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Canadians Hang Bug Off Golden Gate

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the we-know-what-canadians-really-want dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 294

Strider- writes: "Early on the morning of Feb. 5th, a group of Canadian Engineering students from the University of British Columbia accomplished their annual prank: hanging a Volkswagen Beetle off of some structure, usually a bridge. However, to celebrate the 20th aniversary of this annual event, they went for the creme de la crem, la piece de resistance: They hung the Beetle off of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge."

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Re:Some days.... (1)

Hammer (14284) | more than 13 years ago | (#453455)

As an immigrant in this fine country I have to admit to beeing proud. The idea though is stolen. I remember in the 70's when someone (presumably students at the Royal Institute of Technology) hung a complete bug under the span of Stockholms largest bridge.

Re:Strange Brew (1)

Lozzer (141543) | more than 13 years ago | (#453457)

<h3>Sad drug joke of the day</h3&gt

What the difference between Irish Whiskey and Scotch Whisky?

The Irish put an E in it, how thoughtful.

With apologies to Ally McCoist.

Consider this a warning (2)

djfiander (86021) | more than 13 years ago | (#453460)

> - suspended below the Lions Gate Bridge
> - suspended above the Lions Gate Bridge

So, what you're telling me is that they're going to hit San Francisco again next year?

- David

Re:MIT (1)

Howie (4244) | more than 13 years ago | (#453462)

"...takes a lot more skill then that."

What is it with you people? THEN [dictionary.com] is not the same as THAN [dictionary.com] .

Re:MIT (1)

evil_one (142582) | more than 13 years ago | (#453467)

Definately don't read much.
They still havn't figured out how they secured the cables to the bridge.
Sorry, I didn't realize that re-assembling hoses and wires to their designated space took an engineering degree. I'll have to ask my speedy muffler attendant which ESS he belongs to.
---

Re:MIT (2)

mrbinary (175585) | more than 13 years ago | (#453469)

GO CANUCKS!

Back in the early 60's my father and his friends pulled this same prank on one of his high school teachers but they reassembled the car in the teacher's office. As chance would have it the high school in question is in Vancouver. Of course then they had to take it apart again and redo the whole thing or face suspension... probably didn't quite seem as funny then.

The news account I heard on television indicated that they used bungees to hold the shell of the beetle, which they estimated to be 500 lbs. Considering that the UBC guys used two cords and I've seen a 300 lb guy bungee jump on one cord (really not a pretty sight) I'd say they were within tolerances for the bungees.

FWIW, the author is wrong in stating that the Golden Gate is the creme de la creme of suspension bridges. There's one in Japan that's significantly longer. [discovery.com] I saw the Discovery program on it and it's a pretty wicked piece of tech. The main span of the Akashi-Kaikyo bridge is 6532 feet compared to the Golden Gate's 4200 foot span. And it survived the earthquake that hit Kobe with no problems whatsoever - it connects Kobe to Awaji Island so it took a pretty massive hit from the quake.

----

Re:About that beetle... (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 13 years ago | (#453470)

A car very much like the bug is pictured in the Walter Chrysler Museum [lasr.net] in Ellis Kansas. There is a picture of an early design that looks like a bug and has the rear air cooled engine from the early 1930s. It never made it to production since it was too small.

The category is... (1)

mach-5 (73873) | more than 13 years ago | (#453472)

"It's funny. Laugh." Which is just what the "authorities" should do. Geesh, stop worrying about stupid cars hanging from bridges and go out and catch some "real" criminals like murderers and rapists, etc. Doesn't anyone get a prank any more?

Some days.... (2)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 13 years ago | (#453474)

It is PROUD to be Canadian, especially Western Canadian...... :)

Re:Obey the Law, Citizen (2)

BLAMM! (301082) | more than 13 years ago | (#453475)

I like your attitude, but exactly what law did they break. Is their a San Fran statute that states that no vehicle will be suspended from bridges? My favorite charge (from the article) is the trespassing. How do you trespass on a public bridge?

UNSW in Sydney (1)

graystar (223824) | more than 13 years ago | (#453476)

In Sydney I remember that UNSW engineers once stole a train carriage from our city metro. I think it was an old one, but still, pretty huge to go bringing back to campus.

To prosecute or not to prosecute (4)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 13 years ago | (#453477)

I'm of two minds deciding wether it would be worthwhile, or even proper, to prosecute the cuprits (if they're ever found).

Sure, its a great 'hack' in the true sense of the word, but can we truely rely on their safety assurance skills? Also, look at the traffic trouble they caused: I wonder how many people missed their flights from SFO because of the trouble.

Personally, I think they should both be congratulated, and be sentenced to community service at the same time :)

Microsoft responds to bug (4)

Spackler (223562) | more than 13 years ago | (#453478)

Micrososft responded today by hanging 63,000 bugs off of windows. Bill Gates was heard to say that those Canadians were wimps for only doing one. We will kick their collective ass.

He then proceeded to buy canada, and lay off all the students who had done this.

