Revisiting the life and work of Douglas Adams

Celebrating Towel Day with the proper programming language

Gabriela Motroc
towel day
Number 42 image via Shutterstock

May 25 is the day fans remember science fiction author Douglas Adams by carrying a towel. The celebratory day was first held 15 years ago, two weeks after Adams’ death from a heart attack aged 49.

A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. 

Douglas Adams — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

How do you recognize a Douglas Adams fan? Every year on May 25, he’s carrying a towel with him. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is undoubtedly the renowned author’s masterpiece —it tells the story of a man who explores the universe in a bathrobe, accompanied by an astrophysicist, a depressed robot, a travel writer and a two-headed former Galactic president.

Douglas’ love for numbers (particularly 42) is visible in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, as it becomes the answer to the question of life and basically everything.

There’s something special about May 25; fans could have picked any other day to celebrate the beloved author. Instead, they chose 25 because of its meaning —when you add the hexadecimal 25 and 5 and transform the result to decimal, the answer is (naturally) 42.

But Towel Day is more than that — Star Wars was originally released on May 25, 1977 and there’s a Towel programming language.

The Towel programming language

“The Towel programming language is a general-purposed, stack-based, statically typed, functional, postfix-syntaxed programming language. It is inspired by some famous functional programming language, like Erlang, Haskell and Lisp,” according to its description. It aims at being able to program everything, from scripting to get your files backed up, to large projects such as web applications.

 The language created by three Columbia University students can be found here.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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