Monday, September 27, 2004
henry, here it is: the creepymeter beta
As JFW readers know, I spend a lot of my spare time tinkering around the RV with a soldering iron and petri dishes, trying to invent new things that will satisfied some unmet need of the zeitgeist. Normally, I don't release any details about these inventions until they are pretty much ready for the market, lest it get stolen from me the way the Segway did.
But Henry knows that I have been working for some time on trying to come up with an objective measure of creepiness, so that we can have a more uniform and precise way of talking about all the things on the Internet that are, to some varying degree, creepy. By reviewing the scientific research on creepiness--a large amount of which, incidentally, is conducted by universities in Texas--I learned that some people are both highly and highly consistently sensitive to even moderately creepy materials. Scientists refer to such people as Shudderers. So, then, I figured out that if you hook a Shudderer up to a machine that measures the number of times they convulse in response to a stimulus, you can get a measure of creepiness that has astonishing statistical reliability. Lo, the creepymeter is born.
I've been trying to calibrate the creepymeter using a free-lance Shudderer that I'm paying with some venture capital funds. I'm trying to calibrate it via the lists of "100 things about me" that some people set up with their blogs. These represent the 100 things that a given blogger decides presents the fullest picture of themselves to the world. I was going to link to several of the objectively creepier ones of these that I have discovered on the web, which would make this post a whole lot funnier, albeit in a completely creepy way. Then I realized that these people could check the reverse links from their blog, find this post, and, being so creepy, they could be plausibly expected to come hunt me down. And so, given that your amusement is not worth my life, I'm not going to provide these links. However, I will say they are working really well for my early tests of the creepymeter, except perhaps that several go right off the scale and into a low-grade seizure.