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Internet Oracularities #788

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788, 788-01, 788-02, 788-03, 788-04, 788-05, 788-06, 788-07, 788-08, 788-09, 788-10


Usenet Oracularities #788    (90 votes, 3.1 mean)
Compiled-By: "Steve Kinzler" <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 00:10:45 -0500

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   788
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

788   90 votes 3httc 3kxld 4azub agnkl 6kAl7 2oyl9 bium9 9jqme 8qDc5 4hBo8
788   3.1 mean  3.3   3.2   3.4   3.3   3.0   3.1   3.0   3.1   2.8   3.2


788-01    (3httc dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: Bill Petrosky <gt2126b@prism.gatech.edu>

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

> Oh, Oracle most sublime in wisdom and arcane knowledge and lore, I
> fearfully prostrate myself before you for the first time to ask most
> meekly your Delphic utterance. Please answer my most humble and, in
> your divine yes, most insignificant question.
>
> Should I trash my hand-crafted Linux setup and worship at the altar
> of WinGates 95, thus becoming apostate?
>
> I will now disembowel the sacrificial hard drives, hoping your wisdom
> will enlighten my poor self.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} The Oracle knows the decision must ultimately be yours, but Iwill
} provide you with much needed information.  However, I will not give
} your usual boring accounting of the various technical differences and
} capabilities of each.  Instead I will concentrate on 'intangibles'.
}
} Which operating system will make me more popular at parties?
}
} This is tough, since 95% of people will ignore you once the words
} 'Operating System' comes out of your mouth (not coincidentally, 95% of
} people will ignore you when the words 'Green Day' come out of your
} mouth).  Four percent will want to hear about Windows 95 and your
} experiences with it, since it will be more widely used.  One percent
} will want to hear about Linux, but only because they are so drunk they
} assume you are talkning about Linus from Peanuts.
}
} What does each operating system say about me, as an individual?
}
} Windows 95 says, 'I am not me, I am not an individual, but a sheep.'
} Linux says, 'Look at me I'm somebody! Please, look at me...somebody?
} WHy is everybody ignoring me? You people don't understand, Linux is
} logical, cool, configurable. I AM a computer science geek...LOOK AT
} ME!'
}
} Will either operating system make me more attractive to members of the
} opposite sex?
}
} Ummm....No.
}
} WHich operating system will make me more successful in my career?
}
} I would actually recommend for career advancement the following
} operating systems: Brown Nose, Butt Kisser, Boss' Pet.
}
} Which operating system makes my whites their whitest?
}
} Linux is the clear winner here, if you can find the obscure coding to
} do just exactly right.  Windows 95 will take the shirt right off your
} back and put in Bill Gates bank account.
}
} Which operating system will make me better connected with Usenet
} Oracle?
}
} Sadly, for you supplicant, neither OS will help here.  The Oracle is
} itself the most crash-proof, multitasking, multithreaded  OS ever
} invented, but is beyond the scope of mortal humans consciousness.
} Linux and Windows 95 insult my intelligence (which is vast).
}
} The final decision is now yours, however, one final thing.  When Bill
} Gates owns the world, do you want to be considered subversive for not
} using WIndows 95??
}
} You owe the Oracle a copy of any computer magazine that hasn't
} mentioned Windows 95 with the last three months.


788-02    (3kxld dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: Bill Petrosky <gt2126b@prism.gatech.edu>

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

> Grandiose, marvelous, stupendous, and neato-keeno Oracle,
>
> How can I grow a prehensile tail?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} PREHENSILE TAIL (serves 1)
}
} Ingredients:
}       55 Q-tips
}       Oxygenated H20
}       4 ft of garden hose
}       monofilament neural wire
}       five medium bladders (natural are better, but rubber will work)
}       3 oz. monkey blood
}       DNA splicing machine
}       1 liter of 1 molality retrovirus C-4K
}       Letter opener
}       4 bananas, peeled
}       Fur (to taste)
}
} 1.  In a large bowl, mix Q-tips and H20 until cotton tips are soaked
} through.
}
} 2.  Using DNA splicing machine, splice monkey DNA into the retrovirus.
}
} 3.  Carefully thread neural wire through the garden hose.  Tie at
} one end.
}
} 4.  Inflate bladders with warm water, and secure in a chain with
} hose.  Tie loose end of neural wire to the last bladder.  Bend
} the chain into an ovoid shape.
}
} 4.  Cut yourself on the tip of the coccyx with the letter opener.
} One after another, dip Q-tips into the retrovirus mixture and
} apply to the wound.
}
} 5.  If at any time you feel a need to eat a banana, feel free to
} do so.  Do not forget to chew.
}
} 6.  Wait 10 days.
}
} 7.  As your posterior will be quite inflamed and painful for many
} days, if you need to sit, sit on the ovoid bladder chain.
}
} At this point, you should have a long, prehensile tail.  You may
} use ordinary superglue to affix fur, should you desire.


