Dirk Gently Navigation Method

Also known as "Zen Navigation".

From TheLongDarkTeatimeOfTheSoul, by DouglasAdams (page 153 of the Pocket Books paperback):

"... A few turnings later and I was thoroughly lost. There is a school of thought which says that you should consult a map on these occasions, but to such people I merely say, 'Ha! What if you have no map to consult? What if you have a map but it's of the Dordogne?' My own strategy is to find a car, or the nearest equivalent, which looks as if it knows where it is going and follow it. I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere that I needed to be. So what do you say to that?"

"Piffle."

"A robust response. I salute you."

True, but looking for parking before a Boston Red Sox baseball game, it's hard to beat the DirkGentlyNavigationMethod. In software, I consider this the equivalent of a search on GoogleGroups or Wiki -- DavidSaff

You see the world, not as it is, but as you are. -- Talmud.


He also describes the method one must use to leave Cambridge, namely, to circle round and round and round the one way system until he achieves "escape velocity" and heads off in some random direction.

This isn't that far from the truth, at least for the centre of Cambridge...

Yes it is. Cambridge's one-way system is reasonably obvious. Oxford, however...
Basically, that's how I got into Canada from Buffalo. I saw a car with Ontario tags and followed it. -- DavidBrantley

This technique would fail during certain seasons. In late fall or early winter, one is more likely to be following a "snow bird" in flight, heading for Florida.

This is how I usually find the rental car return area at an airport - follow one of the shuttle buses. -- KrisJohnson


I received this image in my email and thought of this page :)

This is the MagicRoundabout in Swindon (near London). And yes, that's a central roundabout (travel anticlockwise) surrounded by five other roundabouts (travel clockwise). If you stare at it long enough, you can see the logic behind it, but any newcomer to it will just want to scream in terror and run away.

Swindon isn't really that near London. It's about 100 miles, which by UKian standards is a reasonable distance. -- RobHarper

The difference between Americans and the British is that the British think 100 miles is a long way, whereas the Americans think 100 years is a long time. -- Anon
This actually manifests itself in the way one can navigate a wiki by WikiStalking. Find someone who seems to know the space and follow them. In a wiki you'd do this by following their back-links. When learning an unfamiliar field of knowledge you can do this by finding a book you like/which seems to have a good grasp of the area and following the bibliography and references back to it. Try it on CiteSeer sometime. It's quite effective. -- AdewaleOshineye

I use this method to research music. Do I like the song? Then I investigate the artist and possibly remix artist and anyone mentioned with any connection to them on http://www.discogs.com/ --and it's led me good places. -- RobRix
Forgive me, but dirk (verb form of the noun, describing usage) gently (adverb) is kind of an OxyMoron, ain't it? And what has stabbing got to do with navigation?

Dirk Gently (formerly Svlad Cjelli) is the lead character in two of DouglasAdams' novels (DirkGentlysHolisticDetectiveAgency and TheLongDarkTeatimeOfTheSoul). For more details, see the quote at the beginning of the page, or consult your PinealGland.

Hmm. I guess the whole humor thing kinda passed by you, eh?

Let's just say that in most fora I've seen, when a question like the one I responded to is posed, it is wiser to assume honest ignorance rather than cleverness. If this does not hold within the Wiki, then it is truly a blessed place. - JayOsako

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