October 2009 Archives

A big part of extracurricular student involvement at Olin is community service.  One of our most active student service projects is Engineering Discovery, which seeks to bring Olin-like problem solving experiences to elementary education.  I've been a core member of this group for three years now and really enjoy the challenge of helping kids conquer open-ended design problems.

Last Saturday, we put on a workshop that let local 4th and 5th graders design, build, and launch their own rockets.  Check out this video!

Engineers Aren't in a Vacuum

"There's a balance--between overlooking important and preventable modes of failure, and taking so long to evaluate every possible chain of events leading to failure that technological progress is halted. But where do you draw the line, especially when people's lives are involved?"

"How do you deal with people passing memos around, ignoring problems even when they are red-flagged, and pushing through to deadlines even when something is potentially unsafe?"

"Do we strive for immortality? How will far will technology go to this end? How does that affect our idea of self? What does it mean to be human?"

These issues came up in my classes just today.

The family that eats together stays together

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-by Brittany '13


Hey guys! I'm new to the blog (well, new to Olin). If you feel so inclined, you can read my bio here. But back to the issue at hand, the Vermonster.


The bucket says it all.

-          20 scoops of ice cream (your choice!)

-          4 bananas

-          4 ladles of hot fudge

-          3 chocolate chip cookies (no joke, ENTIRE cookies, intact)

-          1 chocolate fudge brownie

-          10 scoops of walnuts

-          2 scoops of your choice of toppings

-          And of course, mounds of whipped cream


I hail from a land dominated by frozen custard, where "Ben & Jerry's" means only overpriced pints left to pasture in the grocery store freezers. Moving to New England was like traveling to the Atlantis of frozen delights.

Rock Climbing

I've been interested in rock climbing for years, but it's always mainly been a summer activity.  Last fall, I tried to continue at Olin, but it was just too much work.

This year though, everything just seems to have fallen into place, and I've gone rock climbing every weekend since the school year started. It helps that most of my friends have gotten into rock climbing too!  I'm trying to get in as much climbing as I can before the cold weather restricts me to a gym.

William Kamkwamba to Speak at Olin

Next Tuesday, October 20th, Olin will welcome William Kamkwamba to speak to the community in the auditorium at 5 pm.

Three years ago, William had never been away from his village in Malawi, had never used a computer, had never seen "an Internet." Today, the 22 year old has been featured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal, has spoken at TEDGlobal 2007 and 2009, has been a guest on the Daily Show, and has co-authored a book about the "simple machine that changed [his] life." This simple machine was a wind turbine he created out of scrap parts, a picture in a library book, and the determination to secure a brighter future for himself and his family. He built his first windmill at the age of 14, after suffering through a famine and dropping out of school because he was unable to pay the $80 fee. Slowly, his story trickled into a Malawian newspaper, then onto African blogs, then onto the screen at the 2007 TEDGlobal Conference in Tanzania... Since then, praise and support has steadily poured in from around the world.

First Post! It’s about a 9 pound taco!

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Now if that didn't get your attention, I don't know what could.

Hey, by the way, I'm Erik Kennedy. This is my first post on the Olinsider, and I'm pretty pumped to be writing for it. I'm a senior at Olin doing ECE, and you can read my short Olinsider bio here.

Now to stay honest to the headline, I need to talk about a nine pound taco that some friends and I recently made and devoured at Olin.

First of all, neither the idea nor the recipe are original. They're actually from an SNL skit called "Taco Town", which is essentially a mock Taco Bell commercial with a shockingly large and complicated taco. I recommend watching it to comprehend the magnitude of this project. Anyhow, with the inspiration and the recipe, all we really needed was a.) cash, b.) time and c.) kitchen space.

Fortunately, one of these is easy to come by at Olin.

Let's get out of the country!

- By Andrea, '11

This does not so much resemble Boston. Or Needham.

I've been pretty absent from this blog of late, because, well -- life abroad is sufficiently removed from the Olin bubble that, outside the occasional spotting of Big Belly solar compactors (both in Copenhagen and Malmo), I have trouble coming up with subjects that are relevant to the community at large.

The disconnect feels a little strange, but it's definitely not a bad thing. Olin is a pretty consuming sort of environment, so it's been a refreshing sort of break. Regarding the away experience, I have only one thing to say: DO IT.

I know, it's quite a while before the next abroad application cycle, but I don't think it hurts to have the process on your mind! Start early. Yes, there's the paperwork to consider, but more importantly, doing so gives you time to choose a program that suits you well. If you have any questions about making the experience happen, I'd be happy to answer your questions. (And I'm sure the former away bloggers would, too.)

Some of my favorite things, after the jump.

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Recent Comments

  • Mel (Olin '07): I so wish I could be there to see the read more
  • Kevin Tostado: What time are the performances? As an alum in the read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: Looks like a huge success! Keep it up. :) read more
  • Kimly Do: also also, an electric water kettle is not really necessary, read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: We shall see. Though, 150 is an awful lot of read more
  • Chris Fitzhugh: That being said, I have a desktop and immensely value read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: I want cookies! Also, don't forget, kids, you WILL be read more
  • Noam Rubin: Hey 2015, I'd also recommend bringing a couple cups, bowls, read more
  • Jordyn Burger: Yep! Congrats, Brendan's gonna give you cookies! [I'll let him read more
  • CSF: Is the title from The Jeffersons? read more