But What If We--Dont?
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The answer is deliberately wrong. The program on the "Earth computer" should have run correctly, but the unexpected arrival of the Golgafrinchans on prehistoric Earth caused input errors into the system—computing because of the garbage in, garbage out rule the wrong question—the question in Arthur's subconscious being invalid all along.
Quoting Fit the Seventh of the radio series, on Christmas Eve, Narrator: There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory mentioned, which states that this has already happened. In Life, the Universe and Everything , a character named " Prak ," who "knows all that is true," confirms that 42 is indeed The Answer, and that it is impossible for both The Answer and The Question to be known in the same universe, as they will cancel each other out and take the Universe with them—to be replaced by something even more bizarre as described in the first theory and that it may have already happened as described in the second.
Likewise, Mostly Harmless ends when Arthur stops at a street address identified by his cry of, "There, number 42! Shortly after, the Earth is destroyed in all existing incarnations. Douglas Adams was asked many times why he chose the number On 3 November , he gave this answer  on alt. The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations, base thirteen , Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk, stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out.
End of story. Adams described his choice as 'a completely ordinary number, a number not just divisible by two but also six and seven. In fact it's the sort of number that you could without any fear introduce to your parents. On alt. While 42 was a number with no hidden meaning, Adams explained in more detail in an interview with Iain Johnstone of BBC Radio 4 recorded in though never broadcast  to celebrate the first radio broadcast's 20th anniversary.
Having decided it should be a number, he tried to think what an "ordinary number" should be. He ruled out non-integers, then he remembered having worked as a "prop-borrower" for John Cleese on his Video Arts training videos. Cleese needed a funny number for the punchline to a sketch involving a bank teller himself and a customer Tim Brooke-Taylor. Adams believed that the number that Cleese came up with was 42 and he decided to use it. In January , in response to a panelist's "Where does the number 42 come from? He eventually decided that it should be something that made no sense whatsoever — a number, and a mundane one at that.
And that is how he arrived at the number 42, completely at random. Stephen Fry , a friend of Adams, claims that Adams told him "exactly why 42", and that the reason is "fascinating, extraordinary and, when you think hard about it, completely obvious.
John Lloyd , Adams' collaborator on The Meaning of Liff and two Hitchhiker's fits, said that Adams has called 42 "the funniest of the two-digit numbers. The number 42 appears frequently in the work of Lewis Carroll , and some critics have suggested that this was an influence. They note, in particular, that Alice's attempt at her times tables chapter two of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland breaks down at 4 x 13 answered in base 42,   which virtually reverses the failure of 'the Question' "What do you get if you multiply six by nine?
They find further evidence of Carroll's influence in the fact that Adams entitled the episodes of the original radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "fits", the word Carroll used to name the chapters of The Hunting of the Snark. There is the persistent tale that 42 is Adams' tribute to the indefatigable paperback book, and is the average number of lines on an average page of an average paperback.
Mathematicians found a question whose answer is what is the largest rational number n such that there are positive integers p , q , r such that. It came up in the 19th century studying Riemann surfaces in Hurwitz automorphism theorem  Riemann surfaces are named after Bernhard Riemann , better known for the Riemann hypothesis , which if true, shows that the prime numbers are driven mad by infinite improbability.
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Hurwitz showed that the answer is the same as the answer to the question above, i. In addition, the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal group colloquially known as "the monster" group is a 2,3,7 triangle group i. Rumours that mathematicians are grey mice have been disproved, however   .
In , 42 became the last integer to be solved for the Diophantine equation , which seeks to express every number between 1 and as the sum of three cubes. The puzzle is an illustration consisting of 42 multi-coloured balls, in 7 columns and 6 rows. Douglas Adams has said,. So I thought that just for a change I would actually construct a puzzle and see how many people solved it. Of course, nobody paid it any attention. I think that's terribly significant. In the puzzle the question is unknown, but the answer is already known to be This is similar to the book where the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything" is known but not the question.
It was later incorporated into the covers of all five reprinted "Hitchhiker's" novels in the United States. Adams has described the puzzle as depicting the number 42 in ten different ways. Six possible questions are: . The number 42 and the phrase, "Life, the universe, and everything" have attained cult status on the Internet. Many chatbots , when asked about the meaning of life, will answer "42". Several online calculators are also programmed with the Question. Google Calculator will give the result to the answer to life the universe and everything as 42, as will Wolfram's Computational Knowledge Engine.
