} An interesting question, supplicant. I'll ignore the lack of grovel
} for now, since I've noticed that more and more grovel-less questions
} are making the digests these days. Still, I believe this question came
} up in Oracle Ethics of Humanity Management in the Sciences and
} Mathematics 401 when I was in Graduate School at the Mt. Olympus
} Academy of Arts and Sciences.
} To start with, there are several flaws in your premise:
} > > You are walking down a crowded city street. You are carrying an
} > > ordinary 1911 or 1911A1 in .45ACP with an 8 round magazine, cocked
} > > and locked with one in the chamber, strong side concealed carry.
} *I* would always clear the streets first, and no weapon I carry would
} be "ordinary"
} > > As you walk, minding your own business,
} I'm omniscient, *everything* is *my* business
} > > you notice a *really* scruffy
} > > looking character up ahead, who seems to be hassling people. First
} > > question: what do you do?
} Hmm, ZOT staff is too obvious, besides, the priesthood would prefer I
} go easy on that. (actually, so would the EPA and ASPCS - American
} Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Supplicants). Ok. I'm a New
} Age kind of guy aside from being armed to the teeth and prepared to
} exert deadly force, I'll calmly and quietly continue my trajectory
} toward the questionable individual.
} > > He says, "Hey man, I'm a mathematician. What's the logarithm of
} > > 1000?"
} "Well, hello, my good man, I'm The Oracle, and is that base 10 or
} natural?"[Your mistake supplicant, you see, I *do* know the answer is 3
} or 6.9 for: ln (1000)
} Why must you mortals assume that omnipotent beings are no better than
} spoiled brats?
} Ok, well, Zeus *is* a good example, but don't tell him I said that.]
} Oh, well, *presume* I couldn't answer...
} > > Whatever your answer to the second question, we now assume that you
} > > are penned in with this guy in the crowd. He becomes very
} > > agitated. He says "Anyone knows what the log of 1000 is! Look I'm
} > > a mathematician! I used to work at Bezerkely! What the formula
} > > for deciBels??? Tell me or I'll kill you!"
} Foolish supplicant, 10* log (louder/softer noise)!Obviously, we have
} here a Berzerker! We must refer to Fred Saberhagen for advice...
} "Goodlife here, none but goodlife, machinelife must survive"
} Whoops, that won't do.
} Ah, let's see, Nitrous Oxide (just say NO!)
} ... sodium pentothal, too slow,
} ... ZOT staff used as a quarter staff... we could either do a chop to
} the knees, or the butt of the staff in the solar plexus.
} Oh, yes... my favorite, the Mr.Spock pinch.
} > > You wish that you had a sound meter with
} > > you to measure the loudness of his voice, but then realize that you
} > > don't really know what a deciBel is anyway, so what's the
} > > difference?
} Actually, that's sound *pressure* meter, and I'd put him at 85-87 dB.
} Of course, white noise always seems so much louder than pink or red
} > > He starts jumping up and
} > > down in this crowd while you are penned in, poking you in the chest
} > > with his finger. He starts babbling stuff like "You're so stupid
} > > man, you didn't even ask if I meant base 10 logs! Or discrete
} > > logs! Morons, all of you! You don't even know what a decibel is!
} > > You deserve to die!"
} Again, your lack of foresight dooms your supposition. As you see, I
} can answer each of these questions, therefore we must assume that the
} poor chap is either A) deaf, B) in a state of monomania, or C) on PCP.
} > > With that, he takes out a large ball-peen hammer,
} > > and takes up a pose that is definitely offensive, and says, "this
} > > is the same brand hammer that whats-his-name, that mathematician,
} > > used to kill his wife! Now I'm going to kill you! And then
} > > everyone else I can find!" He starts quoting from _Principia
} > > Mathematica_
} I suppose it was too much to ask for him to be quoting the Kama Sutra.I
} won't even start with the shortcomings of your web browser...
} > > The crowd, instead of running away, presses closer.
} Yes, just like the paparazzi, isn't it.
} > >The crowd is definitely mad at YOU for some
} > > reason.
} Have you ever noticed when things are going well, mortals are so proud
} of themselves, yet when things go bad, they always turn on the
} deities/prophets/seers/soothsayers/messengers of doom, etc. etc.
} > > Final question: what do you do now?
} You know, I got this far on momentum, now I have to think up a clever
} answer without resorting to ZOT, hysterical laughter, Zadoc, Lisa,
} Steve Kinzler, invoking the image of Bill Gates as Satan, quoting Paul
} Kelly's Fish, insulting Ian, (or Otis) or mispelling Kirsten's name
} > >
} OK. here goes.
} I'm well armed, and good-looking. The nut case is disheveled and his
} breath SMELLS BAD. I've got it all over him. To start with, I ask him
} to calculate the square mileage of the earth, I need it for another
} answer. When he responds with an equation based on pi times r-cubed, I
} triumphantly shout NO!, That's volume, not surface area. This shocks
} the bum into some semblance of rationality (Let's not push it). Now I
} bear down on him: "Some Mathematician *you* are, you weren't *really*
} at Berkely, were you?" "No," he mutters, "No, I was at Indiana."
} "AHA!" I shout. "And you were passed over for tenure because you spent
} too much time websurfing, didn't you!"
} "Yes," he mutters, even more softly.
} "Well," I exclaim, rubbing my hands together. "For this disruption you
} shall pay the ultimate price."
} "Please sir, I'll do whatever you say, just don't throw me in that
} briar patch."
} "Hunh?" (I'm *sooooo* profound).
} "Well, you always tell supplicants that they owe you something, and you
} were just about to tell me to prove that x-to-the-nth-power plus
} y-to-the-nth equals z-to-the-nth is solvable for values of N greater
} than 2, right?" "Uhm," I say, stalling for time, "Well, actually I was
} thinking of having you figure out a generic formular for calculating
} the first 100 transcendant prime numbers..."
} "Child's play," he said straightening up to his full height for the
} first time, a truly terrifying sight. "No, it must be much more
} difficult than that."
} "What about this: 'I always lie, and I'm telling you a lie now?'"
} "Star Trek drivel" the MathManiac roars, with red eyes flashing and the
} sound of a freight train rumbling in the distance.
} Uh, supplicant you got me into this, 'You owe the Oracle a way ou...'
} "NO! I'VE GOT IT!"
} "Mr Mathematician, solve *this* one! Where have the Digests been for
} the last 2 weeks?"
} <screaming into the night, dopplering down into nothingness...>
} Thank you, you owe the Oracle..., hm, something juicy for this one...
} Yes, perfect... You *owe* the Oracle.
} I never do this, but just this once,
} Oracle Incarnated as Dr.Rob, rhampson at bgsm dot edu