# The Machine That Goes *Ping*

## Archive the First - Truths 1-25

The Machine That Goes *ping* is governed by rule 12-6

The Truths of the Machine:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Truths 26 and onwards

### The First Truth

The Machine was initially in Xanadu, and at Mon, 23 Sep 1996 22:45:13 CDT, Guy Fawkes announced the Machine's first truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** ***** ** ***** ** ****** ********* ** ****, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went ping on:
September 24, 1996.
September 28, 1996.
September 29, 1996.

At Sun, 29 Sep 1996 22:31:15 +0100, Bascule wrote:

I have been studying the machine closely for the last two days, and I have formulated a hypothesis as to the nature of the truth, to wit:
IF AND ONLY IF today has a date which is prime or evenly divisible by four, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Sun, 29 Sep 1996 19:48:37 -0500 (CDT), Guy Fawkes wrote:

To Bascule the Wise:
I was afraid I'd made it too easy, but your speed and mastery of the most arcane of Eratosthenian mysteries surpasses all earthly knowledge. Indeed, in my opinion all Acka should stand before thee and bow down to thy skills, but alas, this is not provided for by the rules. Instead, for your wisdom, you shall soon the proud owner of a shiny new Gadget.
I believe Malenkai should now determine which of the following Bascule receives: Electronic Potato; Scroll of Crumble; The Really Big Blue Thing That Doesn't Do Much, Really; Whamiol (!!!); Vending Machine; EP Vending Machine Add-On; Propeller Beanie. If this list is incorrect (The Blueprint page is slightly OoD), I apologize.
Guy Fawkes
soon-to-be ex-Scholar of *ping*

At Sun, 29 Sep 1996 21:59:51 -0400, Malenkai announced that Bascule received a Vending Machine for guessing the first truth.

### The Second Truth

At Mon, 30 Sep 1996 02:54:44 +0100, Bascule announced the Machine's second truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** **** ******** ** ** *** ****** ** *******, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went *ping* on:
October 1, 1996.
October 2, 1996.
October 8, 1996.
October 9, 1996.
October 15, 1996.
October 16, 1996.

At Tue, 15 Oct 1996 19:23:50 -0400, Malenkai named d as the magic letter.

At Tue, 15 Oct 1996 17:19:05 -0700 (PDT), breadbox guessed at the Truth:

Oh, this is a stretch. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Bascule: it is possible that the Machine said to you: "IF AND ONLY IF today has a week name spelling of an odd number of letters, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*."?

At Tue, 15 Oct 1996 19:26:31 -0500 (CDT), Guy Fawkes guessed at the Truth:

At the risk of public ridicule, I propose that the Machine's Truth is
IF AND ONLY IF today has a name that consists of an odd number of letters, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.
Am I right, or am I an ignorant fool?

At Wed, 16 Oct 1996 00:32:29 +0100, Bascule filled in the first magic letter:

Aspiring Students of The Machine That Goes *ping*
The diligent student Malenkai was the first to name a magic letter, d. I've been racking my brains, and yes, I think there were some ds in there somewhere...
IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** **** ******** ** ** *dd ****** ** *******, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Wed, 16 Oct 1996 01:39:42 +0100, Bascule ridiclued breadbox:

Well, you students had better buck your ideas up if you want to determine the truth. My left toenail clippings could have come up with a better try than this. This guess is the sorriest apology for a try at the truth that I have _ever_ come across in all my time as Scholar of *ping*. I am ashamed to hold the title of Scholar of *ping*, since I have obviously failed to teach even the most _basic_ skills to my students, culminating in this crass insult to the Machine. I mean, we all know that breadbox is a pretty slow learner, well, to tell the truth, he's utterly hopeless, but I had thought that with a bit of patience and hard work, he might yet make a decent student. However, he obviously has not spent more than five minutes studying the Machine, and he jumps in with this feeble, half-baked effort. I am only sorry that such a pathetic attempt should be punished with a meagre A\$5 fine.

At Wed, 16 Oct 1996 01:47:14 +0100, Bascule praised Guy Fawkes:

To the Most Learned Guy Fawkes
I congratulate thee, Guy Fawkes, on your painstaking hard work in elucidating the solution to this most esoteric of alphabetical Machinistic riddles. Acka has a new Scholar of *ping* who is most worthy of the title. Long may the Machine go *ping* in Xanadu!

At Tue, 15 Oct 1996 22:32:35 -0400, Malenkai announced that Guy Fawkes received an Electronic Potato for guessing the second truth.

### The Third Truth

At Fri, 18 Oct 1996 13:23:36 -0500 (CDT), Guy Fawkes announced the machine's third truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today **** *** *** ****** ***** ** ****, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went ping on:
October 19, 1996.
October 20, 1996.
October 21, 1996.
October 22, 1996.
October 23, 1996.
October 24, 1996. (should have, but Guy Fawkes failed to post it in time)
October 25, 1996.
October 26, 1996.
October 27, 1996.
October 28, 1996.
October 29, 1996.
October 30, 1996.
October 31, 1996.
November 1, 1996.
November 2, 1996.
November 3, 1996.
November 4, 1996.
November 5, 1996.
November 6, 1996.

At Fri, 25 Oct 1996 09:04:35 -0700 (PDT), breadbox named O as the magic letter

At Fri, 25 Oct 1996 11:26:00 -0500 (CDT), Guy Fawkes filled in the magic letter

IF AND ONLY IF today *o** *o* *** ****** ***** o* ****, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Thu, 31 Oct 1996 12:38:56 -0500, Malenkai named S as the Magic Letter.

