Results tagged “Douglas Adams” from onegoodmove

It's Not a Kindle

He also had a device that looked rather like a largish electronic calculator. This had about a hundred tiny flat press buttons and a screen about four inches square on which any one of a million "pages" could be summoned at a moment's notice. It looked insanely complicated, and this was one of the reasons why the snug plastic cover it fitted into had the words DON'T PANIC printed on it in large friendly letters. The other reason was that this device was in fact that most remarkable of all books ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." The reason why it was published in the form of a micro sub meson electronic component is that if it were printed in normal book form, an interstellar hitchhiker would require several inconveniently large buildings to carry it around in.*

dontpanicx
It's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
There is more to this story here

*Adams,D. (1979) The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (pp.26-27) New York: Harmony Books

Puff Redux

Onegoodmove reader bp thinks you'll find Dinesh Dsouza's article What atheists Kant refute of interest. It's another, reason can't answer everything diatribe, and another argument from ignorance. Since there are some things that are unknowable in principle we can believe whatever the fuck we want about them. In any event his argument doesn't get you to a personal God, at most you could use it to support a deist's view of God. I don't think that's what Dsouza intends. The 'true believers' want it both ways. If they find a bit of evidence they believe supports their view they are ready to use it, but are unwilling to consider contrary evidence. "Well, isn't that convenient," says the 'Church Lady'. Perhaps Douglas Adams put this insipid argument to rest best in his "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," Puff

The Monitor article follows.

Continue reading "Puff Redux" »

Dawkins and the Paranormal

A nice clip of Richard Dawkins at the Randi Convention in Las Vegas in 2005. It includes several nice anecdotes about Douglas Adams. (tip to Big Daddy Malcontent)




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Respect

Now, the invention of the scientific method and science is, I'm sure we'll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and that it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked and if it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn't withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn't seem to work like that; it has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. That's an idea we're so familiar with, whether we subscribe to it or not, that it's kind of odd to think what it actually means, because really what it means is 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? - because you're not!' If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it, but on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday', you say, 'Fine, I respect that'. The odd thing is, even as I am saying that I am thinking 'Is there an Orthodox Jew here who is going to be offended by the fact that I just said that?' but I wouldn't have thought 'Maybe there's somebody from the left wing or somebody from the right wing or somebody who subscribes to this view or the other in economics' when I was making the other points. I just think 'Fine, we have different opinions'. But, the moment I say something that has something to do with somebody's (I'm going to stick my neck out here and say irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly defensive and say 'No, we don't attack that; that's an irrational belief but no, we respect it'.
—Douglas Adams

Links With Your Coffee - Monday

The Puddle

Richard Dawkins reading from his eulogy for Douglas Adams



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(thanks to inwit for the clip)

Puff

Douglas Adams, the Babel fish, and the existence of God.

Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful [the Babel fish] could have evolved by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED"

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

-- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (book one of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series), p. 50




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Links With Your Coffee - Monday

MORE IRAQ-TILE DYSFUNCTION: SHIITES CAN’T GET THEIR ‘SHIITE’ TOGETHER

The Mc Passion video

Immigration Blather
from Mad Kane and also a limerick on Dubs Drug program

Bush goes Powerloafing video

Another Liars War Letter Home mp3 by John Maclean is a very nice song. There's also a video 45MB here as well as the lyrics scroll down

Legalize Pot and Sing About Polygamy Avery Ant Flash video

one-minute mashup of Dr. Phil and Bill O'Reilly.

Franken - Coulter Debate via Brad Blog

Douglas Adams an old one but good one. Damn I miss him.

Links With Your Coffee - Friday

ACLU Message Flash Video certainly worth watching and thanks goes to Margi for the link.

Asteroid named after 'Hitchhiker' humorist

The week he died, science-fiction humorist Douglas Adams was honored with an asteroid named after one of the characters from his classic "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Now, almost four years later, Adams has his own name in the heavens as well...

