It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Jan 19, 2009

MIT campus cruiser on the great dome

MIT Students are famous for their practical jokes, which they call hacks. A particularly well-known practical joke, or hack, at MIT resulted in the appearance of a campus police cruiser on top of their "Great Dome" building 10 on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Campus.

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. It was complete with a dummy police officer, a toy foam disc gun, and a box of donuts inside of the makeshift vehicle as well as flashing siren lights on top. 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.’’ Every detail was considered on this practical joke proving why MIT is such a difficult school to be accepted to.

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. People first began noticing the hack early in the morning, just before sunrise, when passers by spotted the flashing lights on top of the building. Local people, reporters, and camera crews began to gather around 8, smiling, talking, taking pictures, and just generally watching as MIT Physical Plant began the slow dismantling of the car. Several helicopters even came to look, circling close around the Great Dome.

It took campus authorities a few hours to disassemble the makeshift campus cruiser and remove it from the Great Done. It was finally gone by 10:00 AM, but the legend of this famous MIT Hack lives on! Not only did the local TV stations air footage of the car --- some of which later wound up on national news --- but the AP story (available on the Web to MIT people via Athena) spread to newspapers around the globe, from California to Korea and even Israel.

Sources and Additional Reading:

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...