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Internet Oracularities #1373

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Internet Oracularities #1373    (44 votes, 3.4 mean)
Compiled-By: Steve Kinzler <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 23:35:40 -0500 (EST)

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Let us know what you like!  Send your ratings of these 10 Oracularities
on an integer scale of 1 ("very bad") to 5 ("very good") with the
volume number to oracle-vote@cs.indiana.edu (probably just reply to
this message).  For example:
   1373
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

1373  44 votes 35if3 31age 25cm3 31dfc 29ka3 29r51 17dj4 49j84 338eg 29ef4
1373  3.4 mean  3.2   3.8   3.4   3.7   3.1   2.9   3.4   3.0   3.8   3.2


1373-01    (35if3 dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: Klone (aka Daniel V Klein) <dvk@lonewolf.com>

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

> Oh grand wise and all-seeing Oracle,
>
> My friend is a silly college freshman who is
> registering for courses next semester. He wants to
> take six classes, and is only permitted to take five.
> He is attempting to decide between dropping Into to
> Hebrew, Comparative Politics, Global Economy, or
> Advanced Italian. He is obviously not enlightened
> enough to ask you directly for assistance Great
> Oracle, for he does not own a pocket protector, so I
> ask on his behalf.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} The easiest way to decide is to figure out which one to
} audit.  Auditing a language course won't work.  The daily
} interaction and quizzes are necessary.  Of the other two,
} Global Economy is the least likely to have real content,
} so it's the best candidate for an audit.  If it turns
} out to be good, take it next semester.
}
} The alternative is of course to switch to majoring in
} mathematics.  When you're taking linear algebra,
} statistics, topology, advanced calculus and number
} theory all at once, there is little incentive to add
} tensor analysis as a sixth course.
}
} You owe the Oracle a nabla.


1373-02    (31age dist, 3.8 mean)
Selected-By: Christophe <xof@chanticleer.com>

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

> Dear Oracle who knows almost everything except maybe how
> an Oracle should grovel, please help me.  I'm trying to
> study mathemathics, and am currently taking courses in
> linear algebra, statistics, topology, advanced calculus
> and number theory.  If I add tensor analysis now, in
> mid-semester, will my head explode?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Once again I'm amazed at the ability of humans to worry about incredibly
} rare and unlikely dangers while ignoring the obvious and likely ones.
} Like worrying about dying from Ebola, while shovelling sufficient
} McCalories down their throat to power a Trabant on a trip round the
} solar system.
}
} While it may have made the headlines around the world when James
} Peterson's head exploded while trying to solve a particularly onerous
} stochastic differential equation, he was just one maths student out of
} millions the world over. And, in reality, once the grey stuff had been
} wiped off the library's walls, life continued on as normal. And while
} the government warns of terrorists and "dirty bombs" that would spread
} hundreds of matrix pseudo-inversion problems through crowded city
} centres, you may notice that it never actually happens.
}
} No, the real danger is not to your cranium, but to your social skills.
} May I show a brief snatch of your future. A future that, as a maths
} nerd, is unlikely to feature much in the way of that other type of
} snatch.
}
} [Scene: The supplicant has returned home on holiday]
}
} Mum: Here's your food dear, and Sally, here's your food too.
} Supplicant: Mum, you've given Sally more gravy than me, you always give
}   her more gravy than me.
} Mum: Don't be silly, I treat you both equal.
} Supplicant: No you don't. Look, I've analysed the data. Using a paired
}   T-test and the amount of gravy given to each of us over the last 500
}   meals, I can state with 95% confidence that you give her more gravy
}   than me.
} Mum: I don't
} Supplicant: p < 0.01!!
} Mum: Why are you acting like this? It isn't normal.
} Supplicant: May I remind you that while the paired T-test makes an
}   assumption of normality, it is particularly robust to non-normal data,
}   and I also checked my results using a Wilcoxon test on the ranked
}   data. The results are still significant.
} Mum: (sigh) Oh all right then, have some more gravy.
} Supplicant: No, I don't like it anyway.
}
} You owe the Oracle an explanation of how to sphere multivariate data so
} that the covariance matrix equals the identity matrix. Either that or
} get me laid this weekend.


