I have no idea how this information slipped through my filters, but apparently some times when you're asked to transcribe those awful squiggly words before you can access a website, make a purchase, or attend to some other form of internet business, you're working to transcribe a piece of pre-digital text. This is a brilliant example of how the power of crowds can be employed for useful purposes.
Extra bonus: Learn what CAPTCHA stands for!
Read the entire article: reCAPTCHA (a.k.a. Those Infernal Squiggly Words) Almost Done Digitizing the New York Times Archive