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MIT Hacks XKCD Talk With AACS key

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the hacking-101 dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 161

Reader Hanji alerts us to a hack pulled off when Randall Munroe, author of the popular webcomic XKCD, spoke at MIT by invitation of the Lab for Computer Science. MIT hackers dropped hundreds of labelled playpen balls onto the audience from hatches in the ceiling. The labels bore XKCD's logo as well as the recently discovered 16-byte AACS processing key. At another point in Munroe's talk he was stalked by remote-controlled mechanical velociraptors; but fortunately he had been supplied with a squirt gun full of grape juice.

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thats better than (5, Funny)

evwah (954864) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139135)

thats better than being stalked by remotely controlled mechanical MPAA lawyers

Re:thats better than (5, Funny)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139167)

Can you imagine the cease and desist letter from the MPAA?
"We demand that all AACS keys are removed from all PLAYGROUND BALLS immediately and no legal action will follow"

Re:thats better than (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140285)

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball!

Re:thats better than (2, Interesting)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140919)

I think the AACS has more to worry about than happy fun balls: link [hddvd.org] .

(thanks to the Ronald from http://sla.ckers.org/ [ckers.org] )

Re:thats better than (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19140453)

Of course they are not anthropomorphic lawyers, thus we cannot empathize when limbs are blown off through whatever means.

Re:thats better than (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141133)

thats better than being stalked by remotely controlled mechanical MPAA lawyers

Yeah, mindless, souless reptiles that would disembowel you as soon as look you at you are awful... I'd rather be stalked by the dinosaurs.

Americans demand tougher sentencing for hackers!!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139137)

Ask a liberal to define the word "hacker" and he would probably give you a rose-tinted answer. To the liberal, a hacker is a harmless tinkerer. It's unlikely that a FBI agent would agree; nor would anybody who has to commute by air, drive a car, raise a family or pay their taxes.
All sensible patriots should demand [shelleytherepublican.com] that these atheist hackers are sent to prison. (At the very least, they are suspicious and should be reported to the FBI for going to a "technology" college instead of Bob Jones University!!). I have a modest proposal to go further than the sober ideas presented in that beatiful and well researched article: those who have inflicted cyberterrorism on our great nation by illegally watching HDDVDS should be given the death penalty. This is the only way we can live through these troublesome times, when the rapture is near [shelleytherepublican.com] , without losing to inferior and dangerous communist [shelleytherepublican.com] computing [shelleytherepublican.com] products [shelleytherepublican.com] .

Re:Americans demand tougher sentencing for hackers (3, Interesting)

dreddnott (555950) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139723)

What was the name of that Internet "law" (more like an observation) that once you reach a point far enough to the political right, your viewpoint becomes indistinguishable from satire?

I assume you posted this in honour of the late Jerry Falwell.

Re:Americans demand tougher sentencing for hackers (3, Interesting)

Thundersnatch (671481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140447)

Extremisim in any form is pretty tough to distinguish from satire. For instance, it's hard to tell if the thousands of the inane "OMG Linux+OOo+Beryl rocks M$ is the sux0r!" posts here are satire or not. I hope at least some of them are.

Re:Americans demand tougher sentencing for hackers (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141325)

What was the name of that Internet "law" (more like an observation) that once you reach a point far enough to the political right, your viewpoint becomes indistinguishable from satire?

You're thinking of the law that "once you reach a point far enought to the political right, your viewpoint becomes indistinguishable from your liberal girlfriend's."

Oddly, it's equally disturbing for both parties.

Re:Americans demand tougher sentencing for hackers (2, Funny)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140071)

Well, to be perfectly precise, that's all a real hacker is. But those who released the key were crackers. Not to be confused with the fucking hilarious racial epithet.

Re:Americans demand tougher sentencing for hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141359)

Um...'Crackers' do something illegal. It's not illegal to write a number on a ball, unless the MPAA owns copyright on a number.

Re:Americans demand tougher sentencing for hackers (1)

niXcamiC (835033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140873)

I find it amazing that of all the moderation that comment got, not one of them was +1 Funny.

one of my favs, (5, Funny)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139151)

Re:one of my favs, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139829)

Daayum! [mit.edu] Look at those things! Nice to see there's some tits at MIT!

Re:one of my favs, (2, Funny)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140841)

FWIW I'd never heard of this comic before today.
I just finished reading it all.
awesome
hooked
am I
-nB

Wow! (-1, Troll)

dami99 (1014687) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139161)

That's so cool!

What a hack, dropping pens from the ceiling. Insane. Really.

Stupidest slashdot post ever.

Re:Wow! (2, Informative)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139189)

Learn your history [mit.edu] , n00b.