MIT (1)

clinko (232501) | more than 13 years ago | (#453479)

MIT does this every year.
MIT Hall Of Hacks [clinko.com]

Rumorville... (4)

Sodakar (205398) | more than 13 years ago | (#453480)

Wow, close to first post.. Anyhow, having been a victim of the traffic caused by the VW this morning.... I will share...

Anyhow... rumorville says that in the past years, they have managed to get a VW onto the bridge towers back home -- which is more impressive, IMHO, then tossing a car off the bridge. I mean... hanging a VW (chassis only, almost) off the side of the bridge via nylon cable sounds pretty simple... Tie car to bridge, throw car off bridge with multiple people, or off a ramp. Done.

But... getting the car to a higher ground would be far more challenging... I wonder how they managed to get the VW up onto the bridge towers in the past without getting caught...

Despite being inconvenienced, I thought it was pretty amusing. My only gripe was that they chose to do this prank on a bridge with already horrible visibility... Thankfully the VW was 100 feet off the ground, but if it ended up getting hung lower, we'd have ferries crashing into it...

Re:Californians should pull thier heads outta thie (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#453481)

The problem is that all people in california are pretty damned stupid. Instead of building Power plants 20 YEARS AGO like normal people do, they whined that the power plants were ugly, and stinky. Nuclear? OMG! they ran screaming as nuclear power as we all know is deadly! it will kill everyone instantly!

California deserves every problem it has, the people there voted for the problems years ago.

Re:Some days.... (1)

FirstEdition (79762) | more than 13 years ago | (#453494)

Maybe he wasn't referring to himself.

Re:Those anglos (1)

ertw (265306) | more than 13 years ago | (#453498)

Ahhh, spoken like a true upper-Canadian snob. What have you got against the maritimes? It's a great place to live. Don't knock it just because you think Toronto or Ottawa is the king shit of Canada.

UBC has nothing on CalTech (3)

RayChuang (10181) | more than 13 years ago | (#453500)

Yawn. :-)

The UBC prank seems totally unimaginative compared to some of the hacks pulled off by California Institute of Technology (CalTech) students.

Who could forget when someone hacked the scoreboard at the Rose Bowl so during the Rose Bowl game it showed CalTech winning over MIT? I saw this on live TV some years ago and that was a real classic.

But still, perhaps the most famous hack of all time (IMHO! :-) ) is one time a small group of CalTech students hacked a grandstand placard display from a college team back east. Done back in the days before computers were common, the result was that during a game at the Rose Bowl when the team's fans held up the placards, instead of the something of the colors of the home team it really spelled out CALTECH.

Re:Technical Aspects (1)

Keck (7446) | more than 13 years ago | (#453502)

Attaching a beetle with a good wire and then pushing it off the edge of the bridge doesnt seem to be very technical. I would have hoped that they would have done something more creative.

You certainly aren't an engineer then. Making absolutely sure that the cable won't snap like wet spaghetti, without being able to run a test, is not exactly non-technical. The dynamic loads involved are pretty significant, and non-trivial to calculate in the real world.

(what they did, any hick with a truck and an empty beetle shell could have pulled).

Any hick with a firm foundation in Strengths of Materials and Dynamics... The more difficult part is, IMHO, pulling it off without the bay traffic/bridge authority collaring them right there...

Re:Technical Aspects (1)

rhodespa (152821) | more than 13 years ago | (#453503)

a rather harder technical prank (IMHO) involving vehicles in mysterious places at Cambridge University can be found here [cam.ac.uk] .

"At six in the morning on Sunday, 8 June 1958, an early bird on the watch for worms in the Senate House lawn would have seen a strange sight. On the steep slates of the Seely Library there sat, huddled together with a faraway look in their eyes, three admiring policemen, a professional photographer in morning dress, two plimsolled undergraduates who looked as if they had not slept that night, and a shivering girl. Opposite them, on the leaded apex of the 85 ft high Senate House was parked an elderly black Austin Seven van, battered but outwardly complete. The roof party had climbed up convenient scaffolding to get a better view of this phenomenon. I cannot vouch for the policemens' thoughts - it was too late to prove any suspicions they may have had - but for one of the undergraduates this was the moment of victory, the climax to a year of dreams"

Pictures (1)

dittrich (14574) | more than 13 years ago | (#453512)

I realize it was foggy, but did anyone get any pictures?

Re:Some days.... (1)

mrfiddlehead (129279) | more than 13 years ago | (#453520)

Typical illaterate fuckin' Canadian nobsworths.

This is a sentence fragment.

Asshole.

Must be that good BC Bud! (1)

jeff13 (255285) | more than 13 years ago | (#453521)

Ahh,
what about the guy who found that same beetle bug car in his tiny dorm room! That's right, another tradition was to dismantle the car and reassemble it in an "unusual" spot. Like your dorm room!

I wonder if American engineers do something like this?

