Caltech vs MIT
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  • Day 1 (Wednesday April 6)
  • After two or three nights of preparation and finishing problem sets early that would be due while we were gone, we set off for the long flight.
  • Day 2 (Thursday April 7)
  • In general, Thursday went smoothly. Some of us took campus tours, others scouted MIT's campus and everyone else worked on finishing up the pranks.
  • Day 3 (Friday April 8)
  • After a long night of scouting, it was time for a quick nap. Sleep was short and sweet as the excitement mounted and 8:30 rolled around. Our original plan was to pass out shirts that read "MIT" on the front and "because not everybody can go to Caltech" on the back at the Presidentís Introduction of a Guest Speaker being held at Kresge Auditorium. However, as with all good plans, things changed. The lecture was mainly parents, which we quickly decided was not our target audience. Weighing our options, we then decided that it would be better to hand out the shirts at the three fairs that were happening later in the day. Some of us were able to scout out the area by being let in by those who were under the impression that we were pre-frosh.
    One oíclock came, and it was time for our first prank. The shirts were delivered by car to the gyms, and we carried them in to a corner of the large gym, where the academics fair was being held. Shirts were then handed out to the pre-frosh. Many heartfelt smiles and thanks were returned to us as we handed out these free shirts to everybody who wanted one. After around 400 of the shirts were handed out, we then saw that some of the pre-frosh had taken the shirts out of the bags they were handed out in and had started to wear them. Feeling that it was better to make ourselves scarce then to get caught, we went out a side exit and made our way to the athletics fair. After a quick hello to the attendant at the desk, we then proceeded to hand out shirts to everybody available. Not even 15 minutes later the attendant found us and angrily stormed up to us. "Who told you to carry those shirts in here?" he asked us. To which we replied, "Some students, somewhere over there," and promptly headed for an exit.
    While some of us were lying low, our courageous girls of the group were out on the steps of the Small Dome. One hour later, after handing out many of the shirts, we retired for dinner, confident in our success.
    After dinner it was time for more reconnaissance. Some of our group went back to work on future pranks, while the rest spent the night on the town, or rather a night on MIT. First a palm tree was placed in the "Tomb of the Unknown Tool", the place where MIT students sign their hacks. Along with the palm tree was a note as well as our official sign in. Next were the roofs. As we soon discovered, however, we were not the only ones to think it was a good night to enjoy the roofs. On our way up, we sighted the scouts of MIT’s Tangerine Tours (the pre-frosh tour to the roofs and the tunnels). We decided to have a bit of fun with them and probably ended up holding the tour up a little. As the tour continued on its path, we decided on following its path and ended up becoming integrated into the tour, becoming the only pre-frosh with backpacks and wearing dark clothes. After the Jacks (the group of MIT hackers giving the tours) gave us a wonderful tour showing us exactly how to get up onto the Small Dome at the expense of listening to ancient hacks from years past, we decided that it was time to get down to some actual work.
    We got back on the roofs, and made our way towards the Large Dome. Once there, some of the group began inflating the palm trees while the other part made their way over to the Small Dome to prepare a banner for the next day. This banner was intended to go over the "Massachusetts" part of the "Massachusetts Institute of Technology", changing it from that to "That Other Institute of Technology". After the banner was anchored and placed so that it could be easily lowered the next day, we joined the group on the Large Dome and placed 4 palm trees on the wall in front of the Large Dome. One other palm tree was placed outside of the large picture window looking out from the library, allowing those coming out of the elevator to see a little bit of paradise.
    At this point the sun was just breaking out over the city of Boston, telling us two things. First, that we had pulled another all-nighter (our 4th), and second, that we should probably get off the dome as fast as possible. We ambled down to the lawn in front of the Large Dome and took some pictures before finally heading back and getting a few short hours of much needed sleep.
