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Internet Oracularities #1106

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Internet Oracularities #1106    (69 votes, 3.0 mean)
Compiled-By: Steve Kinzler <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 18:58:38 -0500 (EST)

To find out all about the Internet Oracle (TM), including how to
participate, send mail to oracle@cs.indiana.edu with the word "help"
in the subject line.  ("Internet Oracle" is a trademark of Stephen
B Kinzler.)

Let us know what you like!  Send your ratings of these 10 Oracularities
on an integer scale of 1 ("very poor") to 5 ("very good") with the
volume number to oracle-vote@cs.indiana.edu (probably just reply to this
message).  For example:
   1106
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

1106  69 votes 1bor6 2bufb 6ixb1 6fsi2 2jxd2 26jse 5mu93 awj71 5fnj7 3dpj9
1106  3.0 mean  3.4   3.3   2.8   2.9   2.9   3.7   2.8   2.4   3.1   3.3


1106-01    (1bor6 dist, 3.4 mean)
Selected-By: Mark Lawrence <lawrence.4@osu.edu>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Oracle, who can work through all plot complications no matter how
> convoluted,
>
> On January 4, 1999, at 11:23:19 AM EST,
> The Internet Oracle [mailto:oracle@cs.indiana.edu] wrote:
> } You owe the Oracle an original best-selling novel.
>
> Honest, Oracle, I haven't been ignoring you, it's just that I'm not as
> magnificent as your wonderful self.
>
> So far I'm up to chapter 27. My working title is "The life of Charles
> W." I'm sure I'll come up with something better long before I'm ready
> to publish. At any rate, in this novel, I pretend that Natalie Wood
> had a lumberjack brother named Charles. As chapter 27 begins, the bad
> guy has trapped Charles naked in a prison made of Charles' own lumber.
> There are no tools of any kind, but fortunately the bad guy didn't
> realize that Charles was wearing false teeth. The only way for Charles
> to escape is to use his false teeth to gnaw at the lumber until he's
> made a hole large enough to crawl through. Assuming that the lumber is
> 6 inches thick, Charles must gnaw well over 1.5 cubic feet of lumber
> in order to make a hole 2 feet in diameter. That's a lot of lumber.
>
> Now I need some technical advice. You see, I might have written myself
> into a corner, plot-wise. I need to know how long would it take for
> Charles to make a hole this large. I tried to ask some lumberjacks,
> but every time I mention that Charles the lumberjack is a naked
> prisoner the real lumberjacks hang up on me. I can see why, but I
> still need my answer to finish my novel.
>
> Oracle, how much lumber could Charles Wood chew in order to escape
> a lumber prison, if his false teeth enable him to gnaw the lumber?
> How long would this take?
>
> P.S. I'm sure there's some better way to ask this question, but it
> escapes me at the moment.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Ah, the throes of novel-writing!  Let's see if I can get you over this
} mild case of writer's block.
}
} The real problem is not how long it would take.  The real problems are:
}
} How is Charles going to make a suit out of sawdust?  Everyone laughs at
} a naked hero, you know.  In fact, he'd probably be pretty cold.  If you
} can't give him extra clothes, maybe you should be certain to mention
} how much body hair he has to keep him warm.
}
} Did you make sure that Charles has food and drink?  Most evil villains
} don't bother to make sure the heroes are comfortable, you know.  Is
} there any way for the heroine to deliver food?  Then the heroine could
} help get him out, too.  Or, if the heroine is otherwise occupied in the
} story, maybe you should mention that Charles is able to obtain
} nutritional value from his gnawing.  I'm sure certain trees are edible
} you might have to do a little research.
}
} And, what, exactly, are those teeth made of?  I'm sure they'll get dull
} long before he has gnawed himself out.  They'll either have to be
} sharpened part-way, or maybe they can be real, self-renewing teeth.
} - Some animals' teeth are always growing.  Maybe Charles has this
} ability?
}
} Hee hee.  You know, with Charles's extra body hair, his habit of eating
} trees, and really sharp teeth for gnawing, he's almost starting to look
} like a ... Hey!
}
} That's not fair!  I was interested in the story, then you had to ruin
} it for me.  That's mean.
}
} You owe the Oracle an apology for such a sorry excuse of a way to ask
} *THAT* question.  And a new novel, with no plot twists that allow you
} to ask *THAT* question.


