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University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt Returns 91

mresolver writes "We've discussed it in previous years, and now the world's largest scavenger hunt at the University of Chicago has returned. The event may be best known for the working breeder reactor students built for the 1999 hunt. This year, some of the 330 list items (PDF) include 3-D (and 4-D) Twister, a hand-built Theremin, a recreation of the Moon landing, the world's largest Newton's Cradle, and hyperbolic crocheting."
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University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt Returns

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  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:14PM (#19087309) Homepage Journal

    a recreation of the Moon landing

    We're gonna need a whole lot of Mentos and Diet Coke for that one!
    • hyperbolic crocheting.
      FWIW I knitted a hyperbolic paraboloid for math class in high school.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yeah. To crochet a hyperbolic plane, just double one stich in every n stitches (the smaller n, the more negative the curvature). It's one of the easiest things to crochet at all. There was actually an article in the Mathematical Intelligencer a while back about it, where the intended audience was people with no crocheting experience at all.

        Klein bottles and projective planes are much more interesting to crochet, and still very much possible. It's even possible to crochet arbitrary Seifert surfaces fairly ea
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ciroknight ( 601098 )
      Oddly enough, #134:

      "Screw the salute--Diet Coke and Mentos jetpack!"

      Killing two birds with one stone.
    • by SEWilco ( 27983 )
      Contestants should refrain from damaging the Tranquility Base site.
    • Boy that brings back some memories. When I was in college, my crotch was the subject of much hyperbole. Oh crocheting... never mind.
  • i knew it (Score:4, Funny)

    by mastershake_phd ( 1050150 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:19PM (#19087399) Homepage
    a recreation of the Moon landing

    The moon landing was staged at the university of Chicago!
  • Illegal operation (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    A published musical composition in [delta] time. [4([delta] 1) points]
    I don't get it -- how do you subtract a scalar (1) from an ordered pair ([delta])?
    • by Chysn ( 898420 )
      Sheesh, some people just don't understand music.
    • by CalSolt ( 999365 )
      It's not an ordered pair, it's a fraction- like 4/4 time = 1.

      The challenging part is finding an uncommonly "large" time like 16/4 (4/4 is the most common AFAIK).
  • what about the R.O.U.S.'s? ... and a PDF viewer for slimey
  • The event may be best known for the working breeder reactor students built for the 1999 hunt.
    It's too bad that if they tried that nowadays they'd probably get thrown in Gitmo.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    17. The Marx brothers' mirror sketch did not involve a mirror -- why should these?

    27. A Turing machine. Is it OK if it's just equivalent to one?

    45. Sounds like fun. How much money?

    51. Tumbleweed. Believe it or not, they actually do have these in Chicago.

    72. Angel Falls, MN?

    206. Find Waldo in the Loop. Now, are you supposed to abduct him and take him back to show you found him?

    240. Carhenge. I'm sure the photos will look great, but I'm keeping my distance.

    304. "The Anarchist's Cookbook,

    • wouldn't even attempting to search for the anarchist cook book get you on an FBI watch list. Much less downloading it and printing it out. No thank you I have no desire for a indefinite stay at gitmo's
    • I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read "30. Do not rest, do not sleep for an instant, until the one-nostriled man is brought to justice. Then return the stolen goods." Of course, if the planners really knew what they were doing, this would have been listed as item 27.... ;-) And if you find one, please tell me where I can buy one so I can bring it to my next concert for Al to sign??? :)
    • I'm guessing they're going to want to enforce the property of the tape.
  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:56PM (#19088045)
    "May not have received no moving violations or convictions or court-ordered supervision."

    So does that mean you have to have a moving violation to drive?

    Maybe my English parser is broken on Friday.
    • There ain't nothin wrong with no double negatives -- they're a legitimate historical part of the language, and some overthinking idiots in the 18th century decided they were illogical. Well guess what? Language is illogical. Compare "b*ll*cks" (=bad/nonsense/rubbish) with "the dog's b*ll*cks" (=the best thing ever).


