Another Instance

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This topic contains 54 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Delengroth 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #28889 Reply


    1) Finding knowledge could certainly be part of it. As for finding intelligent phrases, that would be quite a monstrous task. Right now, English is represented by a very finite and defined grouping of characters. But that’s just Modern English. We’ve gone through Old and Middle English. It wasn’t that long ago that we spoke in Middle English (phasing out around the 1600s). You can see how similar it is to Modern English in Chaucer’s works:

    A side-by-side translation:,_1390s

    By that notion, you also have to account for how English will (inevitably) continue to evolve. Then there’s the question of other languages and meaningful phrases in those. What if the “scrambled pages” are actually a super futuristic version of Italian? What if the first book is actually completely intelligible, but it just isn’t to us in 2018?

    2) Of course it is. I’m not sure what you’re trying to ask there.

    3) I don’t think it would be (sounds kind of like what was proposed in the VSauce video). Not only do we have a hard enough time finding something meaningful, but they’d have an even worse time on top of learning our language. Then there’s the fact that the Library doesn’t just contain all truths, but also all lies. Without a way to distinguish them from each other outside of human intuition and learned knowledge, it’s unreliable for any practical means.

    #28890 Reply


    1) Let’s say someone hypothetically found meaningful, intellectual or creatively productive work randomly in the Library, although it would be practically impossible. Who would “own” that work? Would it be the person who found it, even though the work was created through the permutations of a computer program and not that person themselves?
    2) Do you think it would be a useful idea to market a downloadable program such as the Library or the Image Archives where you can upload material directly into the Library and then just retrieve it when necessary, foregoing space to download texts and pictures (except for the space that the program itself occupies)? But then how would people actually retrieve the information, through bookmarks? This seems like a better idea for images and not text.

    #28892 Reply


    1) If the work is unique, has never been seen before, and has never been published, the person could technically claim it as their own. There would be no way to prove otherwise that they didn’t make it.

    2) As mentioned before, bookmarks aren’t anything magical. They’re simply a key to a database entry corresponding to a full location. This means you have to store the location somewhere. Locations are almost always bigger than the data of the raw image, so there’s no magical compression going on. Believe me, if such a thing were possible, you’d be an instant trillionaire. Compressing data to be that small is one of the holy grails of programming. It would be similar to inventing teleportation.

    #28906 Reply


    1) Can you debunk MarkOno83’s “Take a look at this” post? Seems to me like he just overlayed a pre made animated video onto a repeating GIF of changing Babel numbers. That is, he didn’t individually search up each frame in the Archives and then sequence them together to create an animation, as he claimed he did. But, the idea does seem cool.

    2) Is there any “Library of Babel” in the real world which is the ultimate source of knowledge about the world as we know it? Something like the Library of Congress but which is the absolute authority on all knowledge ever.

    #28909 Reply


    1) He either did that, or stupidly went through the trouble of actually finding the frames manually. I can’t imagine anyone would want to waste their time like that, so I think I’d learn towards the former.

    2) The Library of Congress is a good start, but I would also include Wikipedia. If it were to be physically printed out, it would occupy roughly 13.5 bookshelves. 10 shelves tall, 20 volumes each. File size-wise the uncompressed text was about 43 GB in February 2013, and if you include images/music/other files, it was 23 TB by the end of 2014:

    And yes, you can download the entire thing:

    #28913 Reply


    1) Yeah I keep trying the bookmarklet out as per Jonathan’s and Manuel’s instructions on Chrome, but it doesn’t work. When I select the bookmark from the bookmark manager that contains the necessary code, nothing happens. Any idea how to remedy this?

    2) When you say 13 bookshelves, what size are the bookshelves? How did you calculate these numbers?

    #28937 Reply


    1) I think you replied in the wrong thread, but I posted a solution in the other one

    2) Check the wikipedia links. It’s just the visualized images they have on there, I didn’t calculate anything.

    #29220 Reply


    1) How are customized bookmarks stored? That is, how does the same bookmark return the same page every time?
    2) Have you ever gone bookmark surfing in the image archives and found anything tangible? It seems much harder than surfing in the Library.

    #29221 Reply


    3) Also, have you seen ? It’s a default page created by Jonathan for the Browser Extension of the same name.

    #29227 Reply


    1) If they’re stored in the way that I suspect, which should be accurate, they are simply a key/value pair in a database. Imagine 2 columns on a spreadsheet. Column A is the name of the bookmark, and column B is the full hex location (wall, shelf, volume, and page number). Whenever you visit a bookmark link, the server takes the name of the bookmark from the URL, searches its database through Column A for a match, and then redirects you to whatever was saved in column B. There’s nothing magical about them, because in order to find the bookmark, you still need to store the location in Column B, which almost always will take the same amount of space as the raw page itself.

    2) I haven’t explored bookmarks extensively, but it seems like for the most part, people tend to bookmark something they searched for.

    3) I have not seen that URL, but it’s very interesting! Wherever you place that link (on any website), it appears that the server will see which website you came from, and then does a page search for the contents of the page you just came from. You can actually make a bookmarklet out of this:

    javascript: location.href = "";

    Or, if you prefer one you can save by right-clicking on it, try this:

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