Top Hundred Soundtracks of All Time


Kucinich: Iraq Election Will be a Farce

It is clear, in just five days before the Iraqi elections are to be held, that it will be impossible to conclude anything about the extent to which corruption, voter intimidation or outright fraud will mar the results. The exercise will regrettably be a farce. The results will have no recognized legitimacy whatsoever, and surely do not merit association with the United States' notions of democracy.

Herbal Remedies Found to Contain Toxic Heavy Metals

Should an Atheist Respect Religion?

The late Douglas Adams said the following in a speech, "Is there an Artificial God?" at Digital Biota 2, Cambridge U.K.
September 1998.

Now, the invention of the scientific method is, I'm sure we'll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn't withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn't seem to work like that. It has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, "Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? ' because you're not!" If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says "I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday," you say, "I respect that."

The odd thing is, even as I am saying that I am thinking "Is there an Orthodox Jew here who is going to be offended by the fact that I just said that?" But I wouldn't have thought, "Maybe there's somebody from the left wing or somebody from the right wing or somebody who subscribes to this view or the other in economics," when I was making the other points. I just think, "Fine, we have different opinions." But, the moment I say something that has something to do with somebody's (I'm going to stick my neck out here and say irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly defensive and say "No, we don't attack that; that's an irrational belief but no, we respect it."

Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows ' but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe... no, that's holy? What does that mean? Why do we ring-fence that for any other reason other than that we've just got used to doing so? There's no other reason at all, it's just one of those things that crept into being, and once that loop gets going it's very, very powerful. So, we are used to not challenging religious ideas but it's very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be.

I was motivated to post this by a discussion with a friend of mine. We were discussing whether or not a person's religion or lack thereof should be an acceptable factor in choosing who to vote for in an election. The fact of the matter is that it is used all the time, but the question is should it be? We decided that it didn't constitute an unacceptable form of discrimination because religion or lack thereof is a choice and ethnic background and maybe homosexuality are not choices. I maintain, though it is acceptable, it is a lazy man's way that is frought with danger.

So should an Atheist respect religon? No. Should a religious person necessarily respect Atheism? No. They should conduct a careful analysis of the claims made and come to a rational conclusion, not one based on an emotional outburst.

Inspiration

In answer to the question where do you get the inspiration for your books.

"I tell myself that I cannot have another cup of coffee until I've thought of an idea"—Douglas Adams

The Natural Order of Things

I'm compelled to go to the book store tomorrow and pick up a copy Douglas Adams "The Salmon of Doubt" Chris keeps reading bits and pieces of it from his copy. "I'll loan it to you when I finish," he says, but when that will be is problematical. He is always reading two or three books at a time. I'm impatient. I'll make the sacrifice and spend some time at the bookstore, poor me. I'll buy my own copy. Oh yes here is the latest bit that led to the inevitability of the purchase.

Douglas Adams from The Salmon of Doubt on technology.

I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies;

1. Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just part of the way the world works.

2. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3. Anything invented after you're after thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Is this true for any of you? Oh never mind no one that admits to being over thirty-five reads this blog anyway.

Happy New Year

How to finish the year? First a toast to you my friends, best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2003. Second, listen to Bach's Brandenburg Concerto's and share with you Douglas Adams words on the subject of Brandenburg Five from "The Salmon of Doubt"

Brandenburg 5

Whatever new extremities of discovery or understanding we reach, we
always seem to find the footsteps of Bach there already. When we see
images of the strange mathematical beasts lurking at the heart of the natural
world—fractal landscapes, the infinitely unfolding paisley whorls of
the Mandelbrot Set, the Fibonacci series, which describes the pattern of
leaves growing on the stem of a plant, the Strange Attractors that beat at the
heart of chaos— it is always the dizzying, complex spirals of Bach
that come to mind.

