[Image: "Infinity Mirror Room," by user ®DS on Flickr. If you've got a fast Internet connection, you'll want to click on it to see the full-scale panorama -- it's 4.6MB in size. (Right-click and open it in a new window for best results.) For more information, see the note at the foot of this post.]
From whiskey river (answer to #4):
The universe—some information to help you live in it.
- AREA: Infinite.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy offers this definition of the word “Infinite.”
Infinite: Bigger than the biggest thing ever and then some. Much bigger than that in fact, really amazingly immense, a totally stunning size, real “wow, that’s big,” time. Infinity is just so big that by comparison, bigness itself looks really titchy. Gigantic multiplied by colossal multiplied by staggeringly huge is the sort of concept we’re trying to get across here.
- IMPORTS: None.
It is impossible to import things into an infinite area, there being no outside to import things in from.
- EXPORTS: None.
- POPULATION: None.
It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
- MONETARY UNITS: None.
In fact, there are three freely convertible currencies in the universe, but the Altairian Dollar has recently collapsed, the Flainian Pobble Bead is only exchangeable for other Flainian Pobble Beads, and the Triganic Pu has its own special problems. Its exchange rate of eight Ningis to one Pu is simple enough, but since a Ningi is a triangular rubber coin six thousand eight hundred miles along each side, no one has ever collected enough to own one Pu. Niginis are not negotiable currency, because the Galactibanks refuse to deal in fiddling small change. From this basic premise it is very simple to prove that the Galactibanks are also the products of a deranged imagination.
(Douglas Adams [source])
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes —
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands —
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.
(Louis MacNeice [source])