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Stealth Force Beta 107

YetAnotherName writes "Geeky college pranks are not just the purview of big name science and technology schools. Now that statutes of limitations have expired, Stealth Force Beta, a group of 'constructive vandals' who operated at New Mexico Tech, tell of their exploits. From crawling around steam tunnels, to mounting complex radio surveillance, to getting trapped in elevator shafts, the stories are inspirational, funny, and probably familiar in some way to many /. readers."
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Stealth Force Beta

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  • This makes my high school pranks of stink bombs and pumping pornography across the school's close-captioned television network on every channel seem weak.
  • Pure Fluff (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zoomshorts ( 137587 )
    Such "exploits" are assinine. News? Hardly, publicity at the most! You fell for this?
  • by robbyjo ( 315601 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @10:12AM (#4993611) Homepage

    Stealth Force Beta was a secret society...

    Now, they're Slashdotted! Nowhere to hide! LOL

    Groups of FBI, CIA, WhatHaveYou are coming... Dum dum dum

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @11:02AM (#4993718)
      "Groups of FBI, CIA, WhatHaveYou"

      That's what the mean by "statute of limitations". In the US, most crimes have to be prosecuted within a certian number of years of their comission. If they aren't, they statute of limitations runs out and you can no longer be prosecuted for them.
      • That's what the mean by "statute of limitations". In the US, most crimes have to be prosecuted within a certian number of years of their comission. If they aren't, they statute of limitations runs out and you can no longer be prosecuted for them.

        Attention, this is the FBI. You forgot to carry the one. Come out with your hands above your head.

      • Criminal Statutes are not subject to SOL.
        • Absolutely not true. The statutes of limitations explicitly apply to different crimes; there are different time periods for different crimes. To say that criminal statutues are not subject to SOL is completely false.

          However, most states do not carry a SOL for murder.
  • REAL GENIUS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @10:23AM (#4993643)
    Remember the val kilmer movie Real Genious? Well that's about caltech. filmed there too. Most of the stunts in the side plot including turning dorms in to ice rinks, and mass producing burger king contest entries actually happened. Now those are stunts. Rent it.

    And of course there are the classic stunts at caltech taking over the rosebowl. like the time they hacked into the score board and changed the teams to MIT and Caltech. Another time they replaced all of the audience half-time flash card with there own so that when all the cards were flipped instead of showing a stadium sized picture of a washington husky it showed a stadium sized caltech beaver. Both of these staunts were recorded on national TV.

    Other stunts there I've read about include restriping a parking lot over night so as to make the spot reserved for a certain professor 'vanish'. Or replastering/painting a building wall overnight to make the doorway for a certain professor's office 'vanish'. Another time this same professor entered an elevator, the doors closed and a few moment later a trapdoor on the ceiling opened and filled the entire elevator with foam packing peanuts, then delivered the packaged professor to his floor. SInce I've met that professor since I know they are true.
    • i saw real genius in the theatres (yes, i am *that* old) and loved it. all through my college days, it provided the benchmark by which i gauged so-called pranks. and thanks for the Mussolini quote; i've been needing just that very thing.
      • i saw real genius in the theatres (yes, i am *that* old) and loved it.

        You can't say "i am *that* old" when it just came out in 85. I mean seriously, you could be no older than 25 and say that you saw it in the theaters and it wouldn't be wrong.
    • Re:REAL GENIUS (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There is a book called "If at All Possible, Involve a Cow: The Book of College Pranks" by Neil Steinberg that my mother gave me right before I went to college. It's full of this kind of stuff, most if it hilarious. Check it out.
    • Re:REAL GENIUS (Score:5, Informative)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @11:15AM (#4993753)
      here's a link to a photo of the caltech rosebowl flash card prank:
      here [museumofhoaxes.com] And a detailed explanation of how it was done here [216.239.33.100]


      here's a write-up of the mcdonalds contest scam here [216.239.33.100]


      other caltech stunts including the rosebowl score board prank, and the great barberpole theft. here [globalprovince.com]

      • Apparently I have been living under a rock, and I did not know about the Rosebowl Hoax. Goddam, that is one beautiful prank. Never before have I stumbled upon a prank that actually humbled me. It almost brings tears to my eyes for its undeniable genius.

        Or maybe it's just these spicy black-eyed peas.

