You know what captchas are, right? Those sequences of characters you have to type in to prove you’re human before you can comment on some blogs (not mine so far)? Well, English Headwear Blog has posted a collection of the weirdest examples. The Russian one (about halfway down) is particularly delightful. Thanks to Joe Clark for the tip!


  1. SnowLeopard says:

    That’s just what I need: a robot informing me that I’ve failed its shoddy Turing test.

  2. At the risk of siding with the weirdos, I really like the myfabrik one. Also, there used to be a very interesting captcha at, but it doesn’t seem to be working anymore.

  3. The Russian one reminds me of Janusz Zajdel’s novel Cylinder van Troffa. Two doors with a sealed corridor between them. To open the first one you had to answer a simple mathematical question, like what’s 5×6, and the second one was harder, like an integral. Since the first door slammed shut after you entered, the corridor was full of skeletons.
    Now, the ‘non-manmade items’ one is like Microsoft’s idea of separating cats from dogs (seems unavailable at the moment). I think Mark Liberman may have blogged on this.

  4. I’ve noticed that if I make an error in reading a captcha, I’ll generally get a second chance– but one would think that there are some error patterns are actually stronger evidence of non-machine reading than getting the captcha correct, no?

  5. You probably know that, but still — the Russian one asks you to enter the answer (which is apparently something simple), not to copy the formula itself

  6. These things are the bain of my life.. i dont see why they have to be so complicated! maybe i’m just getting too old!!

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