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Articles by Roberto Perez-Franco

STAFF WRITER
April 19, 2013
Bobby McFerrin is a virtuoso, and his instrument is his own windpipe and chest. He is not a powerful singer, but he is a beautiful singer. Although he practices many forms of music (directing classics, singing duets with Yo-Yo Ma’s cello, etc.), he truly excels at just a few of them. The same can be said about his most recent concert in Boston. As part of a multi-city tour for his upcoming album “spirityouall”, and through the felicitous auspices of the Celebrity Series of Boston, Bobby McFerrin paid a visit to Beantown last Sunday, and treated a full Symphony Hall to an afternoon of good music.
STAFF WRITER
April 19, 2013
Oblivion is the kind of movie that you would rather see without knowing anything about it. But why would you go see something unless you know it is good?
STAFF WRITER
April 12, 2013
After watching the masterful biopic 42, about the struggles of Jackie Robinson, his wife, and his team’s owner, during Jackie’s first year in the Major Leagues, the truth in Alonzo Bodden’s bit called “First Black Anything” becomes clear: “If you are the first black anything, you can’t be good. Your ass better be miraculous. You have to be unbelievable.” Bodden bemoans — in a hilarious manner — the uphill battle that non-whites face to earn recognition when entering any new field. Even though he gets to the subject apropos of Barack Obama’s presidency, Bodden illustrates the point invoking Jackie Robinson, “the first black player in the Mayor Leagues.”
STAFF WRITER
March 22, 2013
With spring break around the corner, many of you may be wondering whether there are any good movies to catch. Featured prominently in recent advertisements is Olympus Has Fallen, so you may be tempted to give it a try.
STAFF WRITER
November 30, 2012
In his recent book Atheism and the Case Against Christ, Matthew McCormick, a professor of philosophy at CSU Sacramento, takes issue with the most fundamental claim of Christianity: Jesus came back to life after being dead for three days.
STAFF WRITER
November 16, 2012
There are several reasons why it is handy, at least for me, to have an atlas. First, as part of my work at MIT I get to interact with people from all over the world, and I like to see on a map the exact place they call home. Second, as part of my role as father of a very curious four-year-old girl, I get to answer many questions about places I visit (“Where is Germany?”), places where her favorite animals live (“Where are the lions?”) and places where we have loved ones (“Where is abuelita’s house?”). Finally, sometimes I just need to know where a place is, either because something is happening there (e.g., South Sudan) or because I heard about it and realized I had no clue where it is.
STAFF WRITER
October 26, 2012
When a reporter mentioned the Cuban missile crisis during a White House briefing, then-press secretary Dana Perino “panicked a bit” because she didn’t know what it was. “It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I’m pretty sure,” she ventured. One day in particular, Oct. 26, 1962 (exactly 50 years ago) was arguably the single most dangerous moment in human history, with the United States and the Soviet Union on the verge of unleashing upon each other thermonuclear Armageddon. Ms. Perino’s candid admission is often depicted as a funny, self-deprecating anecdote. Call me paranoid, but it gave me goose bumps: I think such a pivotal event, and the lessons it taught us, should not be forgotten.
STAFF WRITER
October 19, 2012
The new edition of Universe is nothing short of what it promises. Edited by Astronomer Royal Martin Rees and published for the Smithsonian Institution by DK, the book is a comprehensive, up-to-date, and visually mesmerizing guide to the cosmos and what we know of it. Its 500 pages are divided into three sections: astronomy in general, the cosmos, and the night sky.
STAFF WRITER
October 12, 2012
You know the dull wall of Building E38 (pink, cream, whatever) that runs between MIT Press and Cosi? The other day somebody had the audacity (dare I say, the good heart) to spray-paint two machine guns with barrels curved together in the shape of a heart. When I saw this act of vandalism, I smiled and nodded. For I have learned to appreciate this kind of art. Street art. And it’s thanks to Banksy.
STAFF WRITER
October 5, 2012
By now you must have heard about Curiosity, NASA’s latest robotic ambassador to Mars. It has been making headlines for weeks, first with its nail-biting landing sequence, fit for a sci-fi movie, and more recently with its discovery of evidence of streaming water in the Martian past. Curiosity is the stuff geeks dream about: a largely autonomous laboratory on wheels, the size of a small car and loaded to the brim with the most sophisticated science equipment ever sent to another world.
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