March 12, 2017

Usenet Oracle

The Internet/Usenet Oracle was a way to collect humor by answering what seems to be a simple question. People would send questions in to get an answer. However, to get a response you must answer someone else's question.

This is a classic exchange that I found in my internet collection, this is from October 23, 1996.

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

Oh supremest Oracle whose supremacity cannot possibly be suprimized --

My horoscope says 'Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it'.

Now, what insignificant deed should I do?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Do you recall the old story about the man walking in the woods who tripped on a tree root? The tree shook, dislodging an acorn, which fell to the ground and was carried off by a squirrel. When the squirrel sat down to eat the acorn, it startled a butterfly which flew up into the air. The tiny gust of air caused by the butterfly's wings interacted minutely with a passing low pressure front, turning what would have been a minor squall into a violent thunderstorm. The lightning from this thunderstorm struck a kite being flown by an elderly gentleman who was experimenting with electricity, thus touching off the entire sequence of events that eventually resulted in the creation of Microsoft.

The Oracle does, of course, know about the insignificant deed that your horoscope mentions, but in the interests of averting a similar historical disaster, has no intention of telling you what it is. I will give you a hint, though: stay away from cars, bananas, and strange dogs.

You owe the Oracle some silk thread and a key...

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