788-03    (4azub dist, 3.4 mean)
Selected-By: Bill Petrosky <gt2126b@prism.gatech.edu>

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

> O ever-upright Oracle, since buttered toast always lands buttered side
> down and a cat always lands on its feet, what would happen if you tied
> a piece of buttered toast on the back of a cat and dropped it?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oh, my!  An original question!
}
}       [sound of orchestra in background performing
}        Handel's Messiah]
}
} First of all, your groveling is found wanting.  'O
} ever-upright Oracle'  C'mon.  The Oracle has no fixed
} spatial orientation.
}
} Now, your question.  I suppose you're trolling for some
} kind of "we asked an Engineer/Scientist/Philosopher" or
} "the answer in Zen/Judaism/ANSI C" answer.  That's been
} done, and the Oracle does not repeat itself.  Do you hear
} me? The Oracle does _not_ repeat itself!
}
} [reaches shelf for large, dusty tome.]
}
} Someday, I'll release this FAQ to the public and avoid
} these situations.
}
} <flippity, flip, flip through the pages>
}
} Let's see here... Chapter 11, Woodchucks... Chapter 19,
} Noses, run and Feet, smell... Chapter 27 Cargo and Shipping
} ...ah!  Here we are, Chapter 31 of the FAQ:
}
}       The Cat and Buttered Toast Paradox
}                  (the real answer)
}
} Under normal conditions, if toast is tied to a cat's back
} with the buttered side of the toast facing away from the
} cat, and the whole resulting ensemble is dropped from a
} height of no more than four meters, the cat will generally
} be unencumbered by the toast, land on its feet, become
} extremely irked that you've tied it to your breakfast and
} hurled it off the veranda, and promptly urinate on your
} pillow.
}
} Caveats:
} a) dropping said ensemble from heights greater than 16
}    meters makes the problem unsolvable as the end result
}    is that, after the fall, it is generally difficult to
}    distinguish what was cat and what was toast.
}
} b) it has been reported that if one toasts and butters
}    a rather large batard and successfully gets it tied
}    to a cat, the loaf is generally heavy enough so that
}    it lands first instead of the cat.  The result is
}    reported to be highly amusing as the cat struggling to
}    right itself looks like a whiskered box turtle.
}
} You owe the Oracle a loaf of sourdough bread, a siamese cat,
} and a trampoline.


788-04    (agnkl dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: Bill Petrosky <gt2126b@prism.gatech.edu>