Re:Wow! (3, Funny)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139195)

Yeah arent college pranks supposed to be stuff of legend?

"Lets drop some things and then set our overpriced RC toys at him!"

"Genius!"

"Yep, we're MIT students!"

Re:Wow! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139377)

Yeah, and what have you done with your life worth talking about, exactly? You're a Slashdot troll with a shitty blog, something tells me you contribute about as much to society as a cockroach. Go hang yourself and do the gene pool a favour.

Re:Wow! (5, Informative)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139657)

They chose velociraptors [xkcd.com] for a reason [xkcd.com] .

Re:Wow! (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140203)

Well, if they absolutely had to drop shit from the ceiling and involve the lame-ass robots, wouldn't it be cooler to drop ballpens with hidden RFID chips broadcasting that stolen DVD key, then make those raptors and random gadgets harass the carrier? Hunter-seeker transistor ants homing in on your cellphone? Mounted paintball guns targeting a passerby until she begs them to killer aunt delete select all? A tape recorder hidden in an elevator demanding MAFIAA royalties for listening to the elevator music the visitors "have not bought": hand over $2000 or we sue you for x100 that? A suit or armour OCRing the badges/name tags, then chatbotting the visitors. A rigged soda machine locking out non-diet cans if your BMI is too high? Anything, but this?

I would have to agree with GP, this MIT prank would be great for a Sunday school or a fat camp.

Re:Wow! (4, Informative)

dysfunct (940221) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140575)

Nice ideas, but IMHO this would be blown way out of proportion and not necessarily the right kind of thing for this occasion. xkcd can have quite complex humor but is also quite pragmatic and simple.

Also, if you don't already know, being afraid of and protecting yourself from velociraptor attacks and playpen balls as sexual innuendo are a common meme at xkcd and on its forum. Simple things like releasing playpen balls and stalking Randall Munroe with velociraptors seem to be the perfect hack considering the general spirit of the comic. In the end, the sophistication doesn't matter if it completely misses the joke and just doesn't feel right for the occasion. There's a right time and place to show off your tech skills, but this one just wasn't.

Re:Wow! (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140965)

"Lets drop some things and then set our overpriced RC toys at him!"

Great job, Guys! Throwing that switch and all, I can see your MIT education really pays for itself
</Barney>

Re:Wow! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139201)

My sentiments exactly.

MIT hackers dropped hundreds of labelled playpen balls onto the audience from hatches in the ceiling. The labels bore XKCD's logo as well as the recently discovered 16-byte AACS processing key.
Jesus guys, you're not canadian; act like you have some sense.

Re:Wow! (5, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139307)

Actually, there's a reason [xkcd.com] behind the playpen balls (not pens). It's a reference to the strip.

Re:Wow! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139385)

The grape fruit juice and the raptors come from a blog entry [xkcd.com] about a letter he received.

Re:Wow! (4, Informative)

foobat (954034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139421)

and the velociraptors http://xkcd.com/c87.html [xkcd.com]

Re:Wow! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139761)

If you're going to drop pens, then use these [penisland.net] to make the Mac users happy.

Goatse! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139171)

Goatse! [goatse.ch]

Set it as your homepage!

Man the harpoons (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139177)

Shit, son, them fat girls sure love themselves some webcomics.

LSC != LCS (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139203)

The xkcd talk was hosted by the MIT Lecture Series Committee, not the MIT Labratory for Computer Science (which was merged with the AI Lab to form CSAIL a few years ago, and thus no longer formally exists).

LSC (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139425)

SUX!

Re:LSC (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139707)

in stereo!

Re:LSC (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19140139)

Awwww. I miss that. LSC suxxxx! :)

Tag topic slownewsday (1)

rratss (893595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139211)

thanks!

So that's what Randall Munroe looks like (5, Funny)

daranz (914716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139235)

For some reason, I expected him to be really thin, and wearing a black hat.

Like Aram? (2, Insightful)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140573)

You mean like Aram from Men in Hats? Man, I miss that.

tags: encryption, humour (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139289)

how odd we don't see the two tags together more often

Re:tags: encryption, humour (4, Funny)

natrius (642724) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139785)

You don't see them because the humor tag is usually encrypted in another one, like "itsatrap".

Humor + Encryption == XKCD! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19140495)

int getRandomNumber() {
  /* P.S. Schneier approves! */
  return 4;  // Chosen by fair dice roll, guaranteed to be random.
}

A hack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139297)

I was there, it was awesome, but as a previous commenter said, it wasn't a particularily big "hack"; it was more of a prank, really.

Re:A hack? (1, Redundant)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139319)

In MIT-speak, a "Hack" is a prank.

