The Information

The Information

A History, a Theory, a Flood

James Gleick

A stranger is at a party of people who know one another well. One says, “72,” and everyone laughs. Another says, “29,” and the party roars. The stranger asks what is going on. His neighbor said, “We have many jokes and we have told them so often that now we just use a number.” The guest thought he’d try it, and after a few words said, “63.” The response was feeble. “What’s the matter, isn’t this a joke?” “Oh, yes, that is one of our very best jokes, but you did not tell it well.”♦

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