1106-02    (2bufb dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: Rich McGee <rmcgee@csusb.edu>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Oracle, most wise, most beloved, most illustrious:
>
> Could you please tell me about the Joy of Hex?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Ah, young Supplicant, your question is one that has bewildered the
} masses for generations. Some say there is no joy in hex, that it is
} merely a method for propagating the numbers. Others, the more
} anthropocentric thinkers, say that the joy of hex is purely a human
} experience, brought about by society's commodification of hex. Still
} others claim that hex without joy is nothing more than sticking a bunch
} of 1's in a bunch of 0's (not to be too base . . . or, Base2, for that
} matter).
}
} As you can see, a great many opinions exist on the matter of the Joy of
} Hex. It's probably safest to say that there is no one "right" answer
} when it comes to hex. Hex can be experienced in many forms: Sometimes a
} pair will engage in hex with one atop the other, facing in opposite
} directions (some youngsters refer to this as the "64" position).
} Another popular hexual position is one where the units engaged in hex
} will pass through a gate (don't ask me, I guess they get off on that
} stuff), and come out the other side tossed and turned in such a way as
} you can't tell which went in one way and which came out the other. This
} aggressive hexual approach is nicknamed the "bit flip". One other
} satisfying manuever is the "two's complement" operation. In this risque
} position, the units are engaged in some type of "combination", and when
} they reach their "result", one may be negative or positive. If
} negative, then all bits are flipped (I hope no children are reading
} this), and a one is added. I don't know about you, but I'm about ready
} to strip naked right here!
}
} It can all culminate in a made scramble of shifts and rotates, and, if
} you're not careful, you may wind up with your duo in your decimal and
} no place for your octal.
}
} You owe the Oracle AC4E DB19 6CD5 92A4.


1106-03    (6ixb1 dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: "Forbes, Michael Scott (Scott)" <trans@lucent.com>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> -?-
> _?_
> =?=
> #?#
> %?%
> ^?^
> [?]
> }?{
> +?+
> |?|
> >?<
> :?:
> \?/
> /?\
> q?p
> b?d
>
> Sorry. Just ASCIIing around.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} It is a sad ,entary on this . in the history of the Oracle that
} punctuation is now a double-entendre. And always, such punishment
} comes in a ?ed by an absent grovel. I have grown so weary of these
} that I even spoke to Lisa and * she'd be willing to respond to such
} queries; she told me to go # sand.  Ah, well,
}
} ZOT
}
} ...it is.
}
} You owe the Oracle a book by Phillip K.'s little known brother, Eb C.


1106-04    (6fsi2 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: MCHEVALIER@WELLESLEY.EDU

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Do you like the Fish Tales?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} To tell you the truth, Supplicant, I think most fish tales are rather
} silly. ("The one that got away"? Give me a break!) But I suppose if
} your ego is SO fragile that you have to concoct outlandish stories to
} make yourself feel important, go right ahead. The Oracle has no need
} for such charades.
}
} Well, THAT was pretty easy.
}
} Now my LAST question... you shoulda seen the SIZE of that thing! It
} opened up with four-- count 'em, FOUR-- verses of Gilbert &
} Sullivan-style groveling. Then came a good page and half of obscure
} unix commands. And, worst of all, it ended in a request for a "101
} USES" list!
}
} Man! I must have spent HOURS on my reply. 101 might not SOUND like a
} lot, but you'd be surprised. I got a bad case of writers' block
} somewhere around #37, but I persevered. Then I had to fine-tune and
} reword til it was "just right". Whew! But it was worth it. The end
} product was terribly clever and just a WEE bit over the top, if I do
} say so myself.
}
} So just as I was about to send my reply... the power went out and all
} my data was lost! And I can't, for the life of me, remember what I
} wrote, or even what the question was.
}
} But I know that tellme's out there somewhere, and one of these days I'm
} gonna get ahold of it again. And next time, I'm gonna answer it, if
} it's the last thing I do.
}
} You owe the Oracle an empty plaque to hang above the mantle and an
} e-mail client with a built in autosave function.


