The saying is as follows: if you take X monkeys, set them at typewriters, and have them
type for some indefinite period of time, eventually they will
compose Y, where X is a positive whole number -- generally a large
one -- and Y is one or more of the works of Shakespeare, often
Hamlet. That's leaving aside the whole "infinite monkeys" thing.
Obviously enough, an infinite number of monkeys will instantly
come up with Hamlet, along with every other piece of literature
from the past, present, and future.
No, no, let's deal with the merely impossible: some definite number
of monkeys pounding away like so many journalists in black-and-white
40's crime movies, working towards the Holy Grail of simian
stenography, the text of Hamlet. But why Shakespeare? Why Hamlet?
There are a lot of things that monkeys chained to typewriters
can accomplish, let us not forget. Here, then, is a list of
things our theoretical monkeys are -- mathematically speaking --
likely to come up with long before they finish Hamlet.
|Several perfect cryptograms of Hamlet.
|A long Usenet argument over whether Boba Fett is alive, complete with spam-blocked e-mail addresses.
|The phrase "Jesus Christ my ass is chafed" repeated for the length of two letter-sized pages.
|The text of Hamlet, except everyone dies of food poisoning in Act II.
|A brief but accurate write-up of the most embarrassing thing you ever did, with full names, dates, and places.
|Hop on Pop
|The Denny's Kids Menu.
|This article, including HTML mark-up.
|A short story entitled "Babysitter's Passion."
|"Iii#jd89 pp98&(*(^9 879j; FF"
|The text of Hamlet, except that Horatio is named "Elvis."