Many years ago, a group of hackers
were taking 6.312
, Professor Bose's
class on Acoustics
. The class discusses
such as the behaviour
of sound waves
to build a good amplifier
The students were working on a problem set one evening,
calculating the proportions of a sounding box, when
it was realized that Killian Court, the central green space of MIT, was the perfect shape for a giant amplifier. If they could simply figure out where in
the court to put the source of the sound, they could probably make themselves heard in the
Back Bay. Being hackers and fond of practical uses of knowledge, they decided that this hypothesis needed to be tested.
The next month, notices started appearing on lampposts
and bulletin boards around the Back Bay. They were typical bureaucratic notices saying things such as "Under Statute 1774.6 of Massachusetts State Law, regarding public awareness of high-energy experimentation, we are obliged to inform all residents that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will be testing a small nuclear device on such-and-such a date at such-and-such a time. There should be no harmful side effects, and radiation will be minimal..." etc. The residents of the Back Bay read the notices and for the most part ignored them.
On the appointed date and time, the hackers went to their carefully-calculated point, and set off an equally carefully-calculated amount of dynamite. The explosion, as expected, could be heard all the way in the Back Bay.
The traffic jam leaving Boston that day was quite unprecedented.