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February 11, 2020

52 Factorial

A study of infinity

I get to touch on this a little bit in the show, but I don't get to really dig into just how mind blowing a deck of cards truly is when it comes to understanding its complexity.

This video by Vsauce is a really cool explainer (and it starts at the right spot):

The Raw Numbers

When I spent time looking these numbers up, most were written in annotated form like this: 8.02x10^67

While that makes the math easier, it makes it more difficult for my mind to appreciate what, exactly, that number is.

I wanted to write some interesting numbers out to their full extent and then compare them to each other so we could see what they mean.


Number of humans in all of history:
100,000,000,000

Number of galaxies in the universe:
2,000,000,000,000

Number of seconds since the Big Bang:
436,117,076,640,000,000

Number of ways to mix a rubik's cube:
43,252,003,274,489,856,000

Number of stars in the observable universe:
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Number of ways to shuffle cards: 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000


This is why I'm absolutely fascinated by the coincidences & connections that happen during the show. They're functionally impossible even if given millions of more universes to attempt them.

And I love the detail at the end of the video: humans are infinitely more complex than a deck of cards. Sure, we're going to die one day, but 99.9% of the humans who could be born will never be born.

You're not one in a million; you're one in a universe. There's never been anyone like you in 14 billion year, nor will there be ever again.

That is powerful magic.

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