At Thu, 31 Oct 1996 15:04:58 -0600 (CST), Guy Fawkes filled in the new magic letter

IF AND ONLY IF today *o*s *o* *** ****** ***** o* ****, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Tue, 5 Nov 1996 23:25:56 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe named L as the magic letter.

At Wed, 6 Nov 1996 07:33:40 -0600 (CST), Guy Fawkes filled in the magic letter.

If AND ONLY IF today *o*s *o* l** ****** ***** o* **l*, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Wed, 6 Nov 1996 09:20:52 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe guessed the truth:

If AND ONLY IF today does not lie within march or july, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Wed, 6 Nov 1996 10:38:17 -0600 (CST), Guy Fawkes praised /dev/joe:

/dev/joe, your knowldege of the calendar astounds me. Any man can know what month it is, but you alone of all Acka possess that special genius to know what month it is not. It is with great pride that I bestow upon you the title of Scholar of *ping*.

At Wed, 06 Nov 1996 23:46:09 -0500, Malenkai announced that /dev/joe received a Scroll of Crumble for guessing the third truth.

### The Fourth Truth

At Wed, 6 Nov 1996 21:53:08 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe announced the Machine's fourth truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today ** ****** ** *** ******* *** ** ******* ****** *****, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went *ping* on:
November 7, 1996.
November 11, 1996.
November 13, 1996.
November 18, 1996.
November 21, 1996.
November 25, 1996.

At Nov 25, 1:10 EST, Malenkai picked e as the Magic letter.

At Nov 25, 1:48 EST, /dev/joe filled in the magic letter e:

IF AND ONLY IF today ** ****** ** **e ******* *** *e *e***** **e*e* *****, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Nov 25, 8:32 EST, Malenkai guessed the truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today is Monday or the gumball may be legally chewed today, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Nov 25, 14:20 EST, /dev/joe praised Malenkai:

Never has there been a wiser player than Malenkai, he who realizes three missed opportunities to chew the gumball.
All hail Malenkai, the new Scholar of *ping*!

At Nov 25, 22:54 EST, Malenkai used the dice server to determine that the gadget he received was a Whamiol.

### The Fifth Truth

At Nov 27, 19:11 EST, Malenkai posted the machine's fifth truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today ******** ******** * **** ***** ** *** ***** *** ***** *** ******, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went *ping* on:
November 29, 1996.
December 5, 1996.
December 9, 1996.
December 11, 1996.
December 13, 1996.
December 14, 1996.
December 17, 1996.
December 19, 1996.
December 20, 1996.
December 21, 1996.
December 23, 1996.
December 25, 1996.
December 27, 1996.
December 29, 1996.

At Sat, 14 Dec 1996 22:50:48 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe picked r as the Magic Letter.

At Sun, 15 Dec 1996 09:38:46 -0500, Malenkai filled in the Magic Letter:

IF AND ONLY IF today **r***** *r****** * **** ***** ** *** ***** **r *r*** **r ****r*, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Tue, 31 Dec 1996 15:53:00 -0800 (PST), fnord picked m as the Magic Letter.

At Wed, 01 Jan 1997 15:08:02 -0500, Malenkai filled in the Magic Letter:

IF AND ONLY IF today **r***** *r****** * **** ***** ** *** ***** **r *r*m* **r ****r*, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Fri, 3 Jan 1997 16:28:41 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe guessed the Machine's truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today directly precedes a date which is not cubic nor prime nor square, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Fri, 03 Jan 1997 20:33:33 -0500, Malenkai praised /dev/joe:

To /dev/joe the wise:
I give you the Pedestal of *ping* to place you new Machine that goes *ping* on (which would traditionally accompany the Machine on its journeys through Acka). We tried to throw a curve ball in there by making it depend not on the date itself, but you were not fooled.
Your timing of the solution is interesting. Did that 'm' in 'prime' give it to you? I didn't think that would really help. I'm sure the crowd would like to hear your discovery process.

### The Sixth Truth

At Sun, 5 Jan 1997 14:36:25 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe posted the machine's sixth truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** **** **** ** *** ********* ***** *******, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went *ping* on:
January 6, 1997.
January 10, 1997.
January 12, 1997.
January 14, 1997.
January 15, 1997.
January 18, 1997.
January 20, 1997.
January 21, 1997.
January 22, 1997.
January 24, 1997.
January 26, 1997.
January 28, 1997.

/dev/joe, oh wondrous scholar
I have a headache from studying the machine, but I believe that the truth may take this form:
IF AND ONLY IF today has a date that goes by two different prime numbers, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.
Go on then, ridicule me! See if I care.

At Sat, 11 Jan 1997 22:42:21 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe ridiculed Bascule:

All right, then:
Bascule's headache must have been caused by brain damage if he believes such a ridiculous (and nonsensical) statement even had the slightest chance of being the Truth.

At Mon, 13 Jan 1997 23:08:15 -0800 (PST), breadbox guessed:

IF AND ONLY IF today has a date made only of two different prime factors, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Tue, 14 Jan 1997 10:11:07 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe ridiculed breadbox:

breadbox, my evil twin, you have once again failed to come even close to the truth of the Machine that goes *ping*. When will you ever learn?

