Al Gore Buzzword Bingo!

Welcome to Buzzword Bingo! For the past four years, most of you have enjoyed as a spectator the fine tradition of hacking at MIT. Today, as you finish your time here at MIT, you will have a chance to enjoy it as a participant. Soon, Vice President Gore will deliver an address on Distributed Intelligence. We will greet him with a Distributed Hack. Like any good distributed system, there will be no single point of failure, no single person whom the Campus Police or the Secret Service can stop.

As MIT students, and now as graduates, you are surely familiar with the tendency of non-technical people to use buzzwords when discussing technical issues. The Vice President, although more technically aware than most of his colleagues, is sure to use the technique in his speech. Thishack is designed to gently remind him that he is at MIT, where we can see right through this strategy.

Below, you will find a Bingo board. This is similar to a regular bingo card, except that each square contains a buzzword instead of a number. When Al Gore uses a buzzword on your board, cross it off. If you get five buzzwords in a row - horizontally, vertically, or diagonally - you have won Buzzword Bingo! Instead of shouting "Bingo!" (which would be rude and potentially upset the men with wires in their ears and guns all over the place), hold up your card so that the other side faces the podium and the Vice President can see that you have won.

Have Fun! Al Gore Buzzword Bingo Board (the back of the card says "Buzzword Bingo!" in large letters)

.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------.
|                 |               |                |                |                |
|    infobahn     |    legacy     |    client-     |      high      |    knowledge   |
|                 |               |    server      |   confidence   |     worker     |
|                 |               |                |                |                |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|                 |               |                |                |                |
| interconnection | assimilation  |     user-      |  information   |     schema     |
|                 |               |    driven      |  superhighway  |                |
|                 |               |                |                |                |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|                 |               |                |                |                |
|  effectiveness  |   compiler    |      FREE      |     vector     |  information   |
|                 |               |     SQUARE     |                |  marketplace   |
|                 |               |                |                |                |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|                 |               |                |                |                |
|     virtual     |   tertiary    |    emerging    |  interactive   |  environment   |
|                 |               |                |                |                |
|                 |               |                |                |                |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|                 |               |                |                |                |
| infrastructure  |     cycle     |    human-      |    mission     |    parallel    |
|                 |               |   computer     |     goal       |                |
|                 |               |                |                |                |
`------------------------------------------------------------------------------------`

This game board is a genuine reproduction of the actual game board given to MIT students the day of Al Gore's speech. I made it in a text editor.

Perhaps this could be the "Home Version"?

There are other writeups here which have the details, but here's the story behind it all...

Back in 1996, Al Gore was invited to be the Commencement speaker at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Up until the 1980's, the Commencement speaker had usually been the President of the Institute, and although the speakers had been getting more prestigious as the years went on, it was generally assumed that the Vice President of the United States was the most impressive personage we were going to host. The hackers therefore decided that a correspondingly impressive hack was necessary, in the long tradition of Commencement hacks.

The original idea was to drop a banner down reading "The MIT Assassins' Guild welcomes President Gore", but that was quickly vetoed by the Couth Committee. For one thing, the Secret Service would take apart the Institute brick by brick looking for the assassination plot; for another, the usually peaceful members of the Assassins' Guild would break their normal rules against killing for the people who pulled that particular hack. So they thought some more.

Now, most of you have heard about how Al Gore invented the Internet. At the time, Gore had a reputation for using buzzwords constantly, most of which he didn't understand. So the hackers created bingo boards with varying buzzwords in the squares, with rules directing players to cross off squares when they heard Gore use the buzzword in his speech. These boards and instructions were placed on every seat in Killian before Commencement.

Gore, however, was more clever than the hackers had given him credit for. He figured out that when giving a speech at the nation's premiere technological university, the listeners probably knew more about technology than he did, and he used almost no buzzwords in his speech. Apparently, someone had tipped him off to the hack as well; at one point during the speech, the Architecture majors burst out laughing from some inside joke and Gore asked "Did I say a buzzword?"

Nobody actually won at bingo that year, which was probably all for the better. When President Clinton showed up for his Commencement address a few years later, however, he didn't follow Gore's lead. Rumor has it that anyone playing Buzzword Bingo that year would have actually won.

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