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

> How much fur would Joel Furr fir if Joel could fir fur?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} I know what this is. You're one of those askme merchants who's been
} shamed by Joel's incessant whingeing in rec.humor.oracle.d all last
} week into sending a off tellme to keep the queue topped up. But you
} just couldn't resist putting the boot into the poor old lemur-fancier
} at the same time, could you?
}
} Okay, so let's put our cards on the table. All you want is to answer
} the question you get in return for this one with a clear conscience.
} And since you couldn't give a toss about the response you get here,
} answer me this: why should I waste even the tiniest smidgin of my
} omniscience on it?
}
} However, I don't like to see even such grudging, know-it-all
} supplicants as yourself go away empty-handed, so I tell you what I'll
} do -- I'll let Zadoc answer it. Zadoc! Hoi, ZADOC!!
}
} [Enter Zadoc the Priest, shuffling on his knees as custom demands]
}
} ZADOC: You bellowed, O Turbolunged One?
}
} ORACLE: Yes indeedy, Zadoc my boy. I am about to do you an honor beyond
}   your wildest imaginings, or deservings for that matter.
}
} ZADOC: Master! I don't know what to say! I feel faint! I swoon! Pinch
}   me and tell me I'm not dreaming!
}
} ORACLE: You tempt me sorely... Be that as it may, I am totally
}   knackered and shagged out after a prolonged soul-saving session, and
}   am in urgent need of rejuvenation. So I'm spending the next two hours
}   in a sensory-deprivation tank. In the meantime, you have the helm.
}   You can start by answering this here supplication.
}
} ZADOC [blenching]: Master! I can't answer supplications! I'm not
}   omniscient!
}
} ORACLE: Don't worry -- I've already broadcast the appropriate
}   government health warning. Let me introduce you: Supplicant, this is
}   Zadoc, one of my finest, as these things go, Oracular Priests. Zadoc,
}   this is a Supplicant. It won't bite if you don't annoy it. I'm sure
}   you two'll get on like a house on fire. Tatty-bye!
}
} ZADOC: Master! Don't leave me! I can't...
}
} [The Oracle disappears in a puff of green smoke. Zadoc the Priest darts
} around the Oracular Chamber like a trapped animal. Then his shoulders
} slump in resignation and he returns like a condemned man to face the
} great console before the Oracle's throne. From the monitor above it, a
} question leers at him]
}
} > How much fur would Joel Furr fir if Joel could fir fur?
}
} Gosh, um, that's a tough one. Joel Furr... he's that guy with the lemur
} fixation, isn't he? So are you talking about lemur fur? Is there
} something special about it? And how do you fir fur? What's "fir"? I
} mean apart from a tree. Is it a real verb? Why oh why must my Master be
} so omniscient that he doesn't need to have any dictionaries about the
} place!
}
} Look, this is no good - I'll have to fetch some dictionaries and
} reference books from the university library. Just hang on a while,
} okay?
}
} [One and a half hours pass]
}
} Hi, I'm back again. Sorry about your having to wait. You wouldn't
} believe how abusive these librarians can get when you say you need to
} take out some of their reference books. Hey, how many students do you
} know who are going to come into the library in the evening when they
} should be out getting drunk, just so they can look up words in the
} dictionary? I mean like, get *real*!
}
} Anyway, so I had to do all my research there, but I couldn't find any
} verb "to fir". Is it a made-up word? No, wait! It could be a computing
} term! I've got a hacker's dictionary in my cubicle! I won't be a
} minute!
}
} [Twenty minutes pass]
}
} Nope, no good. There's a verb "to finn", which apparently means "to
} pull rank on somebody based on the amount of time one has spent on
} IRC". I don't suppose it was a typo and you really meant that, did you?
} Uhuh, didn't think so...
}
} What else, what else? ROT13? "Ubj zhpu she jbhyq Wbry Shee..." A code
} in the capital letters? "HJFJ". C++ programming? I-ching? Oh god, this
} has to mean *something*!
}
} [A smell of ozone and wisps of green smoke warn Zadoc the Priest that
} he is no longer alone. He leaps from the Oracular throne, where he had
} irreverently seated himself, as if 2000 volts had suddenly been passed
} through it, and cowers on his knees in the corner of the room]
}
} ORACLE: Well, how've you been getting on? What! Still on the same
}   question?
}
} ZADOC [weeping]: Forgive me, O Cyberbenevolent One! I am such a worm, I
}   am unworthy of your trust! Cast me out from your Priesthood, I
}   deserve no better!
}
} ORACLE: There, there, don't be so hard on yourself. I'll let you into a
}   little Oracular secret. Take this here supplication -- do you see
}   anything wrong with it?
}
} ZADOC: I've studied it all evening, Master, but the meaning eludes my
}   feeble wits.
}
} ORACLE: Not the meaning -- do you see anything missing? At the start,
}   for instance?
}
} ZADOC: No, I... [his face contorts in an expression of utmost horror
}   and loathing] NO GROVEL!! This *vile* supplicant has failed to honor
}   you!! The *heathen*! The **atheist**! THE SPAWN OF SATAN!!
}
} ORACLE: And what do we do to suppicants who don't grovel?
}
} ZADOC: *ZOT* THEM TO OBLIVION!!
}
} ORACLE: Would you care to press that large red button on the right side
}   of the console?
}
} ZADOC [hardly daring to believe his ears]: M-master! May I? Me? Are you
}   sure?
}
} ORACLE: Go on -- pretend it's your birthday.
}
}                             > > ZOT < <
}
} ORACLE: See? Omniscience isn't that hard when you get the hang of it.


788-05    (6kAl7 dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: Bill Petrosky <gt2126b@prism.gatech.edu>

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

> Dear Oracle, I beg of You, an answer to this question
> The answer would be unto me, a pillow I could rest on
> I cannot sleep, I cannot eat, because of this conundrum
> My life, once rich, is now reduced to neverending humdrum
>
> So vexing is my problem, and so dire is my plight
> That I now turn to USENET, in hope of finding Light
> "The Oracle will know" they say, and send me on my way
> I come to you, my hopes are high, Oh! will this be the day?
>
> Now to the point, I cannot lie, though I may quake with fear
> 'Tis said the Oracle does hate this question that I bear
> But I will state my question, and then hastily I'll duck
> If a woodchuck did chuck wood, then how much would it chuck?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oh supplicant, most pitiful,
} Who rhymes in aabb,
} It really would be wonderful
} If you would awaken and see
}
} That I, the Oracle, am so great,
} So wise, so proud, so good,
} My knowledge soars!  And so I hate
} Questions that deal with wood.
}
} Ask me of planets.  Ask me of stars.
} Ask me of hidden treasure.
} Ask me of vintage Model T cars,
} And other mortal pleasures.
}
} But woody questions I cannot abide.
} They fill my soul with anger!
} So do not wonder if my answer is snide,
} And you find yourself in danger.
}
} So, supplicant, learn this lesson well,
} When the Oracle's anger burns hot,
} You'd best fear and tremble for the fires of hell,
} Are nothing to an Oracular Zot.
}
} <*ZOT*>!!!
}
} Your smoking remains (or next of kin) owe the Oracle an original sonnet
} praising the Oracle's wisdom.  And a fire extinguisher.


