#774 – Slartibartfast

Have you ever purchased something and received the wrong quantity or the wrong size because you assumed the wrong unit of measure?


65 thoughts on “#774 – Slartibartfast”

  1. Polymorph says:

    Oh man, that has got to be very unfortunate for Biff.

    Although he’s seen worse.

    He’ll pull through.

  2. Michael says:

    I once thought I was ordering pants in centimeters, so I converted my waist from inches to centimeters and accidentally ended up ordering 87 inch pants 🙁

  3. Micah says:

    Come with me…or…or you’ll be late.

    As in the late Dentarthurdent. It’s sort of a THREAT, you see?

  4. Drakey says:

    Can’t say I have, no.

  5. The Haiku won’t stop!
    Chris, you have now doomed us all!
    Slartibarfast rocks.

  6. linuxxorcist says:

    how many roads must a man walk down? how many gold bricks wrapped in lemons must one endure? why does chris continue to reference the hitch hiker’s guide? these are the questions that haunt me…

  7. Cakoluchiam says:

    Now I’m curious… what scale has burning temperature at a degree that would not burn in Celsius? Unless we’re talking classic inverted Celsius, where 100 degrees is freezing and 0 degrees is boiling…

  8. DonCasper says:

    Well Michael, that seems like it would have been as good a time as any to take up stilts. You’d think someone at the factory would have realized that no one needs pants with an 87 inch inseam.

  9. fluffy says:

    I ordered a three-cup French Press a while back. Apparently Bodum uses a vastly smaller size of “cup” than everyone else, since it makes three espresso-cups-worth of coffee, which ALMOST fills a single coffee cup.

  10. Vidja says:

    He’ll be fine, until a slight breeze happens.

  11. Eleanor says:

    Man, I can’t believe I missed Hitchhiker’s week, and the same week as towel day too…
    I’m suh an idiot.

  12. Solstice Zero says:

    I love this comic, but I did feel the need to point out that if he gets off the ship, and he bursts into flames, they would have wanted Fahrenheit instead of Celsius due to 100 degrees being hotter that 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So, the correct context would be “The planet builders must have wanted Fahrenheit. =)

  13. riddler says:

    Why do you need to type THREAT in caps? Reminds me of the coward’s guidebook on intimidation.

  14. Chris says:

    @Solstice Zero – No, this is the correct way around. Biff requested the ambient temperature of the planet be 100 degrees (thinking they asked for Fahrenheit). He got a planet that is 100 degrees Celsius.

  15. Linzleh says:

    @Fluffy-I agree, Bodum uses ‘mini’ cup measures, I now add more cream to my coffee. Biff will arise from the ashes. Summer reading list: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…

  16. i.half4 says:

    @ Chris – Sorry, but I find your explanation to be as enigmatic as the confusion pointed out by Solstice Zero. I still don’t get who asked whom for what, and where does Biff fit in the picture, before he did so as a pile of ashes. Biff is dead. Long live Biff. (Does this mean Biff shall return again as a traveler among The Phoenix Ashteroids?)

    But I was actually wanting to sort out the confusion about all the asking. I fear I might go on at great length if I were to continue by explaining the extent to which I have misunderstood so far. But I must say something. I believe I must be native to Kakrafoon after the enloudenment, you see. I must continue to generate distracting matters of complication, lest I leave anyone else of my kind to sense how truly full of myself I am.

    It is also reasonable to suspect that some part of my physical anatomy might, in a selfess effort to save this world of Biff, become sentient enough to catch on to what the guiding sentience of my being is up to, and conclude that it’s only recourse is to reach up and throttle my brain back into oblivion. And so I, myself, believe I must escape this window forthwith.

    And in believing, so I do.

  17. Tim says:

    “What is your name”
    “My name is … my name is Slartybardfarst”
    *Umpf* “Slartybardfarst?”
    “I told your it wasn’t important”

    it’s the amused sort of umpf

  18. AndruC says:

    @ i.half4

    I initially thought there was a mix-up too.
    Planet-builders said “Yo, you want the planet how hot?”
    Biff followed with “100 degrees will do, kind sir”
    Biff realized his mistake as he stepped off the ship into a planet with an environment at a nice toasty 100 degrees Celsius, like the Builders were asking for.

  19. i.half4 says:

    Meanwhile… how will it end this week? Phenomenology?

    …or are we still moving on?

