[tweetmeme source=”ileane” style=”compact”] PBS is the award winning public broadcasting service that has captured our hearts and minds since the days of watching Sesame Street as a child. As adults, we continue to find quality programming on PBS that rivals cable TV. They currently have a line up of high-quality shows and specials that appeal to every interest. This show is one of my favorites.
Hosted by the esteemed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson NOVA scienceNOW is one of the most cutting-edge programs you’ll find anywhere on the planet. One popular episode teaches us the science behind Auto-Tune, the once-upon-a-time music industry secret used to keep singers perfectly in pitch, and now made widely-popular by Jay-Z in this song D.O.A. [Death of Auto-Tune].
The Story of reCAPTCHA
In September of 2009 Google acquired reCAPTCHA, but in June of 2009 Louis von Ahn was profiled in this episode of NOVA science NOW. You can visit the PBS site and see this very intriguing story of an amazing professor from Carnegie Mellon University who created the software and the huge role you and I play in it. Here’s an excerpt from Neil’s narration during the episode:
You are part of Luis’ master plan to mobilize the largest workforce in the history of mankind, the millions of people who use the internet.
Luis began to work on a project that involved digitizing all the old books that were ever written. The problem is that some of these books are from the 1800’s and they can’t be scanned successfully because they the quality of the type is poor. Many of those old books have begun to fade and become warped, smudged and faded. So he took all the words that can’t be scanned and added them to the original CAPTCHA. That’s why you see two words in what is called a reCAPTCHA. The theory is that if you spell one word correctly (the CAPTCHA) then you most likely will spell the other word correctly (the reCAPTCHA).
Now you can understand why you find reCAPTCHA so gut-wrenchingly annoying. You’re working on Google’s next project and once again you are not getting paid.
Image credit: Wikipedia
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