Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Frozen Lake and Northwestern's Twitter Prototype

This is a particularly busy week for us.  We have to juggle midterms, bidding for Spring classes, and recruiting (most students) in addition to any extracurricular responsibilities.

Earlier this week, I took a break from studying and decided to explore the campus a bit.  In particular, I wanted to check out Lake Michigan, which sits right next to Northwestern University's campus, because I've heard that it freezes during the winter.

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The scene that I found on the beach next to the Norris Student Center did not disappoint.  The surface of the lake was almost completely frozen.  It was the first time I've ever seen anything like that, and it blew my mind.  I spoke to a local that I met at the beach, and she told me that this was the least frozen she has seen the lake in years.  At this point, I imagined past Northwestern students throwing on skates and playing ice hockey out there.  Of course, I grabbed a quick video of the scene with my trusty camera, which I now carry at all times.

As awesome as the lake looked, what really drew my attention was Northwestern University's "Twitter prototype" that sits right next to the lake.  There, you'll find a lot of rocks (possibly hundreds) that have short messages painted on them for everyone to see; some of the ones that I read were 6 years old and others were from last year.  The messages combined with the frozen lake create an eerie feeling that you are standing in a frozen moment of time. I am extremely grateful that the university has left the messages in place.

I loved the fact that given this unique communication channel, the majority of people chose to write love letters, marriage proposals, farewells, and other positive messages; it made the optimist in me smile.  Sure, there were a few ugly messages thrown in, but the positive ones absolutely overwhelmed them.  If you ever visit Kellogg or Northwestern University, I recommend that you try and check it out. All of my pictures of the rocks are available here.  Here are just a few of them.


  1. that looks absolutely amazing!...albeit cold...a site that I want to check out when I am out there! thanks for the tip!

  2. Hey Orlando, the part of lake in downtown Chicago is frozen too. Unfortunately, it's starting to distort the nice view I have from my from my 38th floor apartment.

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