People Should Find A Safe Storm Shelter During Thunderstorm

Storm Shelters in OKC

Tuesday June 5, 2001 marked the start of an extremely fascinating time in the annals of my cherished Houston. Tropical storm Allison, that early summer daytime came to see. The thunderstorm went rapidly, although there was Tuesday. Friday, afterward arrived, and Allison returned. This time going slowly, this time in the north. The thunderstorm became still. Thousands of people driven from their houses. Only when they might be desired most, several leading hospitals shut. Dozens of important surface roads, and every important highway covered in water that was high.

Yet even prior to the rain stopped, service to others, and narratives of Christian compassion started to be composed. For a couples class, about 75 people had assembled at Lakewood Church among the greatest nondenominational churches in The United States. From time they got ready to depart the waters had climbed so high they were stranded. The facility of Lakewood stayed dry and high at the center of among the hardest hit parts of town. Refugees in the powerful thunderstorm started arriving at their doorstep. Without no advance preparation, and demand of official sanction, those 75 classmates started a calamity shelter that grew to hold over 3,000 customers. The greatest of over 30 refuges that could be established in the height of the thunderstorm.

Where help was doled out to those who’d suffered losses after Lakewood functioned as a Red Cross Service Center. When it became clear that FEMA aid, and Red Cross wouldn’t bring aid enough, Lakewood and Second Baptist joined -Houston to produce an adopt a family plan to greatly help get folks on their feet quicker. In the occasions that followed militaries of Christians arrived in both churches. From all over town, people of economical standing, race, and each and every denomination collected. Wet rotted carpeting were pulled up, sheet stone removed. Piles of clothes donated food and bed clothes were doled out. Elbow grease and cleaning equipment were used to start eliminating traces of the damage.

It would have been an excellent example of practical ministry in a period of disaster, in the event the story stopped here, but it continues. A great many other churches functioned as shelters as well as in the occasions that followed Red Cross Service Centers. Tons of new volunteers, a lot of them Christians put to work, and were put through accelerated training. That Saturday, I used to be trapped in my own, personal subdivision. Particular that my family was safe because I worked in Storm Shelters OKC that was near where I used to live. What they wouldn’t permit the storm to do, is take their demand to give their religion, or their self respect. I saw so a lot of people as they brought gifts of food, clothes and bedclothes, praising the Lord. I saw young kids coming making use of their parents to not give new, rarely used toys to kids who had none.

Leaning On God Through Hard Times

Unity Church of Christianity from a location across town impacted by the storm sent a sizable way to obtain bedding as well as other supplies. A tiny troupe of musicians and Christian clowns requested to be permitted to amuse the kids in the shelter where I served and arrived. We of course promptly taken their offer. The kids were collected by them in a sizable empty space of flooring. They sang, they told stories, balloon animals were made by them. The kids, frightened, at least briefly displaced laughed.

When not occupied elsewhere I did lots of listening. I listened to survivors that were disappointed, and frustrated relief workers. I listened to kids make an effort to take advantage of a scenario they could not comprehend. All these are only the stories I have heard or seen. I am aware that spiritual groups, Churches, and lots of other individual Christians functioned admirably. I do need to thank them for the attempts in disaster. I thank The Lord for supplying them to serve.

I didn’t write its individuals, or this which means you’d feel sorry for Houston. As this disaster unfolded yet what I saw encouraged my beliefs the Lord will provide through our brothers and sisters in religion for us. Regardless how awful your community hits, you the individual Christian can be a part of the remedy. Those blankets you can probably never use, and have stored away mean much to people who have none. You are able to help in the event that you can drive. You are able to help if you’re able to create a cot. It is possible to help in the event that you can scrub a wall. It is possible to help if all you are able to do is sit and listen. Large catastrophes like Allison get lots of focus. However a disaster can come in virtually any size. That is a serious disaster to your family that called it home in case a single household burns. It is going to be generations prior to the folks here forget Allison.

United States Oil and Gas Exploration Opportunities

Firms investing in this sector can research, develop and create, as well as appreciate the edges of a global gas and oil portfolio with no political and economical disadvantages. Allowing regime and the US financial conditions is rated amongst the world and the petroleum made in US is sold at costs that were international. The firms will likely gain as US also has a national market that is booming. Where 500 exploration wells are drilled most of the petroleum exploration in US continues to be concentrated around the Taranaki Basin. On the other hand, the US sedimentary basins still remain unexplored and many show existence of petroleum seeps and arrangements were also unveiled by the investigation data with high hydrocarbon potential. There have already been onshore gas discoveries before including Great south river basins, East Coast Basin and offshore Canterbury.

As interest in petroleum is expected to grow strongly during this interval but this doesn’t automatically dim the bright future expectations in this sector. The interest in petroleum is anticipated to reach 338 PJ per annum. The US government is eager to augment the gas and oil supply. As new discoveries in this sector are required to carry through the national demand at the same time as raise the amount of self reliance and minimize the cost on imports of petroleum the Gas and Oil exploration sector is thought to be among the dawn sectors. The US government has invented a distinctive approach to reach its petroleum and gas exploration targets. It’s developed a “Benefit For Attempt” model for Petroleum and Gas exploration tasks in US.

The “Benefit For Attempt” in today’s analytic thinking is defined as oil reserves found per kilometer drilled. It will help in deriving the estimate of reservations drilled for dollar and each kilometer spent for each investigation. The authorities of US has revealed considerable signs that it’ll bring positive effects of change which will favor investigation of new oil reserves since the price of investigation has adverse effects on investigation task. The Authorities of US has made the information accessible about the oil potential in its study report. Foil of advice in royalty and allocation regimes, and simplicity of processes have enhanced the attractiveness of Petroleum and Natural Gas Sector in the United States.

Petroleum was the third biggest export earner in 2008 for US and the chance to to keep up the growth of the sector is broadly accessible by manners of investigation endeavors that are new. The government is poised to keep the impetus in this sector. Now many firms are active with new exploration jobs in the Challenger Plateau of the United States, Northland East Slope Basin region, outer Taranaki Basin, and Bellona Trough region. The 89 Energy oil and gas sector guarantees foreign investors as government to high increase has declared a five year continuance of an exemption for offshore petroleum and gas exploration in its 2009 budget. The authorities provide nonresident rig operators with tax breaks.

Modern Robot Duct Cleaning Uses

AC systems, and heat, venting collect pollutants and contaminants like mold, debris, dust and bacteria that can have an adverse impact on indoor air quality. Most folks are at present aware that indoor air pollution could be a health concern and increased visibility has been thus gained by the area. Studies have also suggested cleaning their efficacy enhances and is contributory to a longer operating life, along with maintenance and energy cost savings. The cleaning of the parts of forced air systems of heat, venting and cooling system is what’s called duct cleaning. Robots are an advantageous tool raising the price and efficacy facets of the procedure. Therefore, using modern robot duct isn’t any longer a new practice.

A cleaner, healthier indoor environment is created by a clean air duct system which lowers energy prices and increases efficiency. As we spend more hours inside air duct cleaning has become an important variable in the cleaning sector. Indoor pollutant levels can increase. Health effects can show years or up immediately after repeated or long exposure. These effects range from some respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, and cancer that can be deadly or debilitating. Therefore, it’s wise to ensure indoor air quality isn’t endangered inside buildings. Dangerous pollutants that can found in inside can transcend outdoor air pollutants in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Duct cleaning from Air Duct Cleaning Edmond professionals removes microbial contaminants, that might not be visible to the naked eye together with both observable contaminants. Indoor air quality cans impact and present a health hazard. Air ducts can be host to a number of health hazard microbial agents. Legionnaires Disease is one malaise that’s got public notice as our modern surroundings supports the development of the bacteria that has the potential to cause outbreaks and causes the affliction. Typical disorder-causing surroundings contain wetness producing gear such as those in air conditioned buildings with cooling towers that are badly maintained. In summary, in building and designing systems to control our surroundings, we’ve created conditions that were perfect . Those systems must be correctly tracked and preserved. That’s the secret to controlling this disorder.