1373-03    (25cm3 dist, 3.4 mean)
Selected-By: Mike Nolan <nolan@romaine.tssi.com>

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

> O Oracle most exalted I need you to glimpse into the future to answer
> me a question that has weighed heavily on my mind for some weeks:
>
> So it's the year 2370, and you always hear about the Excelsior class
> being the "backbone of Starfleet", but the things are over a hundred
> years old! Why didn't the burden ever get shifted to, say, the
> Ambassador or Constellation classes?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oh, please, get real and grow up!  I'm sick and tired of people who
} spend vast amounts of their precious time living in fictional worlds.
} Do us all a favor and give up your pathetic little fantasy about
} characters that aren't even real.  Go out and get a real life.
}
} You owe the Oracle, Lisa, all the assorted priests and priestesses,
} Zadoc, Kendai, Og, and the whole crew a heartfelt apology.


1373-04    (31dfc dist, 3.7 mean)
Selected-By: Christophe <xof@chanticleer.com>

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

> What's the difference between a half-eaten bowl of buttered popcorn
> and a politician with his hands in his pockets?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Hands in his OWN pockets?  He's fictional.  The popcorn is not.


1373-05    (29ka3 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: Klone (aka Daniel V Klein) <dvk@lonewolf.com>

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

> OH GREAT ORICLE! ONE WITH NEVER ENDING KNOWLAGE!
>
> WHY DO I WRITE WITH CAPS?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Because the brim on a trilby or a bowler hat is too wide to hit the
} keys on the keyboard.
}
} You owe the Oracle your shift key. Or your immortal soul, whichever is
} easiest to give up.


1373-06    (29r51 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: "Julianna Avedon" <SOteric2@email.msn.com>

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

> Ambidextrose and resplungeant Oracle, you are looking
> exceptionally omniscient today.  If you had feathers I
> would say that they are superbly preened.  I, on the other
> hand, am my supplican't self, unable to think about
> cleaning your vast stables, even if I wanted to.
>
> Why can't I find my keys where I'm looking for them?  Why
> are they always somewhere else?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Supplicant, in honor of your particularly prolix grovel, I'm going
} to clue you in to a little known secret. Shush, don't tell anyone,
} but when people leave the building, or go to sleep, many inanimate
} objects come to life to live out wonderous adventures beyond our
} (and by that I mean your) comprehsion. They are much smaller than us
} though, so they try to keep their existence a secret. Really, not
} a word to anyone.  Sigh, I remember the story of Bally and Yarny,
} those rascals, and all their mischeif. Oh, and the chronicles of
} thumbtack, the merciless.  Many grande and unusual events happen
} when an inanimate object catches the whim. However, once a year,
} they all congregate, in celebration of their objective heritage!
}
} Oh yes! The rulers of the objects, the toybox holds such spectacular
} balls. All the items attend. Though most of the fun is had by the
} stuffed animals, and letter blocks, all will generally attest to
} enjoying themselves. Occasionally, an outcasted "unfun" object is
} invited to the party, to try a new way of life. Because of this I
} would recommend checking your toybox or under your bed.  Perhaps if
} you had not discriminated against your keys and shunned them, they
} may have stayed more loyal to you. But don't fret, if you can rebuild
} the relationship that you and your keys once had, they will always
} stay by your side.
}
} You owe the Oracle photographic proof that the lightswitch is plotting
} against him.