1106-05    (2jxd2 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: Otis Viles <cierhart@ic.net>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Oracle most wise,
> Could you please give me an algorithm for finding prime numbers?
> This is not a homework assignment.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} 1. Go to rhod.
} 2. Put up a sign "Rodeo Cowboy Seeks Work"
} 3. Wait until you're approached by a guy with an Aussie accent carrying
}    a dictionary.
} 4. The Aussie will start blabbering about natural disasters, and ask
}    you to find four horses that bolted.
} 5. Take the dictionary and KO him with it.
} 6. Take him to your apartment and chain him in front of your computer.
}    Tell him you'll give him his dictionary back if he does your
}    homework.
} 7. When he protests, "But school's out!" respond "This ain't Texas."
} 8. Wait for him to finish. Look at assignment, realize you can't
}    understand it, figure that means it must be right. Hand it in, and
}    release Aussie and dictionary.
} 9. Professor will ask you to explain relation of paper entitled
}    "Application of Multiple Cantorian Infinities to Storage of Variable
}    Qualities of Alcoholic Beverages" to finding prime numbers. Bribe
}    professor with infinite quantity of beer.
} 10. Fail course when professor realizes he will never be able to reach
}     good beer at back of fridge.
} 11. Obtain work frying infinite number of hamburgers.
}
} You owe the Oracle a trip down memory lane. Don't worry; it's much
} shorter than the donut road.


1106-06    (26jse dist, 3.7 mean)
Selected-By: R.P.Clement@westminster.ac.uk (Ross Clement)

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Oh Might Oracle, whose knowledge is unboundable, please permit me to
> ask the following question.
>
> Whilst reading through The Digest of Your Best Answers, volume #1105, I
> came across the following question:
>
> > I have $5 riding on whether your answer to this will be funny, so
> > gimme something good.
>
> If my humble human brain may permit me to remind you, you responded:
>
> > You lose.
>
> Paradoxically, I found this answer to be absolutely hilarious.  This
> would mean that, indeed, your response was funny.
>
> Therefore, I ask thee ... does the questioner get the $5 or not?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well, let's see.  If the answer was funny, then the Supplicant won the
} bet and got the $5.  I am omniscient.  I told the Supplicant that he
} lost the bet.  Therefore, the answer was not funny.  But you found it
} funny. There's a bit of a contradiction here.  The two possibilities
} are: 1) I was wrong.  2) You are wrong.  Now, since I'm omniscient,
} clearly I'm not wrong.  Therefore, you obviously are.
}
} >But I found it funny!  How can you say I'm wrong to find it funny?
}
} Ah, you see, you didn't really find it funny, you only thought you did.
}
} >That doesn't make sense.  If I thought I found it funny, then I found
} >it funny.
}
} Hm.
}
} >Ah hah!  I've got you caught in a contradiction!
}
} No you haven't.  I've got it.  The statement was simultaneously funny
} and not funny.  When each observer observes a copy of the statement, he
} collapses its "funny waveform" to either the "funny" or "not funny"
} state. Since the statement is temporarily stored on each observer's
} computer, your collapsing the waveform to "funny" didn't prevent the
} Supplicant from collapsing his copy to "not funny."
}
} >But that still doesn't work.  You're saying that you knew that the
} >Supplicant was going to find his copy not funny.  Doesn't that make
} >you the observer, then, and since you know all copies, shouldn't they
} >all have collapsed to "not funny" simultaneously?
}
} Um...uh...*ZOT*
}
} You owe the Oracle a nice, straightforward question about woodchucks or
} something.


