Archive for April, 2007

Harvard Grad Student = Second Sudoku World Champion

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

2nd Sudoku Championship Finals calls him a Sudoku Olympian.  Finishing second last year, Thomas Synder (pictured left, blog, puzzles by) brought home the 2007 Sudoku World Championship from Prague, Czech Republic.  This is all the more remarkable an accomplishment considering he was the only top 10 finisher from last year to make it through a tough field into this year’s finals.  Yuhei Kusui (pictured right) from Japan finished second.  Japan finished first in the team competition, which included a team from first-time participant China.  The puzzles (pdf) are hard!  Next year, Goa, India.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist = But you could be

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Cambridge Science Festival

The first ever Cambridge Science Festival is on this week, with many many events, most free, all over Cambridge.  Presented by the MIT Museum in collaboration with the City of Cambridge, Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge Public Schools, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Museum of Science, and WGBH (see WGBH’s Science City), there are performances, exhibitions, and activities for all ages (search for them here).  I wish I had the week off.

Also, last week marked the re-opening of Boston’s Children’s Museum, including the famous giant Milk Bottle, built in Taunton in 1930 as an ice cream stand, later bought by Hood and donated and moved to the museum 30 years ago.  Here are some other giant milk bottles.

Milk Bottle

Happy Birthday Mr. Pulitzer = “Read All About It!”

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Born on this date in 1847 in Makó Hungary on the Romanian border (a stone’s throw from Vallaj, where my dad was born), the son of a wealthy grain merchant of Jewish origin (like my paternal grandfather) and a German mother who was a devout Roman Catholic, young Joseph Pulitzer always dreamt (like many Hungarian boys of yore who were weaned on the children’s fantasy Hári János doc) of being a soldier.  After not qualifying for the Austrio-Hungarian Army nor the French Foreign Legion, he fulfilled his dream by coming to America and joining the Union Army in 1864.


In 1872 he bought his first newspaper for $3000.  He became famous after he bought New York’s World, transforming newspaper journalism with pictures, cartoons, and a liberal editorial ethic.  He fought against the Spanish American war, a war bought and paid for by rival “yellow journalist” William Randolf Hearst.

Pulitzer stamp     newsies

He survived the “newsie’s” strike of 1899.  Newspapers were distributed by young orphans and homeless children for a meager 10 cents per hundred – and they would have to eat the cost of unsold papers!  This is all commemorated in the Disney musical mega-flop Newsies.

Nellie Bly

We all know about his endowment ($500,000) for journalism and literature prizes.  He also happened to mentor the entire field of journalism serving in the public interest.  He mentored Nellie Bly, who’s expose, Ten Days in a Mad House, was groundbreaking firsthand journalism.  We can thank Pulitzer for Pulizer prize winning editorial cartoons, such as the following by Mike Luckovich.  You may not be able to pick up a Pulitzer, but you can enter the 2007 Scientific Integrity Editorial Cartoon contest, or Science Idol – but hurry, the deadline is May 22nd.

science fish     food pyramid     turned the corner