At long last….an encyclopedia on a toothpick

After a lengthy break I finally decided to squeeze in a post. I am nearly finished with Haruki Murakami’s Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World which is a fascinating (and utterly over-the-top) novel that explores odd aspects of the mind. It involves some information theory here and there and at one point, a character describes how one could theoretically fit an encyclopedia on a toothpick. Simply encode each letter in the encyclopedia (in order that they appear) with a binary digit. Put all these digits in a row and convert this larger binary digit into base-10. Then throw a decimal point on the front and you have a fraction (rational if the encyclopedia is finite). Then simply put a notch on the toothpick at that fraction of the whole. Hmmmmmm………..


One thought on “At long last….an encyclopedia on a toothpick

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  1. The book was truly amazing! I’m not quite done but I’m almost there but I must say wow! I’ve been in love with his way of writing ever since I’ve started reading his books. Which in my case was The Wind Up Bird Chronicle which was great! 😀

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