Archive for January, 2011

A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates


Random digitsI had heard before of the 1955 book A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates (which is exactly what you think it is), but until Greg Ross pointed them out, I had never looked at the comments on Amazon.  They are hilarious. A short selection:

  • “Such a terrific reference work! But with so many terrific random digits, it’s a shame they didn’t sort them, to make it easier to find the one you’re looking for.”
  • “If you like this book, I highly recommend that you read it in the original binary.”
  • “While the printed version is good, I would have expected the publisher to have an audiobook version as well.”
  • “Once you get about halfway in, the rest of the story is pretty predictable.”
  • “What other author could give us such a masterpiece? Infinite monkeys typing on infinite typewriters might be able to produce Shakespeare, but they could never produce something like this!”
  • “My only regret is that there isn’t a sequel, because the author left it at a cliffhanger. ”
  • “It starts with an innocent 10097, rapidly succeded by 32533. The reader has no idea if 10097 will ever appear again, and that’s the thrilling part. I won’t spoil the story, so if you want to know whether 10097 is repeated, buy the book.”

(David Pogue has a list of other Amazon products which attract funny “reviews”.)

A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal DeviatesA