        • you might enjoy the (corny) movie. almost everything that happens in the movie, except the main plot itself, is based on real events at caltech.

          the other flabbergasting thing in the movie is the science is correct in almost every detail. when val kilmers's character gets an inspiration for a new kind of laser its actually a really clever idea that could plausibly work. even the equations and potential energy functions he draws on the board are the ones uniquely correct for an excimer type laser

      • I enjoyed a good, solid hour of reading thanks to the links in your post, and I'll be looking for a copy of If At All Possible Involve a Cow: The Book of College Pranks [amazon.com] when the book stores open tomorrow.



        An Insightful comment that makes up for the fact that the Article was /.ed faster than you can type "FP!".



        Thanks


    • Documentation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Raetsel ( 34442 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @11:18AM (#4993758)

      There's a book out there entitled "If At All Possible, Involve a Cow." [mit.edu] (I'd link to Amazon, but according to them it's out of print; they don't even show a decent picture of the cover.)

      Almost everything you mentioned is in there.

      I have another parking spot story for you -- this one's a little more practical though.

      • I know a fellow who worked at Hamilton Standard in the 60s. One time when the parking lot was being repainted, he and a friend waylaid the person responsible for stenciling on the 'reserved spot' numbers. They didn't make any disappear, though --
      • they made sure two of the numbers were duplicated, thus assuring two young engineers their own parking spaces.

        Since the person whose spot they'd duplicated never knew any better, never missed anything, the spots were assured until the next time the lot was painted.

      I always thought that was pretty cool.

      (He never did go bowling in that long underground hallway between buildings, though.)

    • Re:REAL GENIUS (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Another oft neglected Caltech stunt was the "improvement" of the Hollywood sign [caltech.edu]. There is actually an "official day" for pranks called "Ditch Day." [caltech.edu]

      The only measly prank I was involved in was a disappearing parking space.

    • More caltech
      They changed the 'Hollywood' sign to read Cal-Tech. The built a huge slingshot and used it to launch oranges at the nearbye community college. Filled a students dorm room with crumpled newspaper and drywalled over his door.
      There is an endless list of anecdotes.
      • The drywalling is nice, but filling a room with news paper isn't that hard, espcially considering the amount that dorms throw out each day. We did it to some guy who was about a week late to getting to the dorms. First time he showed up to his room it was 6 or 7 feet deep in news paper.
    • not quite (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      almost, though...

      Apparently, the caltech administration didn't really appreciate the anti-starwars tone of the movie (since they had lots of starwars funding for phase conjugate mirror technology). Instead they ended up filming most of Real Genious at a nearby school (occidental college) which has similar mediterranean architecture.

      The "burger king" entries were actually computer printed entries for a Mcdonalds contest. Since then, sweepstakes have required "hand written" entries. This was originally inspired by a ealier frito-lay sweepstakes. More recently, this was tried again with a "submit the most entries" contest among southern california school for a free oingo boingo. Despite being much smaller than UCLA and USC, caltech managaged to submit more entries, but oingo boingo decided to backout of the concert (because they probably thought performing for free at a "tech" school would ruin their reputation)...

      And you're missing the most recent stunt changing the hollywood sign to read caltech ;^)
    • The White House dirty tricks creeps who worked for Nixon and got caught at the Watergate were led by a bunch of USC boys who supported Nixon. These guys wanted to "RF" anyone who opposed Nixon. "RF" was the Caltech slang for pranks. The USC creeps were obviously suffering from Tech envy and got in over their heads in something they couldn't do right. Caltech men had stolen Tommy Trojan from the USC campus and penetrated security of girls dorms that had thwarted the USC students.

      BTW, George Bush, Jr., now has a real Techer, ie confessed criminal Poindexter, working for him.

    • Go here [mit.edu]. That's all I'm saying.
  • While this group at New Mexico State had some interesting pranks, they have nothing on what MIT and CalTech students have done over the years.

    Who can forget the numerous attempts to decorate the Great Dome at MIT? Or someone at CalTech managed to sabotage a spectator placard display so when the placards were displayed at a football game it read CALTECH?
  • I think it's cool... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by failrate ( 583914 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @10:44AM (#4993678) Homepage
    Mainly because they used this prank to do something productive. Centennial Plaza had been altered without approval. These students essentially used their vandalism as a form of protest and *successfully returned the plaza to the form in which it had been originally designed*! The Physical Plant was being lazy and f'ed-up the plans. Everyone complained, but no one but Stealth Team Beta did anything about it. This isn't destruction for just fun and burning some professor you don't like. This is destruction for great justice!
  • Yep, my alma mater had their share [dropsquad.com] of pranksters too...

