Feb 11

The RAND Corporation has published a book called “A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates.”  Here’s a brief description:  “Not long after research began at RAND in 1946, the need arose for ‘random numbers’ that could be used to solve problems of various kinds of experimental probability procedures.  These applications, called Monte Carlo methods, required a large supply of random digits and normal deviates of high quality, and the tables presented here were produced to meet those requirements.  Still the largest published source of random digits and normal deviates, the work is routinely used by statisticians, physicists, polltakers, market analysts, lottery administrators, and quality control engineers.”

If the mere existence of such a book isn’t funny enough, check out the user reviews found on Amazon.com:

4.0 out of 5 stars almost perfect, October 26, 2006  By a curious reader

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.

1.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy., July 27, 2005  By B. MCGROARTY

The book is a promising reference concept, but the execution is somewhat sloppy. Whatever algorithm they used was not fully tested. The bulk of each page seems random enough. However at the lower left and lower right of alternate pages, the number is found to increment directly.

4.0 out of 5 stars Didn’t like the ending, February 10, 2009  By Damien Katz

Even though I didn’t really see it coming, the ending was kind of anti-climatic. But overall the book held my attention and I really liked the "10034 56429 234088" part. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

5.0 out of 5 stars I found a typo, September 14, 2007  By fanfan

To whom do I write to report typographical errors? I noticed that the first "7" on the third line page 48 should be a "3". The "7" that’s printed there now isn’t random. Other than that, this is really an excellent book.

4.0 out of 5 stars If you like this book …, October 20, 2006  By Roy

If you like this book, I highly recommend that you read it in the original binary. As with most translations, conversion from binary to decimal frequently causes a loss of information and, unfortunately, it’s the most significant digits that are lost in the conversion.

4.0 out of 5 stars An entire library in one handy volume, October 20, 2006  By S. Jacobs "eyegor"

This is amazing. Where else can you find ONE volume with every book ever written (albeit in encrypted form). All one needs to do is to find the proper key and your book magically appears.

5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Book You’ll Ever Buy, September 12, 2007  By M. Coston

Just in case you’re trapped in an underground hatch and need to type a million random digits into a computer every 108 minutes. You really need this book for emergency situations like that. Don’t thank me, just buy it… now.

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and original plot, April 21, 2007  By Herr Tarquin Biskuitfaß

This one has a very unpredictable plot, sublime character development in a style that stubbornly defies any sort of development in its rare and iconoclastic brilliance, and is told remarkably with numbers instead of letters. Take, for example, this passage on page 202, "98783 24838 39793 80954". I’m speechless. The symmetry is reminiscent of the I Ching, and it approaches a rare spiritual niveau lacking in American literature. It not only reads well, but it looks great too. I have a tattoo of page 214 on my arm, and I’m hoping to get 202 on my belly to celebrate my next birthday. It is an injustice that Rand Corporation has not received the Nobel Prize for Literature, nor even a Pulitzer.

3.0 out of 5 stars A serious reference work?, October 16, 2006  By BJ

For a supposedly serious reference work the omission of an index is a major impediment. I hope this will be corrected in the next edition.

3.0 out of 5 stars Radical Approach Very Disappointing, October 16, 2006  By What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

A strictly "by the numbers," formula-driven plot spoiled the ending, which was, nevertheless, difficult to predict by my calculations. The characterization was singularly type cast and the theme repetitive. You can safely skip this radical arctangent from scientific literature.

1.0 out of 5 stars Not Metric, October 15, 2006  By Ewen Wallace "CAD Bloke"

This is an old version – no good for metric countries. I’d have to go through each number and subtract 32, multiply by 5 then divide by 9. Does anyone have a macro for this?

1.0 out of 5 stars Not Nearly A Million, September 3, 2006  By Liron

This book does not even come close to delivering on its promise of one million random digits. My expectations were high after reading the first sentence, which contained ten unique digits. However, the author seems to have exhasted his creativity in this initial burst, because the other 99.999% of the book is filler in which those same ten digits are shamelessly reused!  If you are looking for a larger offering of numerals in various bases, I highly recommend "Peter Rabbit’s ABC and 123".

5.0 out of 5 stars Next Summer’s Blockbuster hit!, September 28, 2006  By Sean May

Have you Random Digits fans heard the great news? It looks like Universal has picked up the rights to the book and they’ve already begun production on the film adaptation! The rumor mill suggests that Brad Pitt is going to star as, you guessed it, 27473, and Maggie Gyllenhaal is lined up to play 70690. Other stars that are signed include Heath Ledger as the diabolical 91437 and there are some rumors that Robert DeNiro will put in a brief cameo as 22941. The project is going to be directed by Quinten Tarantino, which is why production of his next movie, Grind House, suddenly stopped early this summer. He was obviously focusing on adapting Random Digits for the big screen. Expect this one to be the biggest hit of 2007. Forget Spiderman 3, that only contains one digit that was deliberately picked. A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates will kill it at the box office.

4.0 out of 5 stars Not as random as the first edition, December 11, 2007  By James D. Miller

This is the second edition of the book. The first edition didn’t sell well because all of the randomly chosen numbers turned out to be exactly the same. The authors argued that a true random number generator could indeed generate a million identical numbers, and the fact that the authors would try to publish something that seemed so un-random proved their intellectual integrity and hence the randomness of their identical numbers. Still, the public rejected the first edition proving that consumers of random numbers are far more interested in the appearance of randomness than in actual randomness. As a consequence, for this second edition the authors carefully selected numbers that readers would be sure to perceive as random. So sadly this book represents yet another example of how striving for marketplace success corrupts the intellectual integrity of authors.

3.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the audiobook version, October 19, 2006  By R. Rosini "Newtype"

While the printed version is good, I would have expected the publisher to have an audiobook version as well. A perfect companion for one’s Ipod.

5.0 out of 5 stars Wait for it…, February 10, 2009  By Cranky Yankee

It started off slow, single digit slow in the beginning but I stuck with it. I eventually learned all about the different numbers, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 0 and their different combinations.  The author introduced them all a bit too quickly for my taste. I would have been perfectly happy with just 1,2,3,4 and 5 for the first 20,000 digits, but then again, I’m not a famous random-number author, am I?  After a while, patterns emerged and the true nature of the multiverse was revealed to me, and the jokes were kinda funny. I don’t want to spoil anything but you will LOVE the twist ending!  Like 4352204 said to 64231234, "2242 6575 0013 2829!"

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Article published on February 11, 2009

3 Responses to “Million Random Digits”

  1. Topics about Humoristic and Funny stuff » Archive » Million Random Digits Says:

    […] Ryan placed an observative post today on Million Random DigitsHere’s a quick excerptThe RAND Corporation has published a book called “A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates.”  Here’s a brief description:  “Not… […]

  2. Million Random Digits | rarelyseen.com Says:

    […] Million Random Digits […]

  3. What’s Happening? » Blog Archive » Million Random Digits Says:

    […] Other stars that are signed include Heath Ledger as the diabolical 91437 and there are some rumors that Robert DeNiro will put in a brief cameo as 22941. The project is going to be directed by Quinten Tarantino, which is why production …Continue […]

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