Late Night Learning

Jon, Hank, and I all headed back to the weird random room where the firehose classes were happening. Oh, did I mention that Hank was on Teen Jeopardy? Anyway, the firehose session we walked in on was about how to build your own speakers. Turned out to be REALLY boring, and it was way too late to stay interested, so we set the alarms on our cell phones and took a one hour nap. That was the first sleep we’d gotten, and it was quite refreshing.

No, we didn’t get the hammock, sadly.

We woke up halfway through the next class, which was about conditioning and brain stuff. The teacher said “Hey, you three in the back, good morning!” We nodded, still kind of out of it, and started listening. It was actually really interesting, but we had slept through most of it. The next class was about Lambda Calculus.

Lambda Calculus is some scary math, and would be hard to understand at any time of day at any age, yet alone at 4 in the morning by 18 year olds. Here’s the basics of it: Imagine normal math, like algebra and basic addition and subtraction, is an atom. Lambda Calculus are sub-atomic particles. Lambda Calculus defines operators (+ - x / ), numbers, and everything else. You have to define + before you can use it. Here are some reasons why it just didn’t make sense:

It’s true in Lambda Calc! -1 = 0, what now yo?!

Here’s us trying to absorb this:

About 45 minutes into the class we were completely zombified. We were confused by everything, even variable assignment. It got to the point where the teacher had to yell

“Variables don’t matter! This ‘y’ could be anything! It could even be an octopus!” (he draws an octopus, with 4 legs). “Except, this doesn’t have 8 legs, so it’s an octopus with ‘n’ number of legs. Actually, it doesn’t look like an octopus, I should label it.” so he wrote “this is an octopus” next to it. There you have it folks, you can use an octopus as a variable in Lambda Calculus.

We survived this particular class, and then went to the next one, ominously entitled “Math until death,” whose basic premise was to teach us math until we fell asleep. The teacher was so excited about what he was teaching, and he was soooooo good at math, but I was barely conscious.

The goal of the game was to stay awake, and there were three categories you could be placed in: KIA, MIA, WIA. Killed in Action denotes somebody who has fallen asleep. Missing in Action denotes somebody who left the room, and Wounded in Action denotes slipping in and out of consciousness. About five minutes in, Hank was KIA. Another kid died too, and he snored really loudly, it would have been very funny, but I was pretty WIA at that point. We made it an hour before we just couldn’t handle it anymore, so Jon and I stood up to leave. Hank was still KIA, and he looked comfortable, so we just left him. We felt a little guilty about leaving him in some classroom at MIT, but we figured he’d wake up eventually and figure out his way back to his dorm. Jon and I took this opportunity to go to our respective rooms and shower, change, and get ready for another action packed day. One hour of sleep, remember that.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

woah! it's david roe!