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Great Hacks and Pranks Of Our Time 315

Posted by Zonk
from the you're-all-slacking-at-work-anyway dept.
Luther Blissett writes "There's a history of pranks and hacks in the year-end issue of the Economist, including MIT hacks, the Bonsai Kitten, and the Pentagon hack by my favorite, Abbie Hoffman." From the article: "At Harvard's neighbour, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 'hacks', as the MIT crowd calls them, are more serious. So serious, in fact, that in 2003 the institute's best hacks were assembled in a 178-page book, 'Nightwork'. The pranks at MIT tend to be feats of engineering. They are positively encouraged, because they teach students to work in teams, solve complex problems and, sometimes, get a message across. Mr Peterson's book includes an 11-point code for pranksters: leave no damage, do not steal, do not drop things off a building without a ground crew, and so on. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, at least, student pranks have become an establishment activity."
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Great Hacks and Pranks Of Our Time

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  • by Surt (22457) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @03:11PM (#14359850) Homepage Journal
    Oh come on mods, reposting an email classic relevant to the discussion of hoaxes isn't exactly flamebait. At worst it deserves to wallow in un-moderation. At best it could earn a +1 funny.
  • Re:MIT Hacking (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tktk (540564) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @03:19PM (#14359892)
    That just teaches one of life's most important rules-

    Don't get caught.

  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @03:22PM (#14359918)
    ...It's a school project.

    The whole point is to do things that are mildly wrong and get away with it. If you're allowed to do it, what the heck is the attraction? Of course you might get caught, but good hackers know where the line is and stay within it (e.g. no destruction, no injury, etc).

    $50 and a warning is, let's face it, a tiny slap on the wrist. I'd question whether anyone so concerned with their "permanent record" really has the stomach for pranks in the first place.
  • by SnappingTurtle (688331) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @03:31PM (#14359982) Homepage
    So... suppose that, in the course of getting a heavy vehicle down off the roof, a member of the Civil Defence Force had fallen and died. Would it still have been considered a great prank? Same actions, different outcome.

    When I was a teenager some friends and I climbed up onto the roof of the local high school, just 'cause, y'know, it seemed the thing to do. One of the janitors, wanting to catch us, so he climbed up on the roof. He did indeed catch us and, seeing as how the cops also showed up, we followed him back down off of the roof. As we all climbed down, I realized that this not-too-coordinated janitor could easily tumble down the rickety drain piping. I had visions of having the book thrown at us because some janitor was as stupid as we were.

    Pranks are great, but I would personally avoid anything that might incite people to climb or move large, heavy objects. In general, I would avoid anything that someone else has to repair.

  • by BrockH01 (914945) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @05:50PM (#14360836)
    That's more mean than inventive. A childish prank done by socialy underdeveloped adolescents.

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