  • Day 4 (Saturday April 9)
  • At nine oíclock the call came to wake up. We walked over to Mass. Ave in a state that one couldn¬ít really describe as either awake or asleep; our bodies were simply just working. We met up with the rest of our group and began our next prank. Most of the group was assigned to carry one large 3íx5í blimp with the letters CIT (California Institute of Technology) into MITís Small Dome along with 100 smaller balloons reading Caltech. Simultaneously, another smaller group was assigned to head back to the roofs in broad daylight and drop the banner as well as place a palm tree on top of the Small Dome. Noon came around, and we all set out to do our respective tasks. Those carrying the balloons accomplished their task with out a problem, and with the added bonus of having some kids in the dome play the Ride of the Valkyries. At the same time, three of us headed to the roofs. We quietly positioned ourselves at a place where we could blow up the palm tree and then set to the task of dropping the banner and placing the tree on the dome.
    Just as we were done, we looked around and saw that the Jacks (MITís Hacker group) were acting quickly. One of them had already sprinted up behind us, but after some easy evasion and a quick wave goodbye we disappeared down a stairway. The Jacks then quickly took down the palm tree on the dome, but missed the banner until about 30 minutes later. This extra time was well used by us to take pictures and joke around as we headed back to rest for a bit.
    A few hours later, we received word that, in the spirit of pranks, the MIT students had changed our sign from "That Other Institute of Technology" to "The Only Institute of Technology"; a worthy and respectable hack. This, however, got one of our members into a little bit of trouble. Trying to either change or take down the banner, he went to the roof and was promptly met by the Jacks, who were waiting for us. After taking him off of the roof, they invited him to see their style of hack.
    Around 10 pm, the programming for the final prank was finally nearing completion. A low power green laser was aimed at the top of the Green building displaying the letters "C" "A" "L" "T" "E" "C" "H" in that order. This attracted much attention from passersby, including the campus police who began searching for the laser while MIT students from all around campus came by to see what was causing the commotion. Some of the students even offered some of us a tour of their dorms, and continued to be generous to us even after we informed them that we were actually Caltech students. They also invited us to an explosion planned at 11 that evening.
    Soon after the laser was projected onto the Green building, the MIT campus police started appearing everywhere, as well as groups of Jacks both trying to find where the source of the laser was. Around 11, some of the group decided that it was time to turn the laser off so that the East Campus students could continue with their explosion, yet when asked where the location of the laser was, a certain group of the Jacks told us to mind our own business. Thirty minutes and 2 tries asking if they wanted us to turn it off, that group of Jacks finally let us turn off the laser "as a last chance before they were going to turn us in to the Campus Police." A very mature and selfless set of kids, Iím sure. Even once we had successfully shut off the laser, one of the Jacks thought it would be a good idea to try and DDOS our website in retaliation, and even though the programmers back at Caltech were able to block them, that select group of Jacks went ahead and tried to rub it in our face as much as they could. We would also like to say that DDOS-ing is not productive, not funny, and is not in any way under the code of conduct of pranks or hacks, and is in fact quite illegal.
    After the laser was down, we decided that it would be proper to apologize to some of the Jacks that would appreciate it. Then it was time for some actual rest.
  • Day 5 (Sunday April 10)
  • We are now on our way back to sunny California. We suggest that MIT hackers should focus their energy on a prank of their own instead of just getting upset with us and doing something uninventive. We hope you enjoyed the weekend as much as we did, and we are anxiously awaiting the hacks that will undoubtedly find their way to Caltech in the near future. Remember, Prefrosh Weekend is next week and Ditch Day is tomorrow.
  • Note:
  • **To Whom It May Concern** Now there has been a lot of talk from both sides about this series of pranks. But mostly we have been hearing about how "unoriginal" and "lame" these pranks were. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. However, the goal of these pranks were to inspire a friendly rivalry, have some fun, and keep the spirit of pranks alive. We are not going to sit here and argue if these pranks were rip-offs of others, or even whether one school is better than the other. In our eyes, any prank that is pulled off is a good prank. We gave MIT credit for changing our banner and we even all agree that putting a plane on top of the Big Dome was a great hack. However, you donít see us downplaying everything to save our pride or to seem like the bigger bully. This isnít a pissing contest, but a friendly rivalry between schools. If you donít want to play, then truly stop caring and stop with the immature comments. If you want to grow up and actually have fun with this, come on over to Caltech anytime and show us what you got.

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