Monday, March 28, 2005

The Complete Works of Shakespeare

monkeys and computers

As the grant deadline draws closer, I’m reminded of an interesting experiment with monkeys and computers conducted a few years back by researchers at my alma mater, the University of Plymouth in the UK. To test the hypothesis that there is a statistical probability that a monkey will type the complete works of Shakespeare if left alone at a keyboard for long enough, the UoP scientists put several computers in the monkey house of the local zoo. At first the monkeys were intrigued with the computers and typed all sorts of stuff, even though it was meaningless gibberish. But they still typed. Further into the experiment the animals became frustrated and started banging the computers with rocks (that’ll teach them to use Windows XP, a Mac might have been a better way to go). Finally they ended up urinating on the machines and in some cases taking a dump on them in order to express their dissatisfaction.

Well as I continue to stare at my screen alternating between typing rubbish and hoping for Divine Inspiration I feel I’m getting quite close to the percussive therapy stage and I know what those monkeys were going through. OK guys, relax, I’m not going to pee on my keyboard….(yet!)


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