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Old 03-24-2017, 09:04 AM   #1
Walter Martindale
Location: Cambridge, ON
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 739
Canada
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42

Not sure how many aikido people are Douglas Adams fans - used to be lots - but I recently heard an explanation of where Adams's use of 42 as "the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything" may have come from...

42 is the decimal ASCII code for the asterisk (*) symbol.

The asterisk, is used to represent "whatever you want" or "anything".

So the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is - whatever you want ...

Adams had a lot of hidden references to religion, society, government, bureaucracy, and other things - some not so hidden.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:54 AM   #2
PeterR
 
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Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,317
Japan
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Re: 42

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
Not sure how many aikido people are Douglas Adams fans - used to be lots - but I recently heard an explanation of where Adams's use of 42 as "the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything" may have come from...

42 is the decimal ASCII code for the asterisk (*) symbol.

The asterisk, is used to represent "whatever you want" or "anything".

So the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is - whatever you want ...

Adams had a lot of hidden references to religion, society, government, bureaucracy, and other things - some not so hidden.
Who knew - but so obvious on hind sight. I saw that recently too.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:16 AM   #3
sorokod
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 775
United Kingdom
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Re: 42

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
The asterisk, is used to represent "whatever you want" or "anything".
That actually would be ".*" - match anything any number of times, in regular expression speak.

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Old 03-24-2017, 12:29 PM   #4
shuckser
Dojo: Brighton Aikikai, UK
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 42
United Kingdom
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Re: 42

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
That actually would be ".*" - match anything any number of times, in regular expression speak.
That's true, and "any number of times" can also be "zero" in this case.

However, while an old standard, I don't think Regular Expressions would have been as well known or well used among computer nerds of Adams' era as the de-facto * and ? file matching patterns. Especially for nerds who were tinkerers rather than programmers.
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