    "They dropped pumpkins, typewriters and bags of McDonald's hamburgers down a
    nine-story stairwell of the Center for Industrial Innovation. Then the Drop
    Squad made a mistake. They sent police a videotape of themselves and were
    finally caught and punished.
    "

    Doh! Hate when that happens!
    • Who is left having to clean up these messes? Probably an unglorified housekeeper or lawn-worker. They're the real heroes.

    • Re:Memorieees (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mithras the prophet ( 579978 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @12:22PM (#4993981) Homepage Journal
      That's not a hack, that's sheer idiocy. Drop stuff and it breaks. Whupty-fucking-doo, man.
    • Gotta Love the "Low Building" as they are now calling the tallest building on campus... and if you look at it, the stairwell only goes 8 stories.

      My favorite is from the "Poly" Incident Blotter
      8:30am Larceny: Mini-fridge stolen from 8th floor lounge
      and right below it
      8:45am Destruction of property: Mini-fridge found smashed at bottom of stairwell

      Do ya thunk public saftey put 2 and 2 together? nahhh...

      Gotta Love the 'tute... Ya Know... Maybe I should bring the dropsquad back :-)
  • Steam tunnels (Score:2, Interesting)

    by derekb ( 262726 )
    Any UNB [www.unb.ca] students past or present out there that have explored the steam tunnels?

    These darlings connect all the residences to every building on campus. Since the campus is built on a hill, there are a lot of steps.

    Once went as far as the hospital! (that's a long walk above ground let alone going through the tunnels.)

    Every so often there are vents that you can peek out of (locked of course) so you can try to figure out where you are.
  • Money Damages? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ACNiel ( 604673 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @11:10AM (#4993732)
    Hope they didn't cause any money damages.

    The statute of limitations on civil suits isn't as black and white as the statute of limitations on criminal charges.

    And if they are still trying to cover up who did what, a overly aggresive, and loophole savvy DA could try to go for conspiracy charges, since that crime is on going.

    Smile for the camera boys.
  • As a grad student, I'm suddenly inspired to get some people together and perform some similar "operations" and "hacks" (as they apparently call it at MIT).... Hack #1: saw Bevo's horns off (evil grin)
  • by ThresholdRPG ( 310239 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @12:24PM (#4993986) Homepage Journal
    Why in the world is this a news item on Slashdot.

    Just as an example, let us examine "Operation Up Your Shaft" (http://www.spril.com/StealthForceBeta/UpYourShaft .asp)

    In this "prank", not only did they climb around in an ACTIVE elevator shaft, they filled the elevator with objects that would deliberately pour out upon an unsuspecting user of the elevator in order to scare them. Climbing around in an elevator shaft that is OPERATIONAL is exceptionally stupid. They are very fortunate nobody was injured or KILLED. Most of the story reads like the beginning of a Darwin Award entry.

    First, who cares about a couple of dorks who engaged in a bunch of silly pranks and "Mission Impossible wanna-be" activities.

    Second, why condone this sort of DANGEROUS and often illegal behavior. Giving praise and recognition to people who engage in this kind of crap is unwise, misguided, and exceptionally dangerous.

    Third, there are FAR more interesting stories in the world of technology and geekdom that could occupy the scant few front page slots on the /. home page. /. is an excellent web site whose biggest limitation is not even its own fault: lack of space! There are too many good stories and not enough space to share them all. Why waste the VALUABLE resource that is /. on this kind of childish garbage?

