Sunday 10 October 2010

101010 today

Today's date is 10-10-10.

101010, as a binary number, is 42 in decimal.

'42' is the 'Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything', as explained by Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. So we know the Answer - however we can never find out what the Question was. How like life.

The original radio series was first broadcast by the BBC in 1978, at 10:30 on Wednesday evenings. I recorded each instalment on cassette, and I still have these recordings somewhere - though they'd probably disintegrate if I tried putting them through a cassette player now. Anyway, they're all available on CD, digitally remastered and no doubt in much better quality. Then there are the books, the film, the DVDs.

If you're sceptical about all this, just search for "the answer to life the universe and everything" and you'll see that Google's calculator gives you: = 42.
So it must be true.

Hitchhiker has had a huge influence on popular culture in the UK, and a number of phrases and quotations from the series have passed into common English usage.

h2g2 (HHGG, from the title) is an Earth Edition of the Hitchhiker's Guide, inspired by Douglas Adams, and run now by the BBC; it's a collaborative encyclopedia, and contains many unexpected goodies, not all related to the original Guide.

I used the tag #h2g2 on a Tweet I posted just after midnight - and it looks like hundreds of others have as well.

Elsewhere the day has been designated the 'Global Day of Doing' by the 10:10 campaign, which aims to cut carbon emissions by 10% a year for 10 years. Perhaps this is the Answer we're all searching for?

Hitchhiker fans have set up 42 Day, to encourage us to devise ways to honour the day, such as: "hop on a bus - nearly every city in the world has a number 42 bus". If you want to find out what they're doing, they are on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter (hashtag: #42day).

Special dates
10.10.10, you will have noticed, has the same digits for day, month and year. There are only 12 of these per century (01.01.01, 02.02.02 . . . 12.12.12). Most of us will only have two more of these in our lifetimes: 11.11.11 and 12.12.12, so perhaps we should make the most of them!

We also have coming up shortly another form of repetition: 20.10.2010 - or even, if we  include the time as well, 20:10 20.10.2010. And in three weeks' time there will be a palindromic date: 01.11.10; it's the second one this year, if you count 01.02.2010.

What does all this tell us about Life, The Universe and Everything? Hmm, if only we knew . . .

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