I responded. “What’d you have to suck the helium out of all those picnic balloons for, and why is your face turning blue??” “… I dunno,” came the reply, with me sounding and looking not unlike a Smurf shortly before losing consciousness.
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