Hack Madness: The MIT Tournament of Hacks—Round 2

by Jay London on March 5, 2014 · 0 comments

in Alumni Life, Arts, Campus Culture, Hacks, Modern Geekhood, Remember When...

Click image for updated tournament bracket.

Update: We have a winner! See who was named Hack Madness Champion.

Welcome to the second round of Hack Madness: The MIT Tournament of Hacks. Voting is open and ends on Thursday, March 6, at 11:59 p.m. EST.

View full first-round results in the updated tournament bracket then vote in the polls below or on the Alumni Association’s social media pages.

A few things we learned in Round 1:

  • A cow on a roof is more impressive than a car on a roof. And Tetris on a 21-story building is more remarkable than a VU meter.
  • The closest votes? Dipsy Duck vs. Primrose Path, which was separated by only two votes, and Harvard Kidnappings vs. Claiming Harvard, which was separated by four.
  • The widest margins: Smoots, the Harvard-Yale Game, and the Cannon Heist. Each hack took around 90 percent.
  • Age is just a number. Hacks from the ’20s, ’40s, and ’50s advanced.
  • More than 12,000 first-round votes were cast on Slice of MIT and social media.

Vote by region:

Visit the Hack Madness page for the full schedule. Check back to Slice of MIT on Friday, March 7, at noon to see which hacks advanced to the round of eight.

Edwin Phortey Region

Harvard-Yale Game vs. Great Droid

In 1982, hackers inflated a weather balloon near the 50-yard line that spelled “MIT” before it burst, spelled “M-I-T” with their bodies at halftime, and tricked fans into holding “M-I-T” signs in the stands.

Two days before the 1999 release of Star Wars, the Great Dome was transformed into R2-D2. Hackers also provided disassembly instructions addressed to “Imperial Drones” and signed “Rebel Scum.”

Cathedral of Our Lady of the All-Night Tool vs. Snow Shower

In 1992, Lobby 7 was reimagined as a “tool”-dedicated cathedral, filled with stained-glass, pews, an altar, an organ, a confessional, and holy relics. Two MIT alumni were married in a Wiccan wedding ceremony.

In 1968, students faked a blizzard by filling shower stalls with snow, opening windows, and turning on the shower. They told the Boston Herald that they invented snow-making shower nozzles. The paper ran the story on their front page.

James E. Tetazoo Region

Smoot vs. Nerd Xing

In 1958, Seven students calibrated the Harvard Bridge using a 5’7″ freshman named Smoot. The bridge’s length: about 364.4 Smoots. Today, Smoots are recognized in the dictionary and by Google.

The gold standard of MIT sign hacks. Posted above a crosswalk at 77 Massachusetts Ave., a non-descript sign with a silhouette was turned into an MIT student equipped with a back pack, a lab kit, and floppy disk. (Hey, it was 1987.)

Campus Police Car vs. Vest’s Office

An MIT police cruiser appeared on the top of the Great Dome in 1994. The car was equipped with flashing lights, a dummy police officer, donuts, a parking ticket, and plate number “IHTFP.” The hack received national and global television coverage.

In 1990, on Charles Vest’s first day as MIT president, his office was hidden by a bulletin board carefully placed in front of the president’s office door. His staff thought they were on the wrong floor.

Jack Florey Region

Cannon Heist vs. Dipsy Duck

In 2006, students—posing as the posing as the Howe & Ser Moving Company—traveled cross-country to rival Caltech and transported the school’s three-ton cannon back to MIT. They also fashioned an over-sized Brass Rat for the cannon’s barrel.

In the 1948, students unveiled the Dipsy Duck, a 12′ supposed generator that could be placed near rivers to produce exactly 3.14159 (π) volts. They also claimed it could be powered by beer.

Portable Toilet vs. Lunar Module

In 1960, the John Harvard statue purportedly doubled as a public restroom. A toilet stall door was positioned at the statue’s base with an advertisement reading “Johnny-on-the-Spot, Portable Toilets, Rented/Serviced.”

In spring 2012, hackers commemorated the 40th anniversary of the first moon walk by placing a half-scale Apollo Lunar Module and an American flag on the Great Dome.

Institute Historian T.F. Peterson Region

Tetris vs. Kidnapped Guests

In 2012, Bldg. 54 was transformed into a giant game of Tetris. Players controlled the blocks from a console in front of the building and, upon defeat, the blocks crashed to the bottom.

In the 1940s, Harvard guests were the subject of periodic “kidnappings.” Actor Eddie Anderson was intercepted and brought to an MIT fraternity party. Burlesque queen Sally Rand was taken to an MIT reception and named “Associate Professor of Entertainment Engineering.”

Lobby 7 Inscription vs. Cow on Dorm

In 1994, the etched-in-stone inscription in Lobby 7 replaced the words “Agriculture and Commerce” with “Entertainment and Hacking.” Hackers used Styrofoam that was painted to resemble stone and held in place by spring-loaded devices.

In 1928, students transported a live cow to the roof of the six-story Class of 1893 Dormitory (now East Campus dorm). The Boston Herald reported that the cow went up to the roof easily but a “small army” was needed to bring her down.

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