1373-07    (17dj4 dist, 3.4 mean)
Selected-By: Dave Hemming <dhemming@blueyonder.co.uk>

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

> Dear Oracle, my intent is to write a novel, preferably a
> best seller.  I'm going to do it over Xmas holiday.  But
> I lack a theme, a plot, characters and development.  The
> best I could come up with was from the Science Fiction
> Plot Generator: "Planet 9 of Alpha-Centauri is used as
> the cue ball in a game of galactic bar-billiards and
> everyone dies."
>
> Surely there's a better plot, and YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS!
> Help me, O Omniscient One, you're my only hope!  (Please
> throw in the theme, characters, location, development,
> and all that stuff while you're at it, no trouble for
> an Omniscience of your capacity.)
>
> Hold everything, I just got another plot!  "Mars is taken
> over by mutant diploid armour plated pterodactyls with
> ESP and silicon-based DNA and is visited by good robots
> who rewind time to before the disaster but then Earth is
> invaded by nasty aliens and everyone dies."  Crikers, it's
> worse than the previous one.  Best ignore it.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Your best bet is to quit while you're ahead...
} really... trust me... I know everything, since I'm the
} Oracle. Let's take a look at your future if you do
} what you intend to do:
}
} *weird swirly flash foreward special effect*
}
} November 2004:
} --------------
} After thinking a lot about a possible plot for your
} sci-fi novel, you are inspired and develop the plot in
} your mind.
}
} December 2004:
} --------------
} You sit down for a week straight and write an epic
} sci-fi novel about the adventures of an omniscient
} entity called "The Seer" and his significant other
} "Elizabeth" as they journey through the cosmos aboard
} the "USS Cansler" to stop an evil race of alien
} beavers as they attempt to throw large numbers of
} cellulose-composed cylinders at inhabited planets. To
} briefully summerize the plot, The Seer eventually
} defeats the beaver queen with the all powerful "Pole
} of Zat." You then submit the work to several
} publishers to see if any of them will take it.
}
} January 2004:
} -------------
} A letter comes back from Simon and Schuster. They love
} your manuscript and accept it for publication. They
} decide to really publicize the book like crazy.
} Reviewers rate the work very highly.
}
} Feburary 2004:
} --------------
} Steve Kinzler finds out about your book and
} immediately recognizes it as a complete rip-off of the
} content from thousands of Oracularities Digests, which
} are copyrighted material. He contacts the law firm
} Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, who have famously battled
} Microsoft lawyers in several Oracularities of the
} Past.
}
} March 2004:
} -----------
} Simon and Schuster abandons your manuscript. You face
} an ugly lawsuit, with no defense. You are ripped to
} pieces as the lawyers devour you. The end.
}
} *flash back to the present*
}
} But now that you have asked, the chain of events that
} I have shown you will not come to pass. Why? Because
} I'm the Oracle, and since you have asked, YOU OWE ME
} SOMETHING!
}
} You owe the Oracle your solemn oath not to write a
} best selling science fiction novel during Christmas holiday.


1373-08    (49j84 dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: Christophe <xof@chanticleer.com>

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

> Dear Oracle, after ruining your sports car, your private jet,
> your helicopter and the planet Mars in my foolish attempts
> at grand grovelling, I've decided to stick to simpler means
> of transportation whilst proclaiming your superiorness and
> my inferioritude to the World At Large.  This time I'll use
> a yacht that I found floating near your moat.  I'm sure it's
> not yours because its name is written in Mexican.  It's called
> TIO XX.  Anyone with half a brain knows that Tio means uncle
> in Mexican, and XX is the famous Mexican beer.
>
> Before I hoist the maine sail, though, I have to visit the, um,
> what do you call it, the place where you can answer nature's
> call.  (I hate these fancy nautical words.)  Oh yeah, the poop
> deck.
>
> Hah!  A bunch of people stood around watching me, but that's
> the way it is aboard ship.  If they didn't want to see me they
> should have closed their eyes.  They were all saying I should
> go to the head of the boat, but I looked there, at the front,
> already, and that was the wrong place.  To hell with 'em.
>
> So I'll just hoist this specially made main sale that I brought
> along, that proclaims ORRIE IS TOOO WUNDERFUL FOR WORRDS and
> ...
>
> Oops, I've fallen overboard!
>
> I hope I'm not in the Bermuda Triangle!  Last time I checked
> in the supermarket tabloids I couldn't find it.  The Bermuda
> Triangle is MISSING!  Anyway, HELP, and please tell me, where
> the hell am I?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} You again? Wasn't plummeting seventeen thousand metres towards the
} earth enough for you?
}
} Okay, to answer your question, you're in the water. Dammit, stop
} floundering when I'm talking to you!
}
} Oh, all right, then! (Where are my lifesavers?)
}
} Here! (splosh)
}
} Hope you like raspberry, 'cause that's all I've got.
}
} You owe the Oracle a pair of Bermuda shorts.


