Random Shopper: randomised consumerism
ohmigod. this is genius.
I built Amazon Random Shopper. Every time I run it, I give it a set budget, say $50. It grabs a random word from the Wordnik API, then runs an Amazon search based on that word. It then looks for every paperback book, CD, and DVD in the results list, and buys the first thing that’s under budget. If it found a CD for $10, then the new budget is $40, and it does another random word search and starts all over, continuing until it runs out of money, or it searches a set number of times.
What it bought, I won’t know until it comes in the mail.
Shipment 1 (Linguistics and dissonance) arrived 5 days ago.
4:37 pm • 22 November 2012 • 8 notes
“…apps that claim to engineer serendipity seem more likely to do the reverse. Their main offense is not ubiquitous surveillance, but that they stand to destroy surprise and, with it, true serendipity. Rather than enriching our lives with unexpected encounters and genuine strangers, they threaten to take the mystery and the magic out of people we don’t know”
Messing With Fate
It’s rare that I agree with Andrew Keen, but here he pipped me in an article about digital serendipity solutions, for The Atlantic.
5:13 pm • 13 September 2012 • 2 notes
a few interes links on music and serendipitous discovery
Tuck W Leong’s work is mostly focussed on HCI and Design. He was introduced to me at the Oxford Internet Institute’s Summer Doctoral Programme 2012 by Jaz Choi.
11:40 am • 9 August 2012 • 2 notes
The Serendipity Engine has a two-page spread in this month’s Wired UK. Wow!
Social psychologist creates machine to visualise how serendipity works
*Massive* thanks to SE collaborators Kat Jungnickel & Ben Hammersley, to contributors Rupert Fisher, Steve Thompson, Ed Knight and Julien McHardy, and to funders the British Sociological Association, Nominet Trust and Google.
This fantastic shot was taken at Google’s Big Tent event. I was so ill I don’t remember the day at all.
1:11 pm • 2 August 2012 • 2 notes
Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals
..after Jonah Lehrer’s sermon at School of Life (and his recently-published book Imagine: How Creativity Works), here’s a report about a psychological scale that measures perseverance, or “grit”.
Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D. & Kelly, D.R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 92(6): 1087-1101.
Here’s why it’s relevant:
grit, more than self-control or conscientiousness, may set apart the exceptional individuals who [psychologist William] James thought made maximal use of their abilities.
it’s not just about “commitment to a subjectively important activity” (the passion scale by Vallerand et al, 2003 is what the authors of this study reference for this) but about perseverance of effort. like tenacity. like conscientiousness and self-control, and focusses on effort & interest over time. And it’s separate from IQ.
It’s got a good internal validity of [alpha]=0.78.
The word “diligence” leaps out at me.
A few interesting results:
more educated adults were higher in grit than were less educated adults of equal age
grit grows with age
a strong desire for novelty and a low threshold for frustration may be adaptive earlier in life: Moving on from dead-end pursuits is essential to the discovery of more promising paths
8:58 pm • 13 May 2012 • 10 notes
The serendipity engine printer: she works. SEv2 is on its way.
Arduino-powered. From adafruit.
Brought to life by ben. hoorah!
10:14 pm • 12 May 2012 • 7 notes
ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create
9:45 pm • 12 May 2012 • 12 notes
Creativity Test overview, from Indiana University
Creativity tests are typically divided into four main components: Divergent thinking, Convergent thinking, Artistic assessments and Self assessments.
it feels rather uncreative to test creativity. but then again, we do like to standardise things, don’t we. solves a lot of problems if we turn it into a number, no?
how relevant are these tests/tasks to different contexts?
9:11 pm • 12 May 2012
The current Master Algorithm for the serendipity engine MK II. On my wall of whiteboard.
1:07 pm • 9 May 2012 • 4 notes
Tonight, after a long 10 days of writing The Book, I’m finally getting down to playing with LittleBits (http://www.littlebits.cc), an open source electronics starter kit that’s literally so simple I can create a teeny vibrating motor within 30s of removing the magnetic components from the box. These little fellas are far more easy to use than the circuits and breadboards Kat and I were trying to wrangle in SEv1.0, and they will power many of the moving and interactive parts in SE2.0.
I’ve only got the starter kit at the moment, but I have many more thingies on order. Very cool project developed by Ayah Bdeir of MIT Media Lab, and recommended to me by David Over at the Royal Geographic Society.
10:27 pm • 26 April 2012