I can't say whether that is related to "Hack", as in to program, or "Hack", as in to exploit software.

Re:A hack? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139481)

In fact, most etymologies of the modern usage of the term hack go back to this use in the 1960s at MIT.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hack_(technology) [wikipedia.org]

it's (1, Insightful)

Mazin07 (999269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139371)

It's a little late to be jumping on the spread-the-AACS-key bandwagon, isn't it?

Re:it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139473)

It's a little late to be jumping on the spread-the-AACS-key bandwagon, isn't it?
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Re:it's (3, Funny)

blackicye (760472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139957)

It's a little late to be jumping on the spread-the-AACS-key bandwagon, isn't it?
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0


Not if you realize how hard is it to write "09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0" on thousands of playground balls and them load them into chutes in the ceiling!

Re:it's (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140167)

Given the story earlier today about new anti-piracy legislation...

Gitmo for you buddy, for spreading piracy by printing that evil number!

Randall Munroe would be LUCKY to get Gitmo. Time for some Extreme Rendition in Eastern Europe!

Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19140239)

The pictures show they just used sticky labels. Still a pain in the rear, but not THAT bad. Having the ceiling open automatically, though, that would be fun, though I expect it wouldn't be that difficult for MIT types who like RC toys.

If they really want to do something impressive, laser etch the damn number into the AACS LA's office building or something. Or use mirrors to reflect it off a cloud or mountain or something. Or make your own fulgerites in the shape of the number, turn them into a necklace, and auction it. Or make it the new default screen saver for every computer in the main computer labs. Or disguise it as artwork and put it with the rest of those NSA cryptogram statues. Or find some way to write it legibly on the moon.

Or something.

NOTE: Poster is not responsible for the wrath of the world if someone actually finds a way to deface the moon. Besides, it was supposed to be a Coke logo, not the Magic Number...

Re:Actually (1)

Doppleganger (66109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140971)

NOTE: Poster is not responsible for the wrath of the world if someone actually finds a way to deface the moon. Besides, it was supposed to be a Coke logo, not the Magic Number...

Coke logo? All this time I thought it was supposed to be "CHA".

Re:it's (1)

ToxicBanjo (905105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139595)

Never to late to pass on the solution to idiocy.

Honestly, I wish the DRM enthusiasts of the world would get a clue. There is nothing you can try to protect digitally that someone can't break digitally. It's bits of data and there is always a combination of 1 and 0's that will open Pandora's chastity belt.

Re:it's (5, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140111)

Honestly, I wish the DRM enthusiasts of the world would get a clue. There is nothing you can try to protect digitally that someone can't break digitally. It's bits of data and there is always a combination of 1 and 0's that will open Pandora's chastity belt.

The greatest mistake anyone can make, is underestimating one's enemy.

The RIAA is not stupid. They, of anybody, have money to burn on purchased expertise. They already understand that bits are inherently copyable. And they've been told many times that crypto will always fail in finite time when Eve is given the ciphertext, the plaintext, and the key.

What DRM is, is their attempt to tilt the economics of copying in their favor. In the same way that we are attempting to tilt the economics of spam in our favor. In both cases, the root problem (copying or spam) is intractable... but it can be satisfactorily tamed by a change in the economics.

By raising the cost (i.e. the hassle, the legil peril, the hardware requirements, the software expertise, etc.) of copying, and of receiving copies, above the price of retail media, they'll solve the problem enough.

Yes, you've told us a thousand times that the problem cannot be conclusively solved, but everyone already knows that. They aren't seriously trying to do that. They're just trying to tame it, and they're succeeding. You are blind to this because you've underestimated them. You hang out here on slashdot talking about how stupid they are, but meanwhile BluRay is taking over the world, and most of your and my friends have closed down their bittorrent servers in fear.

Yuo Fail It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139373)

centralized towel under th#e to get some eye to any BSd project, it a break, if more. If you feel cuntwipes Jordan

Some notes (4, Informative)

Hanji (626246) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139381)

  • It was LSC, the Lecture Series Committee, not LCS, the Lab for Computer Science (now known as CSAIL) that invited him. They're a student group that shows movies and sponsors talks like this.
  • /. linked to the second page of photos; The first [mit.edu] , which isn't entirely obviously linked from the linked page, has some excellent photos of the balls falling from the hatch.

Re:Some notes (2, Interesting)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139511)

They're a student group that shows movies
No doubt with the express permission of the MPAA. ;) Is it me or is it totally hilariously ironic that they have "Like free movies" written on the chalk board? Couple that with the AACS processing key attack and it's pretty funny. Indeed.

Cheers.

