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Google Sci-Fi Idle News

Google Doodle Celebrates Birthday of Douglas Adams 104

mikejuk writes "Today's Google Doodle celebrates the fact that today would have been Douglas Adam's 61st birthday. For any fans of Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy this isn't to be missed. The interactive doodle takes us aboard the Heart of Gold spaceship where the towel — the essential travel item for any intergalactic voyager sits on the console besides the, also very necessary cup of tea, which is also a reference to a Dirk Gently novel, The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul. There are lots more tributes hidden including Marvin — the real one not the one in the film, a Babel Fish and more. Have fun exploring but make sure you click on the search symbol to find out more about Douglas Adams and his work."
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Google Doodle Celebrates Birthday of Douglas Adams

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  • No, he's 49 (Score:2, Insightful)

    He has 49 been since 2001, and will be long after the dolphins leave and the earth is demolished. Once does not age past death, only decompose.

  • Film? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @02:14PM (#43140835)

    I'm glad no one has ever made a HGTTG film. They would have screwed it up.

    • Re:Film? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pezpunk ( 205653 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @02:30PM (#43141013) Homepage

      Although uneven, the movie was not bad, with a few brilliant parts. it's not like it's "blasphemous" -- Adams himself wildly changed the story every time it switched mediums. It's got most of the best bits from the book, plus a new ending that does more than just stop (as the book does), and as a bonus it does a great job of capturing Adams' absolute love and fascination with life itself.

      not saying it's great beginning to end, but acting like it's any more uneven than a lot of his books is silly.

      • Re:Film? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @02:53PM (#43141227)

        I didn't care for the film on first watch, but warmed up to it after 2 or 3 more viewings. I think the biggest thing they screwed up was "Hollywoodizing" it. It's too American - what I loved about the BBC series and books was their British. Arthur Dent and our window into his world are quintessentially British.

        That said, the movie had some nice new bits, such as cutting back to the pub just before the Earth is destroyed to see everyone lying on the floor with bags on their heads!

        One thing that bothered me was casting Mos Def as Ford. And not because he's black; he's just wrong for the part. I came out of the movie feeling like Ford wasn't in it.

        (captcha: rescind)

        • by pezpunk ( 205653 )

          yeah ... i liked the casting in theory but then not so much in practice. i know what you mean.

          i think my absolute favorite part is the destruction scene: the brutal, stomping musical queues as the camera zooms out from the rubble of arthur's home to outer space, giving a true sense of the mind-breaking scale of the vogon fleet, before it simply ploops the earth into oblivion.

        • Re:Film? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @03:33PM (#43141617) Journal

          I honestly didn't have a problem with Ford, but that may well be because I had no idea there was a Mos Def before I saw the movie. Zaphod, on the other hand, had me grinding out my own fillings.

          And the less said about the iMarvin, the better...

          • I didn't like Mos Def's delivery of the lines; one because he didn't seem to get the timing on a lot of the jokes right, and two because he's not a convincing actor. Conversely... Zaphod I didn't mind because Zaphod is meant to be a complete tit! I like that they tried something different with the second head, but I think it failed really... Zaphod really should have two heads on his shoulders.

            Agreed with the iMarvin though! Also, I liked the new Heart of Gold and the visuals for flipping through infinite
            • I loved the Heart of Gold, too.

              I don't know, my biggest problem with Zaphod wasn't the stupid head-configuration (though I agree with you, it failed). It was more like he gave me the impression that DNA was taking a swipe at the low-hanging fruit of the popular American stereotype.

              The thought was kind of amusing in a meta sort of way, since the whole thing was a Hollywood implementation of quintessential British humor.

        • Re:Film? (Score:4, Funny)

          by rilister ( 316428 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @04:32PM (#43142235)

          "Getting a movie made in Hollywood is like trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it."
          Douglas Adams

      • Re:Film? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Monday March 11, 2013 @03:49PM (#43141769) Homepage Journal

        The original radio series [] is by far the best and funniest version. As people so often say, the pictures are better on the radio. If you haven't heard it, buy yourself a present [].

      • I think it's VERY difficult bringing something on screen that draws most of the humor from encyclopedia entries. Or Footnotes (that would be Terry Pratchett. Still waiting for a decent screen adaption.)

    • Indeed. Can you also imagine a third "Aliens" movie?

      Screwed up too, it would have been.

  • Marvin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @02:14PM (#43140837)

    "There are lots more tributes hidden including Marvin - the real one not the one in the film"

    Huh? What makes the TV Marvin "the real one"?

    I always thought the TV Marvin was completely wrong, compared to how he's described in the books.

