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My sister had told me about this when she called to wish us a happy Easter. She was very excited about it and thought I’d feel the same. For those of you who don’t read any “geek news” or avoid any conversations that don’t relate to music videos or movies: Wired magazine published an article in this month’s issue about “How four underdogs from the mean streets of Phoenix took on the best from M.I.T. in the national underwater bot championship." The nature of the contest is obscured and relegated to white-noise background and the real meat of the article is to describe how these 4 illegal high school immigrants were able to compete against and beat teams from some of the best colleges in the nation. M.I.T.’s team must have been the most famous participant for their name appears at least a dozen times in the article. The contest itself comprised of maneauvering an aquatic robot through an underwater (duhh) obstacle course as well as perform certain tasks. Having managed only $800 of cash for support, these 4 kids had to improvise and choose very carefully the building blocks for their bot: ::wikipedia("pvc","PVC"):: pipes and tampons were some of the items in their arsenal. The whole story reminds me of when I went to high school and had to take one of those standardized tests (was it the ::wikipedia("psat","PSAT")::?) required to graduate. While following the oral instructions to fill out the first page of the test, one teacher walking around the "immigrant section" of the library (we, immigrants, had been segregated to this section of the library, away from the "Americans") noticed that we all had finished filling out the tests and were waaaay ahead of everybody else. He was so astonished that he said to a guy sitting next to me: “I don’t care what they say about you… I think you’re all very smart!” To this day I still wonder what “they" thought of "us”!!!


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