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    Thursday, April 27, 2006


    Is there nothing that we can't learn from them?

    Lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth wanted to test the claim that an infinite number of monkeys given typewriters would create the works of The Bard.

    A single computer was placed in a monkey enclosure at Paignton Zoo to monitor the literary output of six primates.

    But after a month, the Sulawesi crested macaques had only succeeded in partially destroying the machine, using it as a lavatory, and mostly typing the letter "s".

    Now, considering this, what have we learned?
    1.  Monkeys like the letter "s".
    2.  Monkeys like poop.
    3.  Computers are excellent recepticles for holding poop.
    Here's the part that I liked the most:
    Director of the university's Institute of Digital Arts and Technology (i-DAT), Mike Phillips, denied the project was a disaster and said they had learned "an awful lot".

    He also denied it had been a waste of money.

    Props to The BBC News for both of these snippets.
    Now, considering this, what have we learned?
    4.  People will pay for anything.
    Personally, I think that the experiment was flawed.  The sample size was terribly, terribly small, given the theory.  I don't suppose, however, that an infinite amount of monkeys probably was available.  And if the one computer was running Windows 98, well, I can see why the monkeys would be upset.
    However, the message of the story is clear.
    Step 1: Go outside and get away from this screen.
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit!
    Go forth, and live.




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