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MIT Hackers Appropriate Caltech Cannon 329

Bob Hearn writes "Some Slashdotters might remember the story Caltech Pranks MIT's Prefrosh Weekend from a year ago. MIT Hackers have gotten even. Sometime in the middle of the night, Caltech's famous cannon appeared at the base of MIT's Green building. A plaque in front of it reads: 'CALTECH CANNON April 6, 2006 MIT hackers posing as the Howe & Ser Moving Company Appropriated this cannon on March 28, 2006. It later appeared on MIT's campus with the addition of a large brass rat made of gold-plated aluminum. In honor of its previous owners, the cannon points towards Padadena, CA.' The brass rat (MIT ring) is really a rather impressive bit of aluminum machining. Harvey Mudd College previously stole the cannon, in 1986, but later had to give it back."
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MIT Hackers Appropriate Caltech Cannon

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  • by n9uxu8 ( 729360 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:59PM (#15078052) Homepage I read it differently. From their web page ( [] it sounds more like "How We Answer" (the previous Caltech prank) moving company...two linguistic jokes...funny guys those engineers.

  • by Bob Hearn ( 61879 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:04PM (#15078110) Homepage
    Wikipedia was already updated even before the Slashdot submission. The really interesting bit is this [] change history of that page. The current text replaces this:

    "It is rumored that Harvey Mudd will attempt to steal the cannon again this year in celebration of the 20th anniversary of their original theft. Be warned. Thankfully Dabney house has planned ahead, and relocated the cannon to a safehouse in Compton."

    So, was this "relocation" the actual MIT appropriation?
  • by Mr. BS ( 788514 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:58PM (#15078631)
    If that's the case, WTG for MIT to incorporate Wikipedia into the Social Engineering hack! Nice job in an atempt to cover all of the bases!
  • The Brass Rat (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Smattacus ( 875069 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:53PM (#15079150)
    Very, very clever MIT. It JUST struck me. The Fleming cannon is non - RF'able, according to the Interhouse Committee Resolutions at Caltech. That means it's not prankable. The LITERAL definition of RF is "Rat Fuck," when to prank someone, you would catch a rat, dip it in LN2, and then smash it in someone's room. The smell is enough to knock your socks off! And you cannot find all the pieces ever, so it lingers for months. Putting a gigantic brass rat on there is pretty hilarious. You've rat fucked it, and depending on how dirty your mind is, in more than one way. Well played.
  • by kuyakuya ( 966680 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @05:38PM (#15080155)
    As a Fleming alum ('01), I admit my initial reaction was outrage. But Fleming House did steal the cannon from a local San Marino military academy in the first place back in the 80's. And for you history buffs, the cannon is from the War of 1812.

    So, congratulations, MIT hackers. Your theft also came at an opportune time since Fleming House is currently under a major renovation and the cannon was moved temporarily in front of the MOSH's house, unguarded by the current Flems. Ironically, the MOSH's residence is right across the street from the Security Office.

    I hope it eventually makes it back to Caltech. The Orange Walk just won't be the same without it.
  • Re:a big relief (Score:2, Interesting)

    by __aajfby9338 ( 725054 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:03PM (#15081090)
    I attended Caltech for one year (86-87), and was in Fleming Hovse, in fact. Was a social Mole, too. Lived in room pi (AKA the powder room). Flunked out most heinously. At the time, our cannon was locked down with kryptonite locks at each wheel set into the concrete. The south hovse basement renovation was under way at the time. Nothing like being awakened at 7AM by a hammer drill in the concrete under your floor, or the sound of a fish tape running through a conduit inches from your head, after staying up until about 5:30 doing homework. Ah, the good ol' days! The Moles had been renovated, and one of the other houses, too (I don't remember whether it was the Scurvs or the Darbs; didn't spend much time in either hovse). I never had any trouble talking myself out of anything with security, but as a naive frosh it took me a while to figure out that I was pretty safe as long as I was carrying my Caltech ID card and not setting anything on fire. Other comments here about the security being deliberately lax w.r.t Caltech students don't sound at all unlikely to me... the Caltech community has a strong honor code, and Caltech students are given a great deal of freedom and responsibility from day one (after indoctrination at Camp Fox, that is). It may be hard for folks who haven't spent time there to understand how different the environment there is from other schools. The freedom and responsibility is a double-edged sword. It undoubtedly fosters creativity, but it's also a bit much for some folks to handle all of a sudden. I'd say that was a factor in my not passing enough classes to stay on, along with the difficulty of the work there. College can be a difficult adjustment to make after high school, anyway, and going from being near the top of the heap in high school to being a low-grade moron compared to my classmates at Caltech was rough! The experience was well worth it despite being a bit, er, shaken, for a while afterwards... where else can a frosh fab their own ICs in class by day, then help some random grad student they bumped into in the student machine shop install a new part on his gravity wave detector at night?

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