As well as being covered in sod, and covered in sand, POETS has also had every surface covered in aluminum foil.
Just in time for Halloween, this prank occurred in the early morning of October 31, 2004.
The Spirit of WTF has not been able to determine those responsible, but one could easily hazard a guess that it was the handiwork of the infamous Non-Existent Action Committee.
[Caption: While Tony Yayo couldn’t make his Fed Hall show, another famous Tony made an appearance at UW, thanks to some creative engineering students.] -Imprint, November 18, 2005 (Page 5)
This statue, called Early Morning Dream is a sculpture by Krystyne Sydowsky. It’s been painted many, many times by various pranksters throughout the years.
Kemet Bahlibi - Imprint Staff
Jessie Quinn - Imprint Staff
[Caption: An engineer tool has its way with the natural log after a few drinks: (note: the hat is green).]
The mathies’ extravagant efforts to protect their valuable tie were of little consequence when another of their symbols, the symbol of Math Soc, was attacked. On the afternoon of Sunday, November 13, while walking on the third floor, members of MathSoc noticed the empty display case.
The Natural Log, which is literally a piece of wood, though symbolically represents a natural logarithm, had been stolen. The culprits the “anonymous engineers” had replaced the “Natural Log” with clumps of lawn. For those of you who do not remember high school math and therefore cannot fully appreciate the lame humour inherent in the prank, a natural logarithm is denoted by ln, pronounced lawn.
The clusters of lawn surrounded a garbage bin turned on its side on which the letters “ERTW” (engineers rule
the world) were written. The “Natural Log” is displayed in a case near the Math C&D —— or at least it was.
[Caption: Engineers etch a joke into a garbage bin; “ERTW” stands for “engineers rule the world.”]
Imprint staff first heard about the incident after checking their e-mail Tuesday afternoon when they found a message sent by the “anonymous engineer”. It began: “Last night while the Waterloo Mathies were busy not showering, their beloved mascot “The Natural Log” was stolen from its display case.” Also included were the pictures shown here.
“It’s fun to prank other faculties,” said MathSoc president Michael Tersigniwhen asked why he thought someone would steal the log, “I laugh at it.”
This wasn’t the first time the log had been stolen. It went missing in the winter term of 2003 and then miraculously appeared in POET’S, the engineering lounge, a few months later during the spring term. To avoid another kidnapping, the log was hidden until they got the new display case and heightened security measures. Security measures which failed to prevent Sunday’s theft. The “anonymous engineer” forced the lock open with some kind of tool and
also cut the chain that was attached to the log. “I don’t mind the prank happening”, but Tersigni added, ”I’m disappointed at the vandalism.”
We spoke to Eng Soc’s VP of Education Ken Hanes to find out whether they were aware of the prank. While
“most pranks go through EngSoc and are approved by council,” an e-mail they received from Tersigni regarding the missing log was “the first time they had ever heard about it.”
We asked a few students who they thought really stole the log. Fourth year computer science student, Ahmed Farakha, thinks it was an “underground engineer group.” He also says, “maybe they’re the ones that did the tiger outside.” By that tiger, he means the sculpture outside of Carl Pollock Hall. It was turned on its side, painted orange and had the words “Engineers are Grrrreat” written on its side. It also had a cutout of Tony the Tiger attached to it. If you are still confused after this description, check out the picture on Page 5.
“I think it was a senior student that did it as a last prank before they left —-they knew it was something mathies would understand,” said fourth year English RPW and history student Alexander Lunde, “It was a mathie framing engineers. Now really, do you think engineers would be nerdy enough to think of a joke like that?”
First year science students Benish Sabih Samantha Somwaru also thought the prank “against” the math students was done by one of their own. “Math people did it because they hate engineers;’ said Sabih. Somwaru agreed, adding that there was no way someone could get past the math students “if they had the nerve to guard that tie the way they did during frosh week. That was crazy!”
