September52012

Proteins, Monkeys, and John Green

So I’m innocently reading my biochem textbook (yeah, I read that thing, it’s a tough class) when I see something familiar. 

"Richard Dawkins, in his book The Blind Watchmaker, asked how long it would take a monkey randomly poking a typewriter to reproduce Hamlet’s remark to Polonius, “Methinks it is like a weasel”.” -Tymoczko, Biochemistry a Short Course, Second Ed.

Fun fact, it would take around 10^4 keystrokes, unless you let the monkey keep the correct strokes as it went, then it’s more like 3,000. (This is how proteins find the correct way to fold, and hence why this was in a biochem book.) 

This was a joke in Paper Towns by John Green, where they joke that if one thousand monkeys typed on one thousand keyboards for one thousand years they would never type, “Ben has a date to prom,” or something along those lines. So either John Green read my biochem textbook, he read The Blind Watchmaker, or he just read that quote somewhere.

How to Write Gud

(Picture’s from here.)

At any rate, I will now remember this concept forever. If only everything in that class related to monkeys or books I’ve read.

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