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In memory of Douglas

Post 21


Regarding the award: It looks like Eric the Fruitbat is suggesting it be a scholarship. That, in itself, is fine by me, but unless you restrict it to just one college, you've got a huge search to perform to find candidates that don't apply for it. If you do restrict it to one college or university, then you're missing a whole globe full of clever people, but you narrow the search parameters.
The technological advance idea is actually what you would come up with if you extracted it straight from the Book, and I would be in favor of that, as well. However, I WOULD like a chance to win it and that could only happen if it were for writers/composers. I don't know this, but would Douglas want to encourage people to write? I certainly think he would.
As far as restricting the field to H2G2 writers, they would obviously be the first to know when the contest would go on, but I think you should have to enter it. That way, the judges don't have to have read every Guide entry made that year. I'm looking at saving time and effort here. In reducing costs, what's cheaper than e-mailing the judges the submissions, and collecting a vote on who should win? Then you spend the price of a registered letter and mail the winner the check or, as suggested before, non-monetary prize that they might like (tm). It's not very ceremonious, nor will it be very prestigious at the beginning, but that will build as it gains reputation.

I like putting the books on the web, but if they're not already, they soon will be. Doesn't really benefit anybody as such, either.

Phoenix - Don't think I didn't notice your suggesting Illusions...

In memory of Douglas

Post 22


Despite "Last Chance to see" being on the very serious subject of endangered species, there are some very funny bits in it. I particularly liked the bird that was so traumatised it could only make love to a hat.

Sorry - topic drift!

Of the ideas put up so far, a day of action sounds best to me - some of the others (scholarships etc) are excellent ideas which may be a bit difficult to administer; a day of action really puts the onus on individuals, and I think that this would be more in line with what DNA thought. It's all about one man's struggle to change an unfair and illogical universe. Or even just to survive in it. Or even just to get a decent cup of tea (or coffee)

In memory of Douglas

Post 23


I think all these ideas are excellent. The two things I think he would most admire would be:

a) Reading a good book, and enthusing about it to others to get them to read it. I recommend two popular science titles: 'The Meme Machine' by Dr. Susan Blackmore - following an idea of Dawkins', centering on the human brain's capacity for spreading ideas and other phenomena), and 'Genome' by Matt Ridley - about, surprisingly, the human gemone and how extremely cool DNA is (Heh!). I just started this second one this morning. They're both clear, witty and about the most revealing and enjoyable books I've read on science; like a breath of fresh air with a little laughing gas mixed in. smiley - smiley

b) A constantly running competition (of sorts) to get people writing about and explaining science so that as many people as possible can understand it and themselves get interested and enthusiastic. Douglas would have wanted everyone to be able to learn to think, and to apply and spread that ability as wide as possible.

In memory of Douglas

Post 24


Hi, Peta and y'all smiley - smiley

I support the book idea, and the 'action day', and I like some of the others as well. I'll have to think on it some more...

Some intriguing, albeit somewhat demanding books:
Mechanisms of Memory by John Erwin Roy (sadly, out of print smiley - sadface)
Science and Sanity & Manhood of Humanity
Both by Alfred Korzybski (probably out of print, but Manhood of Humanity is available online, if you do a search for General Semantics....)

Other art forms, such as poetry, song, dance and the visual arts could be included, as they too are capable of awakening insight to our human-ness, and our relationship to our world.

Douglas loved this planet, and all of us, and I really wish I could have met him.


In memory of Douglas

Post 25


i like the book idea, but i think it should be more than just a book day. perhaps structured like a book club, where on a regular interval (weekly or monthly) a new book would be reccomended, and then there could be a discussion about the book for the people who've read it. i'm thinking something along the lines of 'oprah's book club', but i don't know if you have that outside of usa or are familiar with the concept. there could be different categories for books, so people could choose what kind of book they want to read. i read a lot of science fiction, but it is by far not the only genre i read. we might include a general fiction and a non fiction category. i think douglas would have wanted people to read more than once a year. a book club would be an ongoing memorial.

i think the idea of a 'clever writing' award is good, but we might approach it from a smaller perspective. we could make it open to all of h2g2, also perhaps with different categories, and maybe include runners up. the 'prize' might be a new badge for their user space, something along the lines of 'adams award, best scientific entry, 2001', and award them annually on the anniversary of his death (so we would have a year to collect entries to begin awarding next may). researchers could submit their own entries before a cutoff date for judging.

and i got a towel, more as a practical thing. i'm using it to replace the ratty old blanket i used to keep in my truck for emergencies. so in effect i'm taking my towel with me everywhere as my own personal memorial, but i'm also using it for it's intended purpose.

i feel the above ideas would act as everyday reminders of what douglas has given us. they encourage reading, writitng, creativity, and preparedness all in his memory.

