We've all probably heard the saying "a million monkeys at a million typewriters" and how it'd take a million years for them to reproduce one of Shakespeare's plays.
Well, someone created a Monkey Shakespeare Simulator (Java enables) to test the theory. You go to the page, and the program starts up, recording a simulation of the daily activity of thousands of monkeys randomly tapping at keyboards.
What it is checking against is the first page of each of Shakespeare's works. So, if 'Gloucester' was the first word of one of the plays (not counting title, written by, etc.), the simulator would only acknowledge a match from a monkey that typed 'glou' as part of its random typing. In this instance, a result of 4 letters matched would be recorded.
Currently, the record is 8 letters matched. Or in other words, some simulated monkey managed to randomly type the first 8 letters to one of Shakespeare's works. Not a great record.
Last night, I let the simulator run all night long. When I got up this morning, my simulated monkeys had been typing for over 30,000 days and had managed to tie the current record, as one of them had randomly typed the first 8 letters to "The Merry Wives Of Windsor". As I write this post, I've had the simulator running, and its 50 million monkeys (and population growing) have, in 2000 simulated days, managed several instances of matching the first 7 letters from several of Shakespeare's works.
Co-incidentally, over the night last night, the monkeys were successful in reproducing the complete text to Nils Ling's "The Truth About Daughters".