1106-07    (5mu93 dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: Rich McGee <rmcgee@csusb.edu>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> January 21, 1645
>
> Dear Sr. Oracle:
>
> Pursuant to our conversation on 06-Sept-1644, the council has decreed
> heretofore, thusly, rightly, verily, and justly that any discomfort,
> malease, badness or other icky sensations experienced by you are
> purely the result of your own incontinence and not due in ANY part to
> any alleged negligence by the chef or his staff.
>
> That being said, the grand city of Cartegena would like to make
> amends, and offers to you a fore-and-aft rigged Barque, a crew of
> worthy sea dogs, 64 barrels of rum, 140 pieces of gold, two
> conquistadors, and some wenches.
>
> This arrangement should be to your liking, even though it fails to
> meet your previous request of 300 castles, a mountain, and some yaks.
> Now, if you would please, sir, kindly board your new vessel, lay in a
> course for Port Royale, and leave Cartegena once and for all!
>
> The City of Cartegena now considers this matter resolved and
> recognizes no further debt to The Oracle and/or any of its successors.
>
> Thank you and sincerely,
>
> Francisco de la Fritos, esq.
> Toro, Mierde, & Moore
> Attorneys at Law
>
> FF/mtl

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}                                  Dyson, Williams and Williams
}                                  A Legal Professional Service
}                                  New World Council to The Internet
}                                  Oracle 444 Wilshire Blvd #1332
}                                  Los Angeles, CA 90012
}
}                                  14 July 1999
}
} Re: Case OCA37733/f, The Internet Oracle vs The Council Of Cartegena
}
} As timeliness is of the essence in any legal dispute, we were quite
} surprised that it took so long for your council to reply to my
} client's quite reasonable requests. Further, your failure to reply
} using standard delivery techniques of the time has only served to
} exasperate the problem. We do understand that you are unable to
} control the list server queue's current state, however, simply
} e-mailing your reply to the standard Usenet Oracle queue rather
} than employing a courier is inexcusable, especially given the
} current backlog.
}
} According to our records, inherited in 1956 from the Offices of
} Chelsum, Bryer and Doors, Londonshire, England, the aforementioned
} payment has yet to be received by our client. Therefore, while
} your proposed settlement may have been acceptable in 1644, it is
} no longer a desirable solution.
}
} We propose that a meeting between the Council of Cartegena and/or
} it's heirs be arranged as soon as possible. If you and/or your
} assigned representatives are unable to meet with us in the United
} States, we are more than happy to arrange a meeting in Columbia
} that can accommodate the Cartegena city council's busy schedule.
}
} Further, we note that the proposed settlement, while appropriate
} for the time, is both unreasonable in today's current legal and
} political climate, and falls far short from our original proposed
} settlement. Therefore, we propose that in exchange for disposal
} of the aforementioned case, our client be granted exclusive deed
} to 100 high rise office buildings in place of 300 castles, and
} several thousand office workers in place of the yaks.
}
} If we are unable to reach a reasonable resolution to this issue
} in a more timely manner, we do reserve the right to take our
} client's case before the International Court of Justice when
} they meet this fall in The Hague.
}
} Yours,
} Jeffry Thomas, Esq.
} Dyson, Williams and Williams
}
} ww/JWT [file: OCA37733/f (6453)]


