.the Kobayashi-Maru-Test

Quick anecdote from 27C3: After an incredibly cool talk on taking down cell phones via text messages, we wanted to see the next one in that category, but the lecture hall was hopelessly too full. On the way downstairs, however, we had spotted a sign that announced a code golf challenge. We decided to do the easy one. Soon enough, I had a reasonable Python script together:

k=input()
a,b=' '+'  ##'*k+'\n ','#   '*~-k+'#\n'
print a+4*b,'',b+a

Toby quickly beat me with some Perl that was shorter, but I didn't really mind. We really started to mind when later that evening, we checked back with the challenge homepage and realized that we had been utterly beaten by our competitors. For almost two hours we sat at the table, refusing to socialize with our hosts, trying to settle the score. Toby did quite a good job and managed to pull level - me on the other hand, I was totally lost.

Now, what do you do when you cannot win? You cheat.

STEP 1* STEP 2* STEP 3 STEP 4

I will leave you to enjoy those pictures. Oh yea, and here's my trophy shot. I kindof hope that we get a bottle of club mate for original thinking rather than a lawsuit. Of course, in the end, Toby still had the shorter script ... using our little hack, of course.

rattle out.

.ps

The admin was very cool about the whole thing and told me he'd fix the problem asap. We got 3 bottles of club mate since regardless of the cheat, we also had the best legit solutions (out of the people at 27c3). Apart from the fact that I think club mate tastes like piss, this was a sparkling experience!

*We had to do this more than once without result and some faith in caching. Eventually, our faith was rewarded.