Robots allow for the occupation while saving workers from exposure to be done faster. Signs of the technological progress in the duct cleaning business is apparent in the variety of gear now available for example, array of robotic gear, to be used in air duct cleaning. Robots are priceless in hard to reach places. Robots used to see states inside the duct, now may be used for spraying, cleaning and sampling procedures. The remote controlled robotic gear can be fitted with practical and fastener characteristics to reach many different use functions.

Video recorders and a closed circuit television camera system can be attached to the robotic gear to view states and operations and for documentation purposes. Inside ducts are inspected by review apparatus in the robot. Robots traveling to particular sections of the system and can move around barriers. Some join functions that empower cleaning operation and instruction manual and fit into little ducts. An useful view range can be delivered by them with models delivering disinfection, cleaning, review, coating and sealing abilities economically.

The remote controlled robotic gear comes in various sizes and shapes for different uses. Of robotic video cameras the first use was in the 80s to record states inside the duct. Robotic cleaning systems have a lot more uses. These devices provide improved accessibility for better cleaning and reduce labor costs. Lately, functions have been expanded by areas for the use of small mobile robots in the service industries, including uses for review and duct cleaning.

More improvements are being considered to make a tool that was productive even more effective. If you determine to have your ventilation, heat and cooling system cleaned, it’s important to make sure all parts of the system clean and is qualified to achieve this. Failure to clean one part of a contaminated system can lead to re-contamination of the entire system.

When To Call A DWI Attorney

Charges or fees against a DWI offender need a legal Sugar Land criminal defense attorney that is qualified dismiss or so that you can reduce charges or the fees. So, undoubtedly a DWI attorney is needed by everyone. Even if it’s a first-time violation the penalties can be severe being represented by a DWI attorney that is qualified is vitally significant. If you’re facing following charges for DWI subsequently the punishments can contain felony charges and be severe. Locating an excellent attorney is thus a job you should approach when possible.

So you must bear in mind that you just should hire a DWI attorney who practices within the state where the violation occurred every state within America will make its laws and legislation regarding DWI violations. It is because they are going to have the knowledge and expertise of state law that is relevant to sufficiently defend you and will be knowledgeable about the processes and evaluations performed to establish your guilt.

As your attorney they are going to look to the evaluations that have been completed at the time of your arrest and the authorities evidence that is accompanying to assess whether or not these evaluations were accurately performed, carried out by competent staff and if the right processes where followed. It isn’t often that a police testimony is asserted against, although authorities testimony also can be challenged in court.

You should attempt to locate someone who specializes in these kind of cases when you start trying to find a DWI attorney. Whilst many attorneys may be willing to consider on your case, a lawyer who specializes in these cases is required by the skilled knowledge needed to interpret the scientific and medical evaluations ran when you had been detained. The first consultation is free and provides you with the chance to to inquire further about their experience in fees and these cases.

Many attorneys will work according into a fee that is hourly or on a set fee basis determined by the kind of case. You may find how they have been paid to satisfy your financial situation and you will have the capacity to negotiate the conditions of their fee. If you are unable to afford to hire an attorney that is private you then can request a court-appointed attorney paid for by the state. Before you hire a DWI attorney you should make sure when you might be expected to appear in court and you understand the precise charges imposed against you.

How Credit Card Works

The credit card is making your life more easy, supplying an amazing set of options. The credit card is a retail trade settlement; a credit system worked through the little plastic card which bears its name. Regulated by ISO 7810 defines credit cards the actual card itself consistently chooses the same structure, size and contour. A strip of a special stuff on the card (the substance resembles the floppy disk or a magnetic group) is saving all the necessary data. This magnetic strip enables the credit card’s validation. The layout has become an important variable; an enticing credit card layout is essential in ensuring advice and its dependability keeping properties.

A credit card is supplied to the user just after a bank approves an account, estimating a varied variety of variables to ascertain fiscal dependability. This bank is the credit supplier. When a purchase is being made by an individual, he must sign a receipt to verify the trade. There are the card details, and the amount of cash to be paid. You can find many shops that take electronic authority for the credit cards and use cloud tokenization for authorization. Nearly all verification are made using a digital verification system; it enables assessing the card is not invalid. If the customer has enough cash to insure the purchase he could be attempting to make staying on his credit limit any retailer may also check.

As the credit supplier, it is as much as the banks to keep the user informed of his statement. They typically send monthly statements detailing each trade procedures through the outstanding fees, the card and the sums owed. This enables the cardholder to ensure all the payments are right, and to discover mistakes or fraudulent action to dispute. Interest is typically charging and establishes a minimal repayment amount by the end of the following billing cycle.

The precise way the interest is charged is normally set within an initial understanding. On the rear of the credit card statement these elements are specified by the supplier. Generally, the credit card is an easy type of revolving credit from one month to another. It can also be a classy financial instrument, having many balance sections to afford a greater extent for credit management. Interest rates may also be not the same as one card to another. The credit card promotion services are using some appealing incentives find some new ones along the way and to keep their customers.

Why Get Help From A Property Management?

One solution while removing much of the anxiety, to have the revenue of your rental home would be to engage and contact property management in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. If you wish to know more and are considering the product please browse the remainder of the post. Leasing out your bit of real property may be real cash-cow as many landlords understand, but that cash flow usually includes a tremendous concern. Night phones from tenants that have the trouble of marketing the house if you own an emptiness just take out lots of the pleasure of earning money off of leases, overdue lease payments which you must chase down, as well as over-flowing lavatories. One solution while removing much of the anxiety, to have the earnings would be to engage a property management organization.

These businesses perform as the go between for the tenant as well as you. The tenant will not actually need to understand who you’re when you hire a property management company. The company manages the day to day while you still possess the ability to help make the final judgements in regards to the home relationships using the tenant. The company may manage the marketing for you personally, for those who are in possession of a unit that is vacant. Since the company is going to have more connections in a bigger market than you’ve got along with the industry than you are doing, you’ll discover your device gets stuffed a whole lot more quickly making use of their aid. In addition, the property management company may care for testing prospective tenants. With regards to the arrangement you’ve got, you might nevertheless not be unable to get the last say regarding if a tenant is qualified for the the system, but of locating a suitable tenant, the day-to-day difficulty is not any longer your problem. They’ll also manage the before-move-in the reviews as well as reviews required following a tenant moves away.

It is possible to step back watching the profits, after the the system is stuffed. Communicating will be handled by the company with all the tenant if you have an issue. You won’t be telephoned if this pipe explosions at the center of the night time. Your consultant is called by the tenant in the company, who then makes the preparations that are required to get the issue repaired with a care supplier. You get a phone call a day later or may not know there was an issue before you register using the business. The property management organization may also make your leasing obligations to to get. The company will do what’s required to accumulate if your tenant is making a payment. In certain arrangements, the organization is going to also take-over paying taxation, insurance, and the mortgage on the portion of property. You actually need to do-nothing but appreciate after after all the the invoices are paid, the revenue which is sent your way.

With all the advantages, you’re probably questioning exactly what to employing a property management organization, the downside should be. From hiring one the primary variable that stops some landlords is the price. All these providers will be paid for by you. The price must be weighed by you from the time frame you’ll save time that you may subsequently use to follow additional revenue-producing efforts or just take pleasure in the fruits of your expense work.

Benifits From An Orthodontic Care

Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry centered on the identification and treatment of dental and related facial problems. The outcomes of Norman Orthodontist OKC treatment could be dramatic — an advanced quality of life for a lot of individuals of ages and lovely grins, improved oral health health, aesthetics and increased cosmetic tranquility. Whether into a look dentistry attention is needed or not is an individual’s own choice. Situations are tolerated by most folks like totally various kinds of bite issues or over bites and don’t get treated. Nevertheless, a number people sense guaranteed with teeth that are correctly aligned, appealing and simpler. Dentistry attention may enhance construct and appearance power. It jointly might work with you consult with clearness or to gnaw on greater.

