goldkin: Another Goldkin squishie? Also by Jirlae? And it's *sleeping*? Bonus! (goldkin squishie sleeping)
While writing on another topic, I came up with an idea that I feel deserves a post of its own. I call it: the Internet Cat Test.

The formula is, for any given collection of elements:
[Information Content] = 1 - ( [Elements with Cat Photos] / [Size of Collection] )

Yielding: decimal percentages between 0 and 1, where 0 indicates minimal information, 1 indicates maximum information.

While this measure is just applied silliness, what it offers is a heuristic for how information rich a feed is, as an inverse proportion of information to cats. If the majority of content is images that create small, endorphin-rich feedback loops in the brain (ie, pictures of cats), that's far less exciting, mentally stimulating, and rewarding for long-term growth than content that's about just about anything else. Including Advice Animals.

Of course, we can teach computers to identify cats with at least 74.8% accuracy, so relying on meta information to identify cat images isn't strictly necessary. This is nothing more than a simplification of concepts like entropy theory and information density as they apply to the human brain, distilled into a small test you can try at home. Plenty of extension can be made, as we attain a better grasp of how information is encoded within the realms of human psychology and neuroscience.

I'm surely not the first person to observe this, but I figured I'd write it up for humor's sake, because I couldn't find it anywhere else. Happy catting!



Extra Credit: get this accepted as a topic in a major scientific journal.
goldkin: snoooooooww! (snoooooooww!)
There's a lot to say about the Internet of the eighties and nineties. For starters, it was much simpler. While graphical UIs were still finding their sweet spot with users, plain text reigned supreme. And, in a way, literacy was a mark of pride in this elitist, uncultured sense that many of us associate with the early days of our online presences.

Some time between here and there, many of us seem to have forgotten all that. I'm not sure if it was with the proliferation of the visual web or the invention of Quicktime and Flash, but something is clearly different about the web of today: it's noisy. Very noisy. And this constant battle for attention as we all come together online has caused us, in the words of Rands, to know more people less -- that is, less about more people.

It's fitting, then, that I've retreated from all of this noise back to journalspace. Only a scant time after I left with a hastily-rendered goodbye, here I am again, for exactly the reasons I originally laid out. And I feel empowered for the experience, because I now know another system that almost worked, revealing more of the whole.

In which I discuss how we learn and communicate, with less self-deprecating angst than I've displayed in the past. Yes, I'm feeling a bit better now. )

October 2015

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