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Game Theory: “Pure pop for nerd people,” the greatest unknown ’80s band

1. Silent Football

The term “gifted children” dates back to the 1920s, to the unsavory, sometimes racist world of early IQ tests, but it took fifty years to find its niche: “gifted and talented” summer camps became widespread and self-sustaining during the 1970s. The Center for Talented Youth (CTY), sponsored by Johns Hopkins University, opened its doors in 1979: about 9,000 students, aged twelve to sixteen, now attend CTY on six campuses each summer. According to its official website, those students discover “challenging educational opportunities,” in Latin, mathematics, neuroscience, and so on. According to, maintained by alumni, they learn an argot (“flying squirrel,” “CTY-S”) and a set of diversions found nowhere else, such as “Silent Football,” “a complex game involving an invisible football, hallucinations, and tattling.… One CTY-er solved a Rubik’s Cube on stage while reciting the first 200 digits of pi.”

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