MIT hackers play TETRIS on a whole building

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MIT is a dour, serious place – the kind of place ambitious kids who have ground their way through seven years of middle and high school in pursuit of the perfect academic record discover what real pressure is in a place where the relentless grind is considered a lifestyle choice.

MIT is not like Harvard. Upriver at what one Boston columnist used to refer to as World's Greatest University (WGU), kids have to work just as hard to get in, but are home free afterward, as long as someone pays the tuition bill.

Harvard treats college as the process of nurturing great minds – like cultivating hot-house orchids, except with WASPS instead of flora.

MIT doesn't nurture. It forges minds with heat and pressure and perpetually replenished piles of schoolwork.

That's one reason the unofficial student motto is IHTFP (for a variant of I Hate This Place), though even ironic student slogans are more practical and hardworking at MIT than elsewhere.

At Harvard IHTFP would have stood for something dignified and meaningless in Latin.

Every once in a while, though, MIT busts out in brilliance. Not often, but you can't surpress really top-flight geekery all the time without risking a blowout.

At MIT, fun is accomplished with architecture

With no time for the bars or parties that occupy students of the other 128 universities in the state, MIT students have to bust out in their own way once in a while.

Photo Credit: Nygren via PCWorld

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