mind bogglingly big

The Hissing Wastes are big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big they are. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to the Hissing Wastes.

❛ the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy ❜ sentence starters
  • ❛ All the dolphins have ever done is muck about in the water having a good time. ❜
  • ❛ Don’t panic. ❜
  • ❛ Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now? ❜
  • ❛ Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? ❜
  • ❛ Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space. ❜
  • ❛ If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now. ❜
  • ❛ I’d far rather be happy than right any day. ❜
  • ❛ This must be a Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays. ❜
  • ❛ You’re turning into a penguin. Stop it. ❜
  • ❛ No, I was only fooling. We are going to die after all. ❜
  • ❛ So long, and thanks for all the fish. ❜
  • ❛ Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. ❜
  • ❛ If I asked you where the hell we were, would I regret it? ❜
  • ❛ Ah, this is obviously some strange use of the word safe that I wasn’t previously aware of. ❜
  • ❛ There’s an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they’ve worked out. ❜
  • ❛ I think you ought to know I’m feeling very depressed. ❜
  • ❛ All through my life I’ve had this strange unaccountable feeling that something was going on in the world, something big, even sinister, and no one would tell me what it was. ❜
  • ❛ Life. Loathe it or ignore it, you can’t like it. ❜
  • ❛ Ow! My brains! ❜
  • ❛ Blood… blood… blood… blood… ❜
  • ❛ I don’t want to die now! I’ve still got a headache! I don’t want to go to heaven with a headache, I’d be all cross and wouldn’t enjoy it! ❜
  • ❛  My capacity for happiness you could fit into a matchbox without taking out the matches first. ❜
  • ❛ Oh dear, you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well. Are you all right? ❜
  • Life! Don’t talk to me about life.
  • ❛ Pardon me for breathing, which I never do anyway so I don’t know why I bother to say it, oh god I’m so depressed. ❜
  • ❛ The fully armed nuclear warheads are of course merely a courtesy detail. ❜
  • ❛ Call that job satisfaction? ’Cause I don’t. ❜
  • ❛ Very deep. You should send that in to the Reader’s Digest. They’ve got a page for people like you. ❜
  • ❛ Do you find coming to terms with the mindless tedium of it all presents an interesting challenge? ❜
  • ❛ Who is this God person anyway? ❜
  • ❛ Hey, this is terrific! Someone down there is trying to kill us! ❜
  • ❛  I’ll have you hung, drawn and quartered! And whipped! And boiled… until… until… until… until you’ve had enough. ❜
  • ❛ That is really amazing. That really is truly amazing. That is so amazingly amazing I think I’d like to steal it. ❜
  • ❛ I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my life-style. ❜
  • ❛ You’ve got as much sex appeal as a road accident. ❜
  • ❛ Molest me not with this pocket calculator stuff. ❜
  • ❛ It’s partly the curiosity, partly a sense of adventure, but mostly I think it’s the fame and the money. ❜
  • ❛ It gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level. ❜
Weird things I have learned about America so far
  • The meals are huge. HUGE.
  • I ordered a half-serve of nachos andit was one and a half Australian full meals; I always thought Australian meals were too big.
  • Seriously; the food is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big they are. You might think there’s a lot on your plate in an Australian restaurant, but that’s just a small serve of peanuts compared to America. They are so big…
  • Hotsauce everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
  • Californian toilets are weird. Don’t know if this is an American standard or not.
  • Power points don’t switch on or off. They’re always on and you just plug stuff into them. This sounds like a safty issue but it’s also really convenient.
  • What’s less convenient is that if there’s no ground pin you have no idea which way to plug a device in. The plug can go in either way.
  • The students of SDSU seem smart, but they all really like Apple Macs for some absurd reason.
  • There are a lot of people here.
  • The money is impossible to use. Impossible.
  • Tipping and tax make calculating a restaurant bill several times more difficult than it needs to be. 
  • Television.
  • A Three Musketeers bar is just a Milky Way. A Milky Way, on the other hand, is a Mars bar. And Mars bars do not exist.
  • Californian public water is sterilised via heavy chlorination and yes, it tastes like a swimming pool. I can see why people buy water bottled in other states here.
  • Starbucks failed in Australia for a reason.
  • McDonald’s is not the worst American fast food.
  • The cheese is exactly how TV would lead youto expect it is.
  • Denny’s is delicious, but absolutely nothing like I expected.
  • Fruit has no flavour here. You guys remember how impressed I was with European fruit compared to Australian fruit? It’s the reverse here. This place makes Australian fruit look like European fruit. But the tasteless fruit is often HUGE.
  • Everyone will assume that Australians are English. Somehow, our accents sound the same to Americans. This makes no sense to me.
Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.
—  ― Douglas Adams
Languages Contain Multitudes

It is really incredible how vast each & every language is.

People spend decades learning their own mother tongue. And after those decades they’re still learning. New words, new idioms, new writing styles.

Even the tiniest bit of another language is useful. Like seriously, “Hello” and “Thank you” and “I want one of those, please” can get you so far in another country. But that isn’t even a pebble on the side of the mountain that is the whole language!

And it’s a mountain with many false peaks. Like a fractal, the farther you go the more you see the tiny complexities. After my 4 years of high school Spanish, I naively thought “Well I’ve learned all the tenses, so I basically know all of Spanish, right?” And when the only things you read are exercises in a textbook, it does feel like you’ve mastered it! And then you drop yourself into real native material, and come to understand that this is really only the beginning.

When a few stock phrases can get you so far, it’s easy to believe that learning the rest of the language won’t take too long. But learning a language is a process of diminishing returns and a very, very “long tail”.

The “long tail” is demonstrated by a graph like the brontosaurus above - in this context, imagine that your day-to-day phrases like ‘Hello/How are you/How much is this’ make up the brontosaurus’ head and neck. These phrases will account for (I am completely making these numbers up), say, 25% of all your interaction. Then, all your grammar and basic conversational knowledge (going beyond the niceties and beginning to actually express yourself), will make up the body of the dinosaur, another 25% of interactions - but the body is a lot longer than the head, and it’s a lot more material to learn.

Then, you hit the Long Tail. All of a sudden, each new thing you learn seems so much less significant than the new things you learned before. There’s still lots more to learn, but they don’t get used as often. Obviously “compassion” is not as common a word as “cat”, but you still need to know both words.

To learn a language into fluency, you’ll be spending a lot of time in this long tail. How far down the tail do you go before you can say “I know this language” instead of “I know (some of/most of) this language”? Even native speakers don’t know all the words, all the phrases, all the idioms.

This is a question I can’t answer myself yet. But I enjoy feeling a little bit awestruck whenever I think about just how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big every single human language is.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. The introduction starts like this: Space, it says, is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the street to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space. Listen … it’s just so big that by comparison, bigness itself looks … and so on.
After a while, the style settles down a bit, and it starts telling you things you actually need to know, like the fact that the fabulously beautiful planet of Bethselamin is now so worried about the cumulative erosion caused by over 10 billion visiting tourists a year that any net imbalance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete whilst on the planet is surgically removed from your body weight when you leave.
So every time you go to the lavatory there, it’s vitally important to get a receipt.
—  Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series

nervousmando-archive  asked:

"Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space."

“Trust me, it is so big. So big. Absolutely infinite.
I mean, one time we were in hyperspace for two weeks! Two weeks! Do you know how far we traveled?”

((Hi!!))