If I Had the Time


The hens are producing rather well this winter. They are averaging nearly 14 eggs a day, so it doesn’t take long to fill a sheet of 36 eggs. So how many different ways can the eggs be arranged in a sheet of 36 eggs? Back in my statistics class in college, the formula for calculating this was 36 x 35 x 34 x 33 x 32 x 31 x 30 x 29 x 28 x 27 x 26 x 25 x 24 x 23 x 22 x 21 x 20 x 19 x 18 x 17 x 16 x 15 x 14 x 13 x 12 x 11 x 10 x 9 x 8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 which results in a ridiculously large number of something like 371,993,326,789,901,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Which means if I was able to rearrange the 36 eggs 60 times an hour, and spend 8 hours a day doing this, it would take me 774,986,097,478,961,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 days or just 2,123,249,582,134,140,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years to arrange the 36 eggs in every possible combination.

The universe started 13,800,000,000 years ago, which means that I’d go through the formation of 153,858,665,372,039,000,000,000,000 of our universes just rearranging 36 eggs in all their possible combinations. Taken in that context, the universe doesn’t seem that old.

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