Was it the engineers getting back the mathies? Was it the mathies framing the engineers? Or could it have been a student from another faculty altogether that just wanted to add more fuel to the fire? You decide!
-Imprint November 18, 2005
I Prank, Therefore I Am Part II: Poetic Justice
On the morning of Friday October 9th, 2009, engineering students arrived in POETS to discover that something major had changed. No- it wasn’t the new furniture or the addition of the pool table upstairs. Instead, they found that POETS had become the newest green space on campus. The entirity of POETS, from the floors and tables, to stairs and railings were covered in fresh sod, and had such ornaments as lawn gnomes and watering cans scattered around. Students were initially confused when they saw the prank, but then because overjoyed. Picnics were held during the lunch hour, helping to increase the capacity during the typically busy hour. The prank was committed sometime during the overnight hour. How exactly the pranksters accessed POETS is unknown at this time. It is unknown at press time who committed this hilarious act, however a group called NEAC (Non-Existent Action Committee) is currently believed to be behind it. However, since they don’t exist, as their name suggest, they couldn’t have possibly done it.
-The Iron Warrior News Bureau
Iron Warrior, October 14, 2009
TIN SOLDIER NEWS BUREAU
The statue by the Douglas Wright Engineering building was painted again, this time with the colour of EdCom, black. Many remember when, in the fall of 2006, the statue was painted orange with black stripes and the words “Engineers are GRRREAAT”.
The back of the statue had the initials “NEAC” on it, suggesting that the Non-Existent Action Committee had executed the prank. An IQC professor was asked how the group could have undertaken the task if it did not exist. They are currently requesting a government grant for several million dollars to find the answer.
Iron Warrior/Tin Soldier, March 27, 2007
[NOTE: The statue is actually called Early Morning by Krystyne Sydowsky]
A satirical tombstone placed in the Peter Russell Rock Garden. It was placed there by UW’s prank group, the Non-Existent Action Committee. It remained as part of the garden from at least 2009 until Fall 2011, when it was removed by persons unknown. (Possibly as a result of the construction of the Quantum Nano Centre.)
Update: We have confirmation from an eyewitness that saw Plant Ops remove it while they were doing their periodic maintenance of the garden.
Before the construction of the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre (QNC), there was a patch of green space on campus colloquially referred to as “B2 Green”. The announcement of its destruction meant that many students became concerned about the amount of green-space that would be left on campus after the QNC construction began.
As a result, on October 26th, the Non-Existent Action Committee (NEAC), one of UW’s prank groups, planted a cluster of 5 trees in the middle of the green in an act of guerrilla gardening. They also erected a sign with the words “NEAC. Got Wood?”
Here is the article that appeared in the Iron Warrior after the prank:
Pranksters Bluntly Ask the Right Questions
The nanotechnology building might have to be a bit smaller than planned. The latest gardening project of a few mischievous engineering students is set to compete for space with the new centre.
As if to protest the vanishing green space on campus, the group gave a final send-off to the field by planting a few saplings and other flora in its centre. It is unclear whether or not this qualifies as “artistic expression”: these were engineering students after all. Whatever the case, their timing was impeccable; the prank was performed in time for a farewell party for the field organized by the Science Society.
Early Friday morning, The Iron Warrior received an anonymous tip urging it to dispatch reporters:
From: Your Worst Nightmare
Subject: Faraz: You did not get this email
Time: Oct 26, 2007 4:14 AM
We are making you aware of a present we have left on the B2 Green earlier tonight.
Nano may have a building, but we have a forest.
Bring a camera.
You may want to go immediately.
The pranksters identified themselves as the Non-Existent Action Committee (NEAC). NEAC has long been a tradition among the engineering students, who have used its banner to ensure their pranks are attributed to engineering students. The NEAC markings were also seen earlier this year, when the orange art piece by the Douglas Wright Engineering building was painted over in the dark tones of EdCom. The field is here to stay for the time being. Actual groundbreaking will happen in March of 2008, when it will be replaced by a 10 metre hole in the ground. However, preparations for construction have already begun. The Bombshelter patio will be dug up to extend service tunnels from the Student Life Centre. Aside from the tunnel extension, other preparatory work will include rerouting underground pipes and taking soil samples. Editor’s Note: The plants have been pulled out of the ground by the time of issue production.
