@trademe_xkcd576In theory, the fact that PhD student Paul Hunkin gave his computer a tiny budget and told it to purchase whatever it wants is really cool. He's like a stepdad trying to win over his wife's kids by letting them put all of the junk food they want in the shopping cart. What's disappointingly less-cool is the stuff his computer is deciding to buy.

Hunkin's script, which was inspired by an xkcd comic, searches for the cheapest items on eBay with no shipping fee and automatically buys them. The catch? Its budget starts at $1, and while the script earns a new dollar every day, it wants to spend its money, so more often than not Hunkin is gonna end up with some weird one-dollar items arriving at his doorstep. And he doesn't find out about the purchases until after the fact when the script automatically tweets about them.

He's only just started the experiment, but the system's first purchase was a pack of five watch batteries and apparently Hunkin doesn't own a watch, so you can imagine how bananas things are bound to get. Dude's gonna need an eBay account just to sell back the weird stuff his computer buys.