I tend to check out the Yahoo! News aggregator periodically, because it’s a good way to see what the Yahoo algorithm decides is “popular.” I’m pretty sure a computer program generates the images that go with the tagged news stories, and sometimes the computer makes some very bizarre choices, that have everything to do with computer logic, and nothing to do with common sense. That’s how one explains this match-up, which I captured at 9:35 a.m. P.S.T.:
Maybe I’m too much of a literalist, but the combination of caption and picture makes it look as if the woman and children are the “swine” at issue.
It’s easy enough to figure out what went wrong, and it’s a singularly good reminder of the limitations that result when you rely on computers to do all the thinking. If you click to the news story itself, you again see this picture matched with report of H1N1 in Minnesota pigs — but you get a little more info about the photograph, which is described as follows:
A woman takes her daughter and other girls to school in Baghdad September 27, 2009. Iraq will temporarily shut down thousands of schools in two provinces and some in Baghdad after discovering 36 new cases of the H1N1 flu virus, Iraqi officials said on Tuesday.
What this means is that the computer managed to match a story about H1N1 in pigs, with a picture about H1N1 in Iraq — and at the same managed to make it look as if a caring mother and her sweet daughter are the swine in Minnesota who were found to have H1N1.