1373-09    (338eg dist, 3.8 mean)
Selected-By: Klone (aka Daniel V Klein) <dvk@lonewolf.com>

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

> Hail to the Oracle,
> The incarnation wise
> Whose ever present knowledge-base
> Flits past this mortal's eyes.
>
> Hail from the supplicant,
> The humble one who begs,
> Who asks for just a drip of worth
> From Orrie's goblet's dregs.
>
> Hail to the Oracle,
> I give you my request,
> Twix butter pure and margarine
> Pray which one is the best?
>
> Glorious great Oracle,
> Wonderous and fine,
> May your great words of clarity
> Come from your mind to mine.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}  >look
}
} MAIN SOUND STAGE
} You are on the main sound stage of "Cooking with Orrie," your bi-annual
} PBS fund-raising special.  The stage looks like a typical suburban
} kitchen except for the 200-person auditorium and three camera setups to
} the north.  The wings extend to the east and west.  A closed door leads
} to the south.
} Bright lights obscure your view of the auditorium.
}
}  >inventory
}
} You are carrying half a stick of butter, a tub of margarine, and a
} complete set of stainless steel Ginsu kitchenware (minus the
} complimentary steak knife)
}
} Lisa enters from the east.
}
}  >examine Lisa
}
} Lisa is wearing a leopard print chef's costume, and has obviously spent
} a great deal of time fixing her hair.
}
}  >talk to her
}
} I only understand you as far as wanting to talk.
} Lisa leans over the counter.  "I haven't found the recipe yet," she
} whispers in your ear.   "But don't worry, Zadoc is looking it up on the
} Internet right now. For the time being just get them both out and be
} flexible.  You're on in FIVE."  She sets a timer on the counter.
}
}  >talk to Lisa
}
} Lisa is not in the room!
} Lisa exits to the east.
} The timer ticks contentedly to itself.
}
}  >follow her
}
} I don't understand.
} The timer ticks contentedly to itself.
}
}  >east
}
} You are on in THREE!
} The timer ticks contentedly to itself.
}
}  >examine timer
}
} The timer looks like any ordinary kitchen timer.  It is pointing to the
} numeral TWO.
}
}  >put all on the counter
}
} Tub of margarine:  dropped
} Complete set of stainless steel Ginsu kitchenware (minus the
} complimentary steak knife): dropped
} The timer ticks contentedly to itself.
}
}  >find butter
}
} The half-stick of butter is not in the room!
} The timer ticks contentedly to itself.
}
}  >east
}
} You are on in ONE!
} The timer ticks contentedly to itself.
}
}  >inventory
}
} You are carrying nothing.
} The timer DINGS! contentedly to itself.
}
} ON THE AIR
} This show is made possible in part by the generous contributions of
} supplicants like you.  Today on "Cooking with Orrie", the Usenet Oracle
} is going to demonstrate the proper method for creating his famous
} "Delphic Delights" after dinner sweets. Many have tried and all have
} failed to replicate the distinctive taste of these bits of baked
} ambrosia, but today The Oracle himself will reveal the secret to
} successful Delphic Cooking.
}
}  >find lisa
}
} Lisa is not in the room!
} The audience looks at you expectantly.
}
}  >examine kitchen
}
} The kitchen contains all the paraphernalia of a normal suburban
} kitchen, with the addition of three ovens, two giant mixing bowls, a
} full set of stainless steel Ginsu kitchenware (minus the complimentary
} steak knife), an industrial zotting machine, and a stove, on top of
} which is a giant cookpot.  A door to the south leads to a black
} curtain, and the wings extend to the east and west.
} The audience looks at you expectantly.
} You hear a muffled thumping noise.
}
}  >examine pot
}
} Which pot, the one the stove or in the plastic bag?
} The audience looks at you expectantly.
} You hear a muffled thumping noise.
}
}  >examine noise
}
} The muffled thumping appears to be emanating from behind the door to
} the south.  Occasionally you hear a whimper, as of some animal in pain.
} The audience looks at you expectantly.
} You hear a muffled thumping noise.
}
}  >open door
}
} As you jerk the door wide open you hear a loud scream, and see
} something white flit behind a curtain.
} The wrapper from a half-stick of butter falls to the floor.
} A leopard print chef's costume falls to the floor.
}
}  >tear curtain
}
} You reach up and gather a great handful of cloth, then pull downwards
} with your mighty Oracular strength.  The black curtain tumbles to the
} ground revealing Zadoc and Lisa, both completely nude and covered in
} butter, cowering in the corner.
}
}  >take margarine, put it in pot on stove
}
} Tub of margarine: taken
} Into the giant cookpot you throw the margarine, which immediately melts
} and begins to boil excitedly.
} Lisa screams.
}
}  >take zadoc, put him in pot on stove
}
} Zadoc: taken
} As you dangle the squirming priest above the bubbling pot of oil you
} ask him a single question.
}
} "Why?"
}
} Zadoc: "I'm not going to beg.  I did it because margarine just doesn't
} do the job, you know?  Sometimes, when you need a field expedient and
} find yourself short, there's just no substitute for the real thing.
} And you had the last half-stick.  That reminds me of a funny-"  You let
} him drop, then turn to the audience.
}
} "Ladies and gentlemen, the secret ingredient to ALL Delphic Delights is
} adultery.  Adultery will add spice to any food, but always, ALWAYS, let
} it be someone else's."
}
} You would have said more, but were interrupted by an outrageously long
} pledge drive.
}
} YOU HAVE WON- BUT LOST AT THE SAME TIME, CUCKOLD!
} ****************************************************************
}
} "Before you'd posed the question
} And given your request,
} 'Twixt butter pure and margarine
} I'd thought the former "best".
}
} But now I'm forced to say
} That neither one's more fit,
} It all depends on context
} And what you do with it."
}
} You owe the Oracle a pair of horns.