______
jeff13

Re:This suspiciously sounds like an urban legend (2)

Orava (21071) | more than 13 years ago | (#453523)

It sounds like an urban legend but it's not, it's well documented. There's a long history of student pranks here in Finland, and that (among other good ones) is quite true. They keep records of these things at the university, since there is actually an annual student prank contest at the University of Technology. This year some guys exchanged the labels on some cans of beans (or whatever) at supermarkets with authentic-looking labels thay advertised the cans as containing "Seal meat" (or "norpan lihaa" in Finnish, "norppa" is a variety of Finnish seal which on the protected animals list). The store managers were reportedly quite puzzled when irate shoppers saw the cans on the shelf...

Re:UBC has nothing on CalTech (1)

jeff13 (255285) | more than 13 years ago | (#453524)

HEY! Canadians aren't unimaginative you ... you... jerk you! ;p



______
jeff13

what are you talking about? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 13 years ago | (#453533)

Of course, the locals went nuts and have shown no sense of humor about this. Yet another reason to keep packing and keep looking for that job in Canada before George "The Thief" Bush turns this country into a fascist police state.

And what, play tell, does this have to do with the President? I suppose Joe "Censorship protects our children" Lieberman and the hubby of Tipper "PMRC" Gore would have been better?

Perhaps you should abandon your party bigotry and make a stand on the specific issues.

Other schools with geek tradition? (2)

sunking7 (112069) | more than 13 years ago | (#453553)

So this is my Ask Slashdot... what other schools have cool geek tradition like this, aside from the obvious MIT (but have they ever accomplished anything this amazing?)

And companies?

Keep innovation and prankstership thriving!

Re:Some days.... (1)

ideut (240078) | more than 13 years ago | (#453559)

Hello. Do you mean that some days *you* are proud to be Canadian? Typical illaterate fuckin' Canadian nobsworths.

You have to love engineers. (1)

pcwhalen (230935) | more than 13 years ago | (#453563)

I remeber reading about the Tetris game MIT made out of a computer, a multi-story building and its lights. Too much.

At the risk of sounding weepy-eyed for college days -- IT'S A PRANK. Lighten up, California. No one gets hurt 'cause they're ENGINEERS. They have looked at all the contingent risks and eliminated them. Move on.

If there wasn't the risk of getting arrested, though, the hack wouldn't be so beautiful.

Blame Canada (3)

ericdano (113424) | more than 13 years ago | (#453567)

Blame Canada
Blame Canada
For all the Volkswagon Bugs
they go around hangin' 'round like thugs

Seriously, lets declare war on them and force them to feed California all their electricity!
--

What do you expect? (3)

iomud (241310) | more than 13 years ago | (#453571)

Canadians actually buy into that turbonium stuff...

Public safety and the hacker ethic? (1)

nickfarr (161419) | more than 13 years ago | (#453583)

"Part of being an engineer is public safety...It's in our code of ethics -- public safety above all else."
-Julia Steele, president of the University of BC Engineering Undergraduate Society.

Can't we draw a comparison between this and the hacker ethic?

Of course, in the short term, making exploits widely available (or performing them as shown) may temporarily endanger public safety.

However, the long term benefits of pioneering the coolest hack (on-line or off-a-bridge), far outweigh any temporary inconvenience. (Even if we factor in the inevitable script kiddies and copy-cat pranksters.)

Re:You have to love engineers. (1)

perky (106880) | more than 13 years ago | (#453590)

That was a house at Brown:
http://bastilleweb.techhouse.org/

Re:Public safety and the hacker ethic? (1)

cyberdonny (46462) | more than 13 years ago | (#453592)

> However, the long term benefits of pioneering the coolest hack (on-line or off-a-bridge), far outweigh any temporary inconvenience.

What are the long term benefits of hanging a car off a bridge. Just curious. Sure it was fun (especially the police's re-action: hours to figure out they just needed to cut the damn cable..., then threatening to sue and imprison the pranksters), but what possible long term benefits are you thinking of?

Re:Public safety and the hacker ethic? (1)

perky (106880) | more than 13 years ago | (#453593)

In what way is hanging a 100kg car shell off a bridge by a nylon rope moving engineering forward? Sure, It's a pretty cool hack, but it didn't require great technical skill or anything.

Re:Other schools with geek tradition? (1)

ooze (307871) | more than 13 years ago | (#453595)

Dresden (Germany) architecture and civil engineering students of the last semester have an annual bridge building contest.
The rules are:
  • 100g weight
  • 30cm span
  • main material paper
  • on annual architects party public test of the candidates
In 1998 I watched it and the winning bridge was holding 127kg before it broke. That's engineering!

Re:MIT (5)

evil_one (142582) | more than 13 years ago | (#453596)

What? When was the last time MIT students traveled halfway across the hemisphere into a foreign country, risking their academic careers (A jail + court stint can really cut into your class time!) and preformed an [illegal] engineering feat? MIT almost always stays on their home turf, and pulls from a student base signifigantly larger than UBC's. I have undergrad engineering friends here at Lakehead (a northern Ontario U) who know that UBC will be the toast of all the engineering conventions for the rest of the year, and the year's just begun. Nothing like having the canuck's invade your soil to put you in defense mode, eh?
---

Oh, ok... (2)

MWoody (222806) | more than 13 years ago | (#453607)

Y'know, of all the possible definitions for the word "bug," this was the last one I was expecting when I opened this article. ^_^
---

Strange Brew (1)

Eharley (214725) | more than 13 years ago | (#453610)

From the land that brought us William Shatner, Dave Foley, and Canadian Whiskey comes this? I have to say that I'm a little disappointed. Perhaps they could've chosen a more scenic location. The pictures in the newspaper aren't that great.

