Observe: Jeopardy – Pre-NDA

Welp it’s the night before I film for Jeopardy, so I just want to write up my thoughts before I get bound up with a NDA. I’ll be publishing an Observe post after my episodes air, but if you can’t wait, it’ll probably be similar to this MIT Admissions blog report.

Please don’t tempt me with messages asking me what happened – if you know me, I’ll already be really OMG HYPE HYPE if anything happens or OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I MISSED X if anything doesn’t happen, so it’s already going to be very hard for me to not freak out to anyone and I’d like to keep the money that I earn ^_^””

Read More »

Observe 5/26-5/27/16: Jekyll Island

Written on 9/17, queued since then. Dedicated to Connor Duffy who says that he likes my Observe posts the most, helping me motivate to finish more Observe posts, even these tiny ones.

My family occasionally takes vacations at Jekyll Island, one of Georgia’s barrier islands. We prefer Jekyll to a lot more well-known islands like Tybee Island or St. Simmons because of how little its been developed. I have fond memories of walking along the beach in the night and finding a horseshoe crab shell or boogy-boarding in the ocean with only my folks in sight. We went back for the first time since I’ve left for college.
Read More »

Observe: Spring 2016

Finally getting these out because hotdang, what a hot mess the spring semester was.


  • Seen a lot of people get shaved head haircuts. Usually the before-winter-break haircut is more common. Isn’t winter too cold and a bad time to remove hair?
  • In CMS.845, found that the dumb “plot mountain” I was taught in middle school is actually Freytag’s Pyramid (with “conclusion” substituted for “catastrophe”)


  • Tooled in the green dollar bill lounge. The internet is markedly slower, which is pretty amusing
  • Was really annoyed by some people talking outside pompously describing something about innovation. Turns out it was the gravitational waves simulcast. Whoops.

2/?? (probably around 2/20)

  • There’s a plaque on the Harvard bridge dedicated to Houdini, who apparently did a famous escape there.

Read More »

Necropost: Observe 10/16

Huge necropost. I remembered this post was a thing because I’m coming up with a way to better archive litchin@ (see upcoming email)

Cranes for Collier actually is totally a hack: http://hacks.mit.edu/Hacks/by_year/2014/sean_collier_memorial2/

The reason that I hadn’t thought it was a hack was that I remembered people spam emailing out to make paper cranes and so thus assumed that those cranes just were someone’s pet project / some administrator sponsored event. Looking through my email archives, it looks like the dormspam was actually sent out through a private mailing list (collier-tribute@mit.edu). Huh. Funny how biases creep out.

Thought question: Does it still remain a hack if it’s called out in advance? Looking at the email that was sent out about this, “we’re collecting cranes for a large installation” ain’t fooling anyone.

Observe 1/3 – 1/4


  • I went through a different security checkpoint than usual at ATL. At the end of the line was a really sad booth that had the awards this particular checkpoint had won as well as some pictures of TSA agents playing golf and patting down people. It was probably the saddest awards case I’ve ever seen, not to mention the probable privacy violation of that poor person who is being patted down in that picture.
  • Passed by an ad that said “We helped save this company BiLiONS” in element symbols. Was very confused about the bi-lions. Apparently Reddit did as well.
  • There are a lot of military personnel around, probably because moving to/from Fort Benning after the holidays. The gate across from me to St. Louis has a lot of military personnel waiting around, but I’m not familiar with what base is near by there.
  • Sitting behind MIT football dude in the plane
  • Really hyped for Building 2! It’s almost open.


  • A Stormtrooper balloon in Shaw’s was deflated enough that it looked like it was trying to protect its privates. Mildly amusing
  • I totally forgot how to cold
  • The construction around the Novartis campus has opened up enough that the shortcut between Random and Stata is open again! I’m not sure if it actually is shorter, but it definitely is more scenic.
  • Also, since the construction went down, I got to see that there are metal butterflies in the back of the Cyclotron.