Cambridge, Winter, culture, February 2015
monday before juno (sonya kovacic)
HUNTER'S ONLY PUN. The celebrated John Hunter is said to have made but one pun in his life, and that was when lecturing in the Windmill Street School of Medicine. In demonstrating the jaw-bone, he observed that this bone was known to abound in proportion to the want of brains. Some students were talking instead of attending to the lecture, upon which Hunter explained:
"Gentlemen, let us have more intellect and less jaw."
Front page of the Boston Evening Transcript, February 4, 1854.
Take a look at the rest of the February 4, 1854 edition of the Boston Evening Transcript.
The Boston Herald likes using puns.
Cambridge, January 2014, Housing
good old days (sonya kovacic)
Boston's median rent is the third most expensive in the country, only behind New York City and San Francisco. In 2013 the average rent was $1,772.
The latest Greater Boston Housing Report Card from 2013, analyzes the Greater Boston housing and rental market. Here are some of their findings:
Rent keeps increasing:
Between 2009 and mid-2013, the average asking rent in Greater Boston increased by 9.1 percent while the average effective rent rose by 10 .8 percent, reflecting fewer discounts.
Supply is low:
With the rental vacancy rate in the region now at 3 .7 percent, rents are expected to continue to rise. Our own statistical analysis indicates that when the rental vacancy rate has fallen below 5.5 percent, landlords are able to extract higher rents. Facing little inventory, renters are forced to compete for a limited number of available units. Low vacancy rates are good for landlords but anathema for renters
Rent is taking up more of household incomes:
Homeownership costs are rising faster than homeowners’ incomes. As a result, the housing cost burden for the typical family in Greater Boston has reached an all-time high with more than half of all renter households spending more than 30 percent of their gross incomes on rent. Those paying 50 percent or more of their gross income on rent—now surpasses one-fourth (26 .4 percent) of all renter households in the region, up from 18 .4 percent in 2000.
To sum it up: wages are stagnant, rent is increasing, and there is not enough housing. Policy now and in the future will need to address these issues.
Kendall Square/MIT is the most expensive zip code in Greater Boston.
It's tough to be a renter in Boston.
Cambridge, Technology, January 2014
omni film reel, science museum (sonya kovacic)
The Mugar Omni theater, located in the Science Museum since 1987, is a 5 story dome shaped IMAX theater called an Omnimax. It is the only Omnimax in New England and one of only sixty in the world.
The seats recline about thirty degrees, and because the screen fills a viewer's field of vision (including periphery vision) viewers get the feeling of immersion and motion. The Omni theater also has surround sound (who put the bomp in the bomp? Shabomp, shabomp).
*The 70mm Omnimax film reel is around 3 miles long, weighs 200 pounds, and needs to be configured manually.
This is pure nostalgia for anyone who remembers the "New England Introduction" that played before each Omni theater film. Sadly the theater doesn't use this introduction anymore.
The Omni theater only plays educational films. If you want to see a film this week, there are films about the Mayans, the Galapagos Islands, and pandas.
Technology, Cambridge, January 2014
muddy charles pub wall of fame (sonya kovacic)
Although NASA's Mission Control Center did not end up in Kendall Square, 38 NASA Astronauts graduated from MIT. That's more than any other non-military academic institution. The most notable alum, Buzz Aldrin, was the second person to walk on the moon after Neil Armstrong in July 1969.
Take a look at an iconic photo of Buzz Aldrin on the moon.
In October 2014, MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics held a centennialsymposium.
Cambridge, economics, January 2014
In 1791, Massachusetts Bank financed the first American voyage to Argentina by ship. With time, Buenos Aires and Boston became trade partners, trading goods like wool and leather and in 1917, Bank of Boston (after merging with Massachusetts Bank in 1903) opened its first branch in Buenos Aires.
The 20th century saw Bank of Boston become one the largest foreign banks in some parts of Latin America and its impressive neo-colonial Banco de Boston building in Buenos Aires, constructed in 1924, became a well known landmark (if also a target for protests).
In 2001, it was a site of massive protests in Argentina when the country defaulted on their international loans, and the government froze savings accounts. The building has since become ICBC Argentina, a Chinese bank, signaling China's influence in Latin America, as well as an end of an era for Boston banks in Latin America.
Take a look at some old and new photos of the Banco de Boston building in Buenos Aires.
*you can play the oregon trail here.
Cambridge, Industry, December 2014
at the mall (sonya kovacic)
"He came to America when popular taste for art was low but hunger for color was high."
"When he left it, popular taste for art was high and hunger for color everywhere was satisfied."
-From two Louis Prang chromolithographic plates.
Louis Prang was a Prussian born printer who emigrated to Boston in 1850 and is known as the creator of the American Christmas card. He ran a successful printing company called Louis Prang and Company where he specialized in chromolithographic prints. Lithography is the art of printing from lithographic limestone using oil and water and chromolithography involves creating a single lithographic plate for each color used for a print.
Among their prints, Louis Prang and Company created color printed copies of famous paintings, business cards, advertisements, and in 1875, created the first Christmas card.
Americans buy 6.5 billion greeting cards a year. The Boston Globe Magazine breaks it down.
You can also check out a Louis Prang Christmas card from 1876.
Cambridge, December 2014, Art
alchemist sculpture, MIT (sonya kovacic)
The Alchemist sculpture on MIT's campus is a painted stainless steel sculpture that "consists of mathematical symbols in the shape of a human form." In 2010, an anonymous alumnus commissioned the work from Catalan sculptor, Jaume Plensa, for MIT's 150th anniversary. The alumnus was supposedly so moved by the celebration that he donated the sculpture to MIT for their permanent collection.
The MIT Gallery of Hacks is an online gallery dedicated to MIT's IHTFP (Interesting Hacks to Fascinate People). In 2013, after the last episode of Breaking Bad, hackers transformed the Alchemist into Walter White.
The Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, Vermont, has created the most "elusive beer in the world."