Re:To prosecute or not to prosecute (1)

billn (5184) | more than 13 years ago | (#453614)

Hah, like anything out of SFO can truly be on time. I think it's kinda sad that they're considering prosecution on the scale that's mentioned in the article. In the very least, they should have the work evaluated by qualified and experienced engineers to determine if there truly WAS a safety hazard.

Re:Those anglos (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#453616)

It's funny. Those of us in the West grow up thinking Quebec is pretty cool, that it's neat that people speak French... etc.. etc...

Then we get older, and realize that apparently we 'oppress' them, and we are the 'enemy'. Believe it or not, the rest of the country is raised in an evironment that makes us LIKE Quebec....

Too bad you guys can't do the same.

Re:You have to love engineers. (1)

geomcbay (263540) | more than 13 years ago | (#453620)

It was done at MIT (on the Green Building) back in 1993 or so. This building at Brown, which looks to have done it in 2000 is a johnny-come-lately.

Re:To prosecute or not to prosecute (1)

blahtree (55190) | more than 13 years ago | (#453623)

The way I see it, they stopped traffic on the bridge for all of about 2 minutes while they stopped, threw the bug over the edge, and took off. People are usually unnecessarily alarmist over these kind of things. It was the authorities that backed up traffic.

Traffic was backed up for hours as the CHP investigated and decided how to remove the vehicle.

Why exactly, was it necessary to pull that bug down immediately? It was causing problems with boat traffic, but it's a big bridge! Surely boat traffic could be re-routed, while the bug was dealt with when there was less traffic going over the bridge!

New VW commercial (3)

Tim (686) | more than 13 years ago | (#453627)

Same two guys, standing on a ferry below the golden gate. Camera pans out to show beetle hanging from above:

"Didn't I tell you to let out on the clutch easier?"

Re:About that beetle... (1)

billn (5184) | more than 13 years ago | (#453635)

As I understand it, the design of the Volkswagen was such that factories used to manufacture them could be rapidly retooled to produce other fun things, like tanks and support vehicles.

MIT'rs have done some cute ones... (3)

sanemind (155251) | more than 13 years ago | (#453640)

For all you jingoistic Americans fearing an insult to your national hacking pride, rest assured by visiting At http://hacks.mit.edu/ [mit.edu]

---

Re:Other schools with geek tradition? (3)

Killeri (238792) | more than 13 years ago | (#453646)

In Finland all the technological universities have a long tradition in jäynäs. One of the best jäynäs is the stunt by the divers in Helsinki University of Technology just before the Wasa ship (sunk in the Stockholm harbor in the 17th century) was raised in 1961. In the official list of artifacts found in the ship is a miniature statue of Paavo Nurmi, dated circa 20th century...

A more recent jäynä was in 1993 (or about), again by HUT, where all speed limits in Helsinki were changed overnight from 40km/h to 30km/h. Even the chief of police managed to comment that the change was official and done in the interest of public safety...

A good jäynä does not cause monetary loss nor is it a danger to anyone. It should cause a short inconvinience to the audience followed by a good laugh.

Re:About that beetle... (1)

ooze (307871) | more than 13 years ago | (#453647)

Wrong. Ferdinand Porsche design(yes, that Ferdinand Porsche).

Re:MIT'rs have done some cute ones... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#453653)

Shut up. Hanging ribbons and pendants off the roofs of mit buildings hardly qualifies as a hack worthy of comparison to this.

First of all, you need muscles to do what the canucks did. Muscles gained from a life of back bacon, beans and hockey.

That's right, hockey. The only he-man on skates ever to come out of the US was Tonya Harding.

This was a bad hack! (1)

burtonator (70115) | more than 13 years ago | (#453664)

OK.

This was a bad hack. A good hack is supposed to *only* broaden the mind. This caused shipping to slow down and someone could have been hurt.

Please people. If you are going to do something like this make sure it won't hurt anyone or cost money.

... I also live about 2 miles from the Golden Gate... would have been cool to walk down and check it out.

Re:About that beetle... (1)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 13 years ago | (#453666)

Well.. actually the design of the original beetle was done by Ferdinand Porsche, who later founded Porsche.

Re:Some days.... (1)

jailbrekr2 (139577) | more than 13 years ago | (#453670)

Bah.

The highest drug crime rate is within a 4 BLOCK RADIUS OF PIGEON PARK, IN DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER. This does not constitute 'Vancouver', only a small part of it.

AC coward......

Re:Some days.... (4)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 13 years ago | (#453677)

Good to see that UBC has pulled off another one of their STUdeNt projecTs.