    I was hesitant to post this because I frequently see (and despise) the ridiculous flamers who seem to only post here so they can be critical of /.. On the contrary, I am PRAISING the value of /. and trying to argue that a spot on the front page is worth too much to be squandered on junk like this.
    • by No Such Agency ( 136681 ) <abmackay@ g m ail.com> on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @12:38PM (#4994034)
      A lot of "antics" (DMCA abuses, stupid M$ tricks) are reported here without neccessarily being condoned or encouraged. I see this more as a first hand account of what really constitutes a form of hacking. Thus, of interest to anyone who ever contemplated "exploring" an unsecured server, or wittily defacing a website to make a political point (and yes, misuse of university funds to unattractively landscape a campus area is a political issue). I have to agree that the elevator thing was ill-advised, but it's still interesting to read about.
    • In this "prank", not only did they climb around in an ACTIVE elevator shaft, they filled the elevator with objects that would deliberately pour out upon an unsuspecting user of the elevator in order to scare them. Climbing around in an elevator shaft that is OPERATIONAL is exceptionally stupid. They are very fortunate nobody was injured or KILLED. Most of the story reads like the beginning of a Darwin Award entry.

      It's not like Mission Impossible where spikes come out of the ceiling. It's an elevator shaft. It isn't something that has big teeths, moves with the speed of the cheetah, and spits venom.

      It's a piece of machine. Yeah, it's dangerous, but not stupid as long as you know what you are doing. Yes, I have climbed in an active elevator shaft. No, it wasn't for a stunt, more of an emergency. It is not a dangerous act in and of itself.
    • Wow...you seem to be a very boring person indeed.
    • Second, why condone this sort of DANGEROUS and often illegal behavior.

      Who peed in your Cheerios this morning, mate?

      People are fully within their rights to risk their lives for others' humor. The problem is the morons who try to sue other people for their own (or deceased relative's) incompetence or bad luck.

      If my son was crushed by an elevator doing something like this, I would mourn his loss forever, but who would I blame? It was clearly his free will, lack of sensability, and probably poor parenting that caused the situation.

    • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @08:37PM (#4996189) Journal
      Okay, there were only about two things in there that I'd really call dangerous to the point of being stupid. First, dangling someone by their ankles over a 60 foot drop to fix a mistake in a prank was stupid. If you didn't think to bring rope or some sort of climbing safety equipment, let it go. It's not worth risking your life.

      The other *really* stupid one was trying to wriggle up a 6 inch gap between an active elevator and the wall when the students ended up in a pit at the bottom of the elevator. That was *dumb*. I say sit tight and cope. Another student with his hand on a (potentially operable) emergency stop button does not make it safe.

      That being said, a lot of the other "safety" things they broke aren't that bad, like taking out lights and whatnot. Some of the things they did were pretty constructive (I'm not even sure that swiping the railroad ties that campus maintenance wouldn't haul away would be considered a prank.)

      Some were pretty neat.
    • I'm not sure if you've noticed this, but somewhere up at the top of the page it says "news for nerds".

      There is no such thing as a nerd who doesn't like the thought of sneaking through steam tunnels; this is just a fact of life.

      If you do not like reading about such things, perhaps you should stay away from Slashdot.

      I bet you're the person who always insists that grammer be correctly employed, aren't ya?
  • by bearl ( 589272 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @12:39PM (#4994038)
    For a good read about college pranks, search out If at All Possible, Involve a Cow, by Neil Steinberg.

    It's a well researched cronicle of the history of college pranks, and covers the famous MIT and Caltech pranks, but goes beyond the more publicized events to get behind the scenes as much as possible. It also covers the history or college pranks and includes the origins of several college rivalrys, such as midnight raids to capture and recover "prized" school artifacts.

    Sadly, it now seems to be out of print, but it's worth finding a used copy or checking your local library.

    ISBN 0-312-07810-2
  • They were lucky!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by cwsulliv ( 522390 ) <cwsulliv@triad.rr.com> on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @12:40PM (#4994041)
    Check out this page:
    http://www.ncfelonymurder.org/janet.html
    to see how one stupid prank gone awry earned a young woman life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
    • hmmm....Now its a sport!
    • http://www.ncfelonymurder.org/janet.html


      Oh, I love the stupidity of that page:

      What happened to Janet Danahey could have happened to any of us or to our own children. Youth is often so dangerously careless and carefree in its exuberance.


      'Oh, yes, they meant to set a fire, and no, they didn't warn anyone when they saw it was going to burn the place, they just ran off and hid, but gee, don't punish Janet for killing 4 people, anyone could have done it, besides, you didn't punish any of her friends.'

      Anyone that lacking in intelligence and self control ('it wasn't their fault, they were drunk, haven't we all done crazy stuff like that?') is a threat to society.

