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Rant #267
(published February 23, 2006)
The Finest Machine-Generated Joke Ever
by Terrence McWee
Once upon a time, when the Internet was young, I was on an e-mail group dedicated to swapping jokes. This was back when everyone's dad was still fatally confused and frightened by the Internet, and subsequently you weren't constantly being forwarded dumbass jokes and pictures and etc. Jokes by e-mail were still a sort of novelty notion, like those dial-a-joke lines when we were kids.

Predictably, many of the jokes that went out were less than fantastically humorous (think about the sort of stuff you generally get forwarded from your Aunt Caca, or whatever). One day, already pissed off for some reason, a run of Youngman-esque groaners pushed me over the edge. I hit REPLY and started to hammer out a snarky flame, asking if these jokes were computer generated or something. But then that seemed like a really snotty thing to write, so instead I fedthe jokes, along with a list of "funny" and "zany" quotes (also receivedvia that same e-mail list) into a Markov Chaining program[*]. What came out is, quite plausibly the finest joke ever constructed, and is certainly the finest joke ever constructed by an unthinking automaton.

The esteemed Mojo's assessment of the results:

Jesus that joke is awesome. It's like a zen koan built to destroy other zen koans during the Zenpocalypse.

Why haven't you submitted it as a Rant yet?"

And I had no proper answer for him. So, I offer you now the finest machine-generated joke ever:

Reverse Life Cycle:
The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "Why does it work?" The hypothalamus controls the "Four F's": 1. fighting; 2. fleeing; 3.feeding; and spend their time dismembering relatives at fancy dress balls.
— Ashleigh Brilliant

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs.

It should come as no surprise that the e-mail group's name was "geekhumor."

Thank you and goodnight.

*For the truly geeky, here's the source code for the specific Markov Engine I used, coded by Jason Michael back in the day.

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