A laser printer can spray an 8 x 10.5 portion of that white expanse, 84 square inches of the potential 93.5, with at least 600 dots/inch of black or white. Encoded in that modulated albedo is a page of everything that can be conceived and projected by the mind of man as graphic or language. It is a conceptually simple process to drive a random number generator, a Monte Carlo simulation or an exhaustive combinatorial algorithm to create everything possible in all languages and visual perceptions - albeit accompanied by a rather greater acreage of noise.

Suppose we place a billion monkeys with a billion typewriters in a room and wait. Will we ultimately get Shakespeare or, on the average, a room with 500,000,000 pregnant monkeys and congressional legislation? Both Africa and Mexico suggest a real world answer.

An unformatted dot matrix printer ASCII page was typically 65
characters wide by 55 lines long. Ignoring punctuation and
capitalization, each byte may be one of the 26 English letters
or a space. The total number of combinations is therefore
27^{[(65)(55)]}. The product is the number of slots on
the page to be filled, each of which can take on 27 different
identities. Pushing 27 to the 3575th power through a calculator
gives 1.33x10^{5117}, or roughly a one followed by 5117
zeros different combinations. The number of seconds in 13.7 billion
years (including leap years), a generous age for the universe, is
4.32x10^{17}. Going through all the output... Hell,
generating even an infinitesimal fraction of the output would try
the patience of a god. The six least frequent letters of the
alphabet are x,z,y,q,k and j. Remove them. Running
21^{3575} gives 8.59x10^{4726}, and that is no
improvement. If we print just a quarter page with our truncated
alphabet we get 21^{894} or 1.16x10^{1182}
distinct images. That still busts our budget.

Let us try fully formed words. The average word is 5.2 letters
plus a space for a total of 6.2 bytes. Running [(65)(55)]/6.2
gives 576 words. A basic working vocabulary demands about 5000
words to give 5000^{576} or 4.04x10^{2130} total
pages. A quarter page with even a severely truncated vocabulary
of 1000 words yields 10^{432} different pages. Who can
abide the time to look?

Let us consider graphics, since pictures of the letters are just
as useful as the letters themselves and we get artwork as a bonus.
Given 600 dots/inch or 360,000 dots/square inch, the printable
portion of our paper holds 30,240,000 dots each of which can be
black or white. Running 2^{30,240,000} gives a mere
1.17x10^{9,103,147} images - a one followed by a few more
than nine million zeros. If we lower our expectations from the
heroic limits of laser printers to the more mundane modesties of
a nine pin dot matrix printer, 75 dots/inch or 5,635 dots/square
inch, we run 2^{472,500} or 4.71x10^{142,236}
images. If we settle for a meager quarter page we still generate
1.47x10^{35,559} images, which dwarfs the ASCII problem -
itself unapproachable. Consider the canvases of the pointillist
painter Georges Seurat.

The sorriest paragraph of prose is a miraculous distillation from an endless universe of random noise. What within the anatomy of our minds can in real time sift through such a volume of manifold complexities that the integrated duration of the universe is rendered negligible, dwarfed by the sheer size of the collection? Given that such an exquisite biological analytical engine exists, how can there simultaneously occur such a proportion of humanity who can only access a small and imperfect portion of the miracle? The task is terrifyingly immense. One could expect either success or failure, but hardly imperfection.

Human creativity points to a fundamental process accessed by our
natal wetware and absent from our created hardware and software.
The deterministic nature of digital circuitry and the programming
it supports must be at some essential level be a rudimentary
abstraction of the true workings of our minds, much as Newtonian
physics gives way to relativity and quantum mechanics at finer
levels of analysis. Chipping away at numbers like 10^{5117},
10^{2130}, or 10^{432} will not get us to the
finish line or even out of the starting blocks. Something
resident within our skulls can dip into everything all at once
and retrieve meaningful quarry. What a wondrous analytical
engine sits in self-contemplation.

Let there be light! Uncle Al does not care how many Luddite Enviro-whiners get their noses bent out of joint by its actinic brilliance.

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