Thursday, May 31, 2007

He's baaaack

Those of you who are non-Techers never got to meet Mason.
Heck, I should never have gotten to meet Mason.
Mason was a Caltech student who graduated in 1998, well before I arrived. Once or twice a year, though, he would appear on the couch in our house's gathering area known as Lower Crotch. Long after everyone he went to school with had moved on with their lives, I would walk down the stairs and find him sitting there in the same sweat pants, faded Lloyd shirt and sneakers with the same messy, curly hair.
But anyway, eventually I graduated and I didn't really ever think of him again. Except he keeps reappearing! Last month, it was in a friend of a friend's wedding pictures, and this week in a press release about Caltech's latest book of pranks (he's an editor).
"The Legends of Caltech series contains a collection of first-hand accounts
and remembrances of high jinks past, compiled by the Herculean efforts of a
handful of alumni. This latest installment, edited by alums Autumn Looijen
('99) and Mason A. Porter ('98), illuminates Caltech student life and the
schemes that often stemmed from late-night study sessions fueled by donuts
and caffeine. Colorful escapades described in Legends III include pranks
ranging from the elaborate to the simple: reprogramming fellow classmates'
clocks to run backwards; reengineering a building elevator to consistently deliver
passengers two floors below where they wanted to go; or freezing a dormitory
hallway floor to create a rink for "alley broom ball" (ice hockey a la Caltech)."

Anyway, this is a pretty long post for a pretty short purpose, which is basically to say: look guys, Mason edited a book of pranks, isn't that weird? Oh, and also the book is named Legends of Caltech III: Techer in the Dark.


Sandip said...

It should have been called Legends of Caltech: Episode III - Revenge of the Dork.

jaideep said...

i second Sandip's suggestion...speaking of Mason, he's done some really neat stuff that's gotten him into the news over the years. i forget where i originally heard about this, but one paper was for modelling the voters/polls used for the BCS rankings as a group of "well trained monkeys." i would argue that a more realistic model would have used the poop from slightly brain-damaged, untrained monkeys, but i digress. another paper analyzed, more or less, the degree of partisanship in the House of Reps. i feel like i read about that at the NYT? anyway, here are links to those papers at his website:

The Bowl Championship Series: A Mathematical Review

A Network Analysis of Committees in the United States House of Representatives

Alan Rosenwinkel said...

apparently the Olive Walk maze we put up is in there, or at least an Olive Walk maze :-) I'm totally gonna buy a copy!

Alan Rosenwinkel said...

I just got my copy. It's really good. I particularly like the cover, a blue book, with "45/100 A+" written on it. Kevin wrote a nice article about the maze including photos, diagrams and even statistics :-)

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