Can you use grocery lists as a way to measure interestingness?

by phil on Wednesday Jun 16, 2010 1:33 PM

I was in the grocery store and was about to check-out with a bottle of red wine, soy milk, and Cheetos organic cheesy puffs, when it occurred to me how bizarre of a combination this was. I then wondered, what is the weirdest combination of grocery store items a cashier has encountered? But more importantly, by what metric do you measure weirdness? It must have something to do with the distance the items have with each other, like my check-out inventory. Or, perhaps the items create a strange narrative. For example, if you checked out with a jug of Draino and case of Depends. Or maybe you check out with fifty bananas and one box of Nila wafers.

Measures of interestingness are something I'm always on the look-out for. Perhaps its a category of judgment belonging to aesthetic philosophy. Or perhaps it's closer to Kurzweil's definition of order:

Thus orderliness does not constitute order because order requires information. However, order goes beyond mere information. A recording of radiation levels from space represents information, but if we double the size of this data file, we have increased the amount of data, but we have not achieved a deeper level of order.
(Kurzweil's Law)

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