What Does The Average American 50 Year Old Woman Weight 42 – A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sci-Fi’s Favorite Number – Homage to the Late Douglas Adams

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42 – A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sci-Fi’s Favorite Number – Homage to the Late Douglas Adams

When Rafa Nadall beat Roger Federer last July in the longest final in Wimbledon history, he became the first Spaniard to win a grass-court major in 42 years. This sent Spain into full celebration mode. It also caused frustration among Federer fans who were ready to witness a sixth consecutive Wimbledon victory. I suspect most people stumble into their kitchen to get another cup of coffee. I’m not. I ran to my computer and opened a folder labeled “42’s,” which had collected important numerical events over the years. Before you dismiss me as a total kook, remember that “42” was coined by the late British satirist Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001), as the answer to the ultimate question about life, the universe and everything. .

Adams’ science fiction “trilogy”, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, consisting of five stories, began on the BBC in 1978. History was there to make way for new intergalactic interactions. Desperate people get little sympathy – the notice, after all, has been displayed for thousands of years in the basement of a government building. Where? Well, not there.

The search for the meaning of life, the universe and everything is done by a permanent computer called Deep Thought, created by the mouse. In a show of unparalleled patience, he worked on the problem for 7.5 million years before concluding that the answer was the number 42.

From the number of first African-American hitters in the major leagues, Jackie Robinson, to the pound weight of granite used in ancient Scottish ice sports, 42 has come a long way. the sport, even without considering grades. The New England Patriots waited 42 years to win a national championship; – 20 to 17 against St. Louis Rams in football’s first Super Bowl win. In October 2002, the forty-second season, Gene Autry’s Anaheim Angels won their first World Series.

2009 begins with a full year of 42. Three of the biggest stories – the Hudson River Hero, the peanut butter memory and the California octuplets – are inextricably linked by numbers. Captain Sully Sullenberger had 42 years of flying experience before he landed safely on the Hudson. As of January 10th when King Nut released the peanut butter total, 399 people in 42 states were infected with salmonella. When Nadya Suleman gave birth to octoplets that increased the number of her offspring to fourteen and sparked a heated debate about the unfair burden on taxpayers, California was plunged into a budget crisis. The lack? 42 billion dollars.

Traffic deaths are down in 42 states. As I’m making the final edits to this article, I heard Charles Gibson say that 42% of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed. I wonder, does the 2009 government list include 42 foreign terrorist groups as of April 2008?

This pop culture, Holy Grail of numbers appears in many stories. Napoleon Bonaparte graduated forty-second at fifty-eight – proving once again that you don’t have to be at the top of your class to make history, although a higher rank may have helped a bit at Waterloo more.

Ben Franklin completed 42 years of public service. Our youngest president, Teddy Roosevelt, was 42 years old when he took the oath of office. Rosa Parks was 42 years old in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus. 42 years after Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, China became the third country to send a man into space. Jung Lee Way, in Shun Jo 5, circled the Earth 14 times. I feel compelled to point out that fourteen is one-third of 42.

42,000 feet is the ceiling for commercial aircraft. Captain Cook traveled 4,200 miles. The average annual income in Hoover’s day was $4,200, and there are 42 gallons in a barrel of crude oil. And, who can forget 42nd and Broadway?

Happiness is not the greatest number of Adam’s favorite numbers. In February 2003, NASA’s 42-year history of no re-entry problems ended with the loss of the space shuttle Columbia. Lenny Bruce, Gilda Radner and Elvis Presley died at the age of 42. In fact, Elvis earned $42 million in 2006.

It is even in the Bible; Matthew lists 42 generations between Abraham and Jesus – divided into three groups of fourteen. Additionally, the fourth-century Christian historian Eusebius of Caesarea places the birth of Jesus in the forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus.

Here in the state of Florida! There are 42 bridges in the Florida Keys. National Geographic reported on the relocation of a 350-ton Florida Oak. The root ball is 42 meters in diameter. In October 1995, all 42 members of the Governor’s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida issued a unanimous statement condemning the state of the Everglades.

Literature also has 42. The wedding cake in Charles Dickens’ “The Magic Fishbone” is 42 feet in circumference. In “Tolkien’s The Two Towers”, Gimley the dwarf kills 42 Orks in the Battle of Helm’s Deep. There are 42 chapters in Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22”. It makes me very happy. JK Rowling completed the Harry Potter series in her forty-second year.

The list contains many things that I think are no longer true. A 2001 study revealed that 42 percent of women thought their dogs were better listeners than their husbands. In 2004, we heard that 42 percent of NASCAR fans were women. In 2007 we learned that 42 percent of blind American adults are married. In fact, I was so tired of recording data from the survey that I began to suspect their author of being a die-hard Adams fan.

My research has left me with many questions. Do red blood cells only last 42 days as reported by Discover in 2002? Still 1/42 inch of hidden text embedded in our money as Nova PBS claimed in 2002? Are there still 42 political parties in Iraq like in 2004? Does the US government still own 42 percent of Wyoming and New Mexico? Does Hewlett Packard still make 42% of the company’s profits from ink sales, as reported in 2007? Didn’t you always know they stuck with us with those cartridges?

And, my personal life? A 42-year-old treasure. It was my sister’s age that I was able to send her an email on her birthday. 42 degrees is the magic temperature where the dryer stops working in cold weather. Our pianist says the best humidity for a piano is 42 percent – he doesn’t know about me. The addition my father built on our childhood home was 42 feet deep. It was also number 42 on the Patient Rights and Responsibilities list when I had my stomach removed in 2006.

When my husband Googled the second album released under my daughter’s name, there were 42,000 hits, the first being a heavy metal site in Everitt, Pennsylvania that wanted $50 for “Harvest” which they sell as a non-Christian CD. very rare. I resisted the urge to write and told them I had a few left that I would be happy to let go of for the lowest price of…oh, say $42.

And then there is astronomy itself. For example, how many years is the day at the poles of Uranus? And night? 42. This phenomenon is due to the fact that the axis of the planet is almost vertical to the plane of the orbit.

I really want our nearest star to be 4.2 light years away. At first, I thought I would be disappointed with it. Alpha Centauri’s twin star, often described as the closest outside the solar system, is 4.3 light-years away. But wait! The famous twin star system includes a third, smaller star, Proxima Centauri, which is 4.2 light years from Earth – well, 4.22, if you want to get technical.

Two of the most interesting astronomical cases of Adams’ favorite numbers emerged after his death. In 2007, scientists discovered the dwarf galaxy Canis Major named for its constellation, 42,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way. The forty-second entry in the list is the Allen telescope in the Cascade Mountains of Northern California, which has 42 dishes each twenty feet in diameter. It was funded by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, and the search for extraterrestrial life began in 2006. Anyway, I think Adams liked it.

copyright 2009 by Donna W. Hill

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