Monday, October 18, 2004

MIT Hacks

MIT has been ranked as the most selective university in the United States. While MIT has far fewer graduate departments than its chief competitors, it is ranked #1 in the world, or near the top, in virtually all of the programs it does offer.

At MIT, the term "hack" has multiple meanings. "To hack" can mean to physically explore areas (often on-campus, but also off) that are generally off-limits such as rooftops and steam tunnels. "Hack" as a noun also means an elaborate practical joke.

Throughout the years, one of the favorite sites of hacks has been the Great Dome, the large classical dome that sits atop Building 10. In May of 1994, inspired hackers created what might just become one of the most famous Dome hacks of all time, by placing what appeared to be a real MIT Campus Police cruiser on top of the dome, complete with flashing lights.

The car turned out to be the outer metal parts of a Chevrolet Cavalier attached to a multi-piece wooden frame, all carefully assembled on the roof over the course of one night. The hackers paid special attention to detail. Not only had the Chevy been painted to look just like a Campus Police car from all sides, but a dummy dressed up as a police officer sat within, with a toy disc gun and a box of donuts. The car, numbered "pi," also sported a pair of fuzzy dice, the license number "IHTFP," an MIT Campus Police parking ticket ("no permit for this location"), and a yellow diamond-shaped sign on the back window proclaiming "I break for donuts."

More amazing MIT hacks here.