I question whether the number of permutations of something is ‘real’ in a sense that it’s contained in the universe (thanks for calling me out on that word, I mean observable universe). I say this partly out of the limits of information contained in our observable universe. More strongly though I contest the question of existence. Permutations exist just was as well as prime numbers. You can even hold a finitist philosophical position and have no issue with 300 digit prime numbers. You can develop algorithms to find examples of such numbers, but the number of such numbers exceeds our information capacity. Though, I know almost nothing about the current cosmological model positing an infinite universe within which our observable universe resides. Thanks for your post Shea, sorry it took me so long to reply!

]]>This is a great post from Kevin on life, academics, and the strange mingling of the two that many of us find ourselves in. Very well put.

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