In memory of Douglas

Post 26

Gw7en, Voice of Chaos (Classic)

I have to admit that I like the book club idea. Would we just post the book on the front page, then start a conversation a week later? Hmmm...

Sounds like a good towel there, broelan. And a useful one as well. smiley - smiley


In memory of Douglas

Post 27


The book club idea is a good one. It gets people reading (more than once a year) and encourages discussion, which is the hallmark of a good read: discussing it with your friends.

Actually, I like this incarnation of the Extreme Cleverness Award, too. The badge is a nice idea, it keeps cost down and it's pretty universally accessable. If the judges consider the entires that they like, then, in addition, the entries that people submit, that would give a nice firm base of work to go on. That way, if you write an entry, there's a chance that one of the judges will see it and put it on a list to consider, but if you don't want to take the chance, you can always submit it.
The only qualm I have about it at this point is, for me, that it has to be a way to remember Douglas year after year, ad infinitum. A bit of a WWDL (What Would Douglas Like?), if you will.
That's why, at this point, I favor the creative writing/composing/painting/movie making/etc... contest.
I don't know. If this idea goes forward, it will need a significant amount of hashing out so we can properly remember Douglas and his work, in addition to recognizing the talent of the community members. There's something that I really want to say here, but I can't put it into words. At this point, I would like Douglas back so he can tell us what he'd like to see.

In memory of Douglas

Post 28

pheloxi | is it time to wear a hat? |

I have idea to remember Douglas Adams.
Day 42 (11 february):
Happy Adam's Towel day.
Week 42:
Election of Towel Personelity of the year.
A Towel Personality (incomplete list):
- "towel ready" according to hitch-hiker's guide.
- a community keeper.
- sense of humor.
- promotor of good nature.
Order of the week (just a thought)
Monday to Thursday : nomination
Friday and Saterday: voting

In memory of Douglas

Post 29

pheloxi | is it time to wear a hat? |

A note about "Towel Personelity" Award.

The "Towel Personelity" name would be "word of mouth" name, like "Oscars" for "Academy Awards". The official name would be Douglas Adams Award.

I am sorry I needed add this in separate message.

In memory of Douglas

Post 30


I suspect we are going to have numerous official, unofficial, serious as well as playful ways to remember Douglas.

Regarding the towel idea, how about calling it the:
'Douglas Adams Memorial International Towel Award for Love and Laughter'

I think he would have liked the acronym!


In memory of Douglas

Post 31


How about something to do with libraries?

There could be a Douglas Adams' Donate a Book day. People could either donate copies of Douglas' books (particularly Last Chance to See) to their local libraries. Many of us fans have an extra copy or two of some of his titles, or we could just buy them new. Alternatively, people who have a bit more dispensable income, could donate money in Douglas' name to the library of their choice. You can even specify that the money be used for environmental or humanitarian books, or something along those lines. (How about some good Macintosh books! smiley - smiley )

All public libraries, and school libraries in partucular, always need good books, and I can't think of a cheaper donation which can have a bigger potential effect, since libraries serve so many people.

On another note, I actually like the towel day idea. I picked up a little black towel the other day, after reading someone mention it here, and have been carrying it around in my bag as a reminder/memorial kinda thing. I even found it highly useful today when I was trying to keep my dressy clothes clean while eating a dripping barbequed portobello sandwhich! Napkins just weren't enough, but the towel worked wonders, and I did not have to walk around all day long with any embarassing stains on my dress. So, I will definitely be carrying around the towel on towel day.


In memory of Douglas

Post 32


I rather like the idea of carrying a towel in memory of Douglas and intend on doing that one myself. I think we should all pick a day to remember him and then chose a way to do it on our own, that way nobody feels pressured into remembering him in a way that's not specific to how and why they remember him. [ hoping nobody was confused by the previous sentance which confounded the heck out of its author ]. Anyhow, yeah... that's my two cents.

In memory of Douglas

Post 33


Thanks everyone for some great suggestions. I'm going to print the list out and go through it, and discuss the ideas with the rest of the team. Then go from there. Thanks... smiley - smiley

In memory of Douglas

Post 34


Hello, Peta,

I really like the idea of the book-day, especially if anyone participating would post a review after he or she would be done reading. Please start a special memorial page. It is a must have and I would surely participate.

Another idea that came to my mind while reading a lot of the tributes to Douglas is a guide entry/discussion on „How were you introduced to Douglas Adams' work and in what respect did it shape your life?“

I want to elaborate on this: All the condolescenses are naturally shaped by sorrow, and people are not able to find words for the impact Douglas Adams made on them. This new discussion should become the place to commemorate any positive influence. There could/should be a set of guiding questions and examples, just a they are on the „This week's topic“ column. The entries should be more than just stating ones favourite quote. Contributors should write why this quote/episode especially made them laugh, why it struck so deep, to which personal experience it relates.

