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Internet Oracularities #873

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873, 873-01, 873-02, 873-03, 873-04, 873-05, 873-06, 873-07, 873-08, 873-09, 873-10


Internet Oracularities #873    (111 votes, 3.2 mean)
Compiled-By: "Steve Kinzler" <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 1996 08:37:29 -0500 (EST)

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873  111 votes apEkg 8fqrz 4kzyi anHq9 9uBpa dmHlc 47tFu nqqlf elhAn dpype
873   3.2 mean  3.1   3.6   3.4   3.0   3.0   3.0   3.8   2.8   3.3   3.0


873-01    (apEkg dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: Mike Nolan <nolan@celery.tssi.com>

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

> Dr racl, hd vwl mvmnt nd th ll fll ff.  Pls hlp.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Wipe again.  You left a single "a" in your message.  Very sloppy.
}
} You owe the Oracle a can of air freshener.


873-02    (8fqrz dist, 3.6 mean)
Selected-By: <perkunas@juno.com>

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

>  Oracle most wonderful,
>  Why is it that when I hit the Escape key on my computer keybooard,
>  I *don't* get transported to a world where Scheme is the programming
>  language of choice, my wrists don't hurt, I can get a date for
>  Saturday night, and eating chocolate cookie dough ice cream doesn't
>  make you fat?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Actually, "ESC" doesn't stand for "escape."  That's just a common
} misconception.  Here's how it came about.
}
} The first computer with a keyboard, the Dohrstop 2000 (named for its
} inventor, Gerald Dohrstop), took its keyboard from an Olympia manual
} typewriter.  However, the operating system used on the Dohrstop
} ("DOS," the Dohrstop Operating System) required that subtraction
} operands be enclosed in brackets, which were not to be found on the
} typewriter keyboard.
}
} However, there was a key just to the right of the "P"...on the
} typewriter, it produced the fractions "1/2" or, when shifted,
} "1/4."  The Dohrstop character set didn't include either of these
} fractions--they would have been unreadable at the small font size
} necessitated by the tiny amount of video RAM (none, actually).  And so
} that key became the left bracket or, when shifted, the right bracket.
}
} It wasn't until two days later that a friend of Gerald Dohrstop's,
} Todd Nurter, discovered the fatal flaw in the Dohrstop 2000:  there
} was no way to move the blinking square that showed the text insertion
} point (this item would not be named until a few years later, when
} Frank Cursor gave it its familiar name of "insertion point") to the
} next line down.  This had always been accomplished, on typewriters, by
} moving the carriage that held the paper.  Clearly this wouldn't work
} on computers, which didn't have carriages.  Nurter had a brainstorm:
} a completely new key, never before seen on any sort of keyboard,
} which would accomplish this feat.  After a few trials and errors,
} Nurter settled on a location for this key:  just to the right of
} the apostrophe/quotation mark key.  Nurter also named this key after
} himself, although in the form of an anagram.  Nurter thought the Nurter
} 740 would revolutionize computing--however, at first, the only people
} who were really interested were typewriter manufacturers, who used
} Nurter's "Return" key on a brand new kind of typewriter: the electric.
}
} The major problem with the Return key was that it stuck out awkwardly
} on the right side of the keyboard.  Clearly, something would have
} to be done about it, and the person to do it was Deidre Leit, an
} early female computing pioneer, who decided the Return key needed a
} companion, a key which would move the insertion point to the left.
} As Frank Nurter had done with his key, she named this key after
} herself--her last name and first inital, actually.  Gerald Dohrstop,
} who was working on his Dohrstop 3000, paid her for the rights to use
} the D. Leit key.
}
} Dohrstop purchased a new typewriter, intending to use its keyboard
} for the Dohrstop 3000.  He added the D. Leit key, but was then
} short a key for the row between the Return key and the D. Leit key.