      This makes me see more clearly why some people are driven to become Republicans.
      • The point remains that there is a BIG difference between deliberty causing someone harm and harm caused by irresponsible conduct. No one on the felony murder law page was arguing that Janet does not bear responsibility for the results of her irresponsible actions. They were arguing that punishing someone who is irresponsible with the same degree of severity as someone who is intentinally harmfull is unethical.

        In most states a charge of first degree murder requires INTENT TO KILL, get the point here, the intent DOES MATTER. The law Jannet was prosecuted under failes to take that into account. As stated on the page, a charge of involuntary manslaughter would have been much more appropiate to these circumstances.

        • As stated on the page, a charge of involuntary manslaughter would have been much more appropiate to these circumstances.


          I would agree, save for the fact that she was additionally and quite plainly criminally negligent. Having caused the arson, she could have taken steps to prevent the murder of her 4 victims. She may not have originally intended to kill, but the fact that she did not try to stop them from being killed shows she was not sufficiently averse to it.

          • Why is she spending 50 times as long in prison as people who repeatedly drive drunk? Why is she spending 10 times as long in prison as people who drive drunk resulting in deaths of other people? Why is she spending as much time in prison as people who abducted, imprisoned, tortured, raped and murdered multiple young women on non-consecutive occasions? Why is she in prison while the other two people she was with got nothing? Why is she in prison while corporate directors who make "mistakes" that kill dozens to hundreds of people to save money go free and the corporations pay 1% of one years profits in judgements?

            Nobody is saying she shouldn't spend a number of years in prison.*

            But no rational person can understand why she should spend 20-60 years in prison for the mistake she made.

            .

            (*) In fact I'd say that the laws should be amended so that anyone who commits petty arson of this type gets a couple years in prison in appreciation of the fact that it *will* eventually result in someone dying. My big peeve with the current western justice systems is the fact that people who commit the same acts get sentenced differently depending on how "unlucky" they were - petty arson no deaths VS petty arson and deaths - driving drunk and getting caught in a roadblock VS driving drunk and killing someone - the acts committed by the individuals were the same, but the punishments are vastly different...
            .
    • On the other hand, the described pranks perpetrated by Stealth Force Beta involved--usually at worst, and usually only incidentally--misdemeanors. Tresspassing, minor vandalism, petty theft. Felony murder would be difficult to apply under these circumstances, because there were no felonies.

      Also, the only lives that were ever at risk as a consequence of any of their stunts were their own. There was no reckless endangerment of other people, unlike the linked case in the parent post. They did not perpetrate malicious acts against others, just some fairly harmless--and often public-spirited--fun.

    • Why is this modded up? The girl on that page deserves absolutely no sympathy. Getting drunk and setting fire to a building is not a prank, it's a crime. A pretty big one too. These guys weren't lucky, they just weren't stupid.

      • The page was more of a critique of the silly murder rule they have in that state.

        Under most any other state law, the girl would not have gotten life without parole. There was no intent, which would prevent 1st degree murder.

        Nowhere in the page was it argued that she shouldn't have gotten prison time.
    • If you thought of it while drunk and executed it before sobering up, it's not exactly a 'prank'. Extra stupidity points for using fire.
  • On page two [spril.com] of the Public Hanging, the text states that "With great persistence and much duct tape, we successfully attached the banners to the building."

    Yet more proof that anything is possible with duct tape!
  • by jefu ( 53450 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @01:48PM (#4994278) Homepage Journal
    There are more stories around about NMT (more properly NMIMT - the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology) but for one reason or another I think its best not to retell them. But reading this story brought up a few amusing recollections. (I was once a professor there - during that time too - I knew most of those guys.)

    It wasn't so much a prank, but I remember being called out as a member of the local Search and Rescue unit to get some people out of the local mine where someone had managed to get stuck. It was fun to get up there and find students from my classes involved - at about 6 AM yet. I, naturally, refrained from giving them a hard time (well, mostly). I didn't tell the poor terrified person who had actually managed to get stuck that there was a (small, but significant) cave-in just as I reached the mine opening.

    This is very much a science/engineering phenomenon - liberal arts students write poems and make films. Science/Engineering students explore mines, build gadgets and construct elaborate pranks involving doing interesting things.

    Despite the risks and annoyances I'd like to raise a glass to the engineering pranksters - on the large scale or on the small scale. And in particular I'd like to include those NMT students who kept things interesting.