Orthodontic attention isn’t only decorative in character. It might also gain long term oral health health. Right, correctly aligned teeth is not more difficult to floss and clean. This may ease and decrease the risk of rot. It may also quit periodontists irritation that problems gums. Periodontists might finish in disease, that occurs once micro-organism bunch round your house where the teeth and the gums meet. Periodontists can be ended in by untreated periodontists. Such an unhealthiness result in enamel reduction and may ruin bone that surrounds the teeth. Less may be chewed by people who have stings that are harmful with efficacy. A few of us using a serious bite down side might have difficulties obtaining enough nutrients. Once the teeth aren’t aimed correctly, this somewhat might happen. Morsel issues that are repairing may allow it to be more easy to chew and digest meals.

One may also have language problems, when the top and lower front teeth do not arrange right. All these are fixed through therapy, occasionally combined with medical help. Eventually, remedy may ease to avoid early use of rear areas. Your teeth grow to an unlikely quantity of pressure, as you chew down. In case your top teeth do not match it’ll trigger your teeth that are back to degrade. The most frequently encountered type of therapy is the braces (or retainer) and head-gear. But, a lot people complain about suffering with this technique that, unfortunately, is also unavoidable. Sport braces damages, as well as additional individuals have problem in talking. Dental practitioners, though, state several days can be normally disappeared throughout by the hurting. Occasionally annoyance is caused by them. In the event that you’d like to to quit more unpleasant senses, fresh, soft and tedious food must be avoided by you. In addition, tend not to take your braces away unless the medical professional claims so.

It is advised which you just observe your medical professional often for medical examinations to prevent choice possible problems that may appear while getting therapy. You are going to be approved using a specific dental hygiene, if necessary. Dental specialist may look-out of managing and id malocclusion now. Orthodontia – the main specialization of medication – mainly targets repairing chin problems and teeth, your grin as well as thus your sting. Dentist, however, won’t only do chin remedies and crisis teeth. They also handle tender to severe dental circumstances which may grow to states that are risky. You actually have not got to quantify throughout a predicament your life all. See dental specialist San – Direction Posts, and you’ll notice only but of stunning your smile plenty will soon be.

Yo-Yo Ma calls for “culture in action” to build a better world

World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma made a heartfelt call for ethical action to shape a better society — and played some Bach — while delivering MIT’s annual Karl Taylor Compton Lecture before an engrossed campus audience on Monday.

Every person, Ma said, has an obligation to “find a way, each, according to your strengths and capacities as citizens, to identify and start chipping away at society’s greatest problems.” At the same time, he added, we should ask ourselves a separate but related question: “What can we all do together that we can’t do alone?”

Ma is famous for his mastery of the cello across an impressively large range of musical genres, from the canonical Western classical works to the music of places as disparate as Appalachia and Brazil. That same global outlook has informed his sense of social responsibility: Ma has served as a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2006.

In his MIT talk, titled, “Culture, Understanding, and Survival,” Ma expressed concern that so many aspects of life seem to be in a state of flux at the moment.

“I’m worried that at the same time we’re making so many advances, while many people’s lives are improving significantly, we are also creating massive disruption,” Ma said.

For all our gains, he said, “we also live in a time of increasing fraction, when the ties that bind us politically, economically, and socially are fraying. I’m concerned that we’re hurtling toward a future … where we can no longer assure the health of our planet, where violence becomes a solution, where intellectual certitude displaces intellectual curiosity, where we feel comfortable turning our back on others.”

And yet, Ma added, “I’m also hopeful, because I believe we can solve those problems with culture’s contribution.”

Speaking without notes to a large audience in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, Ma defined culture broadly, from “literature to mathematics, from biology to music,” as the result of “our primal drive to understand our environment, ourselves, and others.” By serving as the foundation for a shared understanding of the world, Ma said, “Culture must play a role in our decision making. It turns ‘the other’ into us, and we all have a part to play.”

The magic of music, in the “seat of discovery”

Ma was introduced by MIT President L. Rafael Reif, who noted Ma’s “dazzling list of accomplishments,” which include 18 Grammy Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, bestowed by then-President Obama in 2011.

“He has been teaching us all to sail toward each other on an ocean of culture,” Reif said.

Ma called MIT “one of my favorite places in the world” because of its “sheer energy” and “spirit of inquiry,” and emphasized how much he had enjoyed participating in a luncheon with students held earlier in the day. Ma also noted that he has many colleagues and friends among the composers and performers at MIT.

“I love MIT because it’s the seat of discovery and the very incarnation of invention,” he said.

In his lecture, Ma made the case that two particular modes of thinking help generate productive ideas, which in turn can serve larger social needs. The first is what Ma calls “edge-center oscillation” — the need to connect innovative ideas, which sometimes appear on the margins of a particular discipline, with mainstream thought. 

“Culture helps the edges of society communicate with the center of society,” Ma said, emphasizing the need for the “integration of edge ideas into the mainstream.”

In the arts, he noted, we see this in the connections that musicians make across cultures; in science, useful ideas can stay at the margins of a field until researchers open themselves to studying them. As an example, Ma cited the once-unorthodox concept of fighting tumors by cutting off their blood supply, which has become a major area of cancer research.

“If you’re in the center, make sure you’re open to ideas from the edge, and do that all the time,” Ma said.

Ma then played the prelude to the Bach Cello Suite No. 1 — the first piece of music he ever learned — which features “massive disruptive change,” in the form of the lowest notes of the piece, followed by an ending that reaches the piece’s highest notes and repeats its opening motif, which Ma called “a reinvigorated center, a strengthened reflection of the beginning.”

Analysis and empathy

A second mode of thinking, Ma added, involves the integration of our abilities to analyze things and feel empathy for others, something he regards as being vital in almost any field of human endeavor — so that we can be both creative and disciplined, while remaining purposeful in our activities.

“This is a state of mind, a type of thinking, that culture helps us train for,” Ma said.

“Nobody does this better than Bach,” he stated, adding that Bach’s Cello Suite No. 5 “combines total objectivity and total subjectivity, analysis and empathy, the conscious and subconscious. … It’s a compositional miracle.”

To demonstrate, the famed cellist played a part of the piece, explaining that the notes that go down create a “gravitational pull” and “feeling of burden,” while “the notes that go up must struggle against that pull.”

In any aspect of life, Ma suggested, we can experience that same sense of struggle. And while we may not personally cure cancer or solve the world’s problems, he noted, we can always feel we are contributing to a larger cultural effort to make life better for others. In this vein, Ma cited the case of a scientist who once told him, “I view my work as a building block in a very large field.” 

Taking the next step together

The Karl Taylor Compton Lecture Series, which dates to 1957, is among MIT’s highest-profile lecture events. It is named after the Institute’s 10th president, who held office from 1930 to 1948. Compton also served as chairman of the MIT Corporation from 1948 to 1954.

As Reif stated in his remarks, Compton “made science an equal partner with engineering at MIT,” and, during World War II, helped strengthen MIT’s vital collaborations with the U.S. federal government.

“In the best MIT tradition, President Compton was a citizen scientist,” Reif added. “He was known for the scope of his understanding, his integrity, his creative vision, his inspired service to society, and his charismatic charm.”

Following Ma’s lecture, Reif joined Ma onstage to read aloud audience questions, which Ma answered. The musician then concluded with another call for people to contribute to the common good of society.

“Let us choose the next step in our cultural evolution together,” Ma said, eliciting a standing ovation from the MIT crowd.

Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab holds second J-WEL Week

The Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) is kicking off its second J-WEL Week, a semiannual meeting of members to explore important new developments in learning science, pedagogy, adult learning, and digital learning practices. The meeting is themed “Learning Communities of the Future,” and participants will explore MIT educational research and teaching approaches as a catalyst for articulating goals and action plans for their own organizations.

