42

Executive Summary, aka tl;dr

This blog-post was originally conceived as a bit of expanded internal documentation for the tables produced by Prino's lift program, and more specifically those in the "summ.h-h", file, and had Prino left it that, it would never have seen the light of day.

However, when during a ride the name of Douglas Adams popped-up, and the driver asked if Prino ever had had rides of 42 km, or of 0:42 hour, this piqued Prino's interest, and he decided that it might be interesting(?) to enhance the documentation to include actual data (in this case up to 2019-12-31T24:00), and to highlight all occurrences of 42, and add some historical or interesting(?) information, where that made any sense.

The result is a page with a size of half-a-megabyte, that you can load in its entirety by clicking here. Or you can just read the much smaller version below, just don't click on the links, because they only work on the big page, and Prino just could not be bothered to neuter them.

Introduction

As most of the readers of this blog know, Prino has three great passions in life, in order of importance, Audronė, hitchhiking, and numbers, and there is an interesting connection between Audronė, Prino, and hitchhiking, in that Prino met Audronė while attending the 4th International Hitch-Hiking Congress in Vilnius during the weekend of 4-5 March 2000, having been invited by Augustas, Audronė's son.

When they met for the first time on 3 March, his first words to her were "Ah, you must be Augustas sister" (Augustas had told him that he lived with his mother and sister), to which she replied "No, I'm his mother". The rest is history, and they got married on 8 September 2001, unbeknownst to them that Douglas Adams had died a few months earlier, on 11 May 2001.

Of course every hitchhiker should know who Douglas Adams is, and if not, have a look at The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the book which originated as a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, and the number that's forever connected to hitchhiking, 42. Why 42? I'll leave the explanation to the Douglas Adams himself.

Now that we have a (another) connection between numbers and hitchhiking, Prino thought it would be a nice gesture to create a permanent "memorial" to the guy by incorporating 42 in some kind of meaningful way into lift, his program that processes the data he collects when he's on the road, trying to get from A to B, or just from A to A in a big irregularly shaped polygon…

A quick grep on the Pascal source code that's used to build lift showed him that there are already four occurrences of 42 in "hhcommon.pas", the unit that contains most variables and constants, but they're all in comments, and knowing that the variable "pATim" has the value 42 is of little interest. So, Prino went through the 120 tables the program currently produces, and eventually decided that only one particular set of 4 tables, generated twice, once for rides, once for days, would do. Those tables show the number of consecutive rides (or days, and neither of them necessarily in a single trip) that were done with the highest speed (Hurrah!), that were done with the lowest speed (Sad face), that covered the largest distance, and that, in a matter of speaking, didn't get him anywhere.

Having done so, 42 would appear eight times in the main summary output file, but when looking at it, Prino thought it would be fun, yes, his ideas of fun obviously are a bit "funny", to look if and where the "Douglas" number showed up in other places in this file (as of 2019-12-31, creating this blog entry took rather a lot of time), and a "f ' 42 ' all" command in his favourite editor showed no less than 48 occurrences! (Obviously 42 would have been the icing on the cake…)

2016

Yes, unlike 42 you are allowed to pull the above number to pieces, and you should arrive at the multiplication of 42 and 48.

So where can you find all 48 occurrences of the number 42, in the snapshot of "summ.h-h" that was created on 1 January 2020, so includes all Prino's rides until 31 December 2019?

An annotated snapshot of "summ.h-h" file from lift as of 2019-12-31T24:00

To read on, almost seamlessly, you have to click here.

Last updated on 11 May 2020 (Initial version)


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