"Year after year they admit about 15% academic superstars, 40 to 60 percent hooked applicants, and the rest are lucky sperms. In the words of another poster, they make sure the school is mostly white, not too Asian, and just enough black and Hispanic. Is that not the beauty of “merit in motion”? Of course they can be different things to different people. Why not?"
In what universe is Cal Tech not prestigious? And in what universe does Cal Tech not have "social cachet" similar to or greater than Dartmouth, Brown or U Penn?
Maybe in the conceited pretentious circles you run in, CalTech doesn't have that social cachet (I personally would rather not be around such insufferable people myself), but by alumni accomplishments, CalTech is every bit as good as HYPSM (and is better in some respects). Meaning they're better than most Ivies.