Thursday, October 01, 2009

Randomness and a contest winner

Dice image belongs to MissTurner, used here thanks to a creative commons license

I often like to use this blog to share random collections of thoughts or ideas that swirl around my life in the moment. Now that the seasons are changing I find myself back in a contemplative frame once more. It's a natural transition from lazing about, daydreaming with posicles to preparing yourself for the impending chill and burying nuts, like the squirrels are doing under the lavender plant in my front patio.

We call those kind of thoughts random, but that actually wasn't a random thought at all. Maybe none of my so-called random thoughts aren't really random?

Today I've been thinking about the very idea of randomness. I don't really know what I am talking about and I'm certainly not going to bust out the Schopenhauer or anything, but it is interesting to think about the ways we interpret randomness, as well as the ways the seemingly random is influenced.

This all started when I consulted the mighty random number generator to pick a contest winner. I had a thought that it might be nice if someone local won, to save on postage. Then I immediately felt guilty for having this thought. It flat-out isn't fair for folks who live in other places. So I let the random number generator decide, as promised.

This is what's known as a tease.

This is the book I am giving away. Check it out here, by the way:
The Joy of Sox: 30+ must-knit designs

A word about the random number generator, a concept I am always entertained to ponder... In fact, as a ridiculously bad math person I do secretly love numbers. In college, I took statistics because it was the closest to philosophy of numbers someone like me could handle. I challenge you to read the basic introduction to randomness here and still not find all of this terrifically interesting.

But really, you're here to see if you won the contest. So, okay. You've waited long enough.

They say patience is a virtue. It's easy to say things like that when you're the one demanding it of others. Thanks to all of the people who entered the contest to win a copy of The Joy of Sox. I'm happy to announce the winner today:

Lobug - who said, "I love socks b/c of the seemingly infinite variety of techniques you can use to knit them!" The winner was randomly chosen, yet lives locally. I assure you I did nothing to influence the number generator. But it made me think about if it was possible somehow. Which made me write this ridiculous wordy blog entry about nothing.

Lobug, get in touch. Leave me a comment with a way to contact you!

I loved reading each and every comment about why you love socks. I'm going to quote many of you here over the next few weeks to share the love. Very inspiring!

I'll end now with a final thought regarding randomness (sort of):

Oh, many a shaft at random sent
Finds mark the archer little meant!
And many a word at random spoken
May soothe, or wound, a heart that's broken!

Sir Walter Scott, Lord of the Isles


g and h said...

great post, star! super writing!

Lobug said...

Yay!! I can't believe I won! And it gave me an excuse to go to Twisted and check out all the yummy yarns. :-) Thank you for the book, Star. Love your pattern. :-)

Anonymous said...

Have you read the new Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol, yet? In the story, one of the characters makes reference to research that suggests that THOUGHTS have MASS! Maybe, if you think about something enough (like the random number generator choosing a local person...), you really CAN influence the outcome.....whoa.