Sagacious Himself — brevity in circumlocution: never blague — suffering genius

February 9, 2008

the universe is bizarre and irrational; on the other hand, there is no proof 6 × 9 = 42

Filed under: 42,All Your Base,category euthanized — Sagacious Himself @ 6:08 am

Since 6 × 9 = 54, this being the question would imply that the universe is bizarre and irrational; on the other hand, there is no proof that this was the actual question. After all, Arthur Dent comprised only a minuscule fragment of the vast and complex computer matrix that was the Earth, and besides, it was stated that the computer’s run had not finished when it was destroyed. In addition, Arthur and Ford realized that the original ape-like inhabitants of Earth were displaced by the Golgafrinchams, which could account for the irrational nature of the question in Arthur’s mind (as he himself is a descendant of the Golgafrinchans). On discovering the question Arthur Dent remarks: “I always said there was something fundamentally wrong with the universe.”

It was later pointed out that 6 × 9 = 42 if the calculations are performed in base 13, not base 10. Douglas Adams was not aware of this at the time, and has since been quoted as saying that “nobody writes jokes in base 13.” and also “I may be a pretty sad person, but I don’t make jokes in base 13.” (Note, however, that the Scrabble board Arthur used had thirteen squares to a side, whereas an actual Scrabble board has fifteen. Furthermore, Arthur’s board had four Y tiles to actual Scrabble’s two.)

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