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DON'T PANIC: Google's Insanely Complicated Douglas Adams Interactive Doodle

Danny Goodwin
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Today's interactive Google Doodle featuring the famous words "DON'T PANIC" (in large, friendly letters on the cover) is in tribute to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and author Douglas Adams, who was born on this date in 1952.

You see, the words "DON'T PANIC" were to prevent intergalactic travelers from panicking when using the "insanely complicated" device.

Clicking on the guide will show you various references to the galaxy created by Adams, including the babel fish translator, that Earth is "mostly harmless", how intelligent mice and dolphins are, and supercomputer Deep Thought, which will (eventually) tell you that 42 is the meaning to life and everything – much like a search on Google for [the answer to life the universe and everything].

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Also appearing in Google's Doodle tribute to the comedic galaxy of "The Hitchhiker's Guide" is a towel, which is of utmost importance because it is "about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. …any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with."

After Adams' death on May 11, 2001, fans observed Towel Day as a tribute to the author for the first time on May 25.

Over on the left, if you hover your mouse near those doors, they will open and reveal Marvin the Paranoid Android, the robot on the Heart of Gold spaceship.

Arthur Dent's cup of tea is another prominent feature in the interactive Doodle. Dent is depicted as a man who loves his tea, at times seemingly being "interested in nothing more than tea."

"The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy" started as a BBC radio show and later became a increasingly inaccurately named trilogy of five novels. Other versions of the series included a television adaption, stage shows, games, comics, and a 2005 movie.

"The world (to be fair, the universe) of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is complex, chaotic, and often contradictory, with multiple timelines and probability axes colliding in assuredly comic ways," wrote Doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino. "The various exotic planets, alien races, and intergalactic sociopolitical situations are usually filtered through the lens of the series' most useful piece of futuristic technology – the Guide itself, published out of Ursa Minor Beta. The Guide's task of organizing the galaxy's information struck a chord with us, which is why we gave it special attention in our doodle. Through it, you can get a small peek into the unrelentingly hilarious universe created by Douglas Adams."

Once midnight comes around tonight, we'll be saying so long, and thanks Google for the Douglas Adams Doodle.


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