16 April 2007
Meanwhile on the tapioca tundra
A hundred years ago, French mathematician Émile Borel suggested this particular Gedankenexperiment as a means of envisioning events of close to infinite improbability. More recently, six crested macaques were locked in a cage with a keyboard and observed: they produced five pages of unreadable type and rather a lot of, um, residual waste material. A simulation begun in 2003 posited not quite infinite monkeys and not quite infinite speed; in the first year the cyberprimates coughed up a string of twenty-one characters from Love's Labour's Lost, and by now they're up to a whole line from Henry IV, Part 2. Still, I wouln't count on getting a transcript of Hamlet's soliloquy anytime soon. (Maybe if they used Dvorak keyboards?)
As for me, I'm looking for a ferret with a prehensile tail to take over my duties here, and I have a (much shorter) counterexperiment to suggest: drop all of Shakespeare's known text into a database and see if it's possible to extract the lyrics to any song by the Monkees.
(Via Fark.)Posted at 8:00 AM to Almost Yogurt