- Faraz Syed, 4A Chemical
Iron Warrior, October 31, 2007 (Page 14)
The mascot of the Mathematics Society is The Natural Log. It is a 2.5 foot long (roughly) section of wooden log, with the word ‘MATHSOC’ burnt into it.
The Natural Log was originally created in late November 1980. Earlier that month, as part of Engineering Week, the engineers had paraded their Ridgid Tool around campus. Presumably this caused some mathies to discuss the possibility of MathSoc getting its own “mathscot” that could be paraded around. Apparently Prabhakar Ragde heard them and jokingly suggested a “natural log”. The mathies took him seriously and procured the log from an unknown source.
On December 1st, 1980, The Natural Log was formally unveiled to the public for the first time. The Mathies chained the log to a table (the Log Table, just a standard table that was soon forgotten) and paraded their new mascot around campus.
The First Theft
As the math students paraded the log near Engineering 1 (now Douglas Wright Engineering), they were attacked by a large group of engineers. A small brawl ensued. Paint, snowballs, and fists were thrown. The chains holding the log to the table were cut using bolt cutters, and the log was stolen. One student went to the hospital for x-rays.
We are uncertain what happened to the log during this time. Presumably, the log was returned within a few weeks. At any rate, The Natural Log was back in the hands of MathSoc by the year 2005.
The 2005 Theft
In 2005, the engineers once again stole The Natural Log. This time, the log was defaced using permanent markers and spray paint. After some time, MathSoc negotiated for the return of the log.
It then sat in a corner of the MathSoc Office, neglected and graffitied, for several years.
In 2010, a mathematics student named John Stevenson noticed the log and realised that he had the skills required to clean and restore The Natural Log. Taking it home, he carefully removed the graffiti, and added a layer of shellac to the log. Returning it to MathSoc, the log was given a new home on display in the 3rd floor landing of the Mathematics and Computer building. MathNEWS had a field day and created a whole new mythos surrounding the log’s creation.
The 2010 Theft
In late November 2010, The Natural Log was stolen once again, this time by NEAC. As always, the details are sketchy, but NEAC claims that it gave the log “as a Christmas gift” to the environment society. There was a ransom demand made of $500 dollars (later reduced to $400) for the log, but when MathSoc arrived with a [voided] cheque, the captors failed to show up to the meeting.
The log’s location was then sold to the highest bidder by a person wearing the Environment Banana costume at the Colour Me Educated dumpster event on January 26, 2010. It appears that the Faculty of Arts was the highest bidder and came into possession of the log shortly after. However, after the Arts Student Union president change, all credible leads as to the log’s location and captors seemed to disappear.
On September 21, 2011, a Facebook account by the name of “TheMath Log” appeared, with owners of the account claiming to be the current captors of the log. After actively friend-ing everyone related to the Math Faculty in January, an ultimatum was given on February 2nd. If students didn’t vote in André Magalhães for VPEDucation in the upcoming Federation of Students Election, the log would be burned. Otherwise, The Natural Log was to be returned safely. This ultimatum was rapidly removed from the account the following day. The election occurred and Adam Garcia got the position.
Now, well into March, no word has been given as to the log’s whereabouts, nor has a bag of ash been delivered to MathSoc. Indeed, the Facebook profile has apparently been deleted or banned as of today (March 11).
Who knows what will become of MathSoc’s long-time mascot, but we’ll provide updates if any happen. If you have an idea of where it is and want drop a tip to The Spirit of WTF, you can message us here.
A picture of when NEAC “turfed” POETS in 2009.
More pictures and stories can be found here.