Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Infinite Monkey Theorem

There's a saying that goes: "If you give enough monkeys typewriters, they'll eventually knock out Shakespeare."

Wikipedia has a very entertaining - although at times, dense - statistical explaination of the so-called "Infinite Monkey Theorem."

With that in mind, I present to you, video footage of what some young Alabama punks are calling "The Longest Basketball Shot In History."

I do admit that the visceral image of seeing a ball hurled that far, hitting home for a DAGGER! swish, is quite satisfying. But given the sheer number of shots required, it loses quite a bit of its "wow" factor.

Given that a decent athlete can throw a ball from a perch like this, to within a 20 foot radius of the basket on a consistent basis, then you are pretty much reduced to just a game of numbers.

Enough hurls, and eventually you'll hit jackpot.


This is not unlike other college kids practicing chip shots, or ping pong ball shots into beer cups, all over their disgusting dorm rooms in front of a camera until they can hit one and edit the tape and upload to YouTube.

So while this shot is "impressive" to watch, the accomplishment is utterly un-impressive.

If the guy walked up the stairs after fetching every shot, I'd be impressed.

If he sized up the shot, and hit it as one of two free throws, I'd be impressed.

You could drop a nickel into a shotglass from a helicopter with enough time, nickles, and helicopter fuel.

As for the monkeys and Shakespeare? Well, here's what Wikipedia says about that.

Even if the observable universe were filled with monkeys typing for all time, their total probability to produce a single instance of Hamlet would still be less than one in 10 to the power of 183,800. As Kittel and Kroemer put it, "The probability of Hamlet is therefore zero in any operational sense of an event…"

So there. But imagine the poo flinging in a room full of monkeys on typewriters getting frustrated over spelling Shakespearean english!


  1. I know this is not on topic, except for the article having to do with some specific 'monkey' in the news right now. I know at this point it is heresy, but again it is posted by a website that has been right way too many times on crazy stories like this one. I think this one might just have the legs to cause some noise


  2. you make a lot of sense as usual czabe. I guess the typing monkey theory just goes to show how ridiculous our scientific community has become. I know they really want to push this THEORY of evolution but common sense tells you that it is so improbable that it is mathematically impossible. Much like extrapolating a temperature trend with about 100 years worth of data for a planet that is in their mind billions and billions of years old. What kind of representative sampling is that?