Re: sex and the single meme

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sat Jan 26 2002 - 00:15:12 GMT

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    Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 19:15:12 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: sex and the single meme
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    At 11:25 PM 25/01/02 +0100, <>


    >Remember this "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US"-crap?
    >Well that probably was a mistake the person who originally wrote it
    >in the video game wasn't aware of. But the fact that this sentence
    >spread throughout the web and tv was a result of people putting it
    >on websites and tv-shows. The meme didn't lay itself inside the
    >html-code, right?

    No, but it did exist there and in every mind that wrote the html-code or
    used it as a joke reference in conversation. The example is not far from
    the minimal meme of "you know' that litters so much speech and is a hard
    one to clean out of your speech.

    *Why* your example snippet of a meme propagates is interesting in
    itself. If is, of course, funny to that majority of us who have seen poor
    translators make a mess of Japanese instruction manuals. As to why it is
    funny, and why jokes are propagated, consult Minsky on humor.

    Errors of a funny sort propagating are not uncommon. To jump to computers
    for an analogous example, the Amiga computers of the mid 80s did not have a
    battery powered clock. You had to set it every time you turned it on. It
    would also take a higher date/time it saw on whatever disk was inserted as
    a better idea of the current time and date.

    A surface glitch on a disk made an reading error higher than any date (gave
    some odd combination of characters). If you had a disk with this on it,
    the operating system would update your clock to something useless and write
    the same date on every disk you put in the machine. (Amigas ran on floppy
    disks rather than hard drives in those days.). So this error kept
    spreading out as people exchanged disks. I don't know what stopped it from
    spreading, if anything other than the limits of the number of machines ever

    Keith Henson

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