Lifehacker: “…but within the Library of Babel, every possible permutation of 3200 letters, spaces, and commas and periods is said to be accessible, right now, in one of the library’s “books.” Search literally anything you can think of—cut and paste this paragraph, type in your next as-yet-untweeted tweet, type random gibberish—and you’ll find it already exists somewhere in the Library. It was already there, if only you’d known where to look. The Library doesn’t create and save nigh-infinite combinations randomly generated collections of letters and punctuation—there isn’t nearly enough hard-drive space on the planet to do that. Instead, it uses a “pseudo-random number generating algorithm to produce the books in a seemingly random distribution, without needing to store anything on disk.
…So what’s the point of the library? What’s the point of anything? It’s an interesting thought experiment about infinity, a way of visualizing the actual universe we inhabit, or a cool way to waste a few minutes. Check it out and let me know know what you think, or join the librarians over at Reddit.
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