Me and Charlie were watching/listening to this Youtube video of some of Karl Pilkington’s stupidest moments last night, and when we got to the part about the infinite typewriting monkeys, Charlie decided to transmogrify into a female Karl and start saying how she didn’t think they could knock up the complete works of Shakespeare.
I decided to try and explain that as there are a finite number of characters used in a book, and therefore a finite number of combinations in which those characters can be placed, it’s a mathematical certainty that given an infinite number of monkeys, at least one would hit the correct combination to produce Shakespeare. Charlie responded with this:
“But what if he slips and lands on the ‘Z’?”
Once I had regained my breath and wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes I decided to try a different tack and explained that it didn’t have to be infinite monkeys, but that it could be a single monkey with an infinite amount of time, and somewhere in there you would get the correct character combination. Charlie again responded:
“Aww, that poor monkey, he’d be really tired!”
When someone is pitying a hypothetically immortal monkey its definitely time to give up.