Them’s good eatin’

Xena, warrior planet

eBay Strangeness Score Generator

As you probably know, the stuff that people auction on eBay can sometimes be awfully weird. Now an intrepid coder has produced a program that calculates precisely how weird an individual auction is. He calls is “The eBay Strangeness Score Generator”. The methodology, as Gizmodo describes it, is thus:

It’s a fascinating piece of code using high-level algorithms and math to prove that the post length and number of uppercase characters can be used to measure the total insanity of any eBay post.

Gizmodo ran the code on a couple of sample eBay entries, and it indeed seemed to produce accurate results. The auction for “EXTRA LARGE HOBO BIG GREEN PURSE BAG RING NEW” — which is pictured above, and of which the poster brags, “LOOK LIKE A MILLION DOLLARS WITH THIS TRENDY BAG” — received a healthy Strangeness Score of 1,273.

(Thanks to Gizmodo for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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