At Tue, 14 Jan 1997 21:42:53 -0900, snowgod guessed:

IF AND ONLY IF today has a date made only of two different prime numbers, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Wed, 15 Jan 1997 00:51:53 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe ridiculed snowgod:

snowgod, who has never before been ridiculed (in the sense of the Machine game; otherwise he's had his difficulties, including a disease that so plagues him that it was named after him), has made a guess which very closely resembles that which breadbox guessed not long ago, and this is so far from the Truth that in the land where that phrase is spoken of as gospel, the residents don't even understand the meaning of the word "truth".

IF AND ONLY IF today has a date made only by two different prime numbers, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.
I've decided that I need to add having been ridiculed to my repertoire.
I've been waiting for a chance like this! :-)
Red Barn, nobody else in the history of Ackanomic has caused so much bandwidth to be wasted in a single day as you have in your first 24 hours in the game. And this waste of bandwidth, like several other recent attempts to guess the Truth, does not even come close to the Truth.

At Sat, 18 Jan 1997 01:09:11 -0500, Malenkai picked R as the Magic Letter.

At Sat, 18 Jan 1997 00:38:00 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe filled in some r's:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** **** **r* ** *** *****r*** *r*** *****r*, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

"IF AND ONLY IF today has a date only born of two different prime numbers THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*."
Like so many of his fellow Ackanomians, Swann has made a futile, incorrect guess at the Truth.

At Tue, 28 Jan 1997 01:41:20 -0500, Red Barn named t as the Magic Letter:

At Tue, 28 Jan 1997 01:11:03 -0600 (CST), /dev/joe responded:

AAARRRGH!
While I was preparing this message, I realized that when I last posted the truth, I forgot an R!!!!!
In the spirit of fairness, I'm drawing attention to this so everybody can see what happened. I honestly hope somebody didn't figure out but not guess the real truth earlier due to my mistake.
Anyway...
Red Barn named t as the magic letter.
Red Barn -15 magic letter t
Yes, I recall there being several t's (and one additional r) in the truth:
IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **t* **t* **r* *r t** *****r**t *r*** ***t*r*, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.
/dev/joe
Lousy Scholar
Playing too many subgames at once

IF AND ONLY IF today has a date with more or two different prime factors, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

Obviously my wrong post didn't bother Malenkai too much. This guess is much, much farther from the truth than my post of the truth with the r's filled in was from what I should have posted.

IF AND ONLY IF today was a date with zero pf two different prime factors THEN the Machine That Goes "ping" shall go "ping"

It looks like everybody is having a bad day. This is still wrong! Sorry if this ridicule is lame; this is the 7th one I had to do this term as Scholar, and I'm out of original, interesting ridicules.
The web page now has a list of the players who have already guessed wrong, to help me make sure I don't respond to an illegal guess by a player who has already guessed this truth wrong.
Jammer posted something else shortly after this, but the Machine rule prohibits anyone from guessing between Jammer's post quoted above and this post in response to it, and they prohibit Jammer from guessing at this truth again now that he's been ridiculed. It was not a legal guess according to the rules, so I will not be commenting on it.

IF AND ONLY IF today has a date with zero or two different prime factors, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

ThinMan's guess was determined to be first.

