Via Henry Farrell, the probabilistic alarm clock:
Lifehacker links to
an invention that I’ve thought for years would be a good idea (I’m sure
that plenty of other people have had the same thought). Many people
have their clocks running a few minutes fast, to encourage them to
leave earlier for appointments to get there on time etc. The
problem with this is that if you’re half-way rational, you’ll correct
for the error, making it useless. So the solution is to have a
probabilistic clock, where the clock is fast, but you aren’t sure how
fast it is within a given and relatively short time range. Thus, you’re
more likely to depart early for your appointments and get there on time
(or a few minutes ahead, most probably, in many situations). This is
exactly what some bloke has programmed, although it doesn’t appear that it has an alarm feature yet.
Tim Harford covered a similar topic last week.