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Want to Stop Texting During Movies? There's an App for That.

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | November 15, 2012 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | November 15, 2012 |

Economists have this thing called the Cobra Effect, which has nothing to do with GI Joe, and is probably much cooler as a result. Back when the British ruled India, it seems that they were quite put out by the presence of cobras. This was a natural side effect of being from a virtually snakeless island with proper winters that killed reptiles grown to unnatural sizes. The notion of an eighteen foot long creature from the Paleolithic that killed you if you looked funny was quite unsettling to a culture that brought us tea and crumpets. Faster than you could say “don’t you ask me for four-fitty in my Raj, Mr. Serpent” the British lit upon a solution. They simply offered a bounty for the distinctive heads of cobras.

The problem is that the British were relatively rich, and very unhappy about snakes in general, so when they threw money at the problem, they made it rain. Of course India was one of the poorest places on earth at the time, so offering piles of money for the heads of snakes meant that unscrupulous entrepreneurs began setting up breeding farms for cobras. And when the British found out and cancelled the bounty, the entrepreneurs simply shrugged and released the cobras that they had bred. I mean they weren’t monsters, why would they kill some poor innocent snakes, especially ones that pissed off the British?

And so the British were left with a lot less money and a lot more snakes.

Cinemark has decided that they are going to fight people texting during movies with the carrot instead of the stick. Thus they have created a smart phone app that when activated during a movie keeps track of whether the phone is turned on for the duration of the film. Film goers who don’t touch their phones get fun digital offers like coupons!

So people will bring their fancy phones, be sure to download the fancy app, and know what they will do during the first movie? Play with the fucking app. Then maybe the second time they come, they’ll bother not playing with their phone because of the promised benefits. And then they will get their reward of digital coupons. Ooh, not getting enough spam? There’s an app for that. And then at the third movie said individual, the entire duration of the film will be spent texting about how stupid the movie theater’s app is.

How does this relate to cobras? Because during the fourth movie, that’s when I’m releasing them.

(source: SlashFilm)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.