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That thing is a CAPTCHA, a "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart". Which is to say, it's a way for software to know whether it's a human or a machine that's talking to it. You can read more about CAPTCHAs in general at wikipedia.
In order to satisfy my CAPTCHA, you need only to identify the one string of characters within a randomly selected sentence that is not an American English word, and type it into the text input field provided. Admittedly, it's an inconvenience, but it's one that has become necessary due to the fact that spammers have developed software that knows how to exploit web-to-mail gateways. I/we cannot employ our other spam rejection and/or filtering techniques to our web-to-mail gateway because that would leave those (very rare few) people whose servers are erroneously (or at least inconveniently) blocked unable to contact us. Meanwhile, we cannot leave our web-to-mail gateway wide open to the flood of spam that would overwhelm us, so I've chosen an accessible CAPTCHA, developed wholly in-house, as a, well, least unhappy medium for all concerned.
Service to 126.96.36.199 on Monday, 26-Jun-2017 12:10:13 GMT.