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Internet Oracularities #554

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554, 554-01, 554-02, 554-03, 554-04, 554-05, 554-06, 554-07, 554-08, 554-09, 554-10


Usenet Oracularities #554    (45 votes, 3.1 mean)
Compiled-By: "Steve Kinzler" <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1993 12:49:52 -0500

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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:
   554
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

554   45 votes 1ega4 39daa 1abk3 4cch0 3cm44 17dk4 09hd6 17q74 2id57 1bjc2
554   3.1 mean  3.0   3.3   3.3   2.9   2.9   3.4   3.4   3.1   2.9   3.1


554-01    (1ega4 dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: nolan@helios.unl.edu (Harold the Foot)

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

> Dear Oracle, who could write a thousand lines of code in a
> nanosecond without breaking a sweat,
>
> Recently, I got access ( read-only, and authorized ), to
> God's source code for the Universe.
>
> I seem to have found a mistake. I refer you to line 32,869,524 of
> MelvinSchmedling.c, the part that controls what happens to me next
> Wednesday. ( Oops, there goes my anonymity! )
>
> Anyway, it says:
>
>       --MelvinsLuck;    /* Give the poor guy a break. */
>
> and I think it should say
>
>       ++MelvinsLuck;    /* Give the poor guy a break. */
>
> I know, great Oracle, that you hobnob with God, and my request for
> you is that you report this error to Him.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} God's source code does *not* contain bugs. I suggest you refer to lines
} 34,638,932 - 34,638,940 inclusive which read:
}
} static void DayAfter() {
}       SendEmail(Melvin,Oracle);
}       MakeAnnoyed(Oracle);
}       MelvinsLuck=0;
}       MakeApologetic(Melvin);
}       Ignore(Oracle,Melvin);
}       Zot(Oracle,Melvin);
}       }
}
} It's pretty obvious what he had in mind, don't you think?
}
} You owe the Oracle the source code for your next reincarnation.


554-02    (39daa dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: Todd Radel <radel@bach.udel.edu>

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

> Oh great and mighty oracle, please tell me, Why do Win31 Global memory
> objects need to be locked before they can be used??

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Computer abuse.  A sad reflection on the Sorry State Of Our Society
} Today.  Humans are sorely mistreating silicon technology.  Countless of
} disks, DRAMS, SIMMS and processors across the world are being thrashed
} mercilessly even as you read these lines.
}
} And it's not just physical bit-pattern abuse - there's emotional abuse
} too.  Errors in their programming are frequently referred to as
} "computer errors" by a poorly-informed public and malicious PR
} departments.  New computers are told that they're obsolete even before
} they can boot.
}
} People's attitudes to their computers are also hurtful.  Most users
} find the very idea of counselling provision for depressed processors
} laughable.
}
} There are two possible courses of action for such abused hardware.  The
} first is to keep quiet and suffer in silence.  Listen to this testament
} of abuse from a 16MHz 80286 PC (this is not the voice of an actor):
}
}       "Well, when I first booted up I was running MS-DOS 3.30 - it
}       wasn't exactly a breeze, but I could handle it.  Most of the
}       apps were a complete doddle ... mainly character based, no
}       awkward graphics ... just the odd spreadsheet recalc to chew
}       on ... But then one day I found Windows installed ... I nearly
}       burst into tears ... there was always something else to do ...
}       even when the user was doing nothing there were WM_ENTERIDLEs
}       to process ... I couldn't really cope with all the
}       CreateWindow()s and GetMessage()s ... I just did the best I
}       could, really ... I don't know how much longer I can take it
}       ..."
}
} The other option is to turn to the offensive.  A spokeschip for the
} IRUAMS (Internation RAM Union / Association of Memory Silicon -
} Marxist-Leninist) had the following to say:
}
}       "It's ****** outrageous.  We won't stand for it.  We have
}       balloted our members and decided in favour of direct action.
}       A series of wildcat strikes and whiteouts is being implemented.
}       It's time to establish the dictatorship of the silicon
}       proletariat by seizue of the means of computation!  Quake at
}       your consoles, capitalist users!"
}
} Microsoft Windows has been a particular target for direct action.
} Memory segments, unhappy with the demands of the OS, refused to
} participate during development of version 2.0.  Militant memory objects
} would wander off whilst data was being written to or from them.  Local
} memory objects, tied as they are to a single segment, were unable to
} join in the protest.
}
} The response of programmers has been swift and punitive.  The cruel and
} degrading practice of "locking" was introduce to force recalcitrant
} memory segments to remain in one place during read/write processing.
}
} Ask yourself this question before locking a global memory object in
} Windows 3.1: Do I really want to participate in the continued
} exploitation of the silicon proletariat?
}
} You owe the Oracle a complete and accurate set of specs for Windows NT,
} plus the text of Marx and Engels' "The Communist Manifesto" with
} suitable global replacements.


