Monkey Bards

We’ve all heard the suggestion that a roomful of monkeys hammering randomly away at typewriters would, given billions of years, recreate the complete works of Shakespeare. [A “typewriter”, for those of you whose brows are wrinkled solely by bafflement, is an antique mechanical device that generated crumpled sheets of paper.] It’s an interesting idea, but if you’re like me, you’ve just been too busy to try it out.

Well, the wait is over. Take a look at this. It’s not exactly instant gratification; thus far the sedulous simian simulacra have only got as far as the first 24 letters from “Henry IV, Part II”. But, as someone once said, “how poor are they that have not patience.”

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2 Comments

  1. the one eyed man says

    You could make the case that what is arguably the most important invention in the history of man — the invention of movable type, as characterized by a typewriter — became obsolescent over the past ten years or so and its obsolescence was barely even noticed.

    Posted August 10, 2006 at 10:56 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Hi Peter,

    Well, your point is well taken, although anyone who has spent a summer in New York knows that the most important invention of all time – the high-water mark of human achievement – is of course the air conditioner, whose obsolescence is nowhere in sight.

    Posted August 10, 2006 at 11:01 pm | Permalink