“Through J-WEL, we will forge new and long-lasting collaborations as we learn, share, and train together, using the assets developed at MIT as well as by leveraging the community convened by J-WEL,” MIT Vice President for Open Learning Sanjay Sarma explains.

J-WEL Week is structured in three parallel, interwoven programs, one for each of the lab’s three collaboratives — pK-12, Higher Education, and Workplace Learning — which come together in joint sessions throughout the meeting. The program was designed by J-WEL faculty directors professors Angela Becher, Eric Klopfer, and Hazel Sive, and Principal Research Scientist George Westerman, in cooperation with M.S. Vijay Kumar, J-WEL’s executive director — who collectively bring to the program decades of experience and passion across pre-K-12, higher education, and workplace learning.

The participants are educators from across the globe, who are thinking deeply about educational challenges and opportunities. The more than 100 participants come from 23 countries, including Australia, Colombia, India, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Spain. The participants include university senior leadership, industry leaders, educators, government officials, and heads of leading foundations. 

J-WEL Week convenes at various locations on the MIT campus and features outstanding educational innovators from the MIT community and its ecosystem. Speakers include Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson, MIT Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz, Associate Dean for Innovation Fiona Murray, Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz, and Dean of Science Michael Sipser; a number of professors, including Azra Aksamija, Craig Carter, Lorna Gibson, and Laura Schulz; and senior staff and students.  A full list of speakers is available on the J-WEL website. Interactive sessions are planned with MIT programs including App Inventor, BioBuilder, Legatum Center, and Scratch.

J-WEL was launched in May 2017 by MIT and social enterprise organization Community Jameel. The chairperson of Community Jameel is alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel ’78, a life member of the MIT Corporation and 2016 recipient of the MIT Alumni Association’s highest honor for his history of service and philanthropy. J-WEL is named in honor of his father, the late Abdul Latif Jameel, founder of the Abdul Latif Jameel business, whose work to help the lives of tens of thousands of people is continued today by Community Jameel.

“Education and learning are fundamental to a strong society and economy,” says Fady Mohammed Jameel, president of Community Jameel International.  “They promote employment and create increased opportunity for all.”

Contact lenses that deliver drugs directly to the eye win health care prize

A team from a Harvard Medical School affiliate saw its way clearly to victory at last night’s MIT Sloan Healthcare Innovation Prize competition, with contact lenses that deliver medications directly to the eye over days or weeks.

For its novel invention, Theraoptix took home the annual competition’s $25,000 grand prize, sponsored by health services firm Optum. In total, eight finalist teams pitched health care innovations to a panel of expert judges, from Optum and several local venture firms, and a capacity audience at the MIT Wong Auditorium in the Tang Center.

Winning a second-place prize of $2,000 was Strand Therapeutics, which is developing mRNA-based cancer-fighting drugs. A $500 audience-choice prize was awarded to Healthcare Hospitality Systems, developing directional sound systems for hospital rooms.

Made from FDA-approved materials, Theraoptix’s contact lenses deliver eye medication in a controlled, sustained release. Sandwiched between contact lens material is a drug-filled polymer film, formed into a tiny circular strip that doesn’t interfere with the wearer’s vision. The sandwiching structure causes the drugs to slowly seep from the film into the eye.

The lenses can be worn all day for up to two weeks to treat, say, glaucoma or to aid in healing after surgery. Eye drops are the traditional treatment method, but they can be ineffective, as the liquid drips out of the eye or patients may stop treatment. Moreover, the lenses can effectively deliver drugs to the back of the eye to treat macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, and other diseases that today require in-office injections.

“No eye drops, no injections — just one lens,” said team member Lokendra Bengani, a postdoc at Schepens Eye Research Institute of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, during the team’s winning pitch.

Theraoptix’s aim is primarily to improve patient compliance, Bengani told MIT News after the competition. Glaucoma, for instance, is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. “Yet six months into therapy, patients will stop taking medications. They have to take about four drops per day, so they stop,” he said. “We’re hoping this lens can help them comply without having to do anything else.”

Most of the prize money will go toward research and development. Surprisingly, Bengani told MIT News, Theraoptix came into the competition not expecting to win anything at all. “Honestly, we just came for feedback from the judges,” he said, laughing. “But this will definitely help.”

Theraoptix’s core technology was developed nearly a decade ago in the lab of David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer at MIT, by ophthalmologist Joseph B. Ciolino, Bengani’s mentor at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Second-place winner Strand Therapeutics is developing a therapeutic that combines engineered mRNA, which relays messages for cells to create proteins, with certain immunotherapies, which trigger the body’s immune response to fight cancer. The idea is the mRNA will help cells produce target cancer-killing proteins during immunotherapy.

In the team’s pitch, Jacob Becraft, an MIT PhD student in biological engineering, showed preclinical trial results of the combined therapeutic, which extended survival rates of cancer patients by a couple months compared to immunotherapy alone. Additionally, mRNA-based therapeutics are safe, easy to deliver, and relatively cheap to produce, according to the team. “With Strand Therapeutics, we believe there is finally a market opportunity to cure cancer,” Becraft said.

Audience-choice winner, Healthcare Hospitality Systems, from MIT, is developing an audio device that points a slim “beam” of sound at a listener. Outside of that beam, however, the sound is no louder than a whisper. In a demonstration, one team member faced a ceiling tile equipped with the device directly at the audience. Music playing through the device was clearly audible. But when the tile was flipped horizontally, facing the floor, the room went silent.

The device can be installed in square ceiling panels above hospital beds, and connect wirelessly to a television, so patients can watch television without disturbing others. University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, and Winchester Hospital in Massachusetts have already started piloting the device. (The device is a modified version of the Audio Spotlight, developed by Joseph Pompei PhD ’02 at the Media Lab and commercialized through his company Holosonics.)

Other competing teams were: Iterative Scopes, developing computer vision algorithms that aid in detecting lesions that may signal colorectal cancer during colonoscopies; SurgiBox, developing a clear enclosure that sits on top of a surgery patient, creating a portable sterile environment; Umbulizer, developing a low-cost, portable device that provides continuous ventilation in the developing world; Kinematics, developing smart shoe insoles that use sensors and real-time data to enable faster and more comprehensive gait analysis for physical therapists; and O2Map, developing an implantable sensor that can monitor oxygen in tumors, because low-oxygen tumors can become resistant to radiotherapy.

The competition was organized by the student-run MIT Sloan Healthcare Club and was held as part of the 16th annual MIT Sloan Healthcare and BioInnovations Conference, themed “Pathways to Innovation in Healthcare.” The conference, held today in the MIT Media Lab, brings together industry, academic, investment, and policy leaders from the health care industry to listen to keynotes and panel discussions on today’s pressing issues and innovations. There are also two hands-on workshops, hosted by MIT Hacking Medicine and by Solve.

Dozens of teams apply each year to the competition, while only eight are selected to pitch in the final pitch competition. Weeks before the competition, finalist teams are offered mentorship, networking opportunities, and a one-day workshop on developing business pitches. The competition consisted of two semifinal rounds, where judges provide further coaching. Criteria for choosing competing teams included determining the novelty of the invention, its technical feasibility, any hurdles in governmental and other regulations, and whether the team has acquired customers or made its first sale. Teams must have at least one representative from MIT or Harvard University.

With the competition, organizers hope to strengthen the health care community at MIT, in neighboring Kendall Square, and across Boston by fostering connections among teams, judges, and local mentors and investors.

Keynote speaker was Alexandra Drane, a serial entrepreneur who co-founded several health care startups and nonprofits in the region and beyond, including Archangels, Engage with Grace, and Eliza Corporation. Kyle Rand of last year’s winning team, Rendever, which is developing a virtual reality platform for the elderly, was on hand to deliver a talk that focused on the ups and downs of running a health care startup.

Study: On Twitter, false news travels faster than true stories

A new study by three MIT scholars has found that false news spreads more rapidly on the social network Twitter than real news does — and by a substantial margin.

