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10 Reasons 42 Is The Most Important Number In The Universe

It can't be a coincidence that donated blood lasts only 42 days.

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You're probably familiar with 42. It's just a number, right? The one that comes after 41 and before 43? Well, what if we told you it has a ~deeper meaning~?

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You ready? Buckle up.

It all started with Douglas Adams' cult radio show turned novel turned movie, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. If you're not familiar, the fictional series proclaims that 42 is "the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything".

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This answer was determined by the supercomputer Deep Thought after a lazy 7.5 million years of calculations. The question, however, remains unknown. Curious? Watch it here.

Adams later confessed that it was all a joke and he chose the number randomly. But over the years, 42 has continued to appear in history, maths, science, and pop culture, which made us wonder, Could it really be the ultimate answer after all?!

Let's investigate.

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We've already touched on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, BUT another thing worth noting is that when the movie premiered in 2005 it raked in £4.2m at the box office.

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That's one spooky coincidence.

Author Lewis Carroll (who was also a mathematician) had a fascination with the number as well. Rule 42 in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland states "All persons more than a mile high to leave the court."

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It's referenced (with varying levels of subtlety) throughout the series, like when Alice attempts multiplication or in relation to the Red Queen's age, for example. It's also referenced in Carroll's other texts, such as The Hunting of the Snark.

In Finding Nemo, Dory and Marlin are on a mission to 42 Wallaby Way to, well, find Nemo.

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(Side note: We learned the hard way that this place does not exist.)

In the TV show Lost, it's the last number in the oft referenced number sequence 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. The number 42 plays an important role and pops up repeatedly throughout the series.

More on that here.
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More on that here.

There's an episode of Doctor Who called "42" in which the Doctor has exactly 42 minutes to rescue his crew, which is aboard a spaceship hurtling towards the sun.

Getty Images / Le Voyage à travers l'impossible / Star-Film / Via gypsyastronaut.tumblr.com

The episode itself also lasts for 42 minutes.

In the series Supernatural, the episode "Inside Man" features a door labelled 42 that leads to the gate of heaven.

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On Coldplay's Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, there's a song called "42" about life and death.

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Chris Martin claims it's called that because 42 is his favourite number. How suspicious...

While we're on the topic of music, "Channel 42" is also the name of an electronic dance track by Deadmau5 and Wolfgang Gartner.

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In the tech world, specifically the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII), 42 is the code for the asterisk symbol, which signifies a wildcard character on the keyboard.

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Wildcard characters are generally used to replace other characters or to symbolise ~the unknown~.

And finally, in Risk – the board game about world domination – the map is divided into 42 territories.

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Perhaps the most compelling piece of evidence is this: Donated blood lasts only 42 days. So maybe it is the answer to life, the universe, and everything after all.

  1. So what do you think? Is the number 42 the answer to life?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yes! I am shook.
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Err, no, it's just a number...
    Correct
    Incorrect
    42.
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So what do you think? Is the number 42 the answer to life?
  1.  
    vote votes
    Yes! I am shook.
  2.  
    vote votes
    Err, no, it's just a number...
  3.  
    vote votes
    42.
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