Articles by Ryan Normandin
November 2, 2010
<i>“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” — John Quincy Adams</i>
October 29, 2010
In the years leading up to 2000, the MIT Physics Department realized it had a problem. Despite great lecturers such as Walter Lewin, attendance at physics lectures fell 40 percent by the end of the term. In addition, an average of 10 percent of students failed 8.01 (Mechanics) and 14 percent of students failed 8.02 (Electricity and Magnetism). So MIT did what it does best: It solved the problem.
October 5, 2010
Over the summer, MacGregor was extensively renovated, which is a good thing. It means that we can now turn our heat up or down, the shower feels like a firehose, and there’s no more asbestos killing us as we sleep. MIT also installed a completely new fire alarm system. And although the voice that tells us to evacuate the building is terribly annoying, I can forgive that small deficiency since it might save my life. But there is another problem that is a bit more troubling.
September 10, 2010
By this point, the frivolous spending of FSILG rush is almost over. In the real world, people driving around in vans with blacked out windows trying to pick up freshmen would be creepy. In the real world, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in a week on trips, food, and Segways would be considered brash and spendthrift. In the real world, using all of those purchases to convince someone to join your club is called “bribery.” But here at MIT, it is the norm for fraternities to recruit members by taking advantage of freshmen’s unfamiliarity with their campus living groups.
August 27, 2010
At this point, you’ve settled into your temporary room, semi-unpacked and probably eaten lots and lots of free food. If you’re hungry or have paid for food, you’re doing something wrong. Maybe you’ve gone to some “mandatory” Orientation events or you’re doing an FPOP. You’re meeting lots of people, staying up all night, and generally having a great time. And slowly, you might even be starting to believe that this is what MIT is like all of the time.
August 4, 2010
The tea party movement has come a long way since its inception. Emerging in 2009 as a reaction to bank bailouts and the looming health care reform, the movement originally appeared to be a highly localized and disorganized group angry with the increasing size, power, and spending of the federal government. They seemed to resuscitate the ghost of the old “states-righters” around the time of the Civil War. Due to the extremely localized nature of the movement, many believed that the party would quickly disintegrate. Unfortunately, they were wrong — instead of falling apart, it has mutated into a virus that is taking hold of many voters and Republican politicians throughout this country.
June 4, 2010
I remember falling asleep that first night after moving into my room. Music blasted somewhere in the distance, cars zoomed by across the river, and voices shouted and laughed outside as people walked by MacGregor House. It was a sharp contrast to what I was used to. Having grown up in Uxbridge, MA, a small town of 13,000, I was accustomed to far more natural sounds: the rustling of leaves as the wind swept through them. The chirping of crickets amid the buzzing of other insects. The gentle pattering of rain on the roof.
February 19, 2010
<i>This is the last in a three-part series on education reform in America.</i>
February 12, 2010
<i>This is the second in a three-part series on education reform in America.</i>
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January 27, 2010
On Thursday, January 21, the Supreme Court, under the excuse of “freedom of speech,” invited heightened levels of corruption back into political campaigns with a ruling that has the potential to damage the democratic system of elections. In 2002, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, usually referred to as the McCain-Feingold Act, was passed by Congress. This landmark legislation prohibited corporations and labor unions from using their money to run ads supporting or opposing election candidates in the 30 days before a presidential primary and in the 60 days before general elections. After Thursday’s ruling, which struck down this part of the law, in addition to two previous rulings supporting it, big business was handed a political megaphone with which it could both drown out the average citizen and try to control politicians to an even greater extent than it does today.