Continue reading "Happy New Year" »

A Proper Cup of Tea

Douglas Adams wrote the "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". He revealed the meaning of life, 42. He wrote the best Dr. Who episode of all "City of Death", and he led a life that ended way too soon. My son Chris is reading "The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time" an Adam's book published after his death. A book that includes essay's, and other of his writing including an unfinished Dirk Gently story. You remember Dirk, he pointed out some problems with couches(Thanks to Steve Himmer, who has also had some experience maneuvering a sofa, for the link). What I didn't know was that Douglas Adams had also provided instructions for making a proper cup of tea.

An excerpt from “The Salmon of Doubt” by Douglas Adams

Pg 67

Tea

One or two Americans have asked me why the English like tea so much, which never seems to them to be a very good drink. To understand, you have to make it properly.

There is a very simple principle to the making of tea, and it’s this—to get the proper flavour of tea, the water has to be boilING (Not boilED) when it hits the tea leaves. If it’s merely hot, then the tea will be insipid. That’s why we English have these odd rituals, such as warming the teapot first (so as no to cause the boiling water to cool down too fast as it hits the pot). And that’s why American habit of bringing a teacup, a tea bag, and a pot of hot water to the table is merely the perfect way of making a tin, pale, watery cup of tea that nobody in their right mind would want to drink. The Americans are all mystified about why the English make such a big thing out of tea because most Americans HAVE NEVER HAD A GOOD CUP OF TEA. That’s why they don’t understand. In fact, the truth of the matter is that most English people don’t know how to make tea anymore either, and most people drink cheap instant coffee instead, which is a pity, and gives Americans the impression that the English are just generally clueless about hot stimulants.

So the best advice I can give to an American arriving in England is this: Go to Marks and Spencer and buy a packet of Earl Grey tea. Go back to where you’re staying and boil a kettle of water. While it is coming to the boil, open the sealed packet and sniff. Careful---you may feel a bit dizzy, but this is in fact perfectly legal. When the kettle has boiled, pour a little of it into a teapot, swirl it around, and tip it out again. Put a couple (or three, depending on the size of the pot) of tea bags into the pot. (If I was really trying to lead you into the paths of righteousness, I would tell you to use free leaves rather than bags, but let’s just take this in easy stages.) Bring the kettle back up to the boil, and then pour the boiling water as quickly as you can into the pot. Let is stand for two or three minutes, and then pour it into a cup. Some people will tell you that you shouldn’t have milk with Earl Grey, just a slice of lemon. Screw them. I like it with milk. If you think you will like it with milk, then it’s probably best to put some milk into the bottom of the cup before you pour in the tea. If you pour milk into a cup of hot tea, you will scald the milk. If you think you will prefer it with a slice of lemon, then, well, add a slice of lemon.

Drink it. After a few moments you will begin to think that the place you’ve come to isn’t maybe quite so strange and crazy after all.

May 12, 1999


Simple enough but I have a question; one I think Douglas Adams would appreciate. The essential element in making that proper cup is that the water must be boiling. Now Douglas was a Brit, and he lived at sea level, and therein lies the problem. I live in Utah approximately 4500 feet (1372 meters) above sea level and since altitude has a definite effect on the temperature at which water boils there is a problem. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 Celsius). For each increase of 500 feet (152 meters) of altitude the Fahrenheit temperature at which water boils goes down 1 degree. That means in my kitchen water boils at 203 degrees Fahrenheit (95 Celsius). Boiling as Douglas insists it must, but certainly not the same boiling that occurs at sea level. Does this mean I will never experience a proper cup of tea in Sandy Utah? I wonder if this applies to my coffee. Would anyone care to offer a solution to this problem?

Consider How Lucky You Are

"What to do if you find yourself stuck in a crack in the ground underneath a giant boulder you can't move, with no hope of rescue. Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your current circumstances seems more likely, consider how lucky you are that it won't be troubling you much longer."
- Douglas Adams