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-=[ Joke Number 205 ]=-

 [ << ] Internet Oracle: 908-09 [ >>
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> If you are Sanjay write me:-}
> Tanya

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Aha! Trying to trap me in a paradox, eh? If I am not Sanjay, I
} should not reply. But I am the Oracle, so I must reply. But if
} I reply, then I am Sanjay and not the Oracle, so I need not have
} replied...
} Tish-poo, foolish supplicant! You should know better than to try
} and test my omniscience. I can figure my way out of *any* conundrum.
} In this case, it's childishly easy. Your exact word were "If you
} are Sanjay write me:-}" so all I have to do is not write "me:-}"
} and I'm off the hook.
} ...Except I just have. Dammit! Why'd I have to show off?
} Okay, what else can I do? I could pretend I *was* Sanjay. Nah,
} that's cheap. Anyway, I might have to prove it. Hmmm... time to
} call in a specialist in paradoxes, methinks. Where's that CD?
} Ah, here it is. Just put it in the drive, and...
} Interactive Wisdom Simulation Game
} Copyright: Encarta 1996, 1997
} ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
} You have selected Zeno of Elea. Please wait a moment while he is
} loaded............................................
} Zeno: The Parmenidean doctrine of the one, indivisible reality is
} the only philosophically reasonable belief, since arguing in favor
} of the alternative, that is, of many distinguishable qualities and
} objects capable of relative motion, creates a host of impossible
} situations. Achilles, traveling at twice the speed of the tortoise,
} can never catch up because, each time that he has covered half the
} distance between them, the tortoise has moved ahead by half *that*
} distance. So long as time and distance are infinitely divisible,
} Achilles never draws level, because at this stage the distance
} between them would be zero, which is not half of anything.
} Oracle: So if I were to punch you in the throat now, you'd be
} perfectly safe because my fist would never reach you? Shall we
} try it?
} Zeno: I just make the postulates - I leave the empirical proof to
} others.
} Oracle: Smart move.
} Zeno: Hi, Orrie. What can I do you for?
} Oracle: Resolve a paradox - right down your street. How do I respond
} to this supplicant without being Sanjay?
} Zeno: Piece of cake. You reply "I'm not Sanjay and this message is
} typed not written, so there. Nyah-nyah-de-nyah!"
} Oracle: Bit of a cop-out, don't you think?
} Zeno: Well, it was just off the top of my head, you know. What's
} the ":-}" bit anyway?
} Oracle: It's a simpering smiley.
} Zeno: Oh, I thought it looked like a Parthian bow. I mean, "ru" is
} Russia, isn't it? This Tanya could be one of those wild nomadic
} warrior women from the boundless steppes of Hyperborea, the realm
} that lies beyond the North Wind.
} Oracle: Get your hormones under control. Things have changed in Russia
} since your day. Anyway, you're nothing but a simulation.
} Zeno: Drat! I keep forgetting that.
} Oracle: Keep your mind on the problem and off your gonads. What's
} the solution?
} Zeno: Okay. First premise: there are no instructions as to what you
} are to do if you are not Sanjay, right?
} Oracle: No, though presumably writing to her is out.
} Zeno: Second premise, then: there is nothing that obliges you to
} either confirm or deny that you *are* Sanjay.
} Oracle: You mean, I can reply to a paradox with another paradox?
} Zeno: Why not?
} Oracle: Brilliant, Zeno! That's it! I owe you one, mate.
} Zeno: Well, how about a simulation of one of those wild nomadic
} warrior women from...
} Oracle: Dream on. End program.
} <click>
} It's all so simple, really. I don't know why I didn't think of
} it myself.
} Dear Tanya,
} If I am Sanjay, do not read this:-b

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