Grand Design Interview - Why is the Earth Round? (UG)

1 Conversation

Official UnderGuide Entry

There are two arguments here. The first is that life and everything around it was designed and hence there must have been a designer and that designer was God.

The second is that everything happened through chance and evolution.

I tend to believe in the first one.

Q. Why is the world round?

A. Well, initially it was not. The original world was flat and populated with some rather nice dinosaurs but they were not great thinkers and kept falling off the edge. Unfortunately, by the time I noticed, it was too late and they more or less became extinct.

After that little incident, I decided to populate the place with something with a little more brain, but, just to stay on the safe side, I folded up the edges and surrounded the land with undrinkable water, hoping that this would stop them from venturing out too far and falling off.

This seemed to do the trick and everything ticked along nicely for a while. Unfortunately, the extra brainpower allowed them to invent the boat. They knew the world was flat and were scared of falling off the edge, but they were too inquisitive. I could not take the risk of losing them again and so I decided to make it round.

This new design caused me a few stability problems - as you know, round things tend to roll. I had to find a round world design, which did not roll off the mantelpiece.

The new 3D aspects of the design also raised the issue of not being able to see what was going on around the back of the world (the part facing the wall).

You can sum up my design objectives as follows:

    Stop it rolling away.

    Allow me to see what was going on everywhere without having to get up.

There was no easy answer, round things roll, so the only thing I could do was to suspend the round world in a square frame. Using string meant that they could use it to crawl out, hence the use of lots of gravitational glue and some very complex centrifugal calculations.

My second objective was a little harder to achieve. I could solve the "having to get up problem" by making the Earth spin by itself, but being able to see what was going on everywhere at any time could only be solved by carefully placed mirrors. I tried the mirrors, but besides looking tacky, imagine the shock Galileo would have had.

After a great deal of pondering, I decided on a compromise. I argued that if there wasn't anything happening on the other side of the world, then there wouldn't be any need for me to see what was going on there.

Therefore, to reduce their activity I had two design choices: 1. genetically make them blind for 12 hours a day; 2. turn off the lights so they couldn't see and therefore had to stay put.

I decided on the second choice. I removed the second Sun from the universal frame and carefully positioned the other Sun to create the Day and Night effect.

Sitting comfortably in my armchair watching the world go by I noticed that the Top and Bottom ends tended to give me a neck ache. Again, I decided that a reduced activity solution was best, so I made a few minor "cold" adjustments, which in theory would stop anyone wanting to go to there.

I was very happy with this version of the world. From my point of view (sitting in my armchair looking straight ahead), I had all the benefits of a Flat Screen viewing experience but with the safety aspects of a round one.

Q. So science is wrong, the world hasn't always been round then?

A.Like I said, my first world was flat. What you call science is really just a logbook of what I have been doing in these past years. Besides the last bits and bobs which I have added and that you have not yet itemised, there isn't much else left to discover. It's simple really: when the world was flat you noticed that the world was flat (mainly because you kept falling of the edge); after I made it round you noticed it was round and thought that it had never been flat. Really clever science that, hey?

Q. What are the last bits and bobs, which you have added?

A. Not a lot really, just more space - your spaceflights and long-range telescopes have forced me to slightly increase the size of the universal frame, add a few more distant stars, increase the gravitational pull and put on ice my water garden project I had in mind for Mars. I bet you someone proves that the formula that a falling object accelerates at is wrong in the next few years.

Q. Talking about Mars, Why did you create uninhabited planets such as Jupiter, Mars, Venus, etc?

A. Uninhabited planets? Oh, you mean my pilot Earths. Well, I told you that those gravitational and centrifugal calculations were difficult and I never ever said that I got it right the first time round. As it happened, Mercury actually turned out to be a good distance from the Sun for my barbecue set and Pluto is where I place my drinks to keep them cold. Jupiter was my initial effort to slow you lot down but I exaggerated with the gravity glue and activity became zero.

*     *     *     *     *

And for the follow-up interview with the Devil...

Q. Why is the World Round?

A. Well actually, it's not, my world is very flat. As I mentioned in a recent interview, the inhabitants have been too busy to even invent the wheel, let alone walk far enough to fall off the edge of the Earth.

Q. Have you thought of using a Day and Night activity reducer?

A. Yes, but it didn't seem to make any difference, they seem to be at it all of the time, lights on or off.

Q. So how are you going to resolve the overpopulation problem?

A. Genetically I can do lots of things but I am sure they would hate me for it, so I have decided on the second option, which is to reduce the size of the world, hoping that at least a few of them will bounce off the edge.

Q. What about the scientists, are you worried about their long-range telescopes and possible space travel implications?

A. What, weren't you listening? You can't just read from a list of questions without listening to the answers. After a week, any scientist here wouldn't have enough breath left to blow up a balloon let alone fly into space. Besides, they're causing enough problems with their short-range telescopes as it is.

Q. So you haven't got any intention of making the Earth round then?

A. What for? They're doing enough rolling around on a flat world. Curvatures would only encourage them.

Q. What are your future plans

A. Get rid of the free heating system hence forcing them to have more cold showers.

Q. Your flat design means that you don't have to get up to see what's going on then?

A. What are you talking about? I know exactly what's going on. I don't need to see it.

Q. Has your world got one or two suns?

A. One.

Q. Why only one?

A. How many has your world got?

Q. One. So your world goes around the Sun like ours?

A. No, both are in fixed positions. I didn't have to opt for the 12 hour going blind option. It seemed to come naturally to them.

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Categorised In:

Written by


h2g2 Entries


h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more