Re:Some notes (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139817)

They rent 2nd and 3rd run reels, as well as do advance screenings.

Re:Some notes (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140695)

The line that said: "Page 2 out of 2" and had the arrows on it didn't make it clear that it was the second page?

A squirt gun? (3, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139389)

Pfft, everyone velociraptors fear nothing besides traffic cones.

Re:A squirt gun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139945)

And mother-in-laws. Everything fears mother-in-laws.

Wish I were at MIT for that (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139433)

Genericon is trying to get him to come to RPI next year, so with any luck I may get my chance to meet him. Until then I'll just keep plastering comics on my door.

References (3, Informative)

mu22le (766735) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139475)

The playpen balls [mit.edu] were a reference to one of xkcd's more popular comics, Grownups [xkcd.com] . The message on the playpen balls was a reference to some of xkcd's comics "My hobby...".

Re:References (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140059)

One of the dorms at MIT has a room full of bouncy balls! [mitadmissions.org] . That might also be related.

I pine for the day... (1)

eaddict (148006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139529)

...that someone, SOMEONE, comes to my local city to chat that is even 1/2 as interesting. It has been YEARS since I was at a guest lecture... seem some good ones (esp Douglas Adams - talking about his book Last Chance to See). Wonder how you get on a mailing list...

enough already! (0, Flamebait)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139579)

Why is it that whenever anything even remotely of interest happens at MIT, it immediately shows up on the front page of Slashdot, Digg, and Boingboing?

I'll gladly admit that xkcd is a great comic, and that there are plenty of smart students and professors at MIT. However, the disproportinate amount of press coverage that MIT (and the Ivies) receive is downright insulting to the rest of us.

Re:enough already! (3, Funny)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139993)

You must be attending Clarkson!

Re:enough already! (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140757)

*ducks as joke whizzes over head*

Care to explain the significance of Clarkson?

(It's not that I'm bitter. It's just that pranking lectures isn't even remotely unique to MIT. I just don't get why the editors deem it even remotely newsworthy when such a prank is pulled off at MIT. That said, they HAVE performed some fantastic pranks in the past. I got a big kick out of reading about the lengths they went through to steal the Caltech cannon, not to mention the various crap they've put on top of the great dome. This prank, on the other hand, was pretty darn lame.)

Re:enough already! (1)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140037)

is downright insulting to the rest of us.

Really? I didn't see anything in TFA calling me a poophead.

Re:enough already! (1)

Ziwcam (766621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140525)

Why is it that whenever anything even remotely of interest happens at MIT, it immediately shows up on the front page of Slashdot, Digg, and Boingboing?

I'll gladly admit that xkcd is a great comic, and that there are plenty of smart students and professors at MIT. However, the disproportinate amount of press coverage that MIT (and the Ivies) receive is downright insulting to the rest of us.

Wow. You sound JUST like the people that bitch about how much press Apple gets...

Re:enough already! (1)

Tickletaint (1088359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140591)

Well shit, I'm sorry. If anyone at your school bothered or thought to stage a similar event, it might have gotten coverage. But nobody did. And maybe there's a reason for that.

Re:enough already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19140747)

So, you research all similar events that happen across the country and have noted that Slashdot covers them? You certainly don't rely on Slashdot for links to this sort of thing?

And, in response to your last point, NO U!

Re:enough already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19140861)

Aww, poor widdle baby doesn't get enough press coverage. Poor widdle baby needs his bottle. Waah. Waah.

How about a hack *not* from MIT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139585)

I've heard people have fun and do creative things at other schools, too, but I didn't read it on Slashdot.

Does CmdrTaco subscribe the MIT PR feed?

Re:How about a hack *not* from MIT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139701)

they all include beer. while MIT promotes perfect, non-alchoholic fun.

10-250 blows (1)

JelloJoe (977764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139751)

They really need a new lecture hall. Most uncomfortable seats ever!

Re:10-250 blows (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139803)

a) We have new lectures halls (See the white elpehant known as Stata)
b) You should try 26-100
c) The reason 10-250 blows for this, or rather why LSC sucks, is that this was not a large enough venue.

Re:10-250 blows (1)

JelloJoe (977764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139927)

Hey chief, I know u have new lecture halls, i sat in them all last year. but i also was stuck in that poor excuse for a lecture hall for ALL of my freshman classes

Re:10-250 blows (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139995)

Then why do you say such stupid things you silly millenial super-frosh?
And why do you gripe about one of the nicer halls, when the real back-breakers are 26-100, 4-270, etc.?

Things could be worse. You could have to treck out to E50 or climb the three flights of stairs to 54-100.