In OpenOffice. The Rationale says "the choice of the value 42 is arbitrary" and cites the Adams book as the source of the value. In revision 5. In fact, the TIFF version number 42 has never changed, and probably never will. The number 42 was chosen for its deep philosophical significance. The random seed chosen to procedurally create the whole universe of the online multi-player computer game EVE Online was chosen as 42 by its lead game designer in In the computer game Gothic "42" is a code that deactivates all activated cheats.
After typing "42" in a right place, text " What was the question?
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The number 42 was chosen as a reference to the answer to life, the universe and everything. In the American TV show Lost , 42 is the last of the mysterious numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and In an interview with Lostpedia , producer David Fury confirmed this was a reference to Hitchhiker's. The band Coldplay 's album Viva la Vida includes a song called " 42 ".
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When asked by Q if the song's title was Hitchhiker's -related, Chris Martin said, "It is and it isn't. The band Level 42 chose its name in reference to the book. The episode " 42 " of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who was named in reference to the Answer. Writer Chris Chibnall acknowledged that "it's a playful title". Ken Jennings , defeated along with Brad Rutter in a Jeopardy! The Hitchhiker knitting pattern, designed by Martina Behm, is a scarf with 42 teeth.
In The Flash , Season 4, Episode 1, Cisco in trying to decipher what Barry is writing explicitly says that what Barry says might solve answer to the Life, the Universe and Everything, which Caitlin suggests is This has been acknowledged by the show's creator, Chris Carter , as a reference to Hitchhikers. The number 47 appears often throughout the Star Trek franchise.
When producer Rick Berman was asked about the unusual frequency of the number, he stated, "47 is 42, corrected for inflation. Arthur C. Clarke said Douglas Adams' use of "don't panic" was perhaps the best advice that could be given to humanity.
Somebody who can stay in control of virtually any situation is somebody who is said to know where their towel is. The logic behind this statement is presented in chapter 3 of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy thus:. For some reason, if a strag strag: nonhitchhiker discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc.
Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
Adams got the idea for this phrase when he went travelling and found that his beach towel kept disappearing. On Towel Day , fans commemorate Adams by carrying towels with them. The only entry about Earth in the Guide used to be "Harmless", but Ford Prefect managed to change it a little before getting stuck on Earth. Those two words are not what Ford submitted as a result of his research—merely all that was left after his editors were done with it.
The term is the title of the fifth book in the Hitchhiker "trilogy ".
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Its popularity is such that it has become the definition of Earth in many standard works of sci-fi reference, like The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Additionally, "Harmless" and "Mostly Harmless" both feature as ranks in the computer game Elite. Also, in World of Warcraft , there is a rifle that fires mostly harmless pellets. Low-scoring players in the multiplayer version of the game Perfect Dark and GoldenEye are awarded with the designation "mostly harmless".
In the edition of the board game Cosmic Encounter, the Human race is given the attribute "Mostly Harmless". In the game Kerbal Space Program , there is an atomic rocket motor with the description "mostly harmless". In chapter 17 of the novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , Arthur Dent tries to get a Nutrimatic drinks dispenser to produce a cup of tea. Instead, it invariably produces a concoction which most people found unpleasant that is "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea".
One of the primary goals of the player, as Arthur Dent, in the computer game The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , is to thwart the machine and find some decent tea, a mission that the player is constantly reminded of by the inventory item "no tea". They have to make sacrifices for distant threatened nations and distant future generations.
They have to be permanently terrified by hotter summers and more frequent natural disasters, rather than just getting used to them. Every day, instead of thinking about breakfast, they have to think about death. I can run ten thousand scenarios through my model, and in not one of them do I see the two-degree target being met. But there continues to be a reluctance to broadcast it.
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This seems to me not only a patronizing calculation but an ineffectual one, given how little progress we have to show for it to date. In my experience, nonbelievers are no less loving of their neighbors than believers. And so I wonder what might happen if, instead of denying reality, we told ourselves the truth.