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so i found this while wandering the internet, which in many ways is a bit ironic
 when you begin to understand exactly what the library of babel is.  the concept
 came from a short story by jorge luis borges, although he would say the idea wa
s around much longer, which gives us a detailed description of a library that co
ntains every possible thing every written or that could be possibly be written. 
  the parameters were set only by the rules that each book contains a combinatio
n of up to twenty five symbols, which were twenty two letters, spaces, commas, a
nd periods.  in the tower of babel, they correspond to the letters in the spanis
h alphabet in which the short story was originally written, but borges left a fe
w letters out that he considered superfluous.  the website of the same name, cre
ated by jonathan basile, uses twenty nine symbols to duplicate anything that has
 or could be written, in theory anyway.  basile soon realized that such an endea
vor would take up more space than technologically possible, even with the storag
e capacity of our computers today.  instead, an algorithm is used in which each 
seed represents a single page in the library.  so the pages exist and theoretica
lly already exist, but dont materialize until they are called forth.  for exampl
e, anyone can browse the library by pulling up random books but will almost alwa
ys come up with a page of gibberish, a completely random assortment of letters, 
spaces, commas, and periods.  one could search this library for a million lifeti
mes and perhaps not find more than a few, if any, intelligible sentences.  but t
he possibility exists, which is what makes this project intriguing, if only for 
a philosophical exercise.  in borges story, he communicates the insanity, hopes,
 and despairs of those living in such a universe, which is the library, and come
s up with similar conclusions.  the library itself is actually useless.  yes, th
e details of your death could be discovered on a page in this library, but so co
uld a million other false versions of it.  however even finding this would be st
atistically impossible as the vast majority of pages read would be complete nons
ense.  browse for an hour or so in the library of babel and find out for yoursel
f.  there is a tool which lets you type in a passage and find it in the library.
 this is cool but again useless because you already have the story in front of y
ou.still, the concept of a library housing every possible communication that can
 possibly be written is pretty darn awesome.  perhaps an advanced computer, huma
n, or alien in the distant future could decipher a way to locate the pages of on
ly texts in discernable languages and pull them out.  borges story speaks of leg
ends of a catalog that could guide a librarian to decipher the puzzle, but such 
a hope may only be fantasy.  he also suggest that perhaps, every book may be dis
cernable, but we just havent discovered the language to do so.  what blows my mi
nd is that this short review of the library of babel is already contained in the
 library of babel and was there before i even started typing it.   so theoretica
lly, someone could have found this before i ever thought it.                    


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