Written by Roy Turse

Friday, 30 October 2009

image for This Space Intentionally Left Blank
Another space intentionally left blank, or so it says

Google has stunned the Internet community by including a comment on their search page which can only be described as a paradox. When the Google search page first opens, the sentence 'This space intentionally left blank' is displayed below the page content, but as soon as any mouse movement is detected it becomes invisible, and other links appear.

Peter Pedant, President of the Google User Group, explained the paradoxical nature of the statement. "You see by displaying the statement 'This space intentionally left blank' the space is demonstrably not in fact blank. It contains a statement. The one that says 'This space intentionally left blank'."

"Whereas," Peter went on in his nasal monotone, "If one actually wanted to leave a blank space, the statement would need to be removed. However, the intent, vis-à-vis leaving the space blank, would no longer be communicated to the user, and mayhem could ensue."

"Naturally, as an expert, I can detect that on the Google page the statement is actually still there, albeit rendered invisible. So in some ways the space in question could be said to be both blank, and to contain the statement."

"Interestingly," he erroneously continued, "IT specialists such as myself have been well aware of this statement for many years. It has long been used to draw the reader's attention to pages in technical manuals which are blank. Or would be if they didn't include the statement 'This page intentionally left blank'. Which of course it hasn't been."

At this point Peter had to rush off to another interview on the subject, so we were unable to quiz him further on this topic. Suffice to say, then, that nothing of very much importance happened in the science or technology sphere today.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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Topics: Space, Google, paradox

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