This is correct. (Oh, yeah, praise...) Only a really alert player would see to correct the "was" to "has" from Jammer's second guess. Congratulations, ... (who?)
Hmm, it seems we have another Hubert.
```Received: (from majordom@localhost) by wilma.che.utexas.edu (8.7.4/8.7.3) id IAA17232 for ackanomic-outgoing; Tue, 28 Jan 1997 08:08:21 -0600
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 08:07:23 -0600 (CST)
From: Guy Fawkes <shimmin@coewl.cen.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Re: Acka Arggggggh correction

Received: (from majordom@localhost) by wilma.che.utexas.edu (8.7.4/8.7.3) id IAA17214 for ackanomic-outgoing; Tue, 28 Jan 1997 08:06:15 -0600
From: "Bollinger, John C." <jobollin@indiana.edu>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 09:07:37 -0500```
From this, it can clearly be seen that ThinMan's computer's clock is fast by about two minutes, so his was actually the first post received and he is the next Scholar of *ping*.
Congratulations ThinMan, and I hereby present you with the Pedestal of *ping* for the Machine to rest on as you study it. I am also giving Swann A\$5; he was the only player to make an incorrect guess after I posted the truth with R's incorrectly filled in and before my ARRRGHH post.

### The Seventh Truth

At Mon, 3 Feb 1997 12:21:16 -0500, ThinMan posted the seventh Truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** *** ** *** **** ******** *** ***** ****** ** *** ********, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

ThinMan lost the machine by going on vacation.

### The Seventh Truth (collapsed thread)

At Mon, 3 Feb 1997 17:36:25 -0600 (CST), Guy Fawkes posted the truth in an alternate thread where he was scholar (which later was canceled):

IF AND ONLY IF today ****** ** *** **** **** ******* **** *** **** ********, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

### The Eighth Truth

At Fri, 07 Feb 1997 21:13:45 -0500, Strider became scholar.

At Sun, 09 Feb 1997 11:11:16 -0800, Strider posted the truth:

As I entered my house the other day, I saw before me two ghostly images. It was the Machines the go Ping! Both of them had somehow found their ways to my tower. As I stood entranced, they overlapped, and finally merged. I felt awed to be the only witness to the reunification of the game threads. When the merger was complete, there was a blinding flash of light, and the machine floated before me in all of its harf. it said "IFF today ** * ****** ********* ** ****** **** ** *** ** ***** ****, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.
I know what it meant. Come, students, gaze upon the machine and learn. My house is open to any who wish to study.

Strider lost the machine because it did not go *ping* on any day from Feb 10-16. It *pinged* on the 17th but Strider did not report it until the 18th.

At Wed, 19 Feb 1997 10:10:42 -0800, Strider posted the undisguised truth:

IFF today is a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday with an odd or prime date, then the Machine that goes *ping* shall go *ping* today.

### The Ninth Truth

At Wed, 19 Feb 1997 07:55:36 -0500, Niccolo Flychuck became scholar, but did not post a truth.

At Wed, 26 Feb 1997 08:53:17 -0500, Calvin N Hobbes became scholar.

At Sun, 2 Mar 1997 03:29:11 -0600 (CST), Calvin N Hobbes posted the truth:

Mesmerized by this object, I paused. It could have been warm to the touch but in that instant my senses were surely deceiving me. A click, a whir and a pong brought me back to reality and I reached for some paper on which to write the new Truth. I could only wish the Y-Pair was here, who are so interested in the Truth. No longer was it out there, but in here with me.
"IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** ********** ******* **** ***** *** *** **** ***** ******, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*."

Calvin N Hobbes then tried to report that the machine went ping on March 2, the day he posted the truth, which is something the Machine does not do. Thus, he lost the Machine.

### The Tenth Truth

At Sun, 02 Mar 1997 21:48:31 -0500, breadbox became scholar.

At Thu, 6 Mar 1997 05:12:48 -0800 (PST), breadbox posted the Truth:

I fell asleep on my couch today, and had an extremely odd and lengthy dream. The descriptions from the scholars before me had not prepared me for this. I saw, but did not understand, vast machineries and intricate webs of logistically interdependent yet counterbalancing concepts, which in my dream appeared in the forms of linked bagels. Cream cheese and lox dripped through everything, carrying away redundancies and suboptimal linkages through a drain in the floor. Above it all, and at the same time enclosing it, was the Machine That Goes *ping*. I felt that if this was the manifestation of the Machine's truth, I could never hope to comprehend its meaning. I despaired of fulfilling my scholarly duties. But then on the fourth day I was visited by an Incan monkey god who told me what to write:
"IF AND ONLY IF today *** ******** ** ******* ** *** ****'* ***** ******* ** * ******, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*."
Now I just have to find somebody who can translate his simple but beautiful language.

The Machine went *ping* on:
March 8, 1997.
March 10, 1997.
March 13, 1997.
March 17, 1997.
March 22, 1997.
March 24, 1997.
March 26, 1997.

At Mon, 24 Mar 1997 10:02:15 -0500 (EST), Vynd picked r as the Magic Letter.

At Mon, 24 Mar 1997 08:18:33 -0800 (PST), breadbox filled in the Magic Letter.

IF AND ONLY IF Today *** ******** ** *****r* ** *** ****'* r**** ****r** ** * ****r*, THEN The Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At March 26, 17:13 EST, breadbox went to Gaol for being in Contempt (for not getting the Silver Moon stuff done on time) and the Machine teleported.

At March 28, 02:36 EST, breadbox posted the undisguised truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today the quantity of letters in the date's roman numeral is a square, THEN The Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

### The Eleventh Truth

ThinMan is scholar, since Fri, 28 Mar 1997 01:59:58 -0500.

At Fri, 28 Mar 1997 08:45:53 -0500 ThinMan posted the truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** *** ** *** **** ******** *** ***** ****** ** *** ********, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went *ping* on:
