November 2007
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Day November 7, 2007

Infinite Monkey Theorem

From Wikipedia:

The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a particular chosen text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. In this context, “almost surely” is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the “monkey” is not an actual monkey; rather, it is a metaphor for an abstract device that produces a random sequence of letters ad infinitum. The theorem illustrates the perils of reasoning about infinity by imagining a vast but finite number, and vice versa. The probability of a monkey typing a given string of text as long as, say, Hamlet is so tiny that, were the experiment conducted, the chance of it actually occurring during a span of time of the order of the age of the universe is minuscule but not zero.

Variants of the theorem include multiple and even infinitely many typists, and the target text varies between an entire library and a single sentence. The history of these statements can be traced back to Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Cicero’s De natura deorum, through Blaise Pascal and Jonathan Swift, and finally to modern statements with their iconic typewriters. In the early 20th century, Émile Borel and Arthur Eddington used the theorem to illustrate the timescales implicit in the foundations of statistical mechanics. Various Christian apologists on the one hand, and Richard Dawkins on the other, have argued about the appropriateness of the monkeys as a metaphor for evolution.

Today, popular interest in the typing monkeys is sustained by numerous appearances in literature, television and radio, music, and the Internet. A “Monkey Shakespeare Simulator” website got as far as 24 characters with “RUMOUR. Open your ears; “. In 2003 a humorous experiment was performed with six Sulawesi crested macaques, but their literary contribution was five pages consisting largely of the letter S.

Third-Person Limited Omniscient Narrator Blown Away By Surprise Ending

The Onion:

PROVIDENCE, RI—The third-person limited omniscient voice, a narrative mode used to convey a story through the thoughts and senses of a literary character, was reportedly “caught totally off guard” after the main character was unexpectedly killed in the last chapter of the new novel Bertram’s Way.

“Holy shit, I did not see that coming. Did you see that coming?” the disembodied literary device said on page 367 following the last paragraph of the novel. “Man, right in the head!”

The Police – Live at The Old Grey Whistle Test (02/10/1978)

Can’t Stand Losing You and Next To You, performed live during a taping of The Old Grey Whistle Test. This performance marks the first ever television appearance of The Police in the UK.

Only in Vegas

Sexxpresso (Slightly NSFW due to lingerie clad baristas)

UK’s Most Ridiculous Laws

BBC News:

It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27%)

It could be regarded an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen’s image upside-down (7%)

It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour (3%)

(via Arbroath)

Cat and Horse

(via Arbroath)

Bell Jar Bees

Bell Jar Bees.

(via Linkbunnies)

Daily Dose of Ingersoll


Will the unknown, the mysteries of life and death, the world that lies beyond the limitations of the mind, forever furnish food for superstition? Will the gods and ghosts perish or simply retreat before the advancing hosts of science, and continue to crouch and lurk just beyond the horizon of the known? Will darkness forever be the womb and mother of the supernatural?

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Myth and Miracle”(1885)

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