1373-10    (29ef4 dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: "Alyce Wilson" <alycewilson@lycos.com>

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

> Oh wondrous Oracle,
>
> Why is it that fizzy drinks lose their fizz when you shake them up?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well, the real reason is that the carbonic acid (H2CO3) present in the
} drinks breaks up into CO2 and H2O; the CO2 being the part providing the
} fizz.  If the drink is open, then the CO2 escapes into the air.  Once
} all the carbonic acid has broken up this way, there's no more fizz.
} But that's a boring answer, so here are a handful of alternate
} interpretations:
}
} The drink gets angry and tries to ZOT you.  Being a carbonated
} beverage, however, it can only FIZZ.
}
} The soft drink is actually a tiny casino, and the patrons wager their
} fizz.  Shaking the drink causes their dice to fall.  The house
} advantage is 5.8%, so they lose their fizz pretty quickly.
}
} The marriage between gas and liquid is quite volatile, and anything
} that shakes them up can lead to a divorce so quick it makes Britney
} Spears look like a bastion of commitment.
}
} "My god, its full of stars...oh, not any more."
}
} Roses are red,
} Violets are blue,
} When you shake a fizzy drink
} It loses its fizz.
}
} So there you have it, supplicant.  Shaking your drink enriches the
} casino.  You owe the Oracle a 24-hour marriage license.


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