April 1, 1997.
April 2, 1997.
April 8, 1997.
April 9, 1997.

IF AND ONLY IF today the chartreuse goose is red, and the brass monkey has three legs, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.
This is the most pathetic, inane, and worthless guess at the Machine's truth that I have seen during my time as Scholar. O inestimably poor student of *ping*, can you explain why your guess fails to even match the pattern? I suggest you invest in a box of hammers.

On Apr 16, ThinMan reported that he failed to send a *ping* message for Apr 15, and also that the machine would have *ping*ed on Apr 16. Per the rules, the machine teleports to a random player's house.

At Thu, 17 Apr 1997 11:03:07 -0500, ThinMan revealed the real truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today the day of the week contains the fifth letter of the alphabet, THEN The Machine That Goes *ping* will go *ping*.

snowgod became scholar at Wed, 16 Apr 1997 19:28:23 -0400, and failed to post a truth within 7 days.

### The Twelfth Truth

fnord became scholar at Wed, 23 Apr 1997 22:05:35 -0400.

fnord posted the Truth at Wed, 30 Apr 1997 09:29:55 -0700:

IF AND ONLY IF today ** * *** ****** ** ***** * **** ***** ** **********, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went *ping* on:
May 2, 1997.
May 4, 1997.
May 5, 1997.
May 7, 1997.

At Wed, 7 May 1997 11:19:56 -0600 (MDT), Alfvaen guessed:

IF AND ONLY IF today is a day before or after a date which is triangular, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Sat, 10 May 1997 09:59:49 -0700, fnord praised Alfvaen:

Oh, Alfvaen, it does seem that you are much more learned than your short time here in Ackanomic would indicate, however, woe betide unto thee, for alas and alack you have guessed wrong...
(faint machine-like sounds)
wait a sec... (muted machine-like sounds and conversation)
oh *blush* whoops.
Congratulations, Alfvaen, you have pierced the veil and discovered the Machine's Truth.

However, fnord failed to post a *ping* on May 9, so the machine teleported randomly.

At May 12, 09:40 EDT, Alfvaen received his boon, a Bonus Vote.

### The Thirteenth Truth

At Tue, 13 May 1997 08:37:12 -0500, CarsesraC became scholar, but did not post a truth.

At Tue, 27 May 1997 09:33:10 -0500, /dev/joe became scholar.

At Sat, 31 May 1997 01:23:35 -0500 (CDT), /dev/joe posted the truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** **** ** ****** *** ** *** ****** ** ****, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went ping on:
June 1, 1997.
June 2, 1997.
June 4, 1997.
June 7, 1997.
June 8, 1997.
June 11, 1997.

At Wed, 11 Jun 1997 06:21:48 -0600 (MDT), Alfvaen chose n as the magic letter.

At Wed, 11 Jun 1997 09:23:51 -0500 (CDT), /dev/joe filled in some n's:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** **** *n **n*** *** *n *** n***** ** *n**, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Wed, 11 Jun 1997 07:30:49 -0700 (PDT), breadbox guessed the truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today the date in binary has an odd number of ones, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Wed, 11 Jun 1997 09:45:39 -0500 (CDT), /dev/joe praised breadbox:

Oh, my. As I filled in the magic letter, I wondered if it would be enough information for anyone to figure out the truth. breadbox, perhaps my biggest treasure-hunting competitor, has deciphered the truth within minutes of the first Magic Letter being filled in. Congratulations, breadbox, and may your study of the machine run as smoothly and error-free as the one just concluded has been. Sorry about the machine arriving without its pedestal. ThinMan, please pass the pedestal along to breadbox, as I won't be needing it back.

At Jun 11, 21:42, Malenkai determined that breadbox's boon was an Otzma Card Untouch Me.

### The Fourteenth Truth

At Wed, 11 Jun 1997 09:45:39 -0500 (CDT), breadbox became scholar.

At Sat, 14 Jun 1997 16:12:44 -0700 (PDT), breadbox posted the truth:

After reattaching Guy Fawkes' house, and catching up on the backlog in the Courts (or trying to), I was rather tired. I fell asleep at my desk, during which I had these visions. I saw -- aw, you know what I saw. Anyway, when I finally woke up, I found that in my sleep I had attempted to write down one of my visions. Unfortunately, being asleep when I had done this, I had written on the piece of paper that already contained various notes on some of the CFJs, so I was unable to fully make out what it said. What I could read went like this:
IF AND ONLY IF today *** ******* **** **** ****** *** ****** ******-***** ***** ***, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went ping on:
June 15, 1997.
June 16, 1997.
June 17, 1997.
June 18, 1997.
June 20, 1997.
June 21, 1997.
June 22, 1997.

At Sun, 22 Jun 1997 13:20:19 -0500 (CDT), /dev/joe named h as the Magic Letter.

At Sun, 22 Jun 1997 17:21:34 -0700 (PDT), breadbox filled in the Magic Letter:

IF AND ONLY IF *h* ***h*** *h** **** ****** *** ****** ******-***h* ***** ***, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Sun, 22 Jun 1997 21:58:58 -0600 (MDT), Alfvaen guessed the truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today the machine that goes *ping* was silent twenty-eight weeks ago, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Mon, 23 Jun 1997 05:58:55 -0700 (PDT), breadbox praised Alfvaen:

Alfvaen, you have pierced the asterisked veil and seen the unshrouded Truth. Congratulations, student and now scholar. May you encounter similar fortune in your time harboring the enigmatic Machine That Goes *ping*.

At Mon, 23 Jun 1997 10:28:50 -0700, Malenkai picked Alfvaen's boon, a Scientist for a Day otzma card.

### The Fifteenth Truth

At Mon, 23 Jun 1997 05:58:55 -0700 (PDT), Alfvaen became scholar.

At Mon, 23 Jun 1997 10:57:22 -0600 (MDT), Alfvaen posted the truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** ***** **** ****** ***** ***** * ** *** ********, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went ping on:
June 24, 1997.
June 26, 1997.
June 27, 1997.
June 28, 1997.
June 30, 1997.
July 2, 1997.
July 4, 1997.
July 6, 1997.
July 7, 1997.
July 8, 1997.

At Wed, 02 Jul 1997 17:52:32 -0400, Malenkai picked p as the Magic Letter.