788-06    (2oyl9 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: Bill Petrosky <gt2126b@prism.gatech.edu>

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

> Oh, mighty Oracle, who sees all, knows all, and yet remains untainted
> with the miasma that so taints modern civilisation, grant this poor
> supplicant the gift of your wisdom, and tell me:
>
> How come I NEVER have enough money to buy all the comics I want to?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} (sniff) What's that smell?  Oh YUCK -- its a tainted grovel.  Lisa,
} hand me that Lysol, willya?  Thanks! (sound of ozone-destroying spray)
} Whew!  That's better.  Gawd, I hate the smell when those things go
} bad.  Now, where was I?  Oh yeah.
}
} It is a little-known fact that money is composed of particles called
} monons.  Monons are, in turn, made up of smaller particles called
} cashons and creditons.
}
} Sometimes a monon will absorb a crediton.  When it does, it splits
} into two or more smaller monons, and emits two creditons and a packet
} of thermal energy called an ouchon.  The two emitted creditons may
} then proceed to split other monons.  If the money in the neighborhood
} is sufficiently dense, a self-sustaining reaction can be set up.  This
} gives rise to the condition known as "money burning a hole in your
} pocket," and less directly to the phenomenon called "chain smoking."
}
} The effect is that the larger the concentration of money there is in
} your pocket, the more it hurts to hang on to it.  Thus you always want
} to spend more than you have.
}
} You owe the Oracle two Batmans and a new particle physics textbook.


788-07    (bium9 dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: Michael Nolan <nolan@tssi.com>

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

> Silence is golden.
> Loose lips sink ships.
> No news is good news.
>
> What is the origin of these expressions, and are they
> trying to give us a hint?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} No comment.


788-08    (9jqme dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: dsew@packrat.aml.arizona.edu (David Sewell)

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

> Oh historical Oracle most wise, please share with me the answer to this
> very insignificant question.
>
> Why is Teddy Roosevelt always depicted charging up San Juan Hill when
> there were no horses in Cuba during the Spanish-American War?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} That wasn't a horse.  That was Fidel Castro before he shaved his back.
}
} You owe the Oracle something pleasant to think about.


788-09    (8qDc5 dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: Michael Nolan <nolan@tssi.com>

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

> Oh, wise all-knowing Oracle of the Net! Tell me: Why is it dark at
> night?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Unfortunately, when light was first invented, it was very difficult to
} produce, and so only a limited amount was made. It was agreed that this
} should be equally accessed by everyone. A number of different schemes
} were tried, and different places have settled on different schemes, but
} all have light for about half the time. Some places have their light in
} one six-month stint, while other divide each day evenly, with 12 hours
} of light each day, throughout the year.
}
} The problem is that when an area's light ration has run out, they have
} to have the dark. The processes of producing light have significantly
} improved since it's first inventions, but unfortunately, the world
} powers have never been able to agree on the full distribution of the
} light, so things have stayed as they are.


788-10    (4hBo8 dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: Rich McGee <rmcgee@wiley.csusb.edu>

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

> Please consider this humble question, oh Mighty Usenet Oracle:
> A friend of mine has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.  How do
> these diseases spread from computers to people??? Please help.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Humans catch these diseases only through direct contact with magnetic
} media.
}
} In the early days of computers, computer operators would contract
} diseases regularly from 9-track magnetic tapes.  (However, back in
} those days, terminal diseases were quite uncommon.  It was more usual
} for them to get Punch/Reader Syndrome.)  This problem was solved by
} the introduction of self-loading tape drives.
}
} The problem surfaced again when the first personal computers came on
} the market.  The original CP/M machines used 8" floppy disks, which
} had a hole where the medium was directly exposed.  In the interest of
} public safety, the manufacturers put warnings on the label, DO NOT
} TOUCH THE DISK, but of course warnings like that just act as
} incentive for people to disobey them.  The TRS-80, with its casette
} tape drive, was another culprit, and the problem continued for
} several years, as the 5.25" floppy disks did nothing to solve it.
}
} Modern magnetic media - the 3.5" floppies and DC-120 tape cassettes -
} have mechanisms built in to ensure that the media are not exposed
} when they are removed from their drives.  This is a significant
} advance, and has reduced the incidence of terminal diseases
} by about 70%.  Unfortunately, the safety devices are easy to
} defeat.  On a 3.5" floppy, for instance, all you have to do is slide
} the little spring-loaded cover over to the left, and there's the
} disk, just waiting for you to poke a finger at it.  Ask your friend,
} and you'll find out that's what he's been doing.
}
} You owe the Oracle a box of condoms for his disks, to stop his
} computer from getting viruses.


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