This is a thought experiment, put together for no reason other than to blow your mind. I would strongly discourage anyone from actually trying it, for reasons that will become apparent.

Imagine a binary number of eight digits length. Each digit (or bit if you prefer) represents a pixel in a line. A zero represents a white pixel, and a one represents a black pixel. Starting with the binary for zero (00000000 in this example), we count up to the largest number possible with just eight digits (11111111, or 255 in decimal). Our white line develops a black dot at the far right hand edge, which then moves to the second spot it, then is joined by the previous dot, then both of these disappear and are replaced by a single dot to the left etc. I'm sure you can imagine it.

Now take a binary number of sixty-four digits length. Arrange the number in eight lines, each of eight digits length. This is still all one big number, just represented as a grid. Counting from zero to the largest number possible (18,446,744,073,709,551,616 in decimal) will take a lot longer, but every number will result in a different pattern in our 8x8 grid.

Now we get to the crux of the matter. Enlarge our grid to be 300x200, displaying the pixels representing the digits in a 60,000 digit binary number. 300x200 should give us sufficient resolution to be able to make out recognisable black and white images. So if we pick a random 60,000 digit binary number, and display it in our grid, we will see an image. The chances are exceptionally high that it will be white noise. However, every image it is possible to conceive of will be possible.

If you were to start at zero and count up to the largest number possible with a 300x200 grid (6.30579487 x 1018061 in decimal, using scientific notation), you would see every image you can conceive of. A picture of your own face. A picture of your own face with glasses on. A picture of your own face with three eyes. The text of this node (paragraph at a time to allow for the low resolution). EVERYTHING.

There is only one minor drawback to this method of seeing everything in the Universe. If you were to view ten images a second, and look at every possible image in a 300x200 grid, it would take a long time. How long? Longer than the most generous estimate for how long this galaxy has existed. We're talking just less than 2x1018053 years. That's a long time.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.