Boingboing Headline Generator

I’ve finally created the one and only Headline Generator!

Comments (3)

  1.  Rate Comment Up Rate Comment Down  error|1

    A friend of mine just sent me a link to one of your amusing flash time-killers. You Rock! Very cool stuff.
    But this is actually a comment about an old entry regarding Benford’s law because I couldn’t find a “comments” link for it. I had never heard of this before 5 minutes ago but it seems rather obvious to me. Perhaps I am missing something.
    No one knows why? The reason is, I think, people tend to prefer sequential numbers to those of the random persuasion. You may be recording numbers randomly from various sources, but chances are the set of numbers from whence came your “random” number was sequential (serial number, street address, page number, volume, issue, year, etc.). As a group of sequential numbers increases in order of magnitude, the odds that any given number in that set will begin with “1″ increases as well. If I have 1,895 pairs of x-ray glasses numbered sequentially from 1 to 1,895, then there are 1,007 pairs whose number start with “1″… more than half.
    If I double production, then there are 1,111 pair that begin with “1″ and the same amount for “2″. “3″ weighs in at 902 pairs and “4-9″ have 111 each.
    In addition, people tend to prefer all of their sequential numbers to have the same number of digits and they don’t like leading “0″s. I think this may be for database consistency, but I’m not a DBA so what do I know.
    So if I’m Michael Dell and I know that I’m going to sell at least 2,000,000 of a certain model workstation, but no more than 6,000,000, I will begin numbering at 1,000,000; all my workstations will have 7 digits and none will have leading zeros… and the first million will ALL begin with “1″. (I know this is a bad example because DELL ID tags are alpha-numeric, but I happen to be ordering computers today so…)
    Am I making sense? There are more numbers out there that start with “1″ because humans need consistency and order. The rest is just math.

  2.  Rate Comment Up Rate Comment Down  error|1

    I’m the proud friend that sent Schmidty (he doesn’t spell himself correctly) the link. I like the stuff here too!
    I think Schmidty is right – moreso with the “1,895 pairs of x-ray
    glasses” (maybe that explains why he stares at me all the time these days) than the “people-prefer sequential”. Although i agree that’s a factor. I enjoy the time of day 12:34 (especially on a clock with seconds at 12:34:56) and because it sticks in my memory like no other time, i forget the rest of the times i check the time, and recall that time of day. Consequently – it seems i happen to check time more frequently at 12:34.
    Another “irrandomiser” would BE times of day. Way more 1-starters.
    Military time – at first i thought would be equally 1s and 2s. (But enough toilet humour.) But when i gave it some more thought: military times of day would still be heavier on 1s because they stop at 23:59 – and they run through the teens. Butt-loads of 2s though.
    Great site. Thanks for the brain scratchings!

  3.  Rate Comment Up Rate Comment Down  error|1

    Thanks for all the extra thinking on this! I’ve added both your comments to the bottom of the Benford’s Law page and I think overall we’ve shed some light on this topic – and we’ve done it with swear words and potty humor. This delights me to no end.

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