Unfortunately, at University of Calgary, where I attend, we never manage to pull this stuff off without getting caught.

UBC started this car-off-a-bridge thing, as the article said, about 20 years ago, with a car under the Lion's Gate bridge in Vancouver, BC, a large suspension bridge as well. Almost the exact same method of deployment -- students experienced in climbing set up all the rigging underneath, then a team arrived, attached to the end of the cable which had been pulled up and temporarily attached to the pedestrian railing, and pushed the car over.

Re:Those anglos (1)

jailbrekr2 (139577) | more than 13 years ago | (#453678)

It is hard not too. My parents pushed for French in my elementary school, and I actually *liked* French. I thought it was cool that I lived in a country with 2 official languages.

Then, I grew up. I became politically aware. I saw the statistics, and I saw the attitude. I felt mildly raped...........

Why accept a distinctly beautiful.... a distinctly CANADIAN subculture, when they cannot accept the rest of us? Distinct culture? Perhaps if blind arrogance is a defining trait, then yes, Quebec is a distinct culture....

I may sound like a rednek Alliance member, but I am speaking from the heart. This fact should scare you........

Technical Aspects (3)

Maldivian (264175) | more than 13 years ago | (#453683)

Attaching a beetle with a good wire and then pushing it off the edge of the bridge doesnt seem to be very technical. I would have hoped that they would have done something more creative (what they did, any hick with a truck and an empty beetle shell could have pulled).

Imagine for instance if they suspended the beetle with match sticks (assume they figure out the tensile strenths involved), or more realistically if they used wire made out of spider webs (I think this might just be the right material). I would highly be impressed and it would definetly be worth the trouble of hanging the car there and causing all the traffic mishaps. Maybe the might even win an award?

Re:Strange Brew (1)

krez (75916) | more than 13 years ago | (#453686)

ahem... Canadian WHISKY... not Whiskey... no need for that extraneous vowel, as we more than compensate for that in the spelling of colour, labour, neighbour, etc.

Swift response by Authorities. (1)

Rhinobird (151521) | more than 13 years ago | (#453689)

According to the article it was pushed off the bridge a little before 4am and finally cut loose a little after 8am.

Hmmm. OK a little over 4 hours deciding between hauling it back up, or cutting it loose. Geez, flip a coin and get on with it. The coast gaurd had already blocked of the bay from traffic, why did it take so flipping long to just cut it loose?

Well, at least at MIT, they come up with NEW pranks. This one is apparently a 20 year tradition.

Re:Other schools with geek tradition? (5)

Orava (21071) | more than 13 years ago | (#453698)

Another good HUT prank involved park benches in Helsinki. I don't remember what year this was, but the story goes somewhat like this:

First off, students at HUT (and other Finnish universities) have distinctive coveralls which they (we :) wear when they want to distinguish themselves as students during various student- oriented occasions. These coveralls have different colors, and Finns are quite used to associating people in colored coveralls with "a bunch of students doing some weird student stuff. This is not something that students wear as everyday wear, mind you, it's reserved for certain occasions.

Anyway, during this caper some students went out and (with great difficulty) purchased a park bench from the city/park authorities. They got a receipt, and then proceeded to carry this park bench across town. It didn't take long for some police to stop them, with the assumption that the guys had stolen the bench. The students showed the police the receipt, and complained that they were getting stopped by the police all the time and could the police do something about it? Finnish police being generally quite helpful, the policemen radioed out a notice that there were a couple of students (in coveralls) carrying a legal bench across town and that they should not be harassed.

Naturally, as soon as this was done a lot of students in identical coveralls proceeded to grab most of the park benches in central Helsinki and carry them to a pre-arranged location. Rumor has it that they managed to stack up hundreds of park benches into an "artistic" formation before anyone else got a clue that something strange was going on :)

Re:Other schools with geek tradition? (1)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 13 years ago | (#453699)

I'm doing the same thing in my drafting class at highschool. It has to span 10 inches, be atleast 2 inches high, and less that 4 inches high.
We get 30 feet of 1/8 inch Balsa wood.
The record last year was like 98 pounds,
I hope to make about 30 or so.

This is an engineering project (5)

blonde rser (253047) | more than 13 years ago | (#453701)

One of the major factors of any engineering design is resource management; in these case how to accomplish their goal with as little work as possible.

So what was their goal? To safely hang a VW from a bridge in a manor that would receive media attention. To do this they would have to choose a bridge that was seen by the world. This means they had very little access to the bridge and very little time to accomplish their task. Also they had to design a system that was difficult to undo or the authorities would have quickly pulled the car back up the way it went down.

If any hick could do this why don't you tell us of a system that meets all of these criteria. Remember that how their hang was implemented is still a mystery; even to those who could directly observe the results. If you can't understand the skill that went into successfully pulling off such a caper then you aren't the type of person that engineers are trying to impress.

Poo... (1)

Pogue Mahone (265053) | more than 13 years ago | (#453702)

doesn't look like much of an achievement. Drive a car onto the bridge, tie a rope to it, chuck it over ...

