Looking for Serendipity

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Attached week 1 assignment

The thing about accidents is that they’re by definition unplanned. We don’t really see them coming. That’s part of what adds to the intrigue that surrounds them. We should caution ourselves against relying too much on the power of serendipity. But while we cannot replicate serendipity in a controlled setting, there are things we can do to “prime” our minds to experience serendipitous encounters. The more information we expose ourselves to, the more likely we are to have those serendipitous moments.

So with that point in mind, consider the internet. If you’ve been on Wikipedia at all, you’ve probably experienced the feeling of opening up your web browser intending to search for a specific keyword, only to find yourself reading an endless series of articles because you noticed something interesting. You might have learned something new that you didn’t know before. And in turn, what you learned may change the way you see the original thing you were searching for.

This week’s assignment will be an exercise in priming your mind for serendipity. You will be revisiting the idea or product you selected in your Week 1 assignment and writing an essay on other ideas or products that are related to it. These might be ideas or products that your original idea utilized, gave rise to, or influenced in some way.

For example, let’s suppose that your Week 1 idea was the repeating rifle. For your Week 6 assignment, your task would be to research other ideas or products that were closely related to the repeating rifle. You might, for example, write about the metallic cartridge, smokeless powder, interchangeable parts, or changes in warfare tactics. Essentially, your goal is to branch out from your W1 idea and consider other things it might have influenced or have been influenced by.

Your essay should reference at least three ideas. In discussing them, be sure to explain how they are related to your initial Week 1 idea. It is important that you explain their relevance, so that the mental link between the initial idea and its relatives can be established.

Your essay must be written following APA Guidelines. It should be 2-3 pages in length, not including your title page and references.


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