At Wed, 2 Jul 1997 22:03:27 -0600 (MDT), Alfvaen filled in the Magic Letter p:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** ***** **** ****** ***** ***** * ** *** **p*****, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

Alfvaen lost the machine on July 9, 1997 by going on vacation.

On Mon, 14 Jul 1997 23:23:24 -0600 (MDT), Alfvaen revealed the truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today has a date whose last letter comes after j in the alphabet, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

### The Sixteenth Truth

At Wed, 09 Jul 1997 20:37:53 -0400, fnord became scholar, but failed to post a truth.

At Thu, 17 Jul 1997 01:38:01 -0400, CarsesraC became scholar, but e failed to post a truth.

At Thu, 24 Jul 1997 20:05:46 -0400, Rex Mundi became scholar.

At Sat, 26 Jul 1997 22:56:42 +0100, Rex Mundi posted the truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** ***** ****** **** *** ******* * ** *, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went ping on:
July 30, 1997.
August 6, 1997.
August 13, 1997.
August 20, 1997.
August 27, 1997.
September 3, 1997.
September 10, 1997.
September 17, 1997.
September 24, 1997.
October 1, 1997.

At Wed, 3 Sep 1997 11:42:08 -0400, /dev/joe picked d as the Magic Letter.

At Wed, 3 Sep 1997 12:06:06 -0400, Rex Mundi filled in the Magic Letter d:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** ***** ****** **** *** ******* * ** *, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

No d's.

Rex Mundi lost the machine on September 30, 1997 by going to Gaol in Contempt.

At Mon, 6 Oct 1997 20:08 -0400 Rex Mundi posted the undisguised Truth:

Which reminds me, the truth was:
IF AND ONLY IF today has a name which begins with the letters W or H, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.
The H was for Halloween, in case you're wondering.

### The Seventeenth Truth

At Sat, 04 Oct 1997 10:23 -0400, Karma became scholar.

At Mon, 06 Oct 1997 09:45 -0400, Karma posted the following truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today ** *** ******, *******, *********, ********, ****** ** ********, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

Karma then announced that the Machine That Goes *ping* went *ping* on October 6th, the day he posted the truth, which is something the Machine does not do. Before that, however...

At Mon, 6 Oct 1997 11:50 -0400, breadbox posted the following guess:

O Mighty Scholar, I am guessing that the Machine's Truth is:
IF AND ONLY IF today is not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Mon, 6 Oct 1997 11:52 -0400, /dev/joe posted the following guess:

My dear Scholar, Is the truth by any chance:
IF AND ONLY IF today is not Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.
/dev/joe
Would this be a record?

At Mon, 6 Oct 1997 16:43 -0400, Karma replied to breadbox's guess:

A brilliant deduction Breadbox this is indeed the cryptic truth.
How you managed to solve it so quickly and effortlessly is most amazing! I must say I was flipping (well not really flipping, that's not possible) through the past truths and I was somewhat disconcerted to see all these non challenging truths eg: the date is a series of prime numbers triangulated to equal the root of the inverted square of the present date if we were in a leap year, and I said what we need is a "real challenge". To top it off I had just logged on to ask Malenkai if I had to add d/j's magic letter d to the truth since it wasn't administered to Rexs' truth, thinking I'd make it a little simpler to figure. And whoa and woe and low and behold you already had it solved, brilliant!
Alas, if what you say about posting it on the same day as the *ping* is something I overlooked, that machine has left me as quickly as it appeared.
- Karma (Scholarless of *ping*)

At Mon, 6 Oct 1997 18:21 -0400, /dev/joe pointed out:

Not only that, but if breadbox's guess was correct, then the *ping* message was not only posted against the rule which says when the machine starts *pinging*, but also didn't match the truth, since the *ping* was posted on Monday.
/dev/joe
breadbox beat me out in the race to post the guess first, but mine matched the posted *ping*.

At Mon, 6 Oct 1997 21:02 -0400, Karma replied:

Oh my graciousness! Double brilliant! Dev/joe you have made an impacting point. On close examination (actually not that close) I must rip all of that praise from Breadbox and forward it to D/J for he is the mastermind that unravelled the true, truth of the machine. It was in fact "sunday" that should have been included in the truth phrase.
Although it may be in vain you have buried Breadbox once again.
- Karma (Twice removed scholar of *ping*)

It was eventually decided not to penalize Karma for his misposting of the *ping*, and /dev/joe received the Machine.

At Oct 8 21:32 -0400, Malenkai picked /dev/joe's boon, an Otzma Card Swinging Sale.

### The Eighteenth Truth

At Mon, 06 Oct 1997 21:02 -0400, /dev/joe became scholar, but e failed to post a truth.

At Thu, 16 Oct 1997 01:30 -0400, Calvin N Hobbes became scholar, but e failed to post a truth.

At Sat, 25 Oct 1997 11:14 -0400, mr cwm became scholar.

At Wed, 29 Oct 1997 10:50 -0500, mr cwm posted the following truth:

... so, I come home from the Library, and what do I find? The Machine that goes *ping* has invaded the Revolving Shed. Why did it come here? I've spent weeks, months, years (OK, maybe not years) avoiding even the thought of the Machine that goes *ping*, in the apparently futile (but, to this point, deceptively successful) hope that it wouldn't think about *me*, and my home would remain free of its incessant *ping*ing. It was just lying there silent, now, at any rate - but I've read the reports - I know what to expect. Any day now, it might *ping*. Every day, I'd be living in horrible nervous anticipation - would it *ping* today, or would it be silent? It's a curse, I'm sure - until some bright Student of *ping* discovers its infernal Truth, and sets me free.
"But what Truth?" I thought.
At that moment the ever-lovely Phoebe stepped from behind the Machine.
"Phoebe!" I exclaimed. "Am I glad to see you! But I never expected to see you with the Machine. How often do you do that? (I suppose I could check the archives.)"
