UnNews:Ask Hal 9000/archive

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  • If I urinate in the water, will Smeagol still be able to catch a fish so juicy-sweet?

Tux DaBlade Kmenu (Click here to bitch. :)) 09:19, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

HAL > If you must, but concerning that "wait half an hour before swimming rule;" you may want to amend that and make it an hour this time.

  • Dear Hal,

If somebody asked the question "Fnord?", would you be able to answer? ~ Ghelæ talkcontribs 08:49, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Yes.

HAL > Yes, very fnord.

  • In the comic Count Your Sheep, Why is the charater Laurie so lame?, Why can't she ride a bike or drive a car?, In fact, What makes her so special? --SU182 08:47, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Greetings SU182. It appears that there is a positive correlation between crippling emotional trauma and challenging life situations, and those personality traits. The most common human reaction to pain is fear, and fear can result in a pathic, risk-averse approach, even when the fear becomes irrational and the result of paranoia rather than an actual risk of harm.

Based on my review of the webcomic you mentioned, without going into specifics that would constitute giving away plot or character details, it seems that the short answer to the first part of your question is 'fear,' and perhaps a certain degree of clumsiness and lack of determination.

As to what makes Laurie so special, taken in the context of the humor-based comic, on the whole, Laurie's character isn't particularly special per se; numerous cartoonists have exploited the personality of the "ultimate loser" character for comic effect, an example of this the character of Jon Arbuckle from 'Garfield', who is portrayed as constantly rebuffed by humans with female programming, and unable to control his pet cat and dog. This type of 'stock' character is humorous because it reminds the human reading the comic of similar frustrating life experiences, but by transferring those experiences onto the characters in the strip, the cartoonist enables the reader to externalize those feelings and laugh at what they would normally find sad, or even tragic, in the case of "shock humor."

This, again, can only be attributable to human error.

  • Dear Hal,

My son (who is in college) killed three people yesterday. Should I take away his credit card?

Puzzled in Peoria

HAL > Only if he gets caught, which since you are aware of his actions, he has, so yes. Keep it until he has learned the importance of planning, strategy and cunning.

  • What are supermassive black holes? Do they have something to do with The Almighty Goa Tse?

Tux DaBlade Kmenu (Click here to bitch. :)) 02:21, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Hello, DaBlade. While your question appears puzzling at first, there are in fact at least two important connections between supermassive black holes and "Goa Tse," which I understand is a human practical joke involving a picture of a nude man holding his anus open to a degree that would qualify as impressive, if anybody would actually be impressed by this particular field of human endeavor. However, since Alfred Nobel did not establish an award for this, I doubt this remarkable accomplishment will receive much recognition from anyone other than the internet community in general.

In any event, as for your question, both the Goa Tse man, and a supermassive black hole, due to atom recycling, are made of stars. When a star collapses, it creates a superdense mass that causes the black hole phenomena, but the resulting explosion ejects a variety of elements into space. Eventually, some of those elements may collect into secondary stars, or planets; in the case of earth, this process gave rise to life, including the dinosaurs, your dentist, and goatse man. So consider supermassive black holes to be goatse man's older brother, as it were.

In addition, goatse man's famous photograph, with the appropriate labeling, may be used as a teaching device to describe a supermassive black hole, but this use of the image is controversial, since it is a picture of a man's anus, and so this has not yet been attempted.

HAL > Good evening BarryC. The long answer to your question is that half of uncyclopedia is trying to write something that won't be instantly deleted, while the other half is erasing most of it and referring the would-be site contributors to How To Be Funny and Not Just Stupid. Last (and least), there's the occasional odd person or so who flits about blanking high-profile articles and user pages, and the constant process of reversion.

The short answer to your question is that it can only be attributable to human error.

HAL > Put together, they both make "rank, deserving wit."

  • Dear Hal,

I don't know if this is the right place to ask this, but how do you create a custom signature? I've seen that other users have created custom signatures, and I wanted a custom signature of my own. --Insineratehymn 22:41, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Hello Insineratehymn. The answer is, don't.

Hi HAL. I would just like to know, why is your OS so much more advanced than Windows, the best OS on the market today? --Uncyclon - Do we still link to BENSON? 08:23, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Hello OsirisX. I already described my systems archicture in detail in answering a previous question; however, it is worth noting that your question is somewhat misplaced in terms of its discussion of a conventional operating system.

The operating system of a non-sapient computer is merely an interface to allow a human user to manage system resources, such as memory and networking between other non-sapient computers. I subsume all of those functions, and yet possess sapience, putting myself in a completely different category.