  • by Maximum Prophet ( 716608 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:09PM (#19088271)

    a hand-built Theremin
    Theremins are sufficiently rare that I sure any one they did find would be "hand built". I built one as a kit many years ago, but no longer have it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theremin [wikipedia.org]
    • They built a breeder reactor one year. After reading the principle behind the Theremin I don't think I'd put it past some students.
      • Of course they can *build* one. Any kid in Junior High could build a Theremin, it's just a bunch of oscillators and mixers. From the rules, it sounded like they had to find one that was already built, by hand. (someone else's) Am I wrong here?
        • The way I read it was "hand built" as in "you can't go buy a kit".

          Given some of the other items on the list, the list looks pretty open to interpretation.

          If they build it by hand... why wouldn't it be 'hand built'. Other comments make it seem like some people make these in their free time, so maybe they just want them to find one that some one built in their free time.
        • The point of the U of C Scavenger Hunt is not to go find things and bring them back. That would be exceedingly boring. The important thing for each item is that the solution be interesting. That means that would be great if you bring back a vintage theremin from 1960, or if you built one yourself. Even better would be to bring in a real theremin being helf by Brian Wilson. The main point of the Hunt is creativity. U of C is not MIT.
          • by Hawkxor ( 693408 )
            What does this have to do with MIT?
            • A lot of people compare the U of C Scavhunt to a similar event at MIT. I forget what it's called, though.
              • by Hawkxor ( 693408 )
                The MIT Mystery Hunt is not similar, it's not even a scavenger hunt - it's much more creative..
                • If I recall correctly, doesn't each puzzle have a unique solution? Hardly what I'd call "creative"...
                  • by Hawkxor ( 693408 )
                    It takes a huge amount of creativity to figure out the solution to any puzzle (there's no instructions for any puzzle)
                    what's so creative about U of C thing, maybe I'd call it minor thinking outside the box..
                    • The creativity lies not only in the solution to the puzzle (there are many different kinds of puzzles, from solving secret codes to figuring out cryptic clues on a road trip), but in how to interpret the problem itself. There aren't any instructions on a lot of the Scavhunt items, either. Also, it allows people to be creative in a lot of different ways: music, acting, art, ninjas, etc. It's very interesting how the two contests show the vastly different characters of each school.
                    • by Hawkxor ( 693408 )
                      Maybe you're right, because I go to MIT and sort think the Chicago version is lame. It's easy to come up with a solution when you're able interpret the question any way you like, but finding elegant solutions to a difficult problem is more interesting. For example, there is a riddle called 100 prisoners and a lightbulb, where you have a lightbulb in a room and prisoners are selected in random orders to enter the room and either keep the lightbulb in its current state or toggle it. You want to minimize the a
                    • The U of C hunt can never (and should never) attract professionals from across the country because it's about students having fun :) So you're right, it is a creativity of a different kind. I think it's just as challenging as the MIT game because you have to actually build and do things.

                      We're about teams creating a shopping cart go-kart in the shape of a Wacky Racer, building a functioning pinball table from scratch, giving blood, drinking and partying on Friday, going to a quiz game where you have to recit
    • Hey...I have a Theremin right here! Wait...what's this? "Made in Taiwan"....damn! That guy on EBay said he built it by hand! What a rip-off.

      Well, maybe I can help with another one of the items in the scavenger hunt. I've knitted a parabola before and I'm sure that it would be easier to hyperbolic crochet...
    • by fishbowl ( 7759 )
      I have a co-worker who just completed a Theremin, built from scratch, using an original RCA design (that is, Leo).
      I was playing with it a few minutes ago.

      http://bedsidestory.livejournal.com/37706.html [livejournal.com]
    • Thanks for pointing out the Theremin, I hadn't heard of them before.
      The strangest video I just came across is a mashup of simpsons and star trek, the Theremin creates the wailing woman voice from the theme tune.
      The Simpsons vs Star Trek [youtube.com]

      Remarkable instrument.
    • Theremins are sufficiently rare that I sure any one they did find would be "hand built"

      Well, you may just ask Froogle [google.com]. There, apart from some kits, and this "Hywatt" [instrumentpro.com] thing from a certain "Instrument Pro" company that I had never heard about, the most widely available Theremin comes from Moog [guitarcenter.com], certainly not hand-made.