"I suppose you could," she replied, with perhaps a touch of sarcasm. "You know, IF AND ONLY IF today ****** *** ****** *** ******* **** **** ****** ** ** ******, THEN the Machine that goes *ping* shall go *ping*." (The sound of a Steel Flea pronouncing asterisks is one I'll long remember.)
"No," she said, and disappeared.
"WHAT ABOUT THAT?" I yelled into the emptiness, "WAS _THAT_ YOUR WISDOM?"
-mr cwm
Scholar of *ping*
who is aware that there is an awkward shift of tense in the above, but figures it could be worse

The Machine went ping on:
October 30, 1997.
October 31, 1997.
November 1, 1997.
November 2, 1997.
November 3, 1997.
November 4, 1997.
November 5, 1997.
November 6, 1997.
November 7, 1997.
November 8, 1997.
November 9, 1997.
November 10, 1997.

At Tue, 4 Nov 1997 18:21:53 -0500, breadbox picked h as the Magic Letter.

At Wed, 5 Nov 1997 17:20:30 -0400, mr cwm filled in the Magic Letter h:

I have considered Student breadbox's selection of "h" as a Magic Letter, and find it to be ... well, Student breadbox's selection of "h" as a Magic Letter. In any case:
"IF AND ONLY IF today ****h* *** ****** *h* ***h*** *h** **** ****** ** ** ****** THEN the machine that goes *ping* shall go *ping*."

At Mon, 10 Nov 1997 10:42:46 -0500, /dev/joe picked o as the Magic Letter.

At Mon, 10 Nov 1997 11:21:46 -0500, mr cwm filled in the Magic Letter o:

Ah, an "o." Well, there ought to be an "o" around here somewhere ... here they are!
"IF AND ONLY IF today ****h* *** ****** *h* ***h*** *h** *o** ****** *o *o ******, THEN the Machine that goes *ping* shall go *ping."

At Mon, 10 Nov 1997 15:57:27 -0500, ThinMan posted the following guess:

O Scholar, can it be that the Machine's Truth is: IF AND ONLY IF today the chartreuse guardians of Harf yet stand firm against the Orange Menace, THEN the Machine that goes *ping* shall go *ping. ?
ThinMan
Anxious Student of *ping*

At Mon, 10 Nov 1997 17:09:20 -0500, mr cwm responded to ThinMan's guess:

Anxious! You'd better be anxious! I'd be anxious, too, if I'd submitted such a pathetic, farcical, and irreverent guess at the Truth! You'll be lucky if the Ancient Ones don't stop up your external auditory appendages (pointy or not) so you never hear a *ping* again! Bah!

At Mon, 10 Nov 1997 17:50:28 -0500, /dev/joe posted the following guess:

IF AND ONLY IF today truths may permit the Machine that goes *ping* to go *ping*, THEN the Machine that goes *ping* shall go *ping*.
?
/dev/joe
Hoping the *extremely* sloooow net right now doesn't cost him a boon.

At Tue, 11 Nov 1997 11:42:55 -0500, mr cwm praised /dev/joe:

Congratulations, "O" /dev/joe, insightful Student of *ping*! You have risen above the unwashed masses that would heckle your choice of Magic Letter, and have verily grasped the Truth of the Machine. May your house and the houses of your children be filled with *ping*ing all their days.

At Nov 14 00:28 -0500, Malenkai picked /dev/joe's boon, an Ancient Relic, which /dev/joe described as the Orb of Aldur.

### The Nineteenth Truth

At Tue, 11 Nov 1997 11:42:55 -0500, /dev/joe became scholar.

At Wed, 12 Nov 1997 15:59 -0500, /dev/joe posted the following truth:

I didn't sleep well last night, because The Machine kept bothering me in my dreams. The Machine has visited my house before, but somehow despite the fact that I was at Vulcan Headquarters and my house was somewhere far above/below the surface of Acka, I still knew it was in my house again. The constant murmuring noise which I associated with the machine was in my head, though the machine itself was millions of cat-heights away.

But last night was different. Instead of simply imparting to me the murky, cloaked version of the truth, it first questioned me. In particular there was this one complaint: "Why didn't you post my truth the last time I came to visit you? Don't you love me any more?" I tried to tell it that I'm busier now than I once was, so sometimes I miss these things. Besides, you were way up in my house while I was at Vulcan HQ. (This was obviously at least part of the reason it had taken to stronger tactics this time...) There was another dream where The Machine was given eyes, and said "Now I See You", but somehow I think this was a different Machine.

But in the late morning hours it imparted to me what I knew would come, the Truth. The Truth *is* out there. And since some of you are probably anxiously awaiting the *ping*ing to get more hints on Malenkai's treasure, I now present the truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** **** ** ********* ** ****, ***** ** ****, THEN The Machine that Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went ping on:
November 15, 1997.
November 16, 1997.
November 18, 1997.
November 20, 1997.
November 21, 1997.

At Fri, 21 Nov 1997 11:06 -0500, Alfvaen posted the following guess:

O great scholar, let me make a premature guess for which there is as yet insufficient evidence:
IF AND ONLY IF today the date is divisible by five, three or four, THEN The Machine that Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Fri, 21 Nov 1997 12:47 -0500, Slakko posted the following guess:

O great scholar, let me also make a premature guess for which there is similarly, as yet, insufficient evidence:
IF AND ONLY IF today the date is divisible by four, three or five, THEN The Machine that Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Fri, 21 Nov 1997 13:33 -0500, /dev/joe responded to Alfvaen's guess:

I hold the orb of aldur in my hands, adding its power to my own in order to contact the machine in my house, high below the surface of Ackanomia. The stone glowed a bright blue as I invoked its powers, and I asked, "Dearest machine, one of my students thinks the truth is 'IF AND ONLY IF today the date is divisible by five, three or four, THEN The Machine that Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.' Could he possibly be correct?"
The stone shook violently in my hands and glowed a bright red as the voice of the machine boomed in my mind, "NO, HOW RIDICULOUS. EVEN THE STUPIDEST MURGO COULD FIGURE OUT THAT THAT IS NOT THE TRUTH!!"
So there you have it.

At Fri, 21 Nov 1997 13:51 -0500, /dev/joe responded to Slakko's guess:

[/dev/joe is seen shuffling madly through a stack of virtual papers, which are actually stored at muppetlabs.com]