“We found that falsehood defuses significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth, in all categories of information, and in many cases by an order of magnitude,” says Sinan Aral, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-author of a new paper detailing the findings.

“These findings shed new light on fundamental aspects of our online communication ecosystem,” says Deb Roy, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab and director of the Media Lab’s Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM), who is also a co-author of the study. Roy adds that the researchers were “somewhere between surprised and stunned” at the different trajectories of true and false news on Twitter. 

Moreover, the scholars found, the spread of false information is essentially not due to bots that are programmed to disseminate inaccurate stories. Instead, false news speeds faster around Twitter due to people retweeting inaccurate news items.

“When we removed all of the bots in our dataset, [the] differences between the spread of false and true news stood,”says Soroush Vosoughi, a co-author of the new paper and a postdoc at LSM whose PhD research helped give rise to the current study.

The study provides a variety of ways of quantifying this phenomenon: For instance,  false news stories are 70 percent more likely to be retweeted than true stories are. It also takes true stories about six times as long to reach 1,500 people as it does for false stories to reach the same number of people. When it comes to Twitter’s “cascades,” or unbroken retweet chains, falsehoods reach a cascade depth of 10 about 20 times faster than facts. And falsehoods are retweeted by unique users more broadly than true statements at every depth of cascade.

The paper, “The Spread of True and False News Online,” is published today in Science.

Why novelty may drive the spread of falsity

The genesis of the study involves the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent casualties, which received massive attention on Twitter.

“Twitter became our main source of news,” Vosoughi says. But in the aftermath of the tragic events, he adds, “I realized that … a good chunk of what I was reading on social media was rumors; it was false news.” Subsequently, Vosoughi and Roy — Vosoughi’s graduate advisor at the time — decided to pivot Vosoughi’s PhD focus to develop a model that could predict the veracity of rumors on Twitter.

Subsequently, after consultation with Aral — another of Vosoughi’s graduate advisors, who has studied social networks extensively — the three researchers decided to try the approach used in the new study: objectively identifying news stories as true or false, and charting their Twitter trajectories. Twitter provided support for the research and granted the MIT team full access to its historical archives. Roy served as Twitter’s chief media scientist from 2013 to 2017.

To conduct the study, the researchers tracked roughly 126,000 cascades of news stories spreading on Twitter, which were cumulatively tweeted over 4.5 million times by about 3 million people, from the years 2006 to 2017.

To determine whether stories were true or false, the team used the assessments of six fact-checking organizations (,,,,, and, and found that their judgments overlapped more than 95 percent of the time.

Of the 126,000 cascades, politics comprised the biggest news category, with about 45,000, followed by urban legends, business, terrorism, science, entertainment, and natural disasters. The spread of false stories was more pronounced for political news than for news in the other categories.

The researchers also settled on the term “false news” as their object of study, as distinct from the now-ubiquitous term “fake news,” which involves multiple broad meanings.

The bottom-line findings produce a basic question: Why do falsehoods spread more quickly than the truth, on Twitter? Aral, Roy, and Vosoughi suggest the answer may reside in human psychology: We like new things.

“False news is more novel, and people are more likely to share novel information,” says Aral, who is the David Austin Professor of Management. And on social networks, people can gain attention by being the first to share previously unknown (but possibly false) information. Thus, as Aral puts it, “people who share novel information are seen as being in the know.”

The MIT scholars examined this “novelty hypothesis” in their research by taking a random subsample of Twitter users who propagated false stories, and analyzing the content of the reactions to those stories.

The result? “We saw a different emotional profile for false news and true news,” Vosoughi says. “People respond to false news more with surprise and disgust,” he notes, whereas true stories produced replies more generally characterized by sadness, anticipation, and trust.

So while the researchers “cannot claim that novelty causes retweets” by itself, as they state in the paper, the surprise people register when they see false news fits with the idea that the novelty of falsehoods may be an important part of their propagation.

Directions for further research

While the three researchers all think the magnitude of the effect they found is highly significant, their views on its civic implications vary slightly. Aral says the result is “very scary” in civic terms, while Roy is a bit more sanguine. But the scholars agree it is important to think about ways to limit the spread of misinformation, and they hope their result will encourage more research on the subject.

On the first count, Aral notes, the recognition that humans, not bots, spread false news more quickly suggests a general approach to the problem.

“Now behavioral interventions become even more important in our fight to stop the spread of false news,” Aral says. “Whereas if it were just bots, we would need a technological solution.”

Vosoughi, for his part, suggests that if some people are deliberately spreading false news while others are doing so unwittingly, then the phenomenon is a two-part problem that may require multiple tactics in response. And Roy says the findings may help create “measurements or indicators that could become benchmarks” for social networks, advertisers, and other parties.

The MIT scholars say it is possible that the same phenomenon occurs on other social media platforms, including Facebook, but they emphasize that careful studies are needed on that and other related questions.

In that vein, Aral says, “science needs to have more support, both from industry and government, in order to do more studies.”

For now, Roy says, even well-meaning Twitter users might reflect on a simple idea: “Think before you retweet.”

Solve announces next global challenges

At the March 1 launch event for MIT’s Intelligence Quest, MIT Solve Executive Director Alex Amouyel announced Solve’s next set of challenges: Coastal Communities, Frontlines of Health, Teachers and Educators, and Work of the Future.

Solve’s challenges are open to anyone with a relevant solution and the deadline to submit is July 1. Once the new Solver class is selected in September, Solve will then deploy its global community of private, public, and nonprofit leaders to form partnerships these tech entrepreneurs need to scale their impact.

“These are big challenges — the type that MIT, founded as a school of practical application, of problem-solving, and of real entrepreneurial spirit, has sought to tackle since its inception,” said Amouyel. “At Solve, we are opening up the doors of a world-class institution to those without an MIT card — because we believe that talent and ingenuity are everywhere.”

Over the past six months, the Solve team has consulted over 500 cross-sector leaders and experts to determine the 2018 challenges. Solve hosted 26 Challenge Design Workshops in eight countries, in locations ranging from Detroit, Standing Rock, Riyadh, London, and Paris, to source insights around the most pressing problems communities around the world are facing today. In the spirit of open innovation, Solve encouraged community members to vote and propose new challenge ideas on the Solve website and in doing so received over 12,000 votes.

The Solve team will be reviewing all of the solutions to decide the next Solver class and will hold Solveathons to help Solve applicants further refine their ideas. Solve’s Challenge Leadership Groups, comprising cross-sector leaders and MIT faculty, will select the finalists who will then be invited to Solve Challenge Finals on Sept. 23, 2018 in New York City during UN General Assembly Week and will have the opportunity to pitch their solution for the chance to become a part of the next Solver class.

  1. Coastal Communities: How can coastal communities mitigate and adapt to climate change while developing and prospering?

  2. Frontlines of Health: How can communities invest in frontline
    health workers and services to improve their access to effective and affordable care?

  3. Teachers and Educators: How can teachers and educators provide accessible, personalized, and creative learning experiences for all?    

  4. Work of the Future: How can those left behind by the technology-driven transformations of work create meaningful and prosperous livelihoods for themselves?

Solve is a global community of private, public, and nonprofit leaders accelerating positive impact. Corporates, foundations, investors, and nonprofits interested in supporting the Solver class and joining the community can apply for membership here.

MIT launches Task Force on the Work of the Future

Today MIT launched its Task Force on the Work of the Future, an Institute-wide effort to understand and shape the evolution of jobs during an age of innovation.

The task force’s mission was announced in a letter to the MIT community by Provost Martin A. Schmidt.

“The MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future takes as a guiding premise that addressing the social and human implications of technology should not be an afterthought, but instead should be a first concern that pervades how we design, innovate, and take our ideas to market, as well as what we teach our students, the technologists of tomorrow,” Schmidt writes.

The task force’s project is a vital part of examining the strength of our civic fabric, MIT President L. Rafael Reif says. 