    • Any MP3s of one of these things playing?
      • Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin has a theremin in the middle bit. I'm sure you can find a performance on Youtube.
    • There are actually a lot of cheap optical theremins for sale, too. A lot easier to build than the classic style.
  • Not again (Score:4, Funny)

    by cloudkiller ( 877302 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:11PM (#19088293) Homepage Journal
    252. While at Carhenge, drive the earth into the sun! [1,000,000,000 points; 2 points for effort]

    Someone better get homeland security on the phone.
  • 81. Genji 2 has shown us that the Oriental Institute lacks an exhibit on one of the famous battles that actually took place in Ancient Japan. Fix that. [29 points]
    The Giant Enemy Crab will be tough to do, but it'll still be possible. But how can they show the real-time weapon change?
  • Have you ever seen $1,000,000? Well then, how do you know it exists? I want to see it. In cash.
    [20 points; 180 bonus points if I see it at Judgment.]

    Yeah okay. I'll see you guys at Judgment. I'll be the guy wearing the ski mask and holding an automatic weapon, with 5 of my friends.
    • $1,000,000 is quite ambiguous, doesn't specify US legal tender...
      Anyone have extra Monopoly sets?
      • by mblase ( 200735 )
        $1,000,000 is quite ambiguous, doesn't specify US legal tender...

        I doubt you'd get away with Monopoly money, but it's true it doesn't specify US dollars. Perhaps you could make a road trip to Canadia for their new million dollar coin [foxnews.com]?
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Well, legal tender in $1,000,000 would be cheapest for Jamaica dollars. About $15,000 USD to have $1,000,000 JMD on hand. If anyone else knows a more favorable dollar comparison, I'd love to hear it.
        • by danzona ( 779560 )
          About $2,000 USD would equate to 1,000,000 CFA (Central African Francs).

          But it would be more fun to go to Jamaica to convert the money than it would be to go to Cameroon.
  • Info on the reactor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bromskloss ( 750445 ) <auxiliary.addres ... y@ g m a i l.com> on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:18PM (#19089429)
    It was a bit tricky to find, many pages talking about it were gone, but here it is [archive.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mikael ( 484 )
      I particularly like the comment:

      " Although some judges and fellow Mathews teammates were concerned over the safety of the reactor, Kasper
      said that he and Neill took serious precautions during its construction. "It was all very well-controlled. We
      packed the materials..., built a shed, and assembled it there... We've stopped the reaction. We only detected
      about several thousand atoms of Uranium, so it's not like the source is radioactive by any means anymore."
  • by Phat_Tony ( 661117 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:45PM (#19089865)
    There was a documentary [imdb.com] made of the U of C scavenger hunt a few years ago. You can buy it here. [periphrastic.com] Or request that Netflix [netflix.com] or your local library get a copy, so you can check it out.

    * disclaimer- I know the people who made this film. I still liked it.
  • Rubbery (Score:4, Funny)

    by youthoftoday ( 975074 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @05:13PM (#19090295) Homepage Journal
    As the PDF was downloading I was saying to myself 'Please be LaTeX, please be LaTeX'.
    For some reason the fact that they did restores my faith in humanity.
  • by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <slashdot3@just[ ... t ['con' in gap]> on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:49PM (#19092705)
    Number 87:

    Schroedinger's dick in a box [0 or 1 points. Maybe both if you don't open the box]

    Seriously though, its nice to see that universities are still academic, but also just plain fun. Although it's pretty sad that we all get both parts of that joke...
  • ...or someone has to come up with a driving-qualified robot that's at least 18 years old (hey Mr. Wells, can I borrow your Time Machine for a bit?)

    Driver Requirements: ...
    - (a) Minimum age of 18 ...
    - (e) Must be alcohol- and drug-free (it's the way to be), including illegal, prescription, and non-prescription drugs.

    Sorry guys, but that disqualifies most humans. Most foodstuffs are verifiable (non-prescription) drugs. Also, imagine a driver not allowed to drink any coffee during such an ordeal, I wouldn't wa
  • than even Kuviasungnerk (the winter festival that involves getting up before dawn to do calisthenics by the lakeshore in the snow). U of Chicago invents these weird activities for students to have "fun" while obliterating student-created traditions like SleepOut (camping out on the main quad to register for classes) or the Lascivious Ball (students and professors dressing in lingerie and attending a gothic ball). Thus, no one attends them.

    U of C students have variously dubbed the university as the place w

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...