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2 definitions by Douglas Adams' Ghost

 
1.
Bistromathics itself is simply a revolutionary new way of understanding the behavior of numbers, Just as Einstein observed that space was not an absolute but depended on the observer's movement in space and that time was not an absolute, but depended on the observer's movement in time, so it is now realized that numbers am not absolute, but depend on the observer's movement in restaurants.
The first non absolute number is the number of people for whom the table is reserved. This will vary during the course of the first three telephone calls to the restaurant, and then bear no apparent relation to the number of people who actually turn up, or to the number of people who subsequently join them after the show/match/party/gig or to the number of people who leave when they see who else has turned up.
The second non absolute number is the given time of arrival, which is now known to be one of those most bizarre of mathematical concepts, a recipriversexcluson, a number whose existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself in other words, the given time of arrival is the one moment of time at which it is impossible that any member of the party will arrive. Recipriversexclusons now play a vital part in many branches of math, including statistics and accountancy and also form the basic equations used to engineer the Somebody Else's Problem field.
The third and most mysterious piece of non absoluteness of all lies in the relationship between the number of items on the check, the cost of each item, the number of people at the table and what they are each prepared to pay for (The number of people who actually brought money is only a sub phenomenon in this field.)
The baffling discrepancies that used to occur at this point remained un investigated for centuries simply because no one took them seriously. They were at the time put down to such things as politeness, rudeness, meanness, flashiness, tiredness, emotionality or the lateness of the hour, and completely forgoten about on the following morning. They were never tested under laboratory conditions, of course, because they never occurred in laboratories-not in reputable laboratories at least.
And so it was only with the advent of pocket computers that the startling truth became finally apparent, and it was this:
Numbers written on restaurant checks within the confines of restaurants do not follow the same mathematical laws as numbers written on any other pieces of paper in any other parts of the Universe.
This single statement took the scientific world by storm. It campietely revolutionized it. So many mathematical conferences got held in luch good restaurants that many of the finest minds of a generation died of obesity and heart-failure and the science of math was put backi by years.
Slowly, however; the implications of the idea began to be understood. To begin with it had been too stark, too crazy, too much like what the man in the street would have said "Oh, yes, I could have told you that."
Then some phrases like "Interactive Subjectivity Frameworks" were invented, and everybody was able to relax and get on with it.
The small groups of monks who had taken up hanging around the major research institutes singing strange chants to the effect that the Universe was only a figment of its own imagination were eventually given a street theater grant and went away.
"Bistromathematics. The most powerful computational force know to para-science."
by Douglas Adams' Ghost February 17, 2005
 
2.
The Babel fish is small yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier, but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the unconscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them.

The practical upshot of this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.

Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves that you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.

"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is whte and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys, but that did not stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best selling book 'Well That About Wraps It Up For God'.

Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different race and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.
"Ford..."
"Yes?"
"What's this fish doing in my ear?!"
by Douglas Adams' Ghost February 17, 2005