Monday, April 23, 2007

A Million Random Digits

Lately, I've spent some time investigating and reviewing various means of generating random numbers, which have all sorts of applications in science and computing.

My Internet searches left me once again stumbling upon "A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates," a longtime publication of the RAND Corporation that amounts to a long list of random numbers for use in research.

The thought crossed my mind to add an Amazon review for this book, something along the lines of "A real page turner! Unpredictable!"

Clearly, I wasn't the first person with this idea. Here are snippets from customer reviews:

"A truly amazing genre-breaking work of art unlike any that has ever been or ever will. I was captivated from the moment I opened the cover until the extremely suspenseful moment I turned the last page. With that said, I was a little disappointed that 71602 was knocked off by 92937 just as the plot was unfolding, but the arrival of 96240 really got my blood pumping and I just couldn't put the book down from that moment on. "

"The book is a promising reference concept, but the execution is somewhat sloppy. Whatever algorithm they used was not fully tested. The bulk of each page seems random enough. However at the lower left and lower right of alternate pages, the number is found to increment directly."

"This one has a very unpredictable plot, sublime character development in a style that stubbornly defies any sort of development in its rare and iconoclastic brilliance, and is told remarkably with numbers instead of letters. Take, for example, this passage on page 202, "98783 24838 39793 80954". I'm speechless."

"I was moved to tears when I saw little 47774. So pure. So innocent. So palindrome. There's no way you can't fall in love for little 47774."

(In all, there are 80 customer reviews...)


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