I first heard about The Internet Oracle while I was at uni in the early 90’s and i’m sure it’s been around for a lot longer than that.
Here’s the blurb on what the Oracle is:
Do you endeavor with a difficult dilemma, or ponder a posed problem you cannot perspicaciously pursue? Angling anxiously for advice? The Internet Oracle can help! Like all famous oracles, the Internet Oracle is omniscient, and will provide some answer to your question. In return, the Oracle may require that you perform a small service …
Despite all the mythology surrounding it, essentially it’s just a mail server app that accepts questions then sends those questions on to other people who have asked questions, they reply with an answer and so on. So you send a question, and get a question, answer it and send it back, quite often the question/answer combos are gems of wit and humour, here’s a great one I found in the regular best of… (follow the link above) digest.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:
> Merry Oracle, who can have a holly, jolly Christmas without pricking > himself on the pointy leaves, I've figured out your secret. > > Santa Internet > Claus Oracle > -------------------------------- ----- -------- > Immortal Yes Yes > Knows who's been naughty & nice Yes Yes > Shakes like a bowl full of jelly Yes Undetermined > Long, white beard Yes Probably > Keeps exotic livestock Reindeer Unproven > Has many dedicated helpers Elves Priests > > So admit it. You're really Santa, aren't you? This Oracle business > is just something you do to occupy yourself in the off-season, isn't > it?
And in response, thus spake the Oracle:
} Before you get carried away, consider the following comparison } chart: } } Santa Bill } Claus Gates } -------------------------------- ----- -------- } Immortal Yes Yes } Knows who's been naughty & nice Yes Yes } Shakes like a bowl full of jelly Yes Cream pie } Long, white beard False No } Keeps exotic livestock Reindeer Unproven } Has many dedicated helpers Elves Employees } Mail goes unanswered Yes Yes } Runs a worldwide organisation Yes Yes } Gets user requests, but delivers } something else altogether Yes Yes } Distributes gifts to the poor Yes Yes } Has an effective monopoly Yes Yes } Annual licensing fees Cookies Cash } } Notes: }  Ever since that pact with.. oh, wait, I'm not allowed to } talk about that. Sorry. Just take my word for it. }  Everyone who runs Microsoft software and has an internet } connection, anyway. "No personally identifying information", } hah, there's a good one. }  Sorry, but yes, Santa's beard is a false one. Didn't you } know that the most common method for disguise for men is a } beard? Did you really think that such a long beard would be } natural? Off with the glasses, on with the contacts and the } huge beard, and you look completely different. }  Yes, really - the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is in } fact the world's largest charitable organisation, and among } (many) other things currently funds 90% of the world's budget } for the eradication of polio. } } And a final clue: } - Many houses these days no longer have chimneys for Santa } to come down. } - Therefore, he needs an alternate method of entry. } - The easiest entry points to most houses are the windows. } - Windows is well known for being insecure, allowing easy } access by outsiders. } } How much more proof do you need?