In Building 5 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there is a display known as the Hart Nautical Gallery. The exhibit is run by Course 12, the Department of Ocean Engineering, and contains models and information about historical ships. For those interested in nautical history, it is a fascinating resource.

In 1979, a new ship arrived in the gallery: the U.S.S. Tetazoo. A plastic dime-store model of an aircraft carrier, the Tetazoo came with its own unique history of service and a midnight dedication ceremony, courtesy of the hackers of Third East.


Constructed in 423 B.C by the Phoenician Turtle King Shii-Dawg, the Tetazoo's keel was laid 4 years later in Damascus.

During the Middle Ages, she was put into drydock in Norfolk, Virginia until 1490 when she returned to Spain to show Christopher Columbo the route to the Americas under the new name "Ninny", later misspelled by Spanish hysterians. Running low on rum she detoured to Puerto Rico, where the wreck of the Santa Maria can be seen to this day.

In the early 1800's she became a privateer under Sir Harry Flashman, C.A.P., C.I.A., C.O.D.. Lost to the Swiss Navy in fierce combat in the Inside Straits, she remained in their posession until 1905, when she was given to the U.S. Navy as spoils from the Russo-Japanese War.

During WWII she served with distinction in the Atlantic, sinking 7 submarines, many of them enemy. Captained by James Tetazoo, Sr., she was named in his honor after he died while making a still from an old depth charge. To this day she serves with pride as the only (official) floating still in the U.S. Navy.

That wasn't the end of the Tetazoo, however. When Building 66 was built, it was observed that its 30-60-90 right triangle shape and the large pipes on the roof made it look more like a steamship than a classroom building. The night before the official dedication ceremony, therefore, hackers hung a banner over the side reading USS Tetazoo, and christened her with bottle of champagne broken over the 'bow'.

Descriptive text copied with appreciation from the Journal of the Institute for Hacks, TomFoolery, and Pranks, source of many other good hacking stories.

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