Now, if they'd strung it between the towers of the WTC in NY, [wtca.org] that would have been impressive.
--

Re:Technical Aspects (2)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 13 years ago | (#453704)

I suspect the hardest bit of engineering was not pushing it over, but attaching the supporting cable to the bridge. It's not like they tied it to a lamp post, they ran cables under the bridge.

Re:You have to love engineers. (2)

shepd (155729) | more than 13 years ago | (#453705)

>No one gets hurt 'cause they're ENGINEERS. They have looked at all the contingent risks and eliminated them.

Three words following these: Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Who is Paavo Nurmi? (1)

WowTIP (112922) | more than 13 years ago | (#453706)

Cool prank, but who is the guy?

--

"I'm surfin the dead zone

Re:About that beetle... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 13 years ago | (#453707)

I can't see how you could retool from making VW Beetles to making tanks...

The support vehicle thing, you could be onto something. The original beetle (not the Golf-engined new one) was fantastic off-road, which is why there are so many beach-buggy conversions.

In the UK, the bodies die long before the engines. The engines then get converted for twin spark plug ignition, and are used in homebuilt aircraft. They're perfect for it!

Lighten up (1)

MrMeanie (145643) | more than 13 years ago | (#453708)

"Authorities could not estimate how much the prank cost. Asked it the charges could lead to jail time, Piazza said, "Sure"."

Cost? Jail? It was a prank ffs. Lighten up people.
I guess engineers just know how to have fun.

Obey the Law, Citizen (2)

fantomas (94850) | more than 13 years ago | (#453709)

"but can we truely rely on their safety assurance skills? Also, look at the traffic trouble they caused: I wonder how many people missed their flights from SFO because of the trouble. "

Wooaaahhh. I don't think you like the idea of people of people trying out skills and hacks... . Come on. It didn't fall down. These people knew what they were doing. Maybe we should deny computer students access to telnet/ ftp / internet on the basis that we can't rely on their 'safety assurance skills'. ;-)

Yup, they broke the law. But I think they were careful not to endanger anybody. Who did they harm?

The world is a grey enough place as it is. I think we should encourage more of this kind of activity.

Re:Kosher Food Tax steals your money (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 13 years ago | (#453710)

I told you before, post with a real name.

Or are you too frightened of what will happen if you do?

Incidentally, your "Kosher Food Tax" doesn't stand up to any serious scrutiny. Admit it, you made it up, didn't you?

Re:The Origin of the Negro Species (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 13 years ago | (#453711)

Another AC. Time to ban them, Cmdr. Taco!

Good Easter Egg material... (5)

mav[LAG] (31387) | more than 13 years ago | (#453712)

Try typing in BLAMECANADA when you play the next version of Flight Unlimited, Flight Simulator or Pro Pilot and then fly under the Golden Gate. The developers might pay tribute :)

Re:Public safety and the hacker ethic? (2)

Agamemnon (63745) | more than 13 years ago | (#453713)

You wrote:

"However, the long term benefits of pioneering the coolest hack (on-line or off-a-bridge), far outweigh any temporary inconvenience"

What are some of the "long-term benefits" of hanging a Volkswagen off of a bridge? How is the prank "pioneering"? Is this some sort of breakthrough event that will pave the way for the next bunch of silly college students to hang a tractor-trailer rig off of the Bay Bridge?

The stunt was a juvenile, disruptive, and life-threatening bit of pointless nonsense.

The ridiculous press release proudly proclaims that the prank was done to "draw attention to the masterful feats of professional engineers and to celebrate the skills of the tradespeople who built the bridges" but Ms. Steele is at least honest enough to admit its true purpose: "someone has found a way to put us on the TV"

I found the remark about the 'tradespeaople' especially immature: the tradesemen that built the bridge risked their lives to feed their families and create a beautifull and functional structure that has great practical and aesthetic merit. Invoking the name of the 'tradespeople' in an attempt to justify a worthless, potentially harmfull prank is offensive.

Re:This was a bad hack! (2)

IKEA-Boy (223916) | more than 13 years ago | (#453714)

.. I also live about 2 miles from the Golden Gate... would have been cool to walk down and check it out.

You said it yourself...

Re:Rumorville... (1)

Qoud (202153) | more than 13 years ago | (#453715)

Thankfully the VW was 100 feet off the ground, but if it ended up getting hung lower, we'd have ferries crashing into it...

Yes it's a shame Jim Clark wasn't sailing Hyperion [royalhuisman.com] under the bridge at the time. With its 59m (195ft) mast, that would have made for a truer Slashdot [slashdot.org] experience.

Re:MIT (1)

clinko (232501) | more than 13 years ago | (#453716)

It's an old story on my site. I didn't feel like looking for it again on the web just to make you happy. Sorry :)

Lame. (2)

jcr (53032) | more than 13 years ago | (#453717)


Back in high school, the class three years ahead of mine somehow got a VW bug on the roof of the school, and they didn't lighten it by losing the engine the way these guys did.

I give this prank a c-.

