Olympic Twist

Every week or two, I visit the list of most popular pages on the This is True web site to see what is interesting to people. One page in the line-up really caught my eye.

It was a story in the archive, "Olympic Showtime", about a controversy over the closing ceremony at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, because one sequence involved cross-dressing men performing a homage to the 1995 movie, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which features a band of transvestites trekking through the Australian Outback.

OK, that's reasonably amusing, but that's not why I'm putting it in Jumbo Joke. This is:


That's a screen cap of the archive. The ads shown are supposed to reflect what Google's software considers to be "relevant" to the content of the page (what is the page "about" -- and thus what the ads should be "about"). To refine the ad selection, the software can take into consideration the location of the page's reader and, last, their best guess as to the reader's "interests".

So the page is "about" a protest over Olympic transvestites -- men dressed as women. So why in the world is Google showing ads for Obstetricians and Gynecologists? And why, if the software is confused about what the page is about, would it show ads for Ob-Gyns in both Anchorage, Alaska and Norfolk, Virginia, which two locations can't be much further apart and still be in the USA -- especially when at the time I viewed the page? (I was in Colorado, right in the middle of those two far-flung locations.)

(Now never mind whether anyone thinks I'm "interested" in gynecology!)

It makes me wonder what ads will show up on this page!

(See the Olympic Showtime story in context. Note: ads will almost certainly be different for you. Now, why that page was suddenly popular, I don't know!)

Posted December 7, 2009

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