Around Town

suvivor cover

Contestants of Harvard Survivor hold cups on a flat extended hand while balancing on one foot.

On the Run with Graham Blanks

I’m buckling up my helmet when Blanks walks out of Winthrop House, wearing Harvard Cross Country gear head to toe. He tells me we’ll be “jogging” today, at a 7:21-minutes-per-mile pace. The average non-elite male runner races a 5K at 9:28 minutes per-mile pace. Blanks runs towards the river, feet pattering like a steady metronome while I pedal beside him.

sec library

The newest of Harvard’s libraries, the SEC library is home to a collection of books that spans numerous disciplines, depicts various histories of science and technology, and highlights STEM figures of different backgrounds.

robyn rosenberg

Robyn Rosenberg, the engineering librarian at the SEC library, curated the collection from scratch. “A lot of these books are written by non-white men, and we’re having a lot of international authors, women authors,” Rosenberg says.

FM’s Campus Ghost Tour

On this Halloweekend, remember more than just your jackets when you leave the Mather JCR. Take a look at a few of Harvard’s most persistent spirits — you might even encounter one as you cross campus this week.

ghosts in the yard

Harvard’s long and storied history brings with it a number of paranormal figures, seen now for centuries in some of the 300-year-old buildings on campus.

The SEC Library, Curated by a Person, Not an Algorithm

Though the library may seem incongruous with the rest of the building, it was a planned part of the SEC from the start and is just as innovative as the technology created in it.

Buying Time

The Time Trade Circle is a Cambridge-based time bank that serves the Boston metropolitan area. The principle is straightforward: you complete a task for someone, and the number of hours it took to complete the task is deposited into your account. You can then “cash in” those hours whenever you want.

A 1,500-Pound Pumpkin and a Dream

After handing the pumpkin boat off to the next rider, Chang reflected on his journey. Referencing “Cinderella,” he jokes: “Now we don’t need magic to make pumpkins into these creatures, we can use human ingenuity.”

exchanging notes cover

For Exchanging Notes, a Georgian writer and a Georgian musician and an American writer and an American musician spend the summer working virtually with their artistic counterparts from the other country.

nana cake

A cake congratulating Georgian novelist and literary scholar Nana Abuladze for winning an award. Though her books have been published in Georgian, Abuladze wrote much of her work for Exchanging Notes in English.

Mixing Two Types of Mountains: A Night with Exchanging Notes

The program sends artists from America and Georgia to each others' countries. "I'm going to bring this American clawhammer old-time style to the highest inhabited village in Europe," says Maxwell Evrard, "and I’m going to make people tap their foot."

Kwapis Picture

Mickey Alice Kwapis, the taxidermist who led the rat embalming workshop, says her work is a labor of love. “You wouldn't spend your days elbows-deep in a dead animal if you didn't really love the work that you were doing and really want to honor those specimens,” she says.

Embalmed Rats

At Harvard Museum of Natural History's Rat Embalming Workshop, participants embalm a rat, which they then take home with them.

Rat Embalming Workshop Table

The workshop is set up with six tables of four, toolkits laid out in front of each seat. Fluorescent lights beat down from the ceiling. It’s just like a high school classroom on lab day.

Needle Stabbing Rat

To embalm the rat, workshop participants stabbing their specimen all over its body, pumping it full of fluid, which eventually mixes with that's rat's blood and guts and leaches out.

Lessons in Rat Embalming

At a Harvard Natural History Museum workshop, SSL learns how to embalm a rat.

Bringing a Bog Back to Life

David W. Gould is standing at the center of Eel River Preserve, surrounded by grasses, shrubs, and trees stretching in all directions. From this vast expanse of green, he points out the pitch pines, the red maples, the shoulder-high cattails. Light glints off the small stream behind him. A carpet of sphagnum moss squelches beneath his boots.

Living Among the Dead in the Old Burying Ground

Efforts to preserve the Old Burying Ground’s historical and aesthetic legacy have given rise to an entirely new set of questions: Who gets memorialized after death, and why? What makes us devote money and manpower to the upkeep of a graveyard so old that no surviving descendants are left to visit? And what does all of it say about us now?

skull and crossbones grave

The tombstones are remnants of Puritan-era craftsmanship that the Fannins take pride in preserving. Many of them are painstakingly carved with images of the “death’s head” — a foreboding, winged skull, etched alongside phrases like “memento mori” (remember you must die) and “fugit hora” (the hour flies).

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