Decks of Cards & Numbers Bigger Than You Can Count

Whenever you shuffle a deck of cards the final output is likely a configuration the universe has never seen before. The number of possible deck combinations in a 52 card deck is 52! (Which is 52*51*50...*3*2*1) The result is: 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000 possible combinations, or 8.06582*1067. It's a 68 digit number that I cannot pronounce. If you can pronounce it you're either full shit or have more nerd cred than I do.

At ~13.75 Billion years the universe is about 433,917,000,000,000,000 seconds old, 433.92 Quadrillion seconds old, or 4.3392*1017 (60*60*24*365.25*13,750,000,000). Quadrillion is what comes after trillion. Now assume that the ~7 billion people alive today had have always been alive since the beginning of the universe and all they did was shuffle cards into new decks every second that would be about 3.2 Octillion different decks possible (assuming no repeats) or 3.2*1027, a 28 digit number which is a pretty tiny fraction of the total possible decks.

The probability that you will get any specific deck configuration is obviously extremely low, but the probability of shuffling up a new deck never before seen on Earth is pretty good. So any time you want to produce something something no one ever has before, shuffle a deck of cards a few times. The odds for getting a new unique deck get even better if you're a young Earth creationist!

By: Brock | On: Sat, July 7th, 2012 - 02:05 PM