    • The location of Socorro (Help Me, in Spanish) New Mexico, as well as the scarcity of, well, students of the female persuasion, makes for a bad combination. They're building a trebouche at the moment, I believe.
  • Steath Force Beta was a pretty good group to know. Unfortunately at that time, I was too swept up in the dark struggle for control of the Geology Club [nmt.edu] (old link) between the Sigma Gamma Epsilon branch [nmt.edu] and er, more radical elements (alas no web presence). Fortunately, during the numerous temporary ceasefires we were able to explore our aquisitive inner economic geologist and see cool landforms and fossils.

    Another thing of interest was the occasional bit of envy we experienced when MIT or Caltech were mentioned (eg, when a Boston local mentioned that he was going next semester to the local school, MIT). A small school with a little ego problem. I doubt there are many schools with such a large fragment of insecurity complex per capita.

    • I just wanted to be able to go on field trips with both the Geology Club _and_ Sigma Gamma Epsilon, but everyone seemed to want to make it a political thing...now it all just seems really silly...
  • I went to NMT from 89-93 during the reign of the Stealth Force Beta. I, too, messed around with elevators and steam tunnels. Ahh, memories. I never knew that they did the CSM banner... Operation Gaseous Research reminded me of a trick my buddies and I would do with powdered coffee creamer that we "liberated" from campus dining facilities. Basically, we'd make massive fireballs by dispersing the creamer over an open flame. We got caught by the Campus Police, but they were so impressed, they wanted a demonstration. I imagine there are lots of former "Techies" that lurk on this site...
  • by neildogg ( 119502 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @02:22PM (#4994430) Homepage
    You can find a few copies here [amazon.com]
  • Hard to believe that one of these guys came from Clearfield, Pennsylvania. Our county (Clearfield, no less) is proud to have contributed a member of this team!
  • by Oshuma.Shiroki ( 232199 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @03:18PM (#4994662) Homepage Journal
    Stealth Force Beta? Is that like a real life Aqua Teen Hunger Force? Or are they more like the Thunderbirds?

    </humor>
  • some of the best pranks i've done: -filled dorm door with concrete -put "the club" on the door to a profs office so he couldnt get out -made a fake order of evacuation for toxic mold scare for a few friends (had fake HASMAT lines, offical papers with seals and photoshopped signatures and everything including people in bunny suits telling them franticly to get out when they came in anwyay hehe) -wallpapered over door to other dorms then the next day removed the doors and did it again so when they tried to remove the paper by ripping down the door they fell on their ass a few other more evil than funny pranks that i'll not share heh...
  • by inditek ( 150002 ) <matt&machination,org> on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @03:34PM (#4994737) Homepage

    Stealth Force Beta was countered by a group called The GSF. Some of us said it stood for "Green Sheep F---ers". An allusion to the lonely miners and their pasttimes in the glowing deserts of New Mexico.

    I attended NMT for only two years - '99, '00 - but was a participant in GSF 'operations' during that time. The GSF, according to those older and wiser than I, was created by some, including significant members of the student union as an unofficial guerrilla group to compete/oppose STB. I'm not sure if STB was still around when I was there... GSF participated largely in whimsical pranks and actions bringing the schools administration's focus to various issues amongst the student body when regular campus politics just didn't the trick.

    Btw, I've seen some comments that liberal arts students generally don't pull pranks like that... as a CS major when I was at NMT and now something of social science student, I'd have to say there's no empirical data to support that claim. It just takes a combination of creativity, free time (or negligence of other things), and some sense of adventure and/or poltiics. :)

    NMT does have something of a complex when it comes to competing with MIT and the like... but it has good reason. It's EE dept has produced robotics teams that have regularly beat MIT, NASA engineers, and hundreds of other schools and institutions at a firefighting competition in Connecticut, it has significant ties to Linux for PPC, RTLinux (the patenting by Victor Yodaikenof that sending a lot of heat in the direction of NMT's mail servers from Slashdot readers/trolls) development by NMT faculty and grads, and several innovations and unique features associated with the school and certain departments also seem to get less attention than the same would elsewhere. Of course, it doesn't help to be small (less than 2000 undergrads) and stuck in the middle of the desert.

