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Typing Monkeys Don't Write Shakespeare


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May 09, 2003

Monkeys Can't Write Shakespeare, But May Blog Well

(2003-05-09) -- Researchers in Britain claim to have disproven the old theory that if you put an infinite number of monkeys in a room with typewriters they will eventually produce the works of Shakespeare.

However, the experiment did demonstrate that if you put six Sulawesi crested macaques in a cage with a computer, they can produce a weblog that gets about 3,000 visitors per day.

Lecturers and students at the University of Plymouth gave the macaques -- Elmo, Gum, Heather, Holly, Mistletoe and Rowan -- a PC with wireless internet access and the Moveable Type weblog application. At first the apes typed little but the letter "s," however, once their site traffic got up to 400 visitors per day, they diversified with the letters "a, j, l and m."

Researchers shut down the experiment when the simians began adding pop-up ads to their collaborative blog.

"This disproves any theory about intelligence in apes," said one unnamed researcher. "If they think anyone wants to see those pop-ups, they're obviously irretrievable idiots."

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