The CNN listing for the US Box Office for 23 Jan 2002 listed two of the top films so that you could read them Black Hawk Down / Snow Dogs. It was still there on the weekend of Jan 25-27th
The following all occurred on film listing for the US or UK:
- Lethal Weapon 4 / Saving Private Ryan
- Bring Out The Dead / Dogma
- East Is East / End Of Days
- Angela’s Ashes / The Bone Collector.
- American Psycho / Hanging Up / Pokemon’.
- Return To Me / When The Sky Falls / The Whole Nine Yards.
- Chicken Run / Mission Impossible 2 / The Patriot / Gladiator
- Essex Boys / Final Destination’
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon / 102 Dalmatians
- The Mummy Returns / Bridget Jones’s Diary
- Planet of the Apes / Cats and Dogs
- Queen of the Damned / John Q
- I am Sam / The Lord of the Rings (Only Tolkien fans will see the full joke)
Also on a list of best selling science book, there was: The Nothing That Is / Almost Like A Whale.
I thought it was funny, indeed, but also that it’s telling you something about life. Random mixes mostly produce nothing much—on the film listings, I hoped to see the sequence ‘Me, Myself & Irene / Snatch / Space Cowboys’ – or the last could have been Stuart Little – but it never came off.
Automated searches also produce some odd juxtapositions. Searching IBM’s ‘Worldbook’ for the 1130s timeframe, I was surprised to find George Lucas there along with Geoffrey of Monmouth and Eleanor of Aquitaine. The link? THX 1138!
This is what Richard Dawkins calls ‘memes’. Actually the idea was about for decades before Dawkins popularised it in the 1980s. It’s been noted that the name should be ‘mnemes’ anyway. And it’s quite different from human thinking.
Private Eye’s listings of absurdly mistaken quiz answers is revelatory. People credit Sir Isaac Newton with the quantum theory, say claustrophobia is fear of open spaces or believe that President Clinton had a cat called Monica. This is as if you open the right draw of the filing-cabinet and then select the wrong item. You are much less likely to find people crediting quantum theory to Mozart, or saying claustrophobia is fear of cats.
Compare this with computer spell-checking and the suggestions it makes. When I mis-spelt ‘updated’ as upated, it suggested ‘updated’, but also ‘pupated’, which fortunately I avoided. Of course Microsoft applies the rule ‘Big Bill Knows Better Than You’, and so an apparent error will get correct automatically, and without intelligence. One could wish for a ‘Bowman Option’ to stop computers applying their ‘helpfulness’ when it wasn’t wanted. Computer ‘intelligence’ would be better called Automated Officiousness.
Copyright Gwydion M. Williams