It concerns a situation where, apparently, Minsky got caught up in a
cross-posted flamewar on Usenet (originating from what seems to have been a
damned good troll) about fast-food megacorp McDonald's exploitation of the
disabled, or something.
Searches for this intriguing story only produce a variety of go-nowhere
links that reference the basic details of the story (ie, as described,
above), all of which seem to be based on the same source. Which leads me to
believe that the story is merely an internet meme (which is interesting in
itself. How did it start?!)
On the slim chance that it really did happen, does anyone have any decent
This post seems to be a remnant of the thread:
Using Google Groups advanced search which goes back to around 1991 i.i.r.c. I
can locate lots of posts by Marvin Minsky, but absolutely f.a. that contains
ronald mcdonald, either in the subject line or in the message body.
I would therefore conclude that this is most likely one of those 'urban myths'
or whatever the usenet equivalent that keep surfacing.
What's the name of that database that has all the gaff on various urban and
internet myths, hoaxes, faux virii etc? I forget .... not sophos by any chance?
firstname dot lastname at gmail fullstop com
It just came back to me: search www.snopes.com - see what they have to say on
I think this a misuse of the word "meme".
>As defined by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976): "a unit of
cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation." "Examples of memes are
tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or
of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool
by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate
themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to >brain via a
process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation.
I don't consider a story going around about Minsky involved in a
It's not cultural.
Thanks. Looking further into the "AI and Disabiities" (sic) and "UK
McDonalds 0800 number" threads that it came from produces only a skeleton of
what, perhaps, once was. One of Minsky's posts are there, in quoted form
only, which suggests that all his contributions were "cancelled", by
himself, or others (on his behalf?). Probably posts by other authors were
deleted too. Interesting. Must have been *really* embarassing!
So, it's not an internet meme after all? Wish someone had the full story!
You could try asking on alt.folklore.urban. Although this doesn't sound like
it would meet the definition of an "urban myth", the mention of McDonalds
might make it a fringe example. Plus afu has a number of regulars who are
old Usenet hands and who remember big kerfuffles from the old days.
(I did look in their faq and it's not in there.)
>>Well, if a few percent of the wealth spent on access had been spent on
>>developing better artificial leg devices, e.g., stair-climbing chairs,
>>then the handicapped would already have access to virtually everywhere
>>by now. It would have been a great investment.
I should add that Dean Kamen has built a sort of double Segway, which
actually can go up stairs. I tried it, and it seemed to work -- but
still, I think the time is ripe for a (two legged) vehicle that could
go most anywhere a person can go -- and even where they sometimes
can't. I once used a little Honda trail-bike for a while and found
that I could use it to climb up some slopes that would have very hard
to manage on foot. (It was not at all hard to do those maneuvers, but
they so badly wrecked those particular slopes that I decided to quit.)
Interesting. Every McDonalds I have ever seen does have ramps in place
of stairs, wide doors, and wheelchair-useable restrooms. How old is
So what anything ?
Minsky a troll victim...."So what?!"
My name "Fed Up" doesn't suggest I use the english language ina
However, given your name, one expects you to use the word "meme"
Oh right....so what?!
Whatever your response.....let me now respond to that....."So what?!"
Any reason why "two legged"?
That is, why not four, or some other convenient number.
Xref the excrable Wild Wild West movie, with 4-legged
powered prosthetic (well... sort of prosthetic), or
a recent example from the webcomic "freefall"
and many others.
Wayne Throop thr...@sheol.org http://sheol.org/throopw
Right. Thanks for replying. So it *is* an urban myth / internet meme after
all. It's just that so many websites that deal with trolling and/or the
handling of trolls & flamers mention the event (just input 'minsky troll
mcdonald' into Google and see for yourself). Presumably, someone "famous"
getting into the thread, even if only for a single comment, would be
considered a good thing by the average troll. These things happen, I
Yes, of course, simply because many handicapped people would prefer to
be seen as not being physically exceptional.
The TV adverts would be good. Remember Apple using Orwell's '1984' to help
sell the early Macs? A manufacturer of a multi-limbed device could use
Orwell's 'Animal Farm' to facilitate sales for the product, ie "Four legs
good, two legs bad". They could use cute, cartoon animals, and everything!
> I don't think you should keep repeating "So what?! " over and over.
Come on, Fed - he has to do something to let us know he's a troll.
Or is he just a tosser? I get confused at times.
P. S. In case meme replies to this, I had better point out that I am
attempting to treat trolls as I would a pigeon standing between Ken
Livingstone and a Policeman.