1106-08    (awj71 dist, 2.4 mean)
Selected-By: Rich McGee <rmcgee@csusb.edu>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> O Great and Galumphing Oracle!  You are beyond doubt.  You are
> Oligarch of the Oliphants and Inventor of the Threeble.  All that and
> more, in spite of the apparent contradictions.
>
> I am (of course) but a grovelling supplicant, with my head tucked
> safely between my knees, fearful that your ZOT might accidentally get
> loose. (I believe you to be at heart a benign creature who would not
> inadvertently ZOT me unless I mentioned marmots, which I promise I
> won't.)
>
> Please send me the instructions for my threeble.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} We are most saddened to say that our product, the Threeble, has been
} discontinued.
}
} If you purchased the Threeble recently, please return it to the store
} from which you purchased it.
}
} As our Threeble line has been discontinued, we are no longer capable of
} giving out tech support for this product.
}
} If you are experiencing problems with the device, we recommend dropping
} it off a building of no less than 9 stories.
}
} We thank you for your patience.
}
} You owe the Oracle a better Tech Support staff.


1106-09    (5fnj7 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: MCHEVALIER@WELLESLEY.EDU

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
>
> ------=_NextPart_000_000D_01BECF97.E2F3EA80
> Content-Type: text/plain;
>       charset="iso-8859-1"
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
>
> Oh mighty oracle, whose magnetic field attracts all those in the =
> universe, please help me with my lack of farsight.
>
> While we are rebuilding our civilisation after society's collapse due =
> to the millennium bug, the sun will enter the peak of its eleven year =
> cycle of solar storms.
>
> What can we mere mortals expect?
>
> ------=_NextPart_000_000D_01BECF97.E2F3EA80
> Content-Type: text/html;
>       charset="iso-8859-1"
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
>
> <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
> <HTML><HEAD>
> <META content=3D"text/html; charset=3Diso-8859-1" =
> http-equiv=3DContent-Type>
> <META content=3D"MSHTML 5.00.2314.1000" name=3DGENERATOR>
> <STYLE></STYLE>
> </HEAD>
> <BODY bgColor=3D#ffffff>
> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>Oh mighty oracle, whose magnetic field attracts all
> those in the=20
> universe, please help me with my lack of farsight.</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>While we are rebuilding our civilisation after =
> society's collapse due=20
> = to the millennium bug, the sun will enter the peak of
> its = eleven year=20
> cycle of solar storms.</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>What can we mere mortals expect?</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV></BODY></HTML>
>
> ------=_NextPart_000_000D_01BECF97.E2F3EA80--

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} It shall be as it was in the days of old, when mankind attempted to
} build a tower to heaven -- and instead had their languages confounded.
} As it was with the Tower of Babel, so shall modern communication be
} confused. World Wide Web shall shall be plaintext, with 'Newsgroups:'
} headers. Email will be posted across all of Usenet. HTML markup will
} invade private correspondence.
}
} For you, nothing will change.


1106-10    (3dpj9 dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: "Tim Chew" <twchew@mindspring.com>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> How is Clinton's offer of five million USA taxpayer's dollars for
> Milosevic different than Iran's offer of one millon dollars for
> Salman Rushdie?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well supplicant, I think the difference between the two sums of money
} is four million dollars.  Seriously though, let's take a closer look:
}
}     Milosevic                     |    Rushdie
} ----------------------------------+-----------------------------------
}                                   |
}   He has ordered the murder of    |  Muslim men, women, and
}   Muslim men, women, and          |  children have been ordered to
}   children.                       |  murder him.
}                                   |
}   Guilty of numerous atrocities.  |  Writing is considered atrocious.
}                                   |
}   Hiding in Serbia.               |  In hiding.
}                                   |
}   Subject of blasphemic curses.   |  Author of Satanic Verses.
}                                   |
}   He denies the rights of         |  Sovereign rulers of certain
}   certain countries to exist      |  countries deny his right to
}   with their own sovereign rule.  |  exist.
}                                   |
}   Reward: Five million dollars    |  Reward: One million dollars
}   from the US Government paid by  |  from crude oil sales paid by
}   US taxpayers.                   |  US taxpayers.
}                                   |
}
} You owe the Oracle some peace, love, and understanding -- payable by
} reality check.


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