-jcr

Re:Other schools with geek tradition? (1)

skribe (26534) | more than 13 years ago | (#453718)

In Finland all the technological universities have a long tradition in jäynäs.

Yeah the Fins are fairly funky about that. One practical joke I read a while ago involved a Finnish guy that coded up an entire unix-like operating system for the PC and then gave it away free. Absolutely hilarious. Those Fins are funky people.

Californians should pull thier heads outta thier.. (2)

Coitus (313341) | more than 13 years ago | (#453719)

Given the fact that one of the two major power companies in Califoria just defaulted on thier 500 million dollar plus payment to BC Hydro a.k.a. Powerex (paying only 15 cents on the dollar) I would have to say way to go UBC Engineers. We've kept the lights on in California for too long. Go ahead press charges... and hold court by candlelight. To the guy who wonders how many people missed flights because of it... I wonder how many flights were saved because of us silly reckless Canadians who have the forsight to plan ahead when it come to our infrastructure. Just plain good engineering all around I say!

Grate E-week Pranks of The Past (5)

ArtDent (83554) | more than 13 years ago | (#453720)

Anyhow... rumorville says that in the past years, they have managed to get a VW onto the bridge towers back home -- which is more impressive, IMHO, then tossing a car off the bridge.

The rumours are true. In our proud 20 years of E-week stunt history, the UBC Engineers have placed beetles in all sorts of places:

  • atop Gage Residence (a 17 story building, the highest on the UBC campus)
  • on a fountain in the middle of Stanley Park's Lost Lagoon
  • suspended below the Lions Gate Bridge
  • suspended above the Lions Gate Bridge
  • suspended below the Alex Fraser Bridge
  • suspended above the Alex Fraser Bridge
  • suspended between the Burrard and Granville Street Bridges
  • suspended above the entrance to the Massey Tunnel
  • suspended from the wall of the (then) new Vancouver Public Library

Other pranks of note:

  • the Grate Rosebowl Heist
  • borrowing the speaker's chair from the Provincial Legislature in Victoria
  • programming the UBC clock tower bells to play "The Engineers' Hymn"
  • hanging a giant red "E" on the side of Science World's geodesic dome
  • programming the traffic control lights on the Lions Gate Bridge to flash "UBC Engineers do it again"

Happy E-week everybody! ERTW!

Re:Who is Paavo Nurmi? (1)

humpback (162839) | more than 13 years ago | (#453721)

I went to google and http://www.stadion.fi/PAAVONURMI100/pnhome.htm

Re:To prosecute or not to prosecute (2)

Ziest (143204) | more than 13 years ago | (#453722)

Why exactly, was it necessary to pull that bug down immediately? It was causing problems with boat traffic, but it's a big bridge! Surely boat traffic could be re-routed, while the bug was dealt with when there was less traffic going over the bridge!

From what I understand the bug was hanging directly over one of the shipping channels. There are two shipping channels under the Golden Gate Bridge. An inbound and an out bound. Most container ships that come into the San Francisco Bay draw so much water that they must stay in the dreged shipping lanes or else they they run the risk of running aground.

Of course, the locals went nuts and have shown no sense of humor about this. Yet another reason to keep packing and keep looking for that job in Canada before George "The Thief" Bush turns this country into a fascist police state.

Re:About that beetle... (1)

10.0.0.1 (153985) | more than 13 years ago | (#453723)

I can't see how you could retool from making VW Beetles to making tanks...

I can't see how you could switch from making VW Beetles to making tanks without retooling.

Re:Grate E-week Pranks of The Past (1)

Grexnix (94113) | more than 13 years ago | (#453724)

The rumours are true. In our proud 20 years of E-week stunt history, the UBC Engineers have placed beetles in all sorts of places...

This kind of thing has been going on for a long time. When my dad was at high school, one year the final-year engineering students completely dissasembled the headmaster (principal)'s car and rebuilt it on the roof of one of the school buildings. That would have been somewhere around 1966 or 1967.

--

And then there's the Cambridge version... (1)

marnanel (98063) | more than 13 years ago | (#453725)

For all you jingoistic Americans fearing an insult to your national hacking pride, rest assured by visiting

In June 1958, four engineering students at Cambridge University put an Austin Seven van on the roof of the Senate House overnight. There's a writeup [cam.ac.uk] of the methods used and the story of that night, complete with diagram [cam.ac.uk] , written by one of the conspirators. It's a document worth reading for anyone planning to follow [greenend.org.uk] in their hallowed footsteps.

M

Re:MIT (2)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#453726)

Oh yeah, that's right.. MIT students care about others, don't want to risk accidents (boats crashing into that stupid bug) and do something harder (how hard is it to tie a car to a rope and toss it off a bridge, try getting a car on top of a building without a crane, now there's a challange).


--

Re:Some days.... (1)

madchris (266878) | more than 13 years ago | (#453727)

We are Canadian! Ra Ra Ra! Three cheers for the Red, White and (I guess we forgot the Blue). At least is was a VW Bug. If they had hung a Jap. car - that would have been an insult!