    • Re:Marvin (Score:4, Informative)

      by tom17 ( 659054 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @02:26PM (#43140957) Homepage

      Though I agree with your sentiment in principle, when I was a child, the TV series was my first exposure to the story and thusly, for me*, the TV Marvin is the real one (It also had the correct voice which helps the continuity).

      I also went on to consume said story in every other form that I could find, and liked them all, bar one. it helped that, for the most part, the radio and TV show had the same voices.

      However, I know some people that will have seen the film first and to them, *that* is the real Marvin and that just makes me want to curl up & shudder.

      *I have always supposed that for any given story or song, the first version you experienced will always be the greatest in your own mind. Haven't found many exceptions to this rule yet.

    • He was the first one we actually saw a representation of, and the movie was terrible.
    • Re:Marvin (Score:4, Informative)

      by bigattichouse ( 527527 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @03:11PM (#43141375) Homepage

      Sadly, the OP doesn't realize that the TV marvin *WAS* in the movie. He's in the queue for paperwork.

    • Re:Marvin (Score:4, Funny)

      by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @05:55PM (#43143111)

      See, the TV and movie Marvin are the same. Marvin keeps getting all his parts replaced, given that he's several times older than the universe itself.

      New chassis, new interface, new hydraulics, everything's been replaced several times in different tech levels and different planets...

      (except for one bank of painful diodes on the left side. )

      • by tom17 ( 659054 )

        If that was the case, who was in the Vogon office lining up in the film?

        (hint: The TV Marvin)

        • A few options:
          1. Marvin himself, filling out the forms. Since they can time travel, the rest of the crew knew how long it would take to get the release forms sorted out and left him there for 100,000 years.
          2. A robot built out of the replacement parts, that, due to a shipping accident, ended up with a new bank of left-side diodes.

  • I'm getting the standard Google logo.

    Does it not work when you use SSL?

  • by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @02:27PM (#43140971)
    It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'As pretty as an Airport' appear. - Douglas Adams []

  • that I threw myself at the ground and missed. On the bright side, I now know how to fly.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ingenious, humorous and really well done! Thanks for the "big warm smile" e

  • by eegad ( 588763 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @03:37PM (#43141653)
    ... a strong Brownian Motion producer, which is essential for the Infinite Improbability Drive which powers Zaphod's stolen spaceship, the Heart of Gold.

    So Adams must have mentioned tea in more than one body of work, which isn't too surprising for an Englishman.

    BTW, editors, it's Douglas Adams' birthday, not Douglas Adam's birthday. Although, according to infinite improbability, there is probably a Douglas Adam whose birthday it is today as well. Oh dear...
    • by the_other_chewey ( 1119125 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @04:29PM (#43142185)

      ... a strong Brownian Motion producer, which is essential for the Infinite Improbability Drive which powers Zaphod's stolen spaceship, the Heart of Gold.

      So Adams must have mentioned tea in more than one body of work, which isn't too surprising for an Englishman.

      Completely useless stats for the record:

      Tea is mentioned 31 times in the five volumes of the Hitchhiker Trilogy. That includes
      once in the first volume's dedication ("...for tea, sympathy, and a sofa"), and three
      uses of the phrase "a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea"
      (twice in vol. 1, once in vol. 2).

      In detail:

      • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: 5
      • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: 13
      • Life, the Universe, and Everything: 8
      • So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish: 4
      • Mostly Harmless: 1
    • ... a strong Brownian Motion producer, which is essential for the Infinite Improbability Drive which powers Zaphod's stolen spaceship, the Heart of Gold. all that fun with Arthur's attempt to get a cup of tea from the Nutrimatic machine.

      Oh, and the title of the Dirk Gently book was taken from the third HHGTTG novel, anyway.

  • Wow, I post a comment [] and two hours later it's become the subject of a front page story. Seems a bit like something out of one of DA's books. Or one of PDK's, take your pick.

  • The summary links to, and there's no doodle - at least, not for me, even after a ctrl-F5. On [], though, it's there in all its glory.
  • Have a nice diurnal anomaly!

  • Here's a link to a rather good tribute podcast made for what would have been his 59th Birthday, including Simon Jones (Arthur Dent), Mark Carwardine, Stephen Mangan, Dirk Maggs, and me as the voice of Douglas himself. []

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I tried a bunch of localised Googles (, .is, .nl, .fr, .de, .ie, ...) and now I know how to say DON'T PANIC in 26 languages. Now that's pretty thorough.

  • Now that I'm using Google Plus, I don't get the Google Doodles anymore; I'm always shunted to a vanilla search page, with a small sign that cajoles me into using Google's Chrome browser instead of whatever else I'm using at the time. Attempts to view the front page or the Canadian *.ca search page senses that I'm a Google Plus user, and shunts me back to the "you would be happier if you used Chrome" doodle-less page.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser