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Internet Oracularities #728

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Usenet Oracularities #728    (89 votes, 3.0 mean)
Compiled-By: "Steve Kinzler" <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 1995 11:54:44 -0500

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send mail to oracle@cs.indiana.edu with the word "help" in the subject
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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:
   728
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

728   89 votes amuj8 jpy92 8itnb mvic6 7enwd 5aauy dntdb aqzd5 5aAsa 7gssa
728   3.0 mean  2.9   2.4   3.1   2.4   3.3   3.9   2.8   2.7   3.3   3.2


728-01    (amuj8 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: gt2126b@prism.gatech.edu (William T. Petrosky)

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

> Oh most wise of all the Oracles to have ever existed, tell me, Great
> One, exactly why did the dinosaurs die out, and did they ever drink
> coffee?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} To answer your question, let's listen in to one Tuesday at the start of
} the Cenozoic Era. Two dinosaurs, coincidentally named Fred and Ethel,
} are munching their way through the forest.
}
} Ethel: You really should try this conifer. It's quite tasty.
}
} Fred: Actually, I'm quiet content with being a carnivore, Ethel. You
} know that.
}
} Ethel: This isn't turning into another of those how-are-we-going-to-
} raise-our-child discussions, is it?
}
} Fred: No, I'm just saying that I like meat. And it's not like it will
} hurt the boy.
}
} Ethel: I'm not raising our son as a bloodthirsty carnivore, and that's
} final.
}
} Fred: You know, I've heard that you can't get complete protein from
} plants alone.
}
} Ethel: Well, I've heard that eating meat is bad for your health.
}
} Fred: Only when it fights back.
}
} Ethel: I want our son to love every living thing.
}
} Fred: The boy's a wimp.
}
} Ethel: I've been teaching him to sing songs and never to eat meat.
}
} Fred: The bigger dinos tease him about his color.
}
} Ethel: Well, that's because they're mean meat-eating bigots, I say.
}
} Fred: He's been beaten up three times this week. I should teach him to
} defend himself.
}
} Ethel: With what? Those puny forearms?
}
} Fred: That's just it. He hasn't had the chance to fight for himself.
}
} Ethel: And he's not going to. He's a sweet boy, don't spoil him.
}
} Fred: I'm not going to spoil him. I just want him to be able to show
} the other dinos that he can take care of himself.
}
} At this point, Fred tried to eat a drumstick from a proto-chicken and,
} as fate would have it, he choked on the bone. Since the Heimlich
} maneuver wouldn't be invented for another 65 million years, Fred's luck
} ran out.
}
} So you see, that was how one dino died out. It's important to note that
} Fred and Ethel's son survived, even though Fred never was able to teach
} him how to defend himself. Ethel taught him more songs, and the other
} dinos decided that they weren't interested in him anymore.
}
} Oh, and Fred liked his coffee black (non-dairy creamer not having been
} invented yet) and Ethel drank hers decaf.
}
} You owe the Oracle (incarnated as g. t. <na53711@anon.penet.fi>) the
} end of one dinosaur.


728-02    (jpy92 dist, 2.4 mean)
Selected-By: Michael Nolan <nolan@pumpkin.tssi.com>

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

> How computer networks work?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well it depends on what kind of computer network you're
} looking at.  Different networks work in different ways.
}
} Let's consider as an example one commonly used network:
} Ethernet.  An Ethernet consists of a fine web made up
} of strands of ether.  (That's not the chemical ether they
} use to anesthetize fruit flies in the biology lab.  It's
} the ether that radio waves are transmitted through.)  This
} web is strung up throughout the building, especially in
} the vicinity of the light fixtures, and it traps photons
} which get entangled in it.
}
} The photons are then used as messengers to send data
} between the various computers on the network.  There's
} a coaxial cable which is used as a roadway by the photons.
}
} You may hear talk about master-slave protocols.  The
} photons are the slaves.
}
} You owe the Oracle a treatise on HappyNet.


728-03    (8itnb dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: "Carole S. Fungaroli" <carole@email.unc.edu>

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

> What do birds think of?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} A truly insightful question, whose true answer few mortals have ever
} guessed.  (The last one who did guess was Sir Isaac Newton.  More on
} that in a minute.)
}
} It is commonly thought that all birds think about is eating,
} sleeping, escaping from predators, flying south for the winter,
} defending their territory, mating and nesting (in season).  Nothing
} could be further from the truth.  Birds do all these things entirely
} by instinct, without thinking of them at all.
}
} No, what birds actually think about is mathematics.  Birds are
} tutored in basic arithmetic by their parents, and most of them have
} mastered algebra and trigonometry before they leave the nest.
}
} Sir Isaac Newton was an extremely bright man, but he did not actually
} invent calculus himself.  He observed a flock of robins, and noticed
} a certain pattern in their activities.  He studied this pattern
} carefully, and suddenly realized that the birds were calculating the
} area of arbitrarily curved shapes.  He promptly set to work
} expressing this new area of math in a form that humans could more
} readily understand.  Have you ever noticed how an integral sign looks
} rather like a worm?  That's what the robins were using.
}
} Birds' expertise extends to the higher mathematics, as well, such as
} topology.  When humans finally solved the four-color map theorem a
} few years ago, it was hailed as a major achievement.  But had they
} only looked to the birds, they could have saved themselves a lot of
} trouble.  Sparrows proved that theorem over 400 years ago.
}
} In future, when you hear the birds' song, listen carefully, You never
} know when you might pick up some useful tidbit of mathematical
} knowledge.
}
} The sole exception to this is the ostrich, which is quite
} stupid^H^H^H^H^H^Hintellectually challenged, and can't do anything
} much at all without an adding machine.
}
} You owe the Oracle a talking parrot, so he can carry on some truly
} intelligent conversation.


728-04    (mvic6 dist, 2.4 mean)
Selected-By: rmcgee@wiley.csusb.edu (Rich McGee)

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

> Great Oracle, knower of the known and unknown alike, Keeper of the
> kept, unkept, and unkempt, please help me find the answer.
>
> I wonder, wonder, wonder.  WHO?  Who wrote the book of love?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} It was written by Monserasto, vizier to King Hammurabi
} of Babylonia, in 1937 BC.  Regrettably, it is no longer
} in print.
}
} You owe the Oracle a translation into English, on CD-ROM.


728-05    (7enwd dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: gt2126b@prism.gatech.edu (William T. Petrosky)

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

> Oh benevelent one....
>
> What, pray tell, is the purpose of the collar on a dress shirt?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} To give mistresses' lipstick a place to be found by wives.
}
} You owe the Oracle a stammering denial, followed by a week of sleeping
} on the couch.


728-06    (5aauy dist, 3.9 mean)
Selected-By: forbes@icabod.ih.att.com (Scott Forbes)

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

>          Dear stupendous Oracle;
>
>              My car is always broken and it's becoming *VERY*
>          expensive and *VERY* frustrating.  It seems that every time I
>          hit the breaks, it breaks.  If they have a pedal on the floor
>          that breaks the car, why don't they have one that fixes it?
>
>          PS: Also, there is a button on the dash called "lighter", and
>          I keep pushing it but don't seem to be loosing any weight.
>          Why not?  And putting the shifter in "overdrive" won't let me
>          drive over the slow car in front of me.  How come?  [Ring
>          .... ring]  Excuse me, I have a phone call.
>
>          [The supplicant steps away from his computer for a moment]
>
>          Sorry, I am changing my question to ...
>
>                           "How do I drive my mother?"
>
>          Please hurry with your answer.  My sister just called and
>          said I have to drive my mother to the hospital.  I know how
>          to drive my car, but not how to drive my mother.
>
>          Can I sit on her without hurting her?
>
>          How fast can she go?
>
>          Where do I put the gas?
>
>          Is she good on wet roads?
>
>          What if she dies enroute, how would I get her started again?
>
>          *PLEASE* hurry with your answer, this means life or death!

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} STOP right there. Your mother is not, repeat NOT a motor vehicle. Do
} not attempt to use her in that manner. If you intend to drive your
} mother to the hospital, you need a three wood.
}
} You owe the Oracle some ideas for a Mother's Day gift.


728-07    (dntdb dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: "Alyce Wilson" <AMW108@PSUVM.PSU.EDU>

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

>               O great and mighty oracle.
>               Can you tell me this:
>
>               My friend told me that I was loosing my mind.
>               Where did it go?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} It flew up through gap between your text and the left hand margin.
}
} You owe the Oracle a grammar checker capable of intelligently
} discriminating between "looser" and "loser".


728-08    (aqzd5 dist, 2.7 mean)
Selected-By: Michael Nolan <nolan@pumpkin.tssi.com>

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

> What's Vanilla Ice been up to lately?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well, a while back it was involved in a menage-a-trous
} with Chocolate Ice and Strawberry Ice in Naples.  That
} relationship held on for years, but then the three
} gradually started to drift apart from each other.
}
} After that, Vanilla Ice had a wild fling with Hot Fudge
} (which ended up with somebody's cherry getting lost), but
} that didn't last very long.  They both had a great time,
} but they soon found out they weren't compatible.
}
} Following that break-up, it tried getting together
} with Chocolate Chip, and they ended up getting hitched.
} Very soon, they're expecting a little mint daughter.
}
} You owe the Oracle a banana split.


728-09    (5aAsa dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: Michael Nolan <nolan@pumpkin.tssi.com>

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

> If firefighters fight fire, and crime fighters fight crime, what do
> freedom fighters fight?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} See there? -- you've fallen into a pitiful logical trap.
} As someone unimportant once said: "Metaphor is the most
} insidious form of logic -- it implies that because two
} things are similar in _one_ characteristic, that they are
} therefore necessarily similar in others".
}
} Consider, the next time you shop for groceries, that here
} we have a can from Bush's -- the label shows, in part, a
} picture of beans.  What's inside?  -- Beans!  In the
} frozen food isle we find a package from Mrs. Paul's, and
} the label consists, in part, of a representation of fish.
} What's inside? -- Fish! And by george, you think you have
} it all figured out.  But then  we get to the next isle,
} where a small jar from Gerbers has, on its label, the picture
} of a smiling baby.  Oh, the _horror_ of that!
}
} Fire fighters do indeed fight fires; crime fighters fight
} crime, and freedom fighters fight to establish their own
} brand of tyranny, to replace the system adopted by the
} previous collection of malcontents.  (See also: terrorists,
} insurgents, patriots, people's militia, the underground, etc.)
}
} Well, getting back to the metaphor thingy -- a certain
} question earlier yesterday lacked a grovel, and the sender got
} Zotted.  Earlier today, a grovel-devicient question came in,
} and the sender got Zotted.  But does it _necessarily_ follow
} that YOU'RE going to get Zotted?  You just cannot be certain,
} now can you?  And I don't need to do it right away, either, DO
} I?  I mean, it could come at any time.... or never, right?
}
} There, see? -- it's GOOD to understand about uncertainty, isn't
} it?  It just opens you up to all sorts of possibilities.  Now
} why don't you go play in the street?
}
} You owe the Oracle a Lottery ticket.


728-10    (7gssa dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: Christophe Pettus <cep@best.com>

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

> tellme what to say when I meet Mickey Mouse next week

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} What to Say                           What Not To Say
} ----------------------------------------------------------------------
} "Is Minnie well?"             "Hey, heard you made it with Minnie."
}
} "Nice shorts, Mickey!"        "Are those two white things on the front
}                               of your shorts buttons or are they
}                               something else?"
}
} "I saw you on TV, Mickey!"    "I saw you on TV, Mickey, and on a
}                               t-shirt, a hat, the movies, on a
}                               lunchbox, on a Dixie cup, as a doll, and
}                               several other miscellaneous articles,
}                               devices and some such Disney knick-knack
}                               that was from the 1930s when you were
}                               still called Mortimer."
}
} "Happy birthday, Mickey!"     "Damn, you're old, Mickey. What are you,
}                               60, 70? Shouldn't your tail be a little
}                               shriveled knob at the end of your back by
}                               now? Shouldn't your ears have ceased to
}                               exist, having crumbled away 25 years ago?
}                               Shouldn't your nose look more like a
}                               shriveled raisin by now?
}
} "I loved the Sorceror's      "Boy, the Sorceror's Apprentice sucked!
} Apprentice!"                  why did you even steal that sorceror's
}                               hat, when all you did was fall asleep,
}                               after you made a whole lot of brooms start
}                               walking around and mopping the place
}                               up. I mean, you could have done lots of
}                               neat stuff, other than set a whole
}                               bunch of magical brooms to cleaning the
}                               sorceror's study. You wouldn't have to
}                               clean out his study anymore, after you got
}                               ahold of his hat. You could have
}                               teleported to some tropical island in the
}                               South Pacific, where you could live in
}                               Paradise, eating the native fruits,
}                               listening to the ocean waves crash upon
}                               the shore, and if you ever decided you
}                               wanted something else, you always had the
}                               hat. You could have had it all, you
}                               *ssh*le. You damned *ssh*le."
}
} You owe the Oracle one of those DisneyWorld Mickey Mouse-ear hats.


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