monkey, you’re no will shakespeare

It‘s said that if you give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters and an infinite amount of time, they’ll eventually produce the works of Shakespeare. Six monkeys, one computer, and one month will give you rather less stellar results, according to British researchers. A team from Plymouth University’s media program left a computer in the monkey enclosure of a zoo, and then observed what happened. Defecating and urinating on the keyboard proved popular, but eventually, the Sulawesi crested macaques got down to business and produced five pages of text, composed mostly of the letter S, and the occasional A, J, L, and M. The project was funded by England’s Arts Council and was not intended as a serious scientific study.

This news brief appeared in the Random Data column of the Boston Globe’s Health/Science section on 5/20/2003.
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