'The electronic I Ching calculator
was badly made. It had probably been manufactured in whichever of the South
countries was busy tooling up to do to South
Korea what South
Korea was busy doing
to Japan. Glue technology had obviously not progressed
in that country to the point
where things could
be successfully held together with it. Already the back
had half fallen off and needed to be stuck back
on with Sellotape.'
'It was much like
an ordinary pocket calculator
that the LCD screen
was a little larger than usual, in order to accommodate the abridged judgments of King
Wen on each of the sixty-four
hexagrams, and also the commentaries of his son, the Duke
of Chou, on each of the lines of the hexagram. These were unusual texts to see marching across
the display of a pocket calculator
, particularly as they had been translated from the Chinese via the Japanese
and seemed to have enjoyed many adventures on the way.'
'The device also functioned as an ordinary calculator
, but only to a limited degree. It could
handle any calculation which returned an answer of anything up to "4".'
'"1 + 1" it could
manage ("2"), and "1 + 2" ("3") and "2 + 2" ("4") or "tan 74" ("3.4874145"), but anything above "4" it represented merely as "A Suffusion of Yellow". Dirk was not certain if this was a programming error or an insight beyond his ability
to fathom, but he was crazy about it anyway, enough
to hand over £20 of ready
cash for the thing.'
--Douglas Adams, "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul"