---from Jorge Luis Borges’ story
“The Library of Babel”:


"Letizia Alvarez de Toledo has observed that this vast Library is useless: rigorously speaking, a single volume would be sufficient, a volume of ordinary format, printed in nine or ten point type, containing an infinite number of infinitely thin leaves. (In the early seventeenth century, Cavalieri said that all solid bodies are the superimposition of an infinite number of planes.) The handling of this silky vade mecum* would not be convenient: each apparent page would unfold into other analogous ones; the inconceivable middle page would have no reverse."

*vade mecum: A useful thing that a person constantly carries with him or her. Also:
A guidebook or other ready reference book. from Latin: "go with me."



Why Not Visit Your Local Library?


Genome: genetic description of each human being. There are 50,000 to 100,000 genes in a genome, and 3 billion nucleotides (gene buildling blocks). If each nucleotide were assigned a single letter, it would take thousands of volumes to record them all: we are each a walking (sometimes crawling) library.

One way to think of the human race: as a library of libraries.

In a certain Chinese encyclopedia, animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) suckling pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.
--- Borges

Beyond Borges


In the future, a computer made of material as flexible as a paperback book, with a flexible screen. It may be folded shut then opened and held in the hand like a book. But with a difference: it has an advanced computer chip for its memory, a chip so powerful it stores not just a single book but many books, an entire library’s worth of books, including texts and still or moving illustrations, plus sound.

At the touch of a button a text can be selected and it will be displayed---one to two pages at a time---on the book’s “screen.” This gives the comfort and feel of a paperback but now a book with infinitely capacious contents. A portable Library of Alexandria....

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