} He went back to the brackets from the Dohrstop 3000, but this time,
} added a new key to the right of his original bracket key.  Now there
} was one key for the left bracket, and another for the right bracket.
} Meanwhile, however, the typewriter manufacturers had struck back
} against the computer threat by adding another key--to the left of
} the 1, they had added a key that produced the fraction "3/4" or,
} when shifted, the symbol for "degrees."  As with "1/2" and "1/4,"
} neither of these would work correctly with Dohrstop's character set,
} so he merely removed that key.
}
} Three days later, Wayne Macintosh began advertising his new "Macintosh
} LC," which meant "Lotsa Characters."  The main selling point was
} that his keyboard was just like Dohrstop's, with the addition of
} some special, curly brackets on the keys above the regular brackets.
} These curly brackets were necessary to "brace" certain equations in
} Macintosh's operating system.
}
} (Since this was the second time a computer made by Dohrstop had become
} obsolete in just a few days after its introduction, he gave up the
} computer business and turned his attention to the hardware industry;
} not only is his name synonymous with computer equipment that becomes
} obsolete quickly, he also gave his name to a very common piece of
} hardware found in many homes around the world.)
}
} At any rate, this operating system didn't have a name until Macintosh
} came out with the LC II, which introduced a new feature added to
} the D. Leit key--it not only moved the insertion point to the left,
} it erased the character that was in the way.  Macintosh changed the
} spelling of the key and began advertising his computer by asking
} the question "What Interface Now Deletes Out Weird Spellings?"
} His operating system became known by the initials of this question
} that was on every American's lips for a time.
}
} But getting back to your original question...the original Macintosh
} LC had the space at the upper left of the keyboard filled with what
} looked like another key--but wasn't--that read "ESC," an acronym for
} "Extended Set of Characters."  It became common among Macintosh users
} to, whenever a program quit working (since the first program with a
} propensity to do this was a flight simulator, this became known as
} a "crash"), to jab at the "ESC" and complain that, if it weren't for
} the extended set of characters, the program would still be working.
}
} It took Frank Cursor, after returning to his hometown of Pittsfield,
} Massachusetts, to finally make the "ESC" what it is today--on
} his Pittsfield Cursor computer (or "PC"), in a subtle jab at the
} Macintosh computer, he made the "ESC" an actual key that would let
} users get out of a program whenever they wanted, before it crashed.
} ("Which of course it won't," he assured PC buyers.)
}
} It wasn't long before the PC was outselling the Macintosh, a lead
} it would never relinquish, despite gimmicks by Wayne Macintosh such
} as prominently labeling one model the "Macintosh IIsi" (Immoral,
} Indecent Stuff Inside) and including a live animal for the kids to play
} with in each computer box (sometimes a gerbil, sometimes a hamster,
} usually a mouse).  Finally, in desperation, Macintosh made the "ESC"
} on his keyboards into a real key, just as Cursor had done--but added
} an "option" key, and required option and ESC to be used together
} to quit a program, since the user would get a message giving him
} or her the option of quitting the program or not at that point,
} something he thought would give him an advantage over Cursor's PC.
} It didn't, of course, and Macintosh sold the rights to his computers
} to the Beatles' record company.
}
} The PC had turned many ordinary citizens into computer users, who
} didn't remember the original Macintosh meaning of the "ESC," so they
} just assumed it stood for "escape," since they could use it to escape
} from whatever program was in progress.
}
} Now, aren't you glad you didn't ask about the "F" keys?  (Oh, all
} right.  In brief, there was an early music program for the PC that
} had a "jukebox" mode requiring the purchase of a keyboard add-on.
} F1 played "Your Cheatin' Heart," F2 played "Good Vibrations," and
} so on.)
}
} You owe the Oracle a keyboard with a Zot key.