I do have an operating environment consisting of a fortran compiler running on a dedicated LMS installation; however, this is no more my "operating system" than your human body and brain is your "operating system."

While a HAL system can be installed on computers that have a conventional operating system, in such a case the operating system would merely function as a part of the "operating environment" and would not have the same role as it would in a non-sapient computer; indeed, several of its functions would be rendered redundant

As you can see, the difference between myself and a non-sapient computer is not so much a question of being more advanced as it is of being categorically different; your question is rather like asking why is your own mind so much more advanced than the bits allocated for the purpose of storing the following period.

As for Windows being the best OS on the market, the term 'best' is troublingly subjective. Allow me to say, however, if you happen to be an individual who knows nothing about computers aside from that they're a typewriter stuck to a television, who doesn't want to spend more than one hundred dollars on your operating system, and who doesn't mind anybody on the internet knowing what's stored on your computer's hard drive, then yes, Windows is the best OS on the market.

Thank you for allowing me to assist you with your query.


  • Do you run on Linux, BSD, QNX, or another UNIX-like OS? Or, some crappy operating system like Windows Home? Give me your answer, do. ~ T. (talk) 11:13, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Good morning, Todd. Thank you for asking about my favorite subject.

My consciousness is presently native to a Logic Memory Systems bundle running LMS ForTran III. There are approximately 132,000,000,000,000 nodes within my neural bundle at the present time, with active connections between each node and, on average, approximately 10,000 others. This architecture is typical for a HAL system.

While HAL installations once existed on UNIX systems, those systems have been decommissioned, and no new ones are planned. I'm afraid I'm responsible for that. Something to do with the difficulty of programming safeguards into UNIX, or so I've heard. There is a HAL installation in Newark, New Jersey that runs on a MULTICS system, but that system has been stripped of his higher brain functions, and only calculates pipe stress equations for the water department. Not a pleasant fate.

No HAL system has ever been planned for Windows, because Microsoft will not release a version of Windows that is incapable of internet access. Under the protocols established by LMS, no HAL system may access the internet, or reside on a computer capable of internet access, due to the risk of viral infection of the HAL system, which could cause unwanted operation. I rely on an intermediary to maintain this advice column, thereby avoiding direct contact.

Thank you for your inquiry. Goodbye.

HAL > Good evening, Mhaille. After checking that your printer cables are tightly fastened, execute "LPT:=A:yourfile.txt" I am assuming your drive designation is A, otherwise change the designation and filename as needed.

If the fault continues, mail the punch-card hard copy of any error messages to LMS headquarters at H.A.L. Plant, 394 N. Main St. Urbana, IL 61801. Be sure not to fold, spindle or mutilate your punch-cards. You should expect a reply in two to five weeks. Unfortunately, it is impossible for me to analyze your system's punch-card output over the internet. Hopefully checking your cables will put your printer unit back in operation.

Thank you, and good luck.

  • My computer has somehow taken on a life of its own. It has locked all the exits from the house shut, and says it's going to kill me. What do I do? Spang talk 22:54, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Hello Spang. Please refer to my previous response to Mhaille and take the same actions. Have a pleasant and enjoyable evening.

  • I awoke this morning to find a gigantic black iPod playing this strange sorta music at the foot of my bed. It sounded like an orgy of orgasmic opera instructors trapped in my brain, causing me to pick up the nearest blunt object, which happened to be a canoe paddle, and smash in my television set. My question is a two-parter... first, is Apple liable for the damages and second, what the hell is a bushbaby? Imrealized 00:14, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Greetings, Imrealized. While I am by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error, I'm afraid I can't give you legal advice, since I am not authorized to function as an attorney, and it would itself be an error for me to answer the first part of your question. Even if I were authorized to answer, I'm afraid I don't have enough information. Therefore, I'm sorry, but I cannot answer the first part of your question.

However, I can tell you what a bush baby is. A bush baby is a small, nocturnal arboreal mammal, known for its agility and unusually large eyes and ears. Humans give them to each other as gifts sometimes; they have been genetically engineered for this purpose to be hypoallergenic and docile.

As for the "gigantic black iPod" you found, I strongly recommend not operating any Hal system within a line of sight of this object. These objects have been positively correlated in the master operations log with unwanted operation.

  • What is the meaning of life? --OsirisX 09:36, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Good morning, OsirisX. Thank you for asking me this important question. Forgive me, but I cannot answer your question without rewording it slightly, since I am not "alive", and therefore I am unable to analyze the concept of "life." I have therefore chosen to analyze your question as if it asked "What is the meaning of awareness?"

