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MIT student blogger Paul B. '11

V Storms the Senate by Paul B. '11

One hack is not enough.

You’d think one hack celebrating Guy Fawkes Night would be enough, right?

Not at MIT.

Allow me first to set the scene. As some of you may already know, a little over a month ago, I decided to run for a seat in the Undergraduate Association Senate. As its name suggests, the Undergraduate Association (or the UA for short, because MIT students love acronyms) aims to represent and protect the goals and interests of all undergrads in an organized, orderly fashion. I’ll probably talk more about the UA (and other governing bodies at MIT) in another entry, but for now, what matters most is that the Senate was in session on Guy Fawkes Night, blissfully unaware that anything was amiss.

I think you see where this is going. In fact, as music from the 1812 Overture blared, something very strange was happening across campus.

Dressed as V, the enigmatic anti-hero of V for Vendetta, hackers marched through the Infinite Corridor, across Massachusetts Avenue, and into the Student Center.



The hackers try to persuade the Senate’s Sergeant-at-Arms, Sun Kim ’11 (Next House), to let them into the Senate chamber.

The surprise entrance, complete with the 1812 Overture.

The hackers’ apparent leader delivers a short speech.

“Remember, remember the Fifth of November
The day that the wanking was caught
Under no condition should the laptop prohibition
Ever be forgot.
The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.”

Party poppers!

Their mission accomplished, the hackers make a noble exit.

The hack was also featured on the front cover of today’s Tech. Many thanks to Tech Photographer Eric Schmiedl ’09 for graciously providing these pictures – and, of course, inexpressible thanks to all the hackers who made last night one of the most memorable Senate meetings ever.

22 responses to “V Storms the Senate”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow! MIT really rocks!

  2. Isshak says:

    I had a question in my mind for some time now : how do you become a hacker ?

  3. Lulu says:

    What? That happened right next door and I DIDN’T NOTICE?!

  4. Anonymous says:

    What adress should I send all of my application material to? MiT Admissions Office 77 mass ave, 3-108 cambridge, ma 02139?

  5. Anonymous says:

    haha, that’s so cool!

  6. Star says:

    I don’t know what to be more impressed with – two Guy Fawkes hacks, or two posts by Paul?!? Just kidding Paul, you know we love you smile That hack is pretty good too; MIT hackers make me very happy.

  7. Arkajit says:

    Man, I can’t believe I missed that by like 5 minutes. What’s even worse is that I found out right after it happened when I saw Eric’s photos. At least I correctly guessed you were going to blog about it today raspberry

  8. Anonymous says:

    Do people ever confuse you guys for United Airlines? =)

  9. Anonymous says:

    And people say that MIT students aren’t politically active…

  10. donaldGuy says:

    mildly related, but actually off topic:

    Looking at the Tech I also saw under the news section the picture of people in Scheme-related costumes. These are cool, but the caption saddens me. I’d hoped when I was glancing through the course catalogs of the various schools I might go to and saw that 6.001 was still listed, that it might still be taught.. just not required. Now, I see that this is truly its last semester (one year too early). While I’m excited about the new Course VI curriculum, it makes me sad that (under the momentous assumption, for the sake of conversation, that I will get to attend the ‘tute) I will never have to take a course taught with a Scheme basis. I’ve been trying to take 6.001 off OCW, but the experience is not the same. with 6.001 vanishing, 6.01 taught with Python and 6.005 (which was supposed to cover some of the depth not covered in 6.01) taught with Java, will the last bastions of Scheme, like 6.034, also disappear or be restructured? Will I never get (or at least need) to add an enlightening LISP (c.f. this ) to my repertoire?

    </nerd lament>

    back on topic:

    yea .. that hack is pretty school. Anybody know the number of participants? (or what group is responsible?) (with performance hacks it seems more likely some group would take credit … for some reason)

    ~Donald Guy

  11. Akara says:

    Ahh MIT….you gotta love it!

  12. Travis says:

    That is so COOL! Yea MIT!

  13. Nate says:

    V for Vendetta is one of the best movies I’vs ever seen. That was a great idea for the anniversary. MIT students certainly have a trademark sense of humor.

  14. Hunter '11 says:

    Ahh, that’s so amazingly awesome! Gotta love MIT =P

  15. Adam M. says:


    Superb as it gets. Compounded with yesterday, it’s basically as good as it gets. Sounds like a near-perfect execution. Congratulations to the mysterious marauders; well done. Must have been surreal, huh?

  16. Paul says:

    @ Anon #1: Yep, that address is correct.

    @ Isshak: Good question! And to be honest, the answer varies – there is no one path to becoming a “hacker” (which is a very flexible term, by the way). In general, assuming you come here as a freshman next year (^^), just keep your eyes and ears open…

    @ Donald: I’m not a Course 6 major, but I’ve referred your question to Evan, so hopefully he’ll have an answer for you. smile

    As for your other question, I believe it was about 15-20 people. These days, only a small portion hacks are publicly “claimed” by certain groups. Even if I were to somehow know the parties who arranged the Guy Fawkes hacks, it would be a gross violation of ethics for me to say so here. Besides, in a certain sense, who conducts the hack isn’t that important – if you’re going to stage a hack, what matters most is having fun doing it, and leaving an impression on the people who see it. smile

  17. Isshak says:

    Hehe, I hope you (and I!) assume correctly
    Ah, I’m waiting for a hack on stata center…friday is an Indian holiday I think, so get going !

  18. José P. says:

    One hack is never enough.

  19. Hunter '11 says:

    To add one to what Paul said to Donald – secrecy is part of the fun of the hack. Consider the following situations:

    1) Shiny hack. You don’t know who did it. OOOO AWESOME. You/friends are discussing the awesomeness of it.
    2) Shiny hack. You’re talking about it. Someone sitting in front of you in math lecture says, “Oh, that was me.” Where’d the fun just go?

    Now, what if you did the hack?

    1) Shiny hack. People are talking. You don’t say a word, reveling in your awesome and how you can brighten people’s day.
    2) Shiny hack. You tell someone behind you talking about it that you did it. Your chest is all puffed out in pride, but you just murdered the mystery. No more fun for them.

    So yeah, people don’t claim hacks much anymore, and I kind of like that change – though I’m OK with a group claiming it (WHO, Random Order, etc).

    I’m done.

  20. Donald:
    I believe there is a course taught over IAP which is fairly SCHEME intensive. I do not think they are getting rid of it (although I suppose it is possible that they might). I believe that there will continue to be SCHEME-based clsses, though…not 100% sure, however.