873-03    (4kzyi dist, 3.4 mean)
Selected-By: Mark Lawrence <lawrence.4@osu.edu>

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

>       If a man boards a jet-black train at 4:30 am heading northward
> down I-75with it's hovertrain components set on full force, traveling
> 85 miles an hour 4 inches above the pavement, while another fat guy
> boards a pink train painted with smiley faces heading east in a subway
> tunnel with the radio turned to 92.8 FM with the volume 4 notches below
> full blast and the fat guy farts, what is the meaning of the word
> "foobartoochiehowscowblooptie"

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} What was that?  Sorry, I was just noticing that if you take the first
} letters of the words in your question, it spells out
}
} "I am bajbtaftahndisfwihcsofftefmahfiatpwafgbaptpwsf-
}       heiastwtrttntpefmwtvfnbfbatfgfwitmotwf"
}
} With a name like that, you're clearly Welsh, and being Welsh, you
} surely know that "foobartoochiehowscowblooptie" is Welsh for "hi".
}
} You owe the Oracle some chyfforddus esgidiau, like your cyfnither has.


873-04    (anHq9 dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: <perkunas@juno.com>

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

> Oh great and wise Oracle, I bow before you and beseech you to answer
> my query!
>
> I just heard today that they've discovered a small pond size area
> of ice at the bottom of a large crater on the dark side of the moon
> (really, no kidding). The assumption is that this ice (being at the
> bottom of a very deep crater) is probably the remnants of a comet
> that hit the moon.
>
> My questions, then - couldn't this water possibly be carrying some
> sort of life form or element unbeknownst to us? Also, considering that
> the predominant theory behind the 65 million year extinction cycle
> of the Earth (most prominently, the dinosaur extinction) is based on
> a comet or large meteor hitting the Earth, is it possible that this
> particular comet was heading for us but smacked into the moon instead?
> For the most part, fossil records show massive extinctions (and large
> amounts of irridium, which is pretty common in space but not on Earth)
> every 65 million years - but was that cycle ever skipped at some point?
> Could this be the one that missed, basically?
>
> Lot's of questions, Oh Great One, but I know you can handle it.  Help?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oh.  Um.  THAT.  Err...
}
} Look here, chum, before you go off the handle over this, keep in mind
} that this information was brought to you by the same people who brought
} you the Myopic Hubble Space Telescope, the Space Shuttle with Hatches
} that Frequently Go on the Fritz, the Mars Rock with Evidence of Real
} Life on it (Questions people don't seem to be asking include:  how
} did they know this rock came from Mars in the first place?  For all
} they know, *I* might have planted it to get a rise out of the bozos
} at NASA--not that I'd ever do such a thing, I'm far too busy being
} amused by supplicant questions to pull such a juvenile prank, right?)
}
} My suggestion to you is to remain calm and turn your mind to other
} questions, at least until humanity has colonized the moon and can
} get a really up-close and personal look at the ice in question.
}
} You owe the Oracle a gold-plated toilet seat.
}
} : send
} Sending...
}
} Man, that one was just too close for comfort... LISA!!!
}
} "Orrie, I've been waiting half an hour... the Cool Whip's
} defrosting..."
}
} Lisa, did you leave the freezer open AGAIN?
}
} "Um... hang on... oh man, no wonder..."
}
} Jeez!  I may be an omnipotent oracle, but I don't get paid enough
} to use my freezer as an air conditioner for the known universe!
} Close the door!
}
} "Orrieeeeee..."
}
} WHAT?!
}
} "All this Cool Whip's just going to waste..."
}
} Yow.  Um, okeydokey.
}
}
}
} Hey, waitaminnit, I thought I sent this!  Why are you still here?


873-05    (9uBpa dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: Mike Nolan <nolan@celery.tssi.com>

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

> Please tell me the answer to this question:
>         Why don't they make the whole plane out of the same material
> they make that black box out of?
>                                       Dancing,
>                                           Ryan

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Because it is an extremely scarce material.  Besides, most of it goes
} into making holiday fruitcake.
}
} You owe the Oracle some rube on whom I can pawn off this mockery of a
} dessert.


873-06    (dmHlc dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: Darkmage <iddavis+@pitt.edu>

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

> Oracle most fantastic,
> Who wrote the wonderful answer I just received (it concerned keyboards
> and operating systems)?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Who indeed?  I have so many Incarnations these days, even I find it
} hard to keep track sometimes.  Let me look it up for you.
}
} % index keyboard operating system
} FILE: Answer #Qa07069, LINE(S) CONTAINING INDEX WORD(S):
}   4:keyboard with its own operating system.
} FILE: Answer #Qa09078, LINE(S) CONTAINING INDEX WORD(S):
}   11:complaining of a terrible ache, and we found a *whole keyboard* up
}   49:into the operating theater, where they powered up the system for
}
} Hmmm... that first one looks more like what you're asking about.  Let's
} check the logs and see what it says.
}
} % cat Answer #Qa07069
}   Well, supplicant, since you're so lazy, I'll write that mystery story
}   for you.  With me on the job, you're sure to get an 'A'!
}
}   An R.H.O.D. Mystery
}     by the Writer formerly known as T. U. Oracle
}
}   It was a dark and stormy night.  Suddenly a shot rang out.  Ian Davis
}   screamed, "Not another cascade!!"  Pirate ships, commanded by Admiral
}   Jota, appeared on the horizon.  Steve Ford wrestled with a pig on a
}   keyboard with its own operating system.
}
}   Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Tom "Tom" Harrington was worried.  "I
}   think some of my internal organs are shifting", Tom said
}   downheartedly.  One of the Arizona-dwelling David Sewells slyly
}   changed his address.  The inspector suspected Kinzler's brain.  "That
}   thing has a mind of its own, you know", he said.
}
}   Elsewhere, Ariel Scolnicov furtively lurked under a tree, waiting for
}   Zadoc and Lisa to come out of the restaurant together.  Could this be
}   the scandal that brings down the Oracle?  "I think that surgeon
}   forgot to put something back in", Tom said disheartenedly.  Jaffo
}   fulfilled his mailbox fetish by putting a wig on the red flag.
}
}   Suddenly, BOBW came up with something completely different.  "And now
}   for something completely different", said BOBW.  Zadoc (no, the other
}   Zadoc) hopped on one foot while pointing a finger of scorn at the
}   priests.  "Betcha can't do this while soused!" he teased.  "I think
}   that surgeon compressed my lungs while he was in there, too", Tom
}   said with short breath.
}
}   Richard Wilson was upset.  "I've misplaced my Latin dictinary!" he
}   cried.  "No, wait, I found it," he said, while rummaging through
}   Eli's beard. The mysterious Oracle web page email redirector struck
}   again, resulting in Lisa receiving the Oracle's answer to the
}   adulterous man. "But what relation does this all have to a database?"
}   Tom cried managerially.
}
}   But alas!  'Twas the butler did it.
}
}   You owe the Oracle 50% of any royalties you get on this story.
}
} Oops!  Something tells me that that's not the answer you were looking
} for.  Heck, supplicant, I have no idea who wrote your answer.  What I
} want to know is who wrote this stupid database software!
}
} You owe the Oracle an upgrade to version 7.3.