“In profound and pervasive ways, the technologies humans invent in the present will set the terms of our shared future,” Reif says. “The global race to advance those technologies will help determine the nature of society itself. Through the work of the task force, we hope to help the nation and the world reflect on what kind of society we aspire to — and come together to make it real.” 

Since at least the industrial revolution, new technologies have both created and replaced jobs at large scales, while altering many other forms of work. Today, new developments in artificial intelligence, automation, information technology, 3-D printing, and other areas of innovation are again reshaping traditional jobs and have the potential to further change the workplace.

Faced with this uncertain landscape, as well as growing concerns about the issue across the political spectrum, the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future will conduct an empirical, interdisciplinary, and global study of the subject, to understand work today and its possible trajectories in the future. The task force aims to shed new light on the linked evolution of technology and human work, and will issue findings guiding the development and implementation of policy, to suggest how society can continue to offer broad opportunity and prosperity.

Many MIT scholars have already produced research revealing recent changes in the nature of work. The new initiative will bring that expertise to the fore and tap into the Institute’s unique range of scholarship.

The MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future consists of a faculty and student research team of more than 20 members, as well as an external advisory board. Additional researchers are expected to participate in working groups to supplement the efforts of the core task force members.

Those task force members represent fields from engineering and cognitive science to economics, management, political science, anthropology, education innovation, and the history of technology. The group will integrate deep knowledge of technology, expertise in the social and human sciences, and an understanding that public policy significantly shapes the workplace as well.

All told, the task force is expected to continue for two years. The group will issue research findings periodically, as well as final reports and a published book intended for a general audience. Task force activities will include conferences and a speaker series, in addition to educational and outreach efforts.

The task force leadership team consists of David Autor, the Ford Professor of Economics and associate head of the MIT Department of Economics; David Mindell, the Frances and David Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing, and a professor of aeronautics and astronautics; and Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Industrial Performance Center (IPC) and a lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

“History makes clear that individuals and institutions shape how innovation, automation, and rising productivity translate into opportunity, meritocracy, and dynamism on the one hand, or into economic stasis, dynasticism, and plutocracy on the other,” says Autor, a labor economist who has studied many aspects of the workplace.

Autor adds: “MIT’s choice of the title Work of the Future conveys two facets of the challenge and opportunity we face. One is to understand and anticipate the role that human work will play in a future in which machines accomplish many of our traditional cognitive and physical tasks. A second is to seize the opportunity to shape that future. Our task force aims to contribute to both goals — anticipating the future and enabling individuals, institutions, private-sector actors, and governments to make this future a better one.”

Mindell, an engineer, historian, and entrepreneur who has written multiple books about human-machine interactions, says he is “honored” to be co-chairing the task force. “I believe it is the most important thing MIT can be doing right now, as the world is clamoring for sober, informed assessments on how we can shape the future of technology and work. MIT’s resources on both the technical and social dimensions of these changes are unsurpassed, and I’m thrilled that the task force will bring together expertise from so many perspectives.”

Reynolds oversees the IPC, an interdisciplinary center supporting research about firms, industries, and technological change in the global economy. The new task force will engage with several issues that have been of longstanding interest to the IPC, such as the adoption of new technologies by firms, the role institutions play in shaping regional growth and labor markets, and the impact of increasing globalization on industry.

“We see significant variation in how different regions and countries more broadly are responding to concerns about the impact of new technologies on work in the future,” Reynolds says. “These differences are important to understand, within the U.S., as well as in other countries. We expect our research will try to capture this variation and learn from it.”

The launch of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future is occurring as the Institute is starting the MIT Intelligence Quest (MIT IQ), an interdisciplinary project to study and develop human and machine intelligence. The task force’s ability to draw upon the latest developments from MIT IQ will help it stay informed about the leading edge of intelligence research and its possible workplace applications. At the same time, research from the Work of the Future task force can inform the approach of MIT IQ and other Institute initiatives relevant to the workplace. 

The MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future has a similar aim and structure as some high-profile MIT research initiatives that preceded it. MIT’s Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) initiative, which concluded in 2013, examined the relationship between advanced manufacturing and innovation. Along with MIT’s participation in the U.S. federal government’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, the PIE initiative has helped inform U.S. economic policy on industrial innovation.

Earlier, MIT’s Commission on Industrial Productivity examined U.S. industrial competitiveness and published the notable 1989 book, “Made in America.”

Event explores initial findings from “MIT and Slavery” class

In 1882, MIT students socialized in a drawing room that featured a replica of J.M.W. Turner’s painting, “The Slaveship,” which shows enslaved people drowning, thrown overboard during a storm as expendable cargo. The students’ commentary centered on the painting’s bold colors, but ignored the violent human narrative.

On Friday, Feb. 16, MIT senior Alaisha Alexander stood under a projection of that haunting image, and noted that absence in the campus dialogue of the time. Early MIT coursework also referred to scientific literature that validated slavery, she said, without encountering opposition from professors or students. “It’s not just about what is taught at a university. It’s also about what isn’t,” said Alexander, a mechanical engineering student. “Science and technology aren’t neutral.”

Alexander and other MIT students have begun exploring the university’s entanglement with the institution of slavery, in the process writing a more complete history, and helping to catalyze a national conversation about the legacies of slavery in science, engineering, and technical education. The source of this momentum is a new, ongoing undergraduate research course, “MIT and Slavery,” (21H.S01). Set in motion by MIT President L. Rafael Reif with School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) Dean Melissa Nobles, the course was developed and taught by Craig Steven Wilder, the Barton L. Weller Professor of History and the nation’s leading expert on the links between universities and slavery, in collaboration with Nora Murphy, the MIT Archivist for Researcher Services.

How can history help us invent a better future?

The power of stories and seeking the facts were primary threads of discussion among the nine speakers during Friday’s event, the first of the “MIT and the Legacy of Slavery” dialogues that will engage the MIT community in considering responses to the course findings. A single MIT course rarely prompts community-wide conversations, but the research of the “MIT and Slavery” course speaks not only to more complete understanding of the Institute’s own history, but to the roots of ongoing culture-wide issues of justice, inclusion, and human rights.

“I believe the work of this class is important to the present — and to the future,” President Reif said in his welcoming remarks to around 200 faculty, students, alumni, and a livestream audience at the event. “Something I have always loved about the MIT community is that we seek, and we face, facts. What can history teach us now, as we work to invent the future? How can we make sure that the technologies we invent will indeed contribute to making a better world for all?”

The power of facts — and stories

Four MIT students from the first class presented well-researched information and narratives — previously obscured, forgotten, ignored — that shed new light on the history of science and technology in the U.S. One of many revelations unearthed in the course involves the story of MIT’s founder and first president William Barton Rogers. As Murphy discovered in the U.S. Census Slave Schedule of Virginia, before Rogers moved to Massachusetts in 1853, he owned six enslaved people, who, according to the census records, lived in his Virginia household.

This discovery hardly surprises scholars such as Wilder. In his words, “If we’re surprised, our surprise is a measure of how successful we’ve been as a nation at erasing the history of slavery,” including its pervasive links with the economy and major institutions, in the Northeast as well as the South. Many U.S. engineering schools, for example, were originally funded by families whose wealth derived from textile, sugar, and mining operations, which depended, directly or indirectly, on the labor of enslaved people.

A new space for research and conversation

All the early findings from the new course, and those from future classes, will contribute to advancing a national dialogue, Wilder said: “We are not only participating in a larger exploration of the ties between American universities and slavery, we are leading a part of it.” Wilder said he hopes the MIT project inspires other science and technology institutions across the country to revisit their histories, and to form a collaborative research effort on the relationship between science, engineering, and the slave economies of the Atlantic World. Wilder is partnering with colleagues at New York University to convene several schools this spring to launch the initiative.

“The goal of our work is to collectively tell our story in the most honest, complicated, full, and transparent way that we can,” Wilder said during Friday’s event. Such a narrative will create space for much better conversations on campuses, in cities, in states, and across the country, he explained, adding that “what we mean by race, social justice, inclusion, and diversity” for the present and the future can only be understood when seen against an accurate historical backdrop.

