Steven Levy on the iPod shuffle (Guardian article). Scientists have know for a long time that the folk perception of randomness and statistics is skew in many different dimensions of wrong, but it takes the bloody iPod to get this fact into mainstream culture.

(Queries of pseudorandomness aside, smartytrousers) I still like the idea of the iTunes/iPod software engineers meeting up, and “So, this random facility… should we just use a rand() function?” “OO, better than that, we should construct an elaborate AI algorithm based on the users preferences and a fourier analysis of the current song?” “Brilliant – we’ll get paid even more by the hapless ipod fools ha ha ha ha ha ha” etc

Separately, this might explain why TV’s Doctor Who fits a “randomiser” to his Tardis – the ultimate anti-satnav – and first ends up on the home world of his enemies, and then Earth. This is perfectly random, and it just seems to be really unlikely.