Posts Tagged “captcha”

Monkeys With Typewriters - Book LaunchBy now you must have seen those little CAPTCHA items on various Web forms … the ones that are there to confirm a human is filling out the form and not a computer program. Once in a great while I see something interesting — and unintentionally so — on one of these. Like this one that I saw tonight:

ReCAPTCHA: 'religion phearbed' (enlarged)

ReCAPTCHA: 'religion phearbed' (enlarged)

This particular one was produced by Google’s reCAPTCHA service, which puts book-text snippets out as CAPTCHA items, thus getting them deciphered by the Web-using public.

At any rate, the “message” in this one is “religion phearbed.” Spell that slightly differently, and you get “religion fearbed,” or “religion fear bed.” To paraphrase Arsenio Hall, this is one of those things that makes you go “Hmmm.”

Is it true that religion fears bed? One wonders.

I’m not sure what text source Google culled this phrase from, but it sure looks to me like a classic case of the monkeys with typewriters. You know … the notion that if you provide typewriters to an infinite number of typewriters, all typing away randomly and endlessly, eventually one of them is going to produce a complete Shakespeare play. The same applies to CAPTCHAs … given how many of them are produced, you’re bound to see some which appear to have meaning — even if there was no thought behind their production.

(Top) photo credit: Benjamin Ellis.

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