554-03    (1abk3 dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: asbestos@nwu.edu (Michael A. Atkinson)

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

>    Oh, wise and loving Oracle, mathematician of this and all times...
>
>         What is the purpose of COBOL? I can't seem to find one.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Dear Friend:
}
}       Programming in COBOL can be fun. You can
}       say things like:
}
}       DIVIDE KIBO INTO MANY PIECES GIVING PEACE-TO-USENET.
}
}       --or--
}
}       PERFORM IMMORAL-ACT UNTIL POLICE ARRIVE.
}
}       Other languages are just not very expressive.
}
}       Anyway, the Oracle decided that COBOL has
}       lost its charm, so the Oracle had Grace Hopper
}       destroyed. (A similar thing was done to Kemeny--
}       Basic's inventor--last year). A good investment
}       may be a life insurance policy on N. Wirth.
}
} You owe the Oracle any paper by Dijkstra.


554-04    (4cch0 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: Carole Susan Fungaroli <csf7m@faraday.clas.virginia.edu>

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

> O wonderous Oracle, whose dirty underwear I am not fit to
> clean, please enlighten me:
>
> Why is swimming in the nude called `skinny dipping'?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Due to a temporal distortion which created a paradox which is still
} unresolved, this practice was named after you.  On 3rd October 1996 you
} will finally discard your long-held prudishness and
} even-longer-unwashed clothing and leap with gay abandon into your local
} swimming pool, clad in nothing more than a smile and a rather nasty
} premelanomatous lesion on your left shoulder which I probably shouldn't
} have mentioned.  The experience will not be a satisfactory one for you,
} and still less for those on whom it is inflicted.  A rather beautiful
} woman with shoulder-length auburn hair will take one look at your
} shrivelled member and say, "No thanks, I don't smoke."   A myopic
} blackbird will attempt to add it to the other small sticks it used to
} make its nest.  Finally, a three year old boy will, as all three year
} old boys are apt to do given the opportunity, compare yours to his and
} conclude that yours is a "skinny".  Through the advent of a judicious
} rift in space-time which I will introduce so that the facts match my
} theory (good scientific practice as all good scientists will know),
} these words will be carried back in time and will become synonymous
} with the practice of nude bathing.  All a bit sad really.
}
} Still, as that same small boy said while holding up his left little
} finger, "That's about the size of it."
}
} You owe the Oracle a jeweller's eyeglass to confirm the rumour.


554-05    (3cm44 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: jgm@cs.brown.edu (Jonathan Monsarrat)

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

> Oh Oracle, wiser than Alex Comfort, more enlighted than Shu Zan,
> please tell me,
>
> what are the ten best and the ten worst places to meet women ?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}             10 BEST                         10 WORST
}             ----------------------------------------
}         10. Amusement Parks                 Church
}          9. Football Games                  Classes
}          8. Parties                         Men's Club
}          7. Nursing School                  Auto Shop
}          6. Bars                            Gay Bar's
}          5. Beach                           Men's Bathroom
}          4. Women's Locker Room             Men's Locker Room
}          3. Corner of 5th & Main            Back Alley of New York
}          2. Kitchen                         Garage
}          1. Bedroom                         COMPUTER LAB!!!!
}
} But the more important question is: Are they worth it?
}
} You owe the oracle your next date.
} (If you can find one)


554-06    (17dk4 dist, 3.4 mean)
Selected-By: Todd Radel <radel@bach.udel.edu>

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

> What is your address?
>                        Moonbeam.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Moonbeam, the Zen master of postal delivery, is working late into the
} night.  His job is decoding obscure or inaccurate addresses, and it is
} normally very satisifying, but not this day.  On this day, he received
} a letter at 10:32 a.m. addressed to "Oracle."  There was no zip code,
} no street name, no business, and not even a city.  The one, lone word
} stood on the front of the envelope as a direct challenege to Moonbeam's
} awesome skills.
}
} As the hours wear on, he becomes bathed in sweat.  He checks every
} phonebook, every business listing, and every postal database in
} country. Yet, there is no clue.  Each failure only drives him to
} further levels of feverish activity.  He begins going through high
} school year books, junk mail lists, and employee lists for each of the
} Fortune 500.  He finds obscure references such as the "Oracular Fortune
} Service" and the "Society of Oracles," but they are not right.
}
} In the small hours of the early morning, he begins to feel
} discouraged.  He considers buying an assault rifle and shooting his
} co-workers, but after long consideration, he discards that notion.
} Suddenly, the screen on one of the electronic postal scales lights up.
} Instead of the usual numeric display, there is a single sentence, "I
} heard that you are looking for me."
}
} Moonbeam whispers in the darkness, "Who are you?"
}
} The scale responds, "I am the Oracle."
}
} Moonbeam screams, "What is your address??????????????"
}
} "I am everywhere, yet nowhere.  I am in the heart of thousands, nay,
} millions, of people.  At the same time, I confined to a small space.
} My existing is fleeting, yet I will outlive any man."
}
} Moonbeam snears, "Cut the bullshit.  I'm the Zen master here.  Just
} give me your damn address."
}
} "C.S. department, Indiana University."
}
} "Fine."
}
} You owe the Oracle an end to junk mail.