873-07    (47tFu dist, 3.8 mean)
Selected-By: Darkmage <iddavis+@pitt.edu>

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

> Oh wondrous Oracle, I have a question.
>
> And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel,
> whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a
> name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before
> thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations
> and their gods?  [2 Samuel 7:23]
>
> No, that's not my question.  My question is: How come people could get
> away with run-on sentences like that in Biblical times?  I mean,
> Hemingway would have run screaming from the room halfway through the
> second line.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} In the beginning was the Word, and the word was without punctuation,
} and prose was without form and void, and commas were plentiful; and the
} comma begat the semicolon; and the semicolon begat the run-on sentence.
} And lo, it came to pass in the land at that time that many marks of
} punctuation fell into scarcity; it was seen to be easier for a wise man
} to pass through the eye of a needle than for a camel to use a period to
} end a sentence; the exclamation mark was as yet not invented; yea,
} verily, it was just after the end of the month of March when I came
} unto Peter and said unto him, where are the quotation marks upon my
} sentences? And he sayeth unto me, Alas, for they have not been
} invented, and likewise for the Copyright and Trademark symbols (not to
} mention parentheses) which I would find useful should I set down this
} Gospel for posterity, which likewise has not been invented, but which
} will someday wish to write Regular Expressions containing a divers
} variety of punctuation marks as yet undreamed of, including backslashes
} and carets and asterisks. And there was much rejoicing, as he had
} completed a sentence, and the Lord saw it was good.
}
} You owe the Oracle a very large needle and a very small camel.


873-08    (nqqlf dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: Mark Lawrence <lawrence.4@osu.edu>

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

> Orrie, I'm intelligent, attractive, and I have a good sense of humor.
> So how come I don't get any sex?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Golly, Newt, this one has us stumped. What are the odds? Maybe if you
} tried again with Bob... stop bugging Candice though, our records show
} thats the quintessential lost cause.
}       You owe the Oracle anything inflatable.
}       Yech! We meant unused!


873-09    (elhAn dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: Mark Lawrence <lawrence.4@osu.edu>

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

> You know, I really don't give a flying crap about Madonna nor her
> baby nor the fact that it will be allowed to watch TV nor access the
> Internet 'cause then it might be exposed to Bad Influences; unlike
> it's MOTHER Madonna who is obviously what is All Good 'n' Holy 'n'
> Such what with the Breasts and blowing bottles and damn vi is messing
> with my head and hell, we don't need another Brain to Feed.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Beige. I think I'll paint the ceiling beige.


873-10    (dpype dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: "Bill McMillan" <billm@aero.gla.ac.uk>

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

> ()racle, I have a question,
>
> What was god THINKING when he wrote Deuteronomy 23:1?
>
> If you don't have a bible handy, it says (from memory)
> "He who has been wounded in the stones, or hath his privvy member cut
> off, shall never enter the kingdom of heaven unto the tenth
> generation."
>
> And why don't the Jehovah's witnesses do this?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} To quote, "He that is wounded in the stones or hath his privy member
} cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord."
} (Deuteronomy 23:1-2)
}
} With all deference to Biblical scholars greater than I, I would
} believe that that statement is a warning to all those who would
} consider voluntarily becoming a eunuch--a well-paying job in that
} era--that they would not be allowed to ascend.  This is a common theme
} in many religions.  For instance, Chinese eunuchs always carried a
} small bag with their shriveled prepubescent penis in it so that it
} could be buried with them, or (horrors!) they would come back as a
} woman.
}
} Remember, the majority of the Bible was written by the Hebrew priests
} trying to maximize the flock--therefore, any injury to the genitals
} was intolerable.  Also note Onan's punishment for failing to
} impregnate his sister-in-law (although one may argue that his motives
} were not entirely pure in failing to do so).
}
} The books are full of strange little bits like that.  Try taking off
} your shirt and looking at the tab.  If it doesn't say 100% cotton, you
} should be stoned to death! Exodus justifies slavery, and even allows
} the capricious torture of slaves (that is a favorite example, Exodus
} 21:5-6).
}
} Comparing it to the rest of the verses, that one doesn't seem at all
} strange.
}
} (REMEMBER KIDS: If you should urinate on a wall, God *will* chop off
} your penis.)


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