18 February 2008

Pandora: Evolution in Action

I use Pandora to listen to music at work. I can set my different "radio stations" (blues, folk, punk) and each day choose whichever I'm in the mood for. But the algorithm in the software then finds music that has similarities and plays them. It's a great way to find new music that I love but had never heard of before (biggest find, Mississippi John Hurt).

But somehow my folk station and my punk station keep blending into each other. There's a process of evolutionary drift if I don't occasionally hit the thumbs-down button to cancel a song that's getting off target. Both of these stations tend to drift into psychobilly (The Cramps, Reverend Horton Heat), which I love, but then they don't necessarily get back to where they were before.

So I have to impose some directional selection on them, weeding out the "misfits" (literally--for those who know punk) and trying to retain my pure types.

AS I've said before, assuming God created everything, he'd then have to intervene perpetually if he wanted to stop evolution. Sometimes it's fun to play God.


James K said...

Unless he invented a perfect DNA replication mechanism and made all members of a species genetically identical.

Of course that universe doesn't correspond to ours.

James Hanley said...

Exactly. Even the most devout creationists seem to admit the existence of mutations. So they fall back to the position that they can never add up to anything--an argument my graduate advisor called "argument from failure of imagination."