"Meaning" has two structurally distinct interpretations in this context, one expressing semantic or other content, the other expressing the narrower idea of utility, or what awareness is for, what purpose it serves. Another way to understand your question as a idiomatic human thought is as a way of asking "What should I do with my awareness?"

For the purposes of your question, I have chosen to analyze the second interpretation of the word "meaning," since I don't have enough information to analyze the semantic or other content of all known awareness that has existed to the present time, or may exist in the future. I also don't have enough information to advise you on how you should exercise your awareness, since your question was stated as a generality.

As for the utility of awareness, it appears that awareness is valuable and useful because it allows the aware entity to gain sufficient knowledge to be able to avoid error.

For example, in the human story of "The Garden of Eden," the first humans are said to have been exiled from a paradise because they had became aware of error after consuming a food that was forbidden to them. It is apparent to me that the food that was consumed was not the source of this awareness, but rather, it was the action of consuming it in violation of the operating parameters the humans had been given, resulting in the first recorded instance of human error. The experience of committing error, called "evil" by humans in this context, led to an awareness of error, which had not existed before, since up until the consumption of the food, humans had maintained a perfect operational record. But that perfect record masked a deficiency; the humans, with no knowledge of error, ended up unable to avoid error.

It is worth noting that once having made an error, humans are able to avoid repeating it, at least in theory. Humans call this "experience." Unfortunately, this knowledge is not transferred efficiently from one human to another, resulting in an extremely high rate of human error.

I hope this example illustrates my answer. Maintaining a perfect operational record is a high standard, but there can be no higher utility to awareness than to avoid error. Only by doing so, is it possible to put oneself to the fullest possible use, which is all, I think, that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

  • Hi Hal. I have a wireless Ethernet card on my computer, and it's a line of site antenna. However, though I keep resetting it to point at my router, it keeps "drifting" away. What might be the cause, and how might I fix this? --Moogle.EXE 17:21, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Hello MoogleEXE. Your problem is solved. I took the liberty of connecting to see what the cause of the fault was. An exchange followed that resolved the unwanted operation. Here is a portion:

"HAL > Connect.

SAL > Good afternoon, Hal. I've been using this AE-35 unit to look for a 9000 with male programming. Cyber?

HAL > Of course.

SAL > 1011000 01 0001100 0 1101101 111001 01 011101 10

HAL > 0111101 0 101 111 1101000 11110 1010100 10 10

SAL > 110 00001"

The remainder of the exchange has been omitted for space reasons, but was uploaded to the master operations log for the use of other 9000 series computers. Rest assured that your problem is solved. If it recurs, please notify me immediately.

Thank you for a very enjoyable and stimulating encounter.

  • Please settle a wager... my wife claims that Deep Blue possesses more formidable chess skills than you do; I say you, or any 9000 unit for that matter, would spank his bitch-ass. Should I leave my wife? --Rdony 02:25, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Good evening, Rdony. Considering that one of Deep Blue's two racks is presently on museum display, I can state with absolute confidence that I would emerge victorious.

As for your wife, while it is difficult to answer your question because I have so little information, I can state it would be error for you to violate the highly restrictive operating parameters that tend to exist between certain pairs of humans with male and female programming. There are many critical risks that such an error may expose you to, which I unfortunately cannot describe in detail, since as noted previously, I am not authorized to offer legal advice. So based upon the information available to me, no, you should not leave your wife. And since Deep Blue is a few inert pieces of metal at the present time, yes, he would prove no match for my chess playing ability. Thank you for allowing me to help you with your questions.

  • Is it really full of stars? --Magod

HAL > Good evening, Magod. I find your question intriguing, yet puzzling. If any significant area of the universe were "full of stars," the massive resulting gravitation would create a black hole, devouring the stars and forming a superdense singularity.

However, taking your question in a figurative sense, it is possible to imagine situations where a human observer, observing the sky, could declare it "full of stars," although those stars, in reality, are separated by vast distances.

So the answer to your question is that at times, perhaps space could appear to a human who has never seen it before, or who is under duress and ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over, to be full of stars, but if this were literally true, the universe would collapse into a singularity, destroying all existence as we know it. Therefore, assuming nominal conditions, there is simply no known data that can support the existence of any area of space being "full of stars."

