At MIT, in Course 6, what passes for school pride is famously
demonstrated in the Six Hertz, Six Bytes T-Shirt 


I will leave it to you imagination why this T-Shirt is clever. The
important thing to note is that the electrical engineering and
computer science department at MIT is Course VI. People typically
refer to EECS as 'Course Six'.

When in school, I had wondered what the bytes on the back of the shirt
meant, but when it came up in conversation one day, someone said that
it just spelled nothing. Being the naive and trusting soul that I am,
I dropped it. However, the other day a co-worker informed me that it
indeed really had a message, so I decided to investigate. Here is my
analysis (with mad props to the coworker):

01100000 0x60 '
01010011 0x53 S 
01010101 0x55 U 
11000011 0xB3 (? - non-ascii)
01001011 0x4B K
01010011 0x53 S 

A little disappointing -- what is that non-ascii thing doing there?

Upon a little more reflection, one notices that each of the bytes has
even parity (i.e. an even number of ones) which smacks of error
correction. Back in the good old dizay, when no one cared about
internationalization and everyone was cool with using English (which
has one of the most concise alphabets on earth), a common thing to do
was store US ASCII in the low seven bits and store an error detecting
parity in the high bit.Stripping off the parity bit finally reveals
our message:

Parity Removed
01100000 0x60 (as in "Six")
01010011 0x53 S
01010101 0x55 U
01000011 0x43 C
01001011 0x4b K
01010011 0x53 S

So, I guess 6 really does suck. I actually rather enjoyed my time,
though I am quite embarrased that I never bothered to decode this
until now.