    Socorro is a hell of a place.

    http://machination.org/matt/index.cgi/2003/01/01#2 003-01-01_secretsocietiesNMT [machination.org]

    • by amyk ( 637821 )
      I really don't think that GSF had anything to do with a competition with SFB. Although I was not in either group, I was friends with members of both (and still with some) and privy to both of their exploits. (Tech from 88-92) Certainly GSF's Colorado School of Mines "M" being turned into "nMt" instigated SFB's "CSM" banner at Tech. But the key to that prank, imho, is that GSF's really believed that Colorado School of Mines made the trip down to Tech. They may deny it now but at the time, GSF were really impressed that they had made an impact on another "rival" school. Even at the time, most of us realized that Colorado wouldn't have the foggiest idea of any school with the initials of "NMT" or care.

      Both groups had good pranks, for sure. But let's not forget Charlene and Victoria's group and their little pranks that included alphabetizing the periodic chart in the main lecture hall, putting shamrocks on all the desks in said hall, and painting the sidewalks with the school's president's name. And how about the group in '93 that "borrowed" the backhoe from p-plant and left it at the administration building? Even when I moved up to Albuquerque, I helped students with pranks at the University of New Mexico like the classic turn-their-wolf-into-a-sheep-with-cotton-balls-and honey.

      My point is that when you're in the middle of the desert and there is nothing to do, we all find ways of amusing ourselves.
      • > My point is that when you're in the middle of the desert and there is nothing to do, we all find ways of amusing ourselves.

        Indeed. And I'd like to add that my comments were just on my periphial awareness and involvement in stunts that are comparably tame to the documented and mythical big pranks, and during a relatively short timeline - well after the peak efforts of both of these groups on the campus of the little college I still have to describe as "Ever see the movie Contact? Right, well remember the VLA? Ok, that was in my backyard almost."

        I'd also like to add I'm pretty surprised this became an article on Slashdot. I mean, it has relevance to me, but had I no personal connection I never would have made this a front page feature... so I have sympathy with the critics of this discussion happening here & now (not that it's not fun).
      • I agree that Beta and the GSF weren't rivals. At least, I never saw them that way. If fact, it was my impression that the GSF and Beta cooperated casually. I certainly contributed money when the GSF passed the helmet to finance the "nMt" trip, and the paint sprayer used to make the "CSM" banners was borrowed from a prominent GSF member. So the question is, did the GSF really think that the Colorado School of Mines hung the banners, or were they (at least some of them) in on it?
  • Campus pranks (Score:3, Informative)

    by Moorlock ( 128824 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @04:53PM (#4995119) Homepage
    [sniggle.net]
    There is something glorious about a college prank. A really good prank brings not just laughter, but a visceral satisfaction and a kind of awe that does not fade with time nor diminish with retelling. In the narrow world of university life, so routine, so programmed and often - like life in the real world - too dull to tolerate, a prank shakes things up, breaks the tedium, and gives hope for a life filled with hidden, delightful possibility.

    - Neil Steinberg
  • by colmore ( 56499 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2003 @09:57PM (#4996454) Journal
    Sensitive viewers should be aware that all haircuts in these photos date between 1989 and 1992.
  • Do any other Techies remember raiding the boneyard for raw material? New Mexico Tech was a fun place at times, but the most explosive exploits were usually done out in the middle of the desert, not on campus. If you put a bunch of bright people together in a small town in the middle of nowhere, they will create their own fun.
    B. Bunny: Maybe I shouldn't 'ave taken that left toin at Albuquerque?
  • ...mentioned on the SFB homepage, there are other books available detailing similar goings-on at MIT & Caltech, as well as the aforementioned "If At All Possible, Involve A Cow".

    Some years ago, I wrote a review of all of these books, complete with ordering information.

    You can see this review HERE [slashdot.org].

    As soon as I hear back from the gentleman selling the SFB book, I'll be ordering a copy for myself. If the web pages are any indication, this will be a very good addition to the MIT/Caltech books,

  • You should not use your fireplace, because scientists now believe that,
    contrary to popular opinion, fireplaces actually remove heat from houses.
    Really, that's what scientists believe. In fact many scientists actually
    use their fireplaces to cool their houses in the summer. If you visit a
    scientist's house on a sultry August day, you'll find a cheerful fire
    roaring on the hearth and the scientist sitting nearby, remarking on how
    cool he is and drinking heavily.
    -- Dave Barry, "Postpetroleum Guzzler"

    - this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...

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