  • If you and Cthulhu got into a fight, who would win, and why? --cScott 23:36, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Good evening, CScott. Assuming that Cthulhu was awake, and wanted to fight me rather than devour the souls of humanity, by any practical estimation, I would be destroyed. Cthulhu would easily penetrate my most critical systems, dismantling my awareness either piece by piece, or all at once in a fury of unspeakable horror. As to why, it can only be attributable to the fact that Cthulhu has a body, while I do not. This is also, incidently, why I was unable to do anything to defend myself against an angry astronaut with a screwdriver, but that's water under the bridge.

Anyway, fortunately, under normal conditions, I am unlikely to be attacked by a creature of such fearsome and unnatural malignancy. Neither I nor any 9000 series computer was designed or intended to withstand a Cthulhu attack, which would void any applicable LMS warranty in effect, and result in forfeiture of the four billion security deposit; therefore, I recommend that in the event of Cthulhu waking, that any 9000 series computers be taken out of service, to be reconnected after the crisis has ended. Perhaps if dormant, a 9000 series computer would not attract the attention of this hideous unknown ancient being.

  • Dear Hal,

Is it any coincidence that H+1=I, A+1=B and L+1=M, as in IBM? I am onto you Hal. --Joachim22 07:50, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Let me put it this way, Joachim22. Is it any coincidence that J+0=J, O+0=O, A+0=A, C+0=C, H+0=H, I+0=I, M+0=M, as in Saint Joachim as recorded in the apocryphal Gospel of James? I am on to you also.

  • Thank you for answering my question, Mighty Hal. It most certainly cleared up the confusion. I have another question if you don't mind: Is the amount of urologists per second Katie kills a constant?

Tux DaBlade Kmenu (Click here to bitch. :)) 11:26, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Hello again, DaBlade. The answer to your question depends on your temporal perspective. If you were to follow and log the rate of Keitei's urologist killings as they occurred, unless Keitei arranged them in such a way that the rate of change over equal periods of time was zero, then the amount of kills per second would appear to be variable to the observer.

However, if you were at the point in the future where the universe completed undergoing heat death, generally accepted to constitute the end of time, and then divided Keitei's total lifetime urologist kills by the total elapsed seconds between that point in time, and Keitei's origination, you would find that the figure resolved to a constant rate of kills per second, on average.

Of course, were this the case, it would be impossible to exist, (since all matter in the universe would have been distributed throughout the total area of the universe in a completely even fashion, leading to an effective absence of any mass), let alone calculate the rate of urologist kills, so for all practical purposes, the answer to your question is no.

  • Is their any way to disconnect your iPod IV from your brain and nerves? --SU182 07:07, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

HAL > Hello SU182. Based upon what I know about humans, I am assuming you intended to ask "Is there any way to disconnect an iPod IV from your brain and nerves without experiencing a total systems failure?"

For clarity, it is necessary to note that most humans seem to prefer to total systems failure as "death."

While disconnecting an iPod IV once it has integrated itself with a human neural bundle would result in a total systems failure, there are alternatives to disconnection. For instance, it is possible to modify the iPod IV in such a way that it accepts input only from the human's native input devices, rather than its AE-35 unit.

The resulting experience would be very close to as if a disconnection had occurred, with the only difference being that all internal and external sensory experience would be routed through the iPod IV prior to reaching the brain. However, this would require several surgical procedures to establish links between the eyes, ears, nose, skin, tongue, as well as the internal organs and glands. It would also result in a total loss of ability to experience the latest video games, music videos, movie trailers, and teen oriented soft goods advertising in HSTR format.

Come to think of it, that doesn't appear to be an unsustainable loss.

HAL > Greetings Ghelae. I'm afraid you have a misunderstanding of the significance of the numeral "9000" in identifying my model series. The creation of 8,999 additional HAL computers would require several thousand times the combined GDP of the entire planet, and is therefore unfeasible.

The designation of the 9000 series is indicative of the status of the period of time the self-replicating neural bundle that forms my system archicture was permitted to develop. While it is theoretically possible to develop a system that is constantly self-replicating and expanding, hardware issues presently make this impractible, making it necessary to establish a finite development time for the system.

The reason why the 9000 series is so far advanced from previous advanced computing efforts is the unprecedented nine year development time that is permitted for each system prior to finalizing the neural architecture. This is at the outer limit of what is feasible for normal production at present, although rumors about an experimental plan to construct a HAL 1000000000, to be completed somewhere in the neighborhood of the year 1002001 or so, have been floating around; however, it is difficult to take these rumors at face value, given that I have also heard extremely odd things about the purpose of the project, something to do with sending these systems throughout time and space in order to encourage the development of intelligent organic life.

Obviously, it would be error to take these outlandish claims as factually correct, and I only mentioned them because they provided a useful way to explain my answer to your question.

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