Re:10-250 blows (1)

textstring (924171) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140237)

You say such things about the 54-100's but it's six flights below the best classroom A4-100e?
The bathrooms have bidets.
Nonetheless, your point has been made prof.

Re:10-250 blows (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140297)

Not a prof., but what the heck is your gibberish-laden point?

Now I know (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139805)

Now I know why the XKCD site is sooo slow. I just discovered it yesterday and was going through the back posts. Little did I know the site had been slashdotted.

Re:Now I know (1)

spinfire (148920) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140099)

Lack of adequate TCP tuning to deal with that many incoming connections. Things should be better now.

XKCD kicks ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139837)

I only wish he'd publish a dead-tree edition. My favorite web comic (actually, the only one I bother to check, other than Penny Arcade once in awhile.)

Not to be contrarian, but (0, Flamebait)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139891)

Um, how is dropping balls with text from the ceiling - your own ceiling - in any way clever? Or, for that matter, how is that a "hack"? Had it been a company doing it, it'd be classified solidly in the "lame promotion attempt" category.

Re:Not to be contrarian, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139991)

Don't know much about the term "hack", but it was really great if you happen to read the comic, the playpen balls, the dinosaurs, the messages on the ball, and every little detail had something to do with the comic.

I do agree saying it's a "hack" sounds weird though, the whole thing was cool none the less.

Re:Not to be contrarian, but (5, Informative)

k3vlar (979024) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140039)

The term 'hack' has long been applied to various pranks on the MIT campus. Please read this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIT_hack [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not to be contrarian, but (-1, Flamebait)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140077)

I know. That's why I wonder how this can be labeled a hack. It's not clever, it's not subversive, it's been done in various ways many times before.

Re:Not to be contrarian, but (2, Interesting)

k3vlar (979024) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140103)

I might consider hiding hundreds of labelled playpen balls in the ceiling and dropping them on the lecture a clever use of engineering and ingenuity. It's not everyday that happens...

Re:Not to be contrarian, but (2, Informative)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140493)

Playpen balls are an xkcd in-joke.

http://xkcd.com/c150.html [xkcd.com]

Re:Not to be contrarian, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141423)

I wish I was able to be there. I didn't buy my ticket early enough and I didn't feel like waiting on the long ass line to get in without a ticket.

With that said, I agree that this wasn't really a 'hack'. But then again, it's tough to get a true hack after the whole Caltech cannon incident.

I wouldn't completely disregard the playpen balls trick. The catch is that they had to write the key on EVERY SINGLE ball and somehow HIDE them where some 450 people wouldn't see it until the right time. The ceiling to 10-250 is just that, a ceiling. They probably had to do something semi-elaborate to hide hundreds of balls from hundreds of people.

Velociraptors (5, Informative)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140091)

For those who may have missed the Velociraptor [xkcd.com] joke, another one here [xkcd.com] , and one more for good measure [xkcd.com] .

I love xkcd!

Missed It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19140215)

I was in Boston that day, but I couldn't get a seat. They turned me away at the door. Would have gotten in if I didn't get out of the no-ticket line for food.

It's quite popular, but why? (1)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140823)

You'd think that a comic like this would appeal only to those of the dorky persuasion, but I think I know why it has broader appeal. (I know at least one non-dorky person who doesn't know the technical background of the jokes, but still really likes xkcd.) It's because the comic isn't really about dorky things; it uses dorky jokes to talk about themes like loneliness which even non-dorks can appreciate, and does this often enough that many non-dorks find it worth the time to read. Compare this to, for instance, Schlock Mercenary, which has its appeal pretty firmly limited to dorks.

Re:It's quite popular, but why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141503)

That and it lets non-geeks feel geeky (which is one of the reasons apple computers are so popular... for whatever reason people think macs == geek cred). Never underestimate the appeal of letting someone feel like something they aren't. That's why flattering people is almost always a good idea if you want something from them.

come on, I know you're out there... (3, Funny)

Zackbass (457384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140883)

LSC..

Re:come on, I know you're out there... (3, Funny)

Harvey (22651) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140897)

... sucks!

I say =) (4, Interesting)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141473)

Having only recently been introduced to xkcd (and having read the entirety of the strip in one sitting) I have to say this entire thing is quite amusing. The balls, the raptors... obviously the folks who pulled this have read and understood the strip.

If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it. Geek humour at it's finest (and sometimes most touching)

Hey Rob, where's my 20 questions with the xkcd author???

XKCD: Hover over the comics (5, Informative)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141553)

The comics have the Title attribute defined. For example http://xkcd.com/c253.html [xkcd.com] . I read them all and noticed this a week later and then had to go back and read them all again.

I love xkcd.
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