  20. Tim says:

    “Look robot the stars are coming out. The twin sunset I’ve never anything like it in my wildest dreams, like great mountains of fire boiling in to space.”
    “I’ve seen it it’s rubbish.”
    “We only had the one sun at home. I came from a planet called earth you know?”
    “Yes you kept going on about it, it sound awful.”
    “No it was a beautiful place”
    “Did it have oceans?”
    “Yes great big wide rolling blue oceans.”
    “Can’t bear oceans.”
    “Tell me do you get along with other robots.”
    “Hate them.’

  21. Croc says:

    I was almost confused at first, thinking Biff was delivering temperature to the planet. Then I realized that he was ordering from the Planet Builders.
    Still, 100C wouldn’t kill you instantly…. Would not be comfortable at all, though. That’s the temperature of boiling water…

  22. MagnusB says:

    I LOVE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE. That series is my bible.


  23. kaitou says:

    @MagnusB: f-o-r-t-y-t-w-o (base 13)

  24. Dude says:

    I don’t know if this counts, but I placed an order through my school for 20 notebooks and they sent me 50 packs of paperclips instead. Stupid notebook-to-paperclip conversion scale.

  25. Matt Lee says:

    Hey! That’s an easy mistake to make! I remember when I was helping the planet builder’s project…

  26. kaijuu says:

    They crash-landed a Boeing 767-200 in Gimli, MB because of that. They had just switched to the metric system and because of a conversion error, the plane took off with less than half the fuel it needed to get from Montreal to Edmonton. It ran out of fuel over Red Lake, ON and glided (yes, GLIDED) to Gimli, where it landed on an old abandoned military runway. On top of that, the landing gear didn’t open. You can still see the skidmarks on the runway. No one was hurt.

  27. baughbe says:

    @kaitou, Egads man! You’ve found the error of the human race. We’re supposed to have 13 fingers, not ten!

  28. ZackDark says:

    wow, it really amazes me that most of your regular readers know tHGttG. it’s either an awesome coincidence or the humor type is somehow the same. (i vote for second choice)

  29. ZackDark says:

    btw, @kaijuu: planes are made so they easily glide, saving lots of fuel. it only has to keep gliding speed long enough to find a smooth surface to land

  30. Radical Edward says:

    I never got anything mixed up like that in a long time. Besides, the only thing that happened that is remotely similar was I received something in the mail that didn’t fit my lifestyle. I bought some CDs from a German record company and they sent me the discs I want…along with an empty refillable lighter.

  31. Matt Lee says:

    That’s what Biff gets for stealing my rocket!!!

  32. Matt Lee says:

    If anyone thinks I use this name because I couldn’t come up with anything good your wrong! This is an awesome name!!!

  33. Greeny says:

    Maybe he asked for 303 degrees. That would really burn. Let’s not forget about Kelvin. 303 degrees Kelvin is 30 degrees Celcius, if I’m not mistaken.

  34. The Krimzon Guard says:

    Hah, I immediately assumed Biff ordered in Kelvin, shows what a science geek I must be.
    If he wanted Kelvin but got Celsius, then stuff really would be burning!
    (Kelvin is the same size as Celsius but plus 273 so 300K = 23C)

  35. i.half4 says:

    Now is the winterspring
    of my discomprehent
    or so sings the cat

    I would have counted, but me no Vogon.

    So… Odd, considering that I knew today was Friday, having just returned from my working Thursday night, but when I looked forward this morning to how this week will end, I had thought there would be one more left, because I had only joined in Thursday, thanks to fellow traveler’s heads up on the ZZ9 Yahoo! group, and I miss-counted back, thinking that Dent had started us off. Now what?

    Perhaps the theme Monday could be “And Another Thing…” But if you know why, don’t speak yet. Let’s just wait, shall we? And see what an infinite monkees will be. I’m off again for now, hoping to arrive next having found myself later gone in a Random direction. -poof-

  36. i.half4 says:

    @ kaitou: but why base thirteen? Not even Old Twelve Toe, from the Schoolhouse Rock series would count by such odd numbers. If nothing else is certain to be seen out there… The balance must remain.

  37. reynard61 says:

    Once again, Biff makes an ash of himself…

  38. linuxxorcist says:

    unit differences can be quite annoying, on in the states, car fuel efficiency is advertised in mpg, which uses the imperial system, so i have a fun time converting it to the Canadian standard of Litres/100km

    sheesh, the states needs to adopt the common international standard already, so i don’t have to blankly stare at a menu until i realize 12oz = 355 ml

    decimalized units are much easier, napoleon got the metric system right, and why do you think britian switched to decimalized coins (100 pence = 1 pound) from their infuriating old system (1 pound = 20 shillings, 1 shilling = 12 pence)

  39. dartigen says:

    Buying stuff for dressmaking is a pain. All clothing sizes are worked out from inch measurements, but fabric is sold by the metre, not by the foot.
    Clothing sizes in other countries are easy to work out, because most sites have a sizing chart – but shoe sizes are the biggest pain. Trying to go from Australian to European shoe sizing is a nightmare.

