The Universe - some information to help you live in it.
1. Area: Infinite.
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy offers this definition of the word "Infinite".
Infinite: Bigger than the biggest thing ever and then some. Much bigger than that in fact, really amazingly immense, a totally stunning size, "wow, that's big", time. Infinity is just so big that by comparison, bigness itself looks really titchy. Gigantic multiplied by colossal multiplied by staggeringly huge is the sort of concept we're trying to get across here.
2. Imports: None.
It is impossible to import things into an infinite area, there being no outside to import things in from. 3. Exports: None.
4. Population: None.
It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
5. Monetary Units: None.
In fact there are three freely convertible currencies in the Galaxy, but none of them count. The Altairan Dollar has recently collapsed, the Flaninian Pobble Bead is only exchangeable for other Flaninian Pobble Beads, and the Triganic Pu has its own very special problems. Its exchange rate of eight Ningis to one Pu is simple enough, but since a Ningi is a triangular rubber coin six thousand eight hundred miles across each side, no one has ever collected enough to own one Pu. Ningis are not negotiable currency because the Galactibanks refuse to deal in fiddling small change. From this basic premise it is very simple to prove that the Galactibanks are also the product of a deranged imagination.
6. Art: None.
The function of art is to hold the mirror up to nature, and there simply isn't a mirror big enough - see point one.
7. Sex: None.
Well, in fact there is an awful lot of this, largely because of the total lack of money, trade, banks, art, or anything else that might keep all the non-existent people of the Universe occupied. However, it is not worth embarking on a long discussion of it now because it really is terribly complicated. For further information see Guide Chapters seven, nine, ten, eleven, fourteen, sixteen, seventeen, nineteen, twenty-one to eighty-four inclusive, and in fact most of the rest of the Guide.
The Restaurant at the Endo of the Univers on page 245
The disadvantages involved in pulling lots of black sticky slime from out of the ground where it had been safely hidden out of harm's way, turning it into tar to cover the land with, smoke to fill the air with and pouring the rest into the sea, all seemed to outweigh the advantages of being able to get more quickly from one place to another - particularly when the place you arrived at had probably become, as a result of this, very similar to the place you had left, i.e. covered with tar, full of smoke and short of fish.
The Restaurant at the Endo of the Univers on page 257
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.
This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time.
Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.
Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.
So long, and Thanks for all the Fish on page 463
There is an art, it says, or rather a knack to flying.
The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Pick a nice day, it suggests, and try it.
The first part is easy.
All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt.
That is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground.
Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard.
Clearly, it's the second point, the missing, which presents the difficulties.
One problem is that you have to miss the ground accidentally. It's no good deliberately intending to miss the ground because you won't. You have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you're halfway there, so that you are no longer thinking about falling, or about the ground, or about how much it's going to hurt if you fail to miss it.
It is notoriously difficult to prise your attention away from these three things during the split second you have at your disposal. Hence most people's failure, and their eventual disillusionment with this exhilarating and spectacular sport.
If, however, you are lucky enough to have your attention momentarily distracted at the crucial moment by, say, a gorgeous pair of legs (tentacles, pseudopodia, according to phyllum and/or personal inclination) or a bomb going off in your vicinity, or by suddenly spotting an extremely rare species of beetle crawling along a nearby twig, then in your astonishment you will miss the ground completely and remain bobbing just a few inches above it in what might seem to be a slightly foolish manner.
This is a moment for superb and delicate concentration.
Bob and float, float and bob.
Ignore all considerations of your own weight and simply let yourself waft higher.
Do not listen to what anybody says to you at this point they are unlikely to say anything helpful.
They are most likely to say something along the lines of, "Good God, you can't possibly be flying!"
It is vitally important not to believe them or they will suddenly be right.
Waft higher and higher.
Try a few swoops, gentle ones at first, then drift above the treetops breathing regularly.
Do not wave at anybody.
When you have done this a few times you will find the moment of distraction rapidly becomes easier and easier to achieve.
You will then learn all sorts of things about how to control your flight, your speed, your manoeuvrability, and the trick usually lies in not thinking too hard about whatever you want to do, but just allowing it to happen as if it was going to anyway.
You will also learn how to land properly, which is something you will almost certainly cock up, and cock up badly, on your first attempt.
There are private flying clubs you can join which help you achieve the all-important moment of distraction. They hire people with surprising bodies or opinions to leap out from behind bushes and exhibit and/or explain them at the crucial moments. Few genuine hitch-hikers will be able to afford to join these clubs, but some may be able to get temporary employment at them.
Life, the Universe and everything on page 359
There is a feeling which persists in England that making a sandwich interesting, attractive, or in any way pleasant to eat is something sinful that only foreigners do.
"Make 'em dry," is the instruction buried somewhere in the collective national consciousness, "make 'em rubbery. If you have to keep the buggers fresh, do it by washing 'em once a week."
It is by eating sandwiches in pubs on Saturday lunchtimes that the British seek to atone for whatever their national sins have been. They're not altogether clear what those sins are, and don't want to know either. Sins are not the sort of things one wants to know about. But whatever their sins are they are amply atoned for by the sandwiches they make themselves eat.
If there is anything worse than the sandwiches, it is the sausages which sit next to them. Joyless tubes, full of gristle, floating in a sea of something hot and sad, stuck with a plastic pin in the shape of a chef's hat: a memorial, one feels, for some chef who hated the world, and died, forgotten and alone among his cats on a back stair in Stepney.
The sausages are for the ones who know what their sins are and wish to atone for something specific.
So long, and Thanks for all the Fish on page 508