Prison time (2)

seizer (16950) | more than 13 years ago | (#453728)

They mention that the perpetrators could go to jail. But how? What law prohibits this kind of thing? (I'm sure the authorities will find a suitable charge if they want - something like Obstructing a Public Highway, or Causing Undue Disturbance, or some blanket law that lets them prosecute this kind of undefined crime).

Any ideas folks?

Re:MIT (1)

evil_one (142582) | more than 13 years ago | (#453729)

Don't read much, do you? The MIT boys got the car on the roof by assembling it on the roof.
I could say "How hard is it to carry a whole bunch of parts onto a roof and use a ratchet set?"
As for the bridge, do something for me. First, calculate the weight of a stripped down bug. Next, travel to a different country and figure out how much ground (water?) clearence your target bridge has. Now calculate how far down your bug will be hanging. Now figure out how many newtons will be acting on your cables. Now figure out how to make it all work securely.
These are engineers, not idiots you see on "RealTV"
---

Re:Blame Canada (1)

chakmol (88099) | more than 13 years ago | (#453730)

Blame Canada
Blame Canada
For all the Volkswagon Bugs
they go around hangin' 'round like thugs


I just worry about the BUGS, man! There aren't so many of those to go around anymore. Maybe a nice Chevy Vega or Ford Pinto next time. They aren't as cool I guess. :-(

Urine prank (1)

dipfan (192591) | more than 13 years ago | (#453731)

There's an annual tradition of similar jolly pranks at universities in New Zealand during Capping Week (graduation)... the best I can recall was posting official-looking notices to every home in one town claiming that the government needed a urine sample from every resident for scientific purposes. Residents were told to deliver their urine to local post offices... which they did.

Now that'd be neat (1)

stigmatic (310472) | more than 13 years ago | (#453732)

If those same Canadian students hung these from a bridge:

1) George Bush
2) Script Kiddiots [antioffline.com]
3) Temptation Island cast members
4) Jesse Jackson
5) John Ashcroft

Re:MIT - real link (2)

Gr00ve (30611) | more than 13 years ago | (#453733)

http://foxnews.com/etcetera/020401/mit.sml

Re:Rumorville... (1)

evil_one (142582) | more than 13 years ago | (#453734)

I used to do consulting (computer) for the company that made her battens. Here's a link to their gallery.
---

Re:Rumorville... (1)

evil_one (142582) | more than 13 years ago | (#453736)

http://www.sailbone.com/gallery.html
---

Re:MIT'rs have done some cute ones... (1)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 13 years ago | (#453738)

One of the MIT hacks appears to have inspired Illiad with an early version of the Dust Puppy [mit.edu]

Re:Other schools with geek tradition? (2)

devjoe (88696) | more than 13 years ago | (#453739)

Rice U. has a tradition of pranks on campus, but only on occasion do they approach the magnitude of the well-known MIT pranks.

Many of the pranks often involve "Willy's Statue", [rice.edu] a large seated statue of William Marsh Rice, the university's founder, atop a large granite cube which is actually his tomb. Most recently, the statue was covered up by a 10-foot-tall chess rook [rice.edu] which was apparently an advertisement for a campus chess club.

The best known, and perhaps largest engineering achievement, happened in 1988 when several students built a frame capable of supporting the weight of the statue, and one night went out and turned the statue 180 degrees, so that instead of facing the 2-story-high arch in the main administrative building which forms the ceremonial front entrance of the university, he had his back to the front entrance.

The university apparently didn't trust the students to turn the statue back around, so they hired an engineering firm who damaged the statue in the process of turning it back to its normal position. (The students' turning did not damage the statue.)

This suspiciously sounds like an urban legend (2)

BlueUnderwear (73957) | more than 13 years ago | (#453740)

Although usually it's barber's poles rather than park benches. Has a Fb (false but...) in the AFU FAQ [urbanlegends.com] . Other sightings include Caltech [globalprovince.com] , Harvard [cwru.edu] , and MIT [kjartan.org] . (many of the pages are quite long, search for "barber").

Re:About that beetle... (2)

shippo (166521) | more than 13 years ago | (#453741)

I saw this on a UK television documentary 5 or so years ago. Hitler made some sketchs of what he wanted the Volkswagen to look like, and gave these to Ferdinand Porsche. Porsche used Hitler's sketches as the basis of his own designs.

Look here [ocean.com.au] for a history of the VW Beetle, which seems to clarify that this was indeed the case. It also seems to indicate that Hitler refiened Porsche's designs.

Also in Delft (1)

morie (227571) | more than 13 years ago | (#453742)

It was done on the building of the faculty of electrical engineering at the Technical University in Delft, The Netherlands some years ago as well. Seems to be a trend in this

Re:MIT (1)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#453743)

Get a cable that can hold 10000lbs for something that actually weighs about 500lbs.. I don't think you'll have much of an issue weight wise. I'm sure the distance is available some where, they have to know what size boats travel through there.

It's not that complicated.

I think rebuilding a car from MANY parts all in one night so that it will be running with the lights on (usually a cop car) takes a lot more skill then that. Plus getting past security and such with car parts.


--

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