Monday, Sep. 08, 2008

Hacking Harvard

For MIT hackers, wreaking havoc at the annual Harvard-Yale football game is a point of pride. In 1982, during a timeout, a group of MIT students launched an enormous weather balloon from beneath the turf at the 46-yard line, using a remote triggering system. After hanging in the air for a few moments so the crowd got a good look at the letters "MIT," the balloon eventually exploded. Eight years later, a new generation of hackers tried to repeat their predecessors' success: during the 1990 Harvard-Yale game, as a kicker prepared for a field goal, a rocket at the goal line exploded out of the ground, shooting a blanket-sized banner emblazoned with the words "MIT." The rocket was launched using 480 feet of wire that ran underneath the field. A headline the next day in the Boston Herald read, "MIT 1 — Harvard-Yale 0; Tech Pranksters Steal the Show."