  40. starseedjenny says:

    ZackDark- Or, this is the Webcomics Sector of the internet, which means we’re all pretty nerdy.

  41. MadDavid says:

    In case anyone hasn’t mentioned it, the first letters of the comic titles for this week form a word!

  42. JSW says:

    I’m stuck between feet and meters. I can’t even remember how most of the measurements of the system the US uses work…. The sooner we switch to the metric system the sooner I’ll probably be able to figure this out.

  43. Chris says:

    @MadDavid – 5 points!

  44. Chris(Not Biff) says:

    Never made that mistake when ordering things, but I’ve done it plenty of times on tests…

  45. Micah says:

    Chris! You had exactly 42 comments, but you posted and messed it up.

  46. steve-o says:


    Well, now he has 45 comments. I don’t really see the difference. Am I missing something here?

  47. Klear says:

    Yeah, what a shame =(
    Maybe the last few comments could be deleted?

  48. i.half4 says:

    @ Chris: Has it ever been mentioned just what these points are good for? I’d wager that this week’s were only exchangable for ningis.

    I’d guess they were good for pobble beads as well, but I don’t know enough about them. It is quite likely those are actually poratble assets, albeit assets which only exchangable for equally non-convertible ones.

  49. Glenn says:

    I once ordered a book on Medieval Welsh poetic forms–unfortunately the description of the book in the catalogue forgot to mention that it was, in fact, in Welsh. Does that count? And is there anyone out there that would care to translate the book for me into English? 🙂

  50. -2! says:

    Okay, this has nothing to do with this comic, but…

    I had a dream about a living toaster last night.

  51. linuxxorcist says:

    @steve-o: what do you mean “Am I missing something here?” have you never read THHTTG? Get some sense of proportion.
    oh, wait, “the one thing [a sentient being] cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion.” (~p66, TRATEOTU I own an e-book copy, so i don’t know the proper number)

  52. Matt Lee says:

    What exactly is an “adams?”

  53. -2! says:

    @ Matt Lee

    Douglas Adams, author of Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy

  54. Micah says:

    @Steve-o: 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and EVERYTHING.

  55. Tim says:

    But what is the question?

  56. i.half4 says:

    @ Micah! Spoiler warning. (but not necessarily in that order)

    As punnishment, you must wait seven million years into your next life to read book six of three.

  57. i.half4 says:

    PS: Don’t Panic. Given the extraordinary confusion and miscalculation of scale awash about the universe, this may prove to measure a distance of time more or less equivalent to a number of small dogyears. Or perhaps it’s only just a suffusion of yellow.

    As they probably don’t say, but then again who knows, “Time is pobble beads. It’s OK to rack up a few of them. Just be careful how you do the Bistromath.” Meanwhile the hours, if not actual minutes, are good…

    Sorry. Window is closing now. end current datastream

    And you’ll nehuheeeevuherrrr wallllkk ah-uhlone. You’ll nehver waalk ahuhlooooooooooooone.

  58. Dzelda says:

    Well…. thats the last time Biff ever asks for the planet temperature to be 70 or 80, thinking it twould be Farenheit.

    And… for that matter plants love heat, as their photosynthetic processes are optimalized at the balmy temperature of 40 to 50. Centigrade folks. Thats Centigrade.

  59. -2! says:

    @ Dzelda

    Knowing Biff from this comic he must be like someone i know and would have ordered the planet at well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Also @Dzelda

    Unless Centigrade does not equal Celsius I believe that is wrong.

    to avoid a science lesson stop reading this comment

    According to my Grade 12 Biology class C3 plants photosyntheses optamises at abour 20C, however a reverse process called photo respiration optimizes at about 40C. At some point the photosyntheses starts to go BACKWARDS!

    C4 plants (and another type that i don’t remember avoid photorespiration and as a result thrive at higher temperatures.

  60. kikkoman says:

    DUH, “slartibartfarst” the name of the planet builderfroh hitchhiker’s guide!

  61. moonlantern says:


    The Imperial system is just so much more interesting.

  62. Matt Lee says:


  63. Guest! says:

    I wasn’t going to comment, though I like this one, until I saw that the title of the comic is “Slartibartfast” and it made me so happy that I had to thank you. So thanks! It’s awesome that you used that.

  64. no name says:

    I just started reading the comics again. I’ve been looking through the ones i’ve missed and it seems… I MISSED HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY WEEK!! noooo!!!

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