Randall Monroe's latest "What If?" explores the total number of possible English-language tweets:
Based on the rates of correct guesses—and rigorous mathematical analysis—Shannon determined that the information content of typical written English was around 1.0 to 1.2 bits per letter. This means that a good compression algorithm should be able to compress ASCII English text—which is eight bits per letter—to about 1/8th of its original size. Indeed, if you use a good file compressor on a .txt ebook, that’s about what you’ll find.
If a piece of text contains n bits of information, in a sense it means that there are 2n different messages it can convey. There’s a bit of mathematical juggling here (involving, among other things, the length of the message and the concept of unicity distance), but the bottom line is that it suggests there are on the order of about 2140×1.1≈2×1046 meaningfully different English tweets, rather than 10200 or 10800.
Now, how long would it take the world to read them all out?
Reading 2×1046 tweets would take a person nearly 1047 seconds. It’s such a staggeringly large number of tweets that it hardly matters whether it’s one person reading or a billion—they won’t be able to make a meaningful dent in the list in the lifetime of the Earth.
In an epic Twitter tear, Clay Shirky addresses white liberals who are horrified by the rise of Trump and reminds them that “Trump IS the voice of angry whites. He wasn’t on stage because he has unusual views. He was on stage because he has the usual ones, loudly.”
Peter Chadwick — he runs the @brutalhouse stream of loving photos of imposing brutalist monuments — has teamed up with Phaedon to publish a coffee-table book of the biggest, most uncompromising hulking monsters of the bygone age of concrete futurism: This Brutal World.
PostGhost kept a record of everything that Twitter’s Verified users said, even deleted tweets that may have been embarrassing or otherwise reputation impacting. Twitter sent PostGhost a cease and desist letter, effectively eliminating this public record of stuff that people have said but no longer want read.
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