Fundamental to the nation’s history

In 1861, when MIT was founded, the political and social order in the U.S., along with its economy, was still fundamentally shaped by the institution of slavery, said Nobles, who provided an overview of the cultural and economic context in which MIT was founded, and will lead MIT’s process of community discussions to consider responses to the “MIT and Slavery” course findings.

The legacy of slavery is enmeshed in the histories of many of the country’s oldest and most prestigious institutions, said Nobles, who is also a professor of political science at MIT. “Slavery was so fundamental to our country’s history, economy, and politics that it would only be surprising if there were no connections at MIT.”

Indeed all scientific knowledge is embedded in a social context, said the course’s teaching assistant Clare Kim, a fifth-year PhD candidate. Her students visited the MIT archives and pored over old issues of the student newspaper The Tech and the MIT yearbook Technique. They also read faculty minutes, course catalogs, and a wealth of secondary source materials.

“These students interrogated not only our assumptions about MIT and slavery — but also race, science, and technology,” Kim said. She urged the audience to do more than passively receive the facts the class has found. “Go back to your labs and offices and look at your environment. Consider how the way you think about MIT — and science and technology — includes traces of the histories you are about to hear today.”

Insights from MIT students

Gasps were audible as Alexander, the mechanical engineering student, delved into early MIT silence around “The Slaveship” painting and other racialized art and literature. She ended her presentation by saying, “I encourage you to think about where different notions of science come from.”

Visual images were also the focus of first-year student Kelvin Green II’s research. Combing through early MIT student publications, Green II strove to understand early campus attitudes through the images that MIT students drew. He found racialized and mocking images of African-Americans; hooded figures evocative of the Klu Klux Klan; and an absence of images depicting African-Americans as students or engineers — an absence at odds with the actual occupations of black male Bostonians during the 1881-1911 time period.

When asked about the impact of these slavery-related findings on black students at MIT today, Green II reflected: “How do you quantify the experience of a black student confronted with the images I’ve put up?” Understanding racism, he continued, requires qualitative analysis, including listening to the stories of those most affected by it. “Engage in dialogue. If you don’t have a black friend, make a black friend!” he said to applause.

Sophomore Mahalaxmi Elango dug into MIT’s early curriculum for her project, and discovered not only an early focus on mining — an industry that had relied heavily on enslaved people — but also that slavery was a subject for academic discussion at MIT. A popular course in moral philosophy, for example, explored the relationship between technology and the economies of labor, including the labor of enslaved people. An 1873 political economy exam asked: “Define Labor, and prove that the service of slaves, or any involuntary work, is not labor in the economic sense.”

Charlotte Minsky, a sophomore majoring in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, examined the careers of students who came to MIT in its first 15 years and found a large concentration of these students went into the railroad industry. She speculated that this focus emerged from the need to rebuild the South after the Civil War. “It’s essential to the narrative of early MIT that there’s a flow of money and ideas from the South to the North in the era of Reconstruction,” she said. Of MIT’s investigation into slavery, Minsky observed, “MIT is setting a precedent for similar institutions. We are showing that connections to slavery are very nuanced, and that science and technology are an aspect of this history that can longer be left in the wings.”

Raising questions

What skepticism there is about the “MIT and Slavery” research course takes the form of questions like the following, posed by a livestream viewer: “What gives anyone today the right to judge the actions of people in the distant past by modern popular moral standards?”

Wilder welcomed the opportunity to address that question. “Birth gives us the right,” he said, with a chuckle. “The idea that to judge the past by modern moral values is somehow ahistorical misunderstands what history is. History is the science of thinking about the past and how it influences the present.” The MIT community is capable of thinking about the past in constructive ways, he added. “One of the goals of the project is to create opportunities for us as a community — as communities — to wrestle with difficult issues in dialogue in a democratic and open way.”

Another community member asked one of the questions the project raises for education: “What would you say the implications of MIT’s findings are for teaching science and the history of science?” As an initial response, Kim noted that the “MIT and Slavery” course will itself be one example, continuing to research and share discoveries about the relationship between science, technology, and the social realities of which they are a part. She added, “We are asking people to think differently.”

Looking ahead

The value of this ongoing exploration is immeasurable, President Reif said. “If we have the courage to look at even the troubling parts of our history,” he said, “I believe we have a much better chance of approaching the present and the future with humility and self-awareness.”

The MIT and Legacy of Slavery dialogue will continue at MIT, led by Nobles who will announce plans for new opportunities to contribute ideas and reflections later this spring. The process Nobles envisions will be one of “looking at old things with new eyes.” In the meantime, and in parallel with the Institute-wide conversation, updates and information on the “MIT and Slavery” course findings will be posted to the course website.

Story prepared by SHASS Communications Editorial team: Meg Murphy and Emily Hiestand

New digital archive showcases work from the Center for Advanced Visual Studies

In 1967, the newly established MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS), founded by professor György Kepes and conceived as a fellowship program for artists, welcomed its first three fellows. Pioneering work at the intersection of art, science, and technology quickly got underway, and in the following decades, more than 200 fellows arrived to participate in this globally influential program, along with researchers and graduate students.

Now, as part of a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of CAVS, a new interactive digital archive is offering public access to experimental work created by the fellows, including world-renowned artists such as Otto Piene, Aldo Tambellini, Yvonne Rainer, Nam June Paik, Muriel Cooper, and Stan VanDerBeek.

The digital archive was launched thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the digitization and online presentation of the CAVS Special Collection, long held as slides and other original documentation at the Program for Art, Culture and Technology (ACT). ACT was formed in 2009 out of the merger of CAVS and MIT’s Visual Arts Program.  

“Fifty years ago, the founding of CAVS showed remarkable conviction and foresight,” says former ACT director and Associate Professor Gediminas Urbonas. “But what is even more remarkable is how the work and ideas that the CAVS fellows’ initiative produced are still relevant to our present world. We are living in the future that they imagined. And that work can help us address many of the crises that have and will emerge.”

The landing page of the site introduces users to an experimental, randomized three-dimensional environment of collection materials, which can be clicked through to view metadata (such as dates, locations, and descriptions) for each item. This feature allows users to experience a serendipitous visualization of the collection, encountering new materials at every turn. The design was inspired by the work of Muriel Cooper, a CAVS fellow, founding faculty member of the MIT Media Lab, and the first design director of the MIT Press.

Users can explore the collection by artist, subject (from environmental sound to sky art), or format (whether installations, drawings, booklets, photographs, videos, etc.). Topic tags show how materials are connected. The site provides more than 200 profiles of artist-fellows and alumni from CAVS; a timeline of the affiliations of fellows, visiting artists, and graduate students; and an interactive world map that illustrates the diverse global origins of the fellows.

Designed for both artists and academics, the site will grow to include research resources that document the process of creating art, such as proposals, administrative records, and correspondence. Posters, academic course booklets from the Master of Science in Visual Studies (SMVisS) degree program (now the Master of Science in Art, Culture, and Technology), and publications from exhibitions are now accessible. As the project continues, thousands of additional images, documents, and video files will be added.

Leadership for the project came from Urbonas, with project management by ACT archivist Jeremy Grubman. The MIT Libraries provided cataloging support, and the MIT Museum contributed materials from their CAVS-related holdings. The site was designed by NODE, a Berlin- and Oslo-based design studio, with development work by Bengler, an Oslo-based firm.

One component of the site makes it unique among visual art repositories: the ability for artists to annotate their works, sharing their inspirations and the process behind creating art. ACT has posted several sample annotations and will invite CAVS fellows more broadly to participate.

In one of the sample annotations, CAVS fellow Jon Goldman SMVisS 84 writes of his “nudibranch” sculptures: “I created nudibranch, a forty-foot cold-air inflatable sculpture … to call attention to the most delicate of creatures as telltales for the health of their ecosystem. The bleaching of coral ecosystems worldwide was becoming a reality and I looked to these incredibly beautiful creatures as source models to become kinetic sculptures activated by the wind.”

