Random? Not so much…

A couple of quotes I randomly stumbled upon recently.

Every week Malcolm was subjected to ‘random’ piss tests. While Malcolm was tested weekly other blokes known to be users were never tested. Why test him? The answer is simple: jails are only allowed a certain number of positive tests per month before they are sanctioned, so they target those they know don’t use.
Page 270 of Snouts in the Trough: The Brotherhood behind the badge
Andrew Fraser


As humans, when we come across random clusters we naturally superimpose a pattern. We instinctively project an order on the chaos. It’s part of our psychological make-up. For example, when the iPod first came out and people started to use the shuffle feature which plays songs in a random order; many people complained that it didn’t work. They said that too often songs from the same album, or the same artist, came up one after another. Yet that’s what randomness does – it creates counter-intuitively dense clusters.
In response to complains from users, Apple CEO Steve Jobs changed the programming behind the feature: “We’re making it [the shuffle] less random to make it feel more random.” In other words, each new song now has to be significantly different from what came before, so as to conform to our expectation of randomness….
Alex Bellos Totally Random
Weekend Australian Magazine Feb 12-13 2011


About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
This entry was posted in fear, framing, natural world, technoscience and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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