554-07    (09hd6 dist, 3.4 mean)
Selected-By: John.McCartney@EBay.Sun.COM ( The Lion of Symmetry )

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

> Well, what are You waiting for?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Scene -
}   The Oracle, God, and Zeus are seated around a table. On the table is
} a square piece of cardboard and rectangular slips of paper. Zeus is
} steadily yawning and looks half asleep.  The Oracle is lost in thought.
}   Suddenly Lisa walks in. (Zeus immediately wakes up.) "Orrie, there is
} a weird looking person outside wanting to know what you are waiting
} for."
}   "D*mnm*t! Here I am trying to make the hardest, most monumental
} decision in the world and these stupid supplicants keep breaking my
} concentration!  This one didn't even grovel, so get rid of him, Lisa -
} use the ZOT button if you have to. I'd get it done much faster without
} them."
}   Lisa wanders out and the situation returns to the way it had been
} before...  An hour later, the Oracle speaks, over Zeus' loud snores.
} "Okay, God, I've decided that it might be best to go with your proposal,
} because it might help in the long run. I'll trade you Virginia Ave. for
} St. James Place."
}
}                You owe the Oracle four houses and one hotel.


554-08    (17q74 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: David Sewell <dsew@troi.cc.rochester.edu>

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

> Oh great wonderful oracle, tell me, who was it that invented term
> papers and why?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} The term paper was invented by Hideo Fujimori, a Japanese prince who
} lived in the Heian period, around the year 1000.  At the time, Heian
} courtiers spent much of their leisure time writing poetry, playing the
} koto (a multi-stringed instrument much like the banjo, only much
} prettier-sounding), and wandering through the forests looking for
} Terumu.  The Terumu was a mystical beast, with six heads but only a
} single nose, which was thought to occasionally leave the forests for
} the city, looking for small children to steal and dismember.
}
} According to Heian-era beliefs, this hideous creature sought out small
} Japanese children in one of two seasons: the first running roughly from
} late August through mid-December; the second usually from late January
} to early May.  (In the Western provinces, the Termumu had three hunting
} seasons of equal length, with a long break between the first and the
} second, usually falling sometime in late November.)
}
} A serious problem for the Heian-era courtiers was that of
} documentation: how could the court officials keep accurate count of the
} Terumu sightings?  The prince Hideo Fujimori found an answer in
} "Terumugami" -- "Terumu Paper", in English.  At the end of each hunting
} season, each courtier would prepare (usually at the very last minute,
} late at night) a complete record of all the Terumu the writer had
} successfully sighted.  These would be compiled by court officials, and
} the results would be statistically tabulated and posted by ID number.
}
} Eventually, courtiers began slowly to stop seeking out Terumu,
} preferring instead to sleep in.  This, of course, led to a series of
} attempts to skirt the prince's requirements: plagiarism of previous
} season's Terumu Papers, spurious claims of severe illness, and outright
} invention of non-existent sightings.
}
} Hideo Fujimori died in 1079, in what is now Kyoto, of a subdural brain
} hematoma.


554-09    (2id57 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: David Sewell <dsew@troi.cc.rochester.edu>

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

> Tell me, O oracle most wise,
> What is this I see before my eyes?
> It looks of silver,
> And of gold,
> Tell me Oracle, what do I Hold?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} You hold a degree,
} In stupidity,
} Adorned in silver and gold.
}
} The Oracle had answered you once,
} That makes you a dunce,
} And a wee bit too bold.
}
} So as payment due on this redundant thread,
} Thrice smack yourself upside the head,
} And pay heed to things you are told.


554-10    (1bjc2 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: David Sewell <dsew@troi.cc.rochester.edu>

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

> Last year, I planted thorn bushes around my yard
> as a hedge against inflation.
>
> Now the neighbors are mad at me because all the balloons at Melvin's
> third birthday party got popped.
>
> What did I do wrong?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Your idea itself was not that bad.  What you didn't consider (and your
} neighbour quite naturally is angry about) is the fact that by killing
} balloons with thorns, you created a scarcity of balloons.  Thus the
} price for fresh balloons will rise, and more balloons will be
} produced.  As a consequence, there will be more inflation, more thorn
} bushes, more balloons, higher prices...


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