Don’t Panic: Google Just Paid Tribute To Douglas Adams With An Doodle

Google has done it again. On the 61st birthday of the great Douglas Adams, Google chooses to pay tribute to the author who almost set alight a whole new genre and fired up the imagination of so many people, most of whom became his fans. The scale is massive, the ideas, all taken from his book, span the entire length and breadth of the universe and the doodle epic! Let’s just hitchhike through the whole animated doodle.

Oh that Frood!

Before that, a brief introduction to who Douglas Adams was.  Since you can read up on him on Wikipedia, I’m going to be opinionated and basically give you a fan’s eye view of the genius. Towering at 6’ 5’’, Adams was the perfect example of the gentle giant you read about in literature – the person who melts the hearts of children with his warmth and endears the adults alike with his wide depth of knowledge in so many different fields. And of course, wins over the entire galaxy with his unique sense of humor, sarcastic and dry in parts, warm and witty at other times, but never alienating. His most favorite bragging right included that fact that his initials are D.N.A. (Douglas Noel Adams is his full name).

Remembering Adams

Of course, the one-liners don’t hurt at all. The reach of his imagination spanned till the end of the universe, where he founded a restaurant in which time was just an illusion, especially lunchtime, doing all sorts of crazy things! And that spaceship, the Heart of Gold, which could zap through every point in space-time all at once but then end up in an indeterminate state! And that paranoid android Marvin who could kill a supercomputer just out of depression! And of course, who can forget the mad two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy! All of this and much much more make Douglas Adams, who is no longer with us, that same smiling genius towering over all of us, literally and metaphorically, gently imploring us all to think a little bit beyond our own reach.

And of course, 42!

Google’s Doodle

Google does a splendid job with the doodle. Go the page and click once on the calculator, on which is written ‘Don’t Panic’, one of the Adams trademark lines. You’ll be greeted with an animated video accompanied by digital music. Subsequent clicks yield more such scenes. I’ll just describe a few of these – don’t treat them as spoilers, just enjoy them.

Scene: Translation

The first click gives you a small orange creature, which fellow froods (fans of the author) will recognize to be the Babel fish. When implanted into someone’s ear, it feeds off any sound frequency entering and then excretes a sound frequency which the person can understand. Translating from any known language in the Universe to a language understood by the user, this has removed all barriers of communication. Well, there will definitely be consequences of that!

Scene: Flying

Another shows the art of flying. The “knack [of flying] lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss”, says the Hitchhikers’ Guide. An animation shows a figure throwing himself on the ground and finally flying! Mission accomplished.

Scene: Infinite Improbability

There is definitely the Heart of Gold spaceship and the Infinite Improbability Drive which allows it to go through all space-time points all at once!

Scene: Intelligence

And froods also know that humans are the third most intelligent creatures on Earth preceded by mice and dolphins. An animation celebrates that as well. The trusty towel also is not to be missed.

Scene: The Ultimate Answer

The grand finale is definitely the supercomputer, which is built to compute the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. The animation shows that when it’s asked what ‘1+1=’ is, it shows ‘2’ and when asked what “E=” is, it shows “mc2”, but then it’s asked The question on Life, the Universe and Everything and it computes for millions of years and returns the answer “42”! Of course, the question is unknown!

Google, hats off.  And from a big fan of the author, a big ‘Thank You’!

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Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.