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MIT President Tells Grads To 'Hack the World' 86

theodp writes "On Friday, MIT President L. Rafael Reif exhorted grads to 'hack the world until you make the world a little more like MIT'. A rather ironic choice of words, since 'hack the world' is precisely what others said Aaron Swartz was trying to do in his fateful run-in with MIT. President Reif presumably received an 'Incomplete' this semester for the promised time-is-of-the-essence review of MIT's involvement in the events that preceded Swartz's suicide last January. By the way, it wasn't so long ago that 2013 commencement speaker Drew Houston and Aaron Swartz were both welcome speakers at MIT."
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MIT President Tells Grads To 'Hack the World'

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  • sounds familiar... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @06:09PM (#43948275)

    ...Line from "Hackers", repeated several times:

    "Hack the planet!"

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @06:19PM (#43948321) Journal

    Go ahead and hack the world. If you get caught, I never said that and we've never heard of you.

  • Re:MIT Hacks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by divisionbyzero ( 300681 ) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @10:13PM (#43949557)

    At MIT, the word "hack" means something very specific, and not criminal or unethical. It is a impressive, creative, and clever achievement.

    From http://hacks.mit.edu/ [mit.edu]

    The word hack at MIT usually refers to a clever, benign, and "ethical" prank or practical joke, which is both challenging for the perpetrators and amusing to the MIT community (and sometimes even the rest of the world!). Note that this has nothing to do with computer (or phone) hacking (which we call "cracking").

    So, the president of MIT was urging MIT students to pull clever practical jokes? That's stupid or he meant something different. Presumably he meant "hack" in the same way that people who have been actually involved with computers understand it: exploring the possibilities of a system (often including some that the inventor never intended) for the sake of discovery and in some cases using those discoveries to create unique and innovative outcomes. I get that you are trying to make a distinction between "hacking" and "cracking" but "hacking" has a meaning that transcends the special case of practical jokes that are a part of MIT folklore and if the president of MIT did not have the broader meaning in mind, then his comments are almost comical.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 09, 2013 @01:00AM (#43950385)

    Actually - some female hackers look better than Jolie. The problem is yours - you spent so much of your youth watching the television, and being indoctrinated to prefer women who look like Jolie. Those of us who aren't totally indoctrinated prefer real women, who aren't draped in (tens?) thousands of dollars worth of designer clothes, hundreds of dollars worth of make up, carefully airbrushed in every image, blah, blah, blah.

    You want Jolie? Go get her. Personally, I wouldn't follow her around the corner to get a better look at her.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"