Ellen Sebring SMVisS 86, another CAVS fellow, annotated a catalog of video art titled “Centervideo”: “The generation of video artists that I worked with at CAVS were across-the-board phenomenal. They had mountains of energy, openness, and the confidence, with the advent of portable cameras, to cast personal video as the interface between themselves and the world … You can’t imagine the sudden freedom of the moving image being accessible.”

In addition to launching the digital archive, ACT is celebrating the CAVS50 anniversary by developing exhibitions, events, an international symposium, and a publication, all intended to explore ideas that emerged from CAVS — art and the environment, art at the civic scale, and art as it relates to the future — in a contemporary context.

MIT Black History Project launches new website

The MIT Black History Project has launched a new website that documents evidence of the role and experience of the black community at MIT since the Institute opened its doors in 1865.

“Look at this project to get a better sense of what happens when you ignore human potential … based on appearance, which has been much of our country’s history,” says Melissa Nobles, professor of political science and Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) at MIT.

The MIT Black History Project was founded and is directed by Clarence G. Williams, adjunct professor emeritus and former special assistant to the president. The project is an ongoing collaborative research effort sponsored by the MIT Office of the Provost.

Since 1995, the project has worked to archive over 150 years of the black experience at MIT and identified six key historical periods along the way: Roots and Exponents (1861-1920), Order of Operations (1921-1945), Potential Output (1946-1954), Critical Mass (1955-1968), Integration and Differentiation (1969-1994), and Rising Voices (1995-present).

At present, the website offers more than 500 illustrations, photographs, and other archival material available for community members, scholars, journalists, and other interested individuals to search. An additional 2,500 items already collected by the project will be included in the future. A major call to action is on the site’s Giving page, where people are invited to share their own pieces of MIT black history.

Williams’ objective has been to place the black experience at MIT in its full and appropriate context by researching and disseminating materials that expose communities both inside and outside MIT to this rich, historically significant legacy.

This effort includes lending research support to other Institute-affiliated entities such as the MIT and Slavery course taught by historian Craig Steven Wilder and archivist Nora Murphy, the MIT MLK Visiting Professor and Scholars Program website, and various Black Alumni/ae of MIT (BAMIT) endeavors.

Via the materials disseminated by the MIT Black History Project, Williams hopes that “future generations may relate to our hopes and disappointments [at MIT], to our struggles and achievements.”

Williams joined the MIT administration in 1972 as assistant dean of the graduate school. Throughout an MIT career spanning over three decades, he served as special assistant to the president and chancellor for minority affairs, acting director of the Office of Minority Education, assistant equal opportunity officer, ombudsperson, and adjunct professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Williams is the author of “Reflections of the Dream, 1975-1994: Twenty-One Years Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology” (MIT Press, 1996) and “Technology and the Dream: Reflections on the Black Experience at MIT, 1941-1999” (MIT Press, 2003).

A valuable new resource

Website content includes the first visual evidence of the MIT black experience, dating back to 1875, at the early campus in downtown Boston: Jones’ Lunch is a small cafeteria owned and operated out of a gymnasium by a black caterer named Jones.

By 1892, the Institute sees its first black graduate, Robert R. Taylor. He goes on to become the first known African-American architect to be accredited in the United States. Taylor also designs most of the pre-1930s buildings at Tuskegee Institute, which models its own curriculum after MIT’s.

The first black woman student to attend MIT is Marie C. Turner. She enrolls in 1905, along with her brother Henry Charles Turner, Jr. They are the second case of black siblings to attend MIT since Charles S. Dixon, Class of 1898, and John B. Dixon, Class of 1899.

It isn’t until 1955 that MIT hires its first black faculty member, linguist Joseph R. Applegate — the same year that both Applegate and Noam Chomsky earn their PhDs from the University of Pennsylvania.

About the project team

The web content team is led by writer and MIT alumna Nelly Rosario and digital humanities producer Robert L. Dunbar. Serving as project consultants is a diverse group of current and retired MIT administrators and staff. Web development, content strategy, and design services were provided by MIT Information Systems and Technology (IS&T), MIT Communications Initiatives, and the MacPhee Design Group, a web design and development firm from the Boston area.

The project has received support from MIT President L. Rafael Reif, MIT Provost Martin A. Schmidt, and two previous presidents in memoriam, Charles M. Vest and Paul E. Gray. Alumni have also contributed to this effort, notably philanthropist Reginald Van Lee and RPI president Shirley Ann Jackson, both of whom serve as the project’s senior advisors.

The MIT Black History Project website launch coincides with Black History Month and with the MIT Black Students’ Union 50th Anniversary year.

3Q: T.L. Taylor on diversity in e-sports

Imagine a sports arena full of cheering fans. Are you picturing basketball, or perhaps hockey? Actually, that image also applies to high-level e-sports (short for electronic sports), the competitions where fans watch people playing popular video games. E-sports have experienced a surge in growth in recent years, and boast their own professional teams as well as partnerships with major team sports. But how diverse are e-sports? A little over two years ago, an initiative called “AnyKey,” co-directed by MIT’s T.L Taylor, began examining that question. The group has released a series of research papers and worked to establish codes of conduct for e-sports. Taylor, a professor in MIT Comparative Media Studies|Writing, recently talked to MIT News about the challenges in the field.

Q: What is “AnyKey”?

A: AnyKey was started as a project supported by Intel and the Electronic Sports League, and our mission is to foster more inclusion and diversity in e-sports. Lots of people are playing e-sports competitively, and some of them are playing for money. AnyKey is trying to foster fairness and inclusivity in that space.

The way I often talk about it is: Imagine how traditional sports were pre-Title IX, [in terms of] trying to get women on the playing field. AnyKey is tackling that with digital sports. Women actually play a lot of computer games. … But we still do have the hurdle of women feeling that they cannot be competitors and play on a professional level. We also think about how to support people of color, how to support LGBTQ players as well, and we put out guidelines recently about how to help tournament organizers create trans-inclusive spaces.

Q: What have you found in the project’s two years of study?

A: One thing that’s clear to us is not only do women want to be participating in competitive e-sports, they have been doing it for a very long time, but often in spite of the culture present. Things like harrassment or other barriers to access pose tremendous challenges to bringing women into the space and keeping them there. This affects not only women who want to be pros, but those who just want to play or spectate in e-sports games. So we’ve been active in trying to help organizations and communities think about practices, cultural shifts they can make to open that space.

That means everything from putting in codes of conduct to supporting communities that are trying to build healthy cultures. We have an affiliate program where we amplify the work of communities that are providing spaces for people to come into these games. We highlight role models to help people see the range of ways they can be involved. We do research to provide data to help better inform people working in the space. There are a lot of people in e-sports who want things to be better, even tournament organizers who want it to be better, but they often either don’t know how, or are crunched with just trying to keep the ship afloat. So we provide information and prefab solutions people can use, and support the good work that’s already being done.

Q: Where do you go from here?

A: We’re in the next round of finding sponsoring partners for AnyKey. We’ve created tremendous momentum we want to keep building on. For example, back in October we ran what we thought was going to be a very modest initiative where we said to people, come sign our code of conduct, the “Good Luck Have Fun” pledge, to show your support for the values of inclusion and open participation in gaming and e-sports. We were blown away when we got a quarter of a million signatures! This is encouraging and shows a lot of people want things to be better. But there’s more work to be done.

We’d love to help launch something like a co-ed tournament to support more men and women playing together, like mixed doubles, and we have some fantastic partners we’d like to keep supporting. We’re at a really important point, because e-sports is getting commercialized very quickly and getting the attention of traditional sports entities who now own e-sports teams (including the Boston Celtics). There’s tremendous potential, but it would also be easy to close down possibilities or slot e-sports in narrow models about who wants to compete. We want to keep people thinking expansively about what participation and inclusion in these new digital playing fields can, and should, be.

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