Entries could also have reference to development of ones own character, life, philosophical point of view and the like. For example, I try not to be too annoyed by other people who behave differently than I do, as I really learned from the beginning of „Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy“ that people who tend to behave very strange in ones eyes have the same right to think so from their point of view (i.e. Arthur Dent and Mr. Prosser). I always thought that I had the definite point of view and other people with different opinions were not that important (to put it mildly). That people are in fact equal, no matter how strange they may behave, would still be mere theoretical knowledge had I not read this particular episode. All this is not stated as such, in fact we and Arthur would be better of without bureaucrats, but Douglas started a new train of thought inside myself. He made me think on the conditions and undisputable value of individuality in everyday life.

I hope this idea makes it. My wife and I talk about those underlying themes a lot, and our joy of his work gets bigger and bigger everytime. It would surely be rewarding to share the thoughts of many other readers. And, as far as I understand Douglas Adams, he would also have liked us to think about the serious aspects behind the jokes.

Thank you,

In memory of Douglas

Post 35

Researcher 176117

I love reading and have done since i was old enough to compare my brightly coloured books to those of the rest of my family that had no pictures and were full of words that i couldnt understand. Unlike the rest of my family however I inherited my uncle's love of sci-fi and fantasy. When he died some years back at a young age, he left all these books for me. Including the Hitchhiker's trilogy (all 5 parts). I have grown up with Douglas Adams books and his passing is sorely felt. However i believe in celebrating life and love and all that. All the above ideas for comemerating DA's life are good ones but somehow a book club, or scholerships just dont seem appropriate for a man whose original idea for his best selling series was born after fallin over drunk in a field. The originality of these books may be corroded by years of awards ect. People may forget just how funny they are or the significance of the towel (heaven forbid). I think the life should be time for living and the day of DA's memorial should be lively, mad, fun and if possible filled with a lot of booze! I mean can you imagine Zaphod in a book club or Ford talking to Oprah? Well thanx for listening.
Towel Upraised to Douglas Adams

In memory of Douglas

Post 36

The Flying Dodo

Modern defibrillators require training [for existing First Aiders] of about a half-day. They are very smart and will not ALLOW administering shocks unless those are appropriate. Yes you can do damage with them near water or oxygen [hence half-day training] but they dramatically improve survival rates & cost about 3 thousand sterling - a fraction of 5 years ago. The more the merrier [and ... the more survivors smiley - smiley ].

In memory of Douglas

Post 37

Fred, the Incontinent Hamster

I would suggest that the best memorial to Douglas Adams would be to introduce new people to his works. I would not have a special day for it. It should take place whenever you find an interested mind who has not had the good luck to discover these treasures for themselves.

I am teaching at a large Southern art college, where many of my students know little or nothing about HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY or LAST CHANCE TO SEE. Most were actually born after the radio shows aired. But they respond so well to quotes from the books, and I have gotten many of them interested in checking them out for themselves. I have had one computer animation student sitting rapt in front of my machine while STARSHIP TITANIC was playing. Others have laughed immoderately at my lame paraphrasing of DNA'S brilliant writing about the Kakapo Parrot and the outstanding chapter on the Yangtze River Dophin in LAST CHANCE TO SEE.

I feel that this is the only really appropriate memorial to DNA. That and a large cold drink occasionally.

In memory of Douglas

Post 38


Just thought I'd add that I donated to the Dian Fossey fund in Douglas' memory... in fact, I adopted a baby gorilla as a gift for someone, and was especially pleased that it showed that the gift was in memory of Douglas.smiley - smiley

There will also be a lot of people receiving 'Last Chance To See' as a gift from me this year.smiley - winkeye

Sussmiley - ufo

In memory of Douglas

Post 39


Wow, what a lovely thing to do Pegusus! What a lovely gift to give someone. That's a fabulous idea! smiley - smiley

In memory of Douglas

Post 40

a girl called Ben

On the subject of books - someone has already mentioned Richard Dawkins, and I would definitely mention 'The Selfish Gene'.

There are two books by Carl Sagan which are hard to get hold of, but both of which influenced me a lot 'Shadows of Forgotton Ancestors' and the other is 'The Dragons of Eden'. The first is a history of the world from the Big Bang to the present day (Sagan wanted to work out the causes of WW2, and ended up going farther and farther back in time to do so). The second is about the bizaare and contradictory origins of human intelligence.

Adopting a gorilla is an incredibly practical thing to do. Well done.


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