You’ve Been McArdled!

I see that my brilliant, but naive, co-blogger Shane has fallen prey to the Internet’s greatest ongoing hoax, the old Megan McArdle Scam.  See, the way it works is that there’s this really witty computer program, which has been programmed to put together a whole series of terms like ‘collective action’ and ‘market-based solutions’.  Usually, it just puts out gibberish [for instance, you can see the recursive hiccup in “her” phrase ‘collectively enforcing our collective will on all the other people standing around us in the collective’)].  However, much like the oft-discussed billion monkeys with a billion typewriters and a billion years to work (one question – what happens to a billion monkeys’ worth of poo?  That’s a lot of poo!), if you run the code long enough, it eventually puts out something which almost – almost! – passes as a parcel of human-level thought.

Poor, naive bloggers like Shane see this nearly-coherent drivel and, making use of that remarkable human ability of pattern recognition, spot a glimmer of consciousness in the writing which is, in fact, totally lacking.  And get all worked up about it.

It’s okay, Shane.  It’s not like you fell for that ‘Nigerians who want to send you millions of dollars’ scam.  Did you?


One Response to You’ve Been McArdled!

  1. Shane says:

    Yes, I know McArdle tends to produce high volumes of gibberish… Kathy G.’s ongoing arguments with her are evidence enough of that…

    Still, somewhere out there, people think like this so-called “really witty computer program” … The McArdle-computer has a wide enough audience to influence someone, much like Obi Wan influenced the unsuspecting storm troopers, so I felt compelled to point out this little bubble of idiocy.

    Beyond that, this was a little trip in a “how the other half lives” scenario… my mind boggles that there is a contingent out there (Bartlett among them, apparently) who actually adhere to the McArdle-computer’s philosophy (at least enough to quote it), and for whom the McArdle-computer’s output is representative.

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