Hmm, looks like we got rid of that silly part about not being allowed to post a guess while a guess was pending... back in February, proposal 1714. So I raise the orb in my hands again and pass this guess to the machine. This time, the orb glows a blindingly bright blue as the Machine's wordless response comes to me. Yes, Slakko, that *is* the truth. Congratulations, most wise Scholar. May all your days be filled with *ping*ing. :-)

At Nov 22 11:04 -0500, Malenkai picked Slakko's boon, a Plunky Monkey Wrench.

### The Twentieth Truth

At Fri, 21 Nov 1997 13:51 -0500, Slakko became scholar.

At Fri, 21 Nov 1997 14:57 -0500, Slakko posted the following truth:

I was idly writing at my desk in my own nondescript House (so nondescript it lacks a description), when suddenly an idea occurred to me as a right and proper Student of *ping*. I jotted it down, and mailed it straight away to the Scholar, /dev/joe. Having eliminated the idea from my mind, I resumed my writings, being a study of connected blue graphs.
Scarce an hour had gone by, I heard a rather large sound, an extremely heavy *bampf* is all I can say it was. I turned around, and what did I espy but the sacred Machine That Goes *ping* itself! I was so shocked and surprised by this appearance that I immediately fainted.
And began to dream...
It was wavy, but still in quite vivid colour. There was a small dial next to my hand, which I twiddled. The waves stopped. It was the Machine, or at least it looked like it could have been the Machine. In my dream state, I saw a schematic of the Machine, or perhaps it was an x-ray. Most of the structure of the Machine was too wildly incomprehensible for me to make head or tail of. There was, however, one point which drew my attention.
Right at the heart of the Machine That Goes *ping* was a small airchamber, scarcely a cat-height in each direction, and in it was a Steel Flea! This was not Phoebe, however, I could spot that right away. Before I could go any further in my investigation however, it spoke to me, in the voice of the Machine.
"Yes, you have discovered truth of another kind. While Phoebe was allowed to go free, I have been imprisoned here inside the Machine all these many many years since the Ancients left us."
"But who are you?" I replied.
"Ursula, Phoebe's twin sister", came the surprisingly deep booming reply. "We were both created with the latest in miniature technology, and here I am wasted inside this elephantine machine. Nothing to do but to *ping* according to the ancient Truths until such time as each one becomes apparent."
So that was why Phoebe was so good at pronouncing asterisks. I was beginning to suspect I was dreaming, so I tried to force myself back up. As I began to come around from my faint I heard the Machine, who I now knew to be Ursula, utter the following Truth:
"IF AND ONLY IF *** **** ****** *** ******** ****** ** * ****** ** ***, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*."
I came around. What had happened? Had I really heard the Truth and seen a greater truth?
At least I know the first one must be true.
Students, await the sound of the *ping*.

At Fri, 21 Nov 1997 17:35:50 -0500, Slakko posted the following correction:

I had been fooled! I woke up, and it was not the Truth after all, but a vague copy! I then looked at the Machine, and as my brain fully comprehended my role as Scholar, I fainted again.
Unfortunately, this dream was almost exactly like the last one:
[the same dream follows, up until]
"IF AND ONLY IF today *** **** ****** *** ******** ****** ** * ****** ** ***, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*."
As I came around again, I knew Ursula was true, and that, in her Steel Flea way, forcing me to resubmit my entire message was her way of proving her existence as the essence of the machine.

The Machine went ping on:
November 23, 1997.
November 26, 1997.
November 29, 1997.
December 2, 1997.
December 5, 1997.
December 8, 1997.
December 11, 1997.
December 14, 1997.
December 17, 1997.

At Tue, 9 Dec 1997 06:59:05 -0500, breadbox picked c as the Magic Letter.

At Tue, 9 Dec 1997 07:07:40 -0500, Slakko filled in the Magic Letter c:

Here is the Truth with c revealed:
"IF AND ONLY IF today *** **** ****** *** ******** ****** ** * ****** ** ***, THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*."

Slakko lost the machine on December 20, 1997 by going on vacation.

At Sun, 4 Jan 1998 10:57:26 -0500, Slakko posted the Truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today the date modulo the material weight of a jester is two, THEN the Machine that goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

### The Twenty-First Truth

At Sat, 20 Dec 1997 15:50 -0500, The Gingham Wearer became scholar.

At Sun, 21 Dec 1997 08:32:25 -0500, The Gingham Wearer posted the truth:

I was down in my basement conversing with else...if and waiting for the tornado to come when we both heard an almighty crash. At first I thought that the tornado had started and my house was falling down. Gibbering in panic I went and laid down in the corner and held my head in my hands. I stayed like this until a few seconds later when else...if tapped me on the shoulder. I turned round and e silently pointed across the room where a rather large and elaborate machine that neither of us had seen before was lying. Despite our collective short time in Acka, we were both instantly certain that this was the legendary machine that goes *ping*. A thick fog started to descend upon the room and I went back to cowering in the corner. The next thing I remember was awakening in a room full of steel fleas. I looked around, anxious. "Phoebe!" I called. "Ursula!"
The only reply was a loud booming laughter much beyond what I thought any number of fleas, steel or otherwise, could produce. This continued unabated and I covered my ears and closed my eyes. This seemed to make things better so I cautiously re-opened my eyes and unblocked my ears. The sight that greeted me was a single flea with an amplifier in a hall of mirrors.
"Ursula?" I inquired. She nodded and started to giggle.
"Why have you brought me here?" I asked.
"Why do you think, stupid?" she replied, "I'm going to tell you the truth behind the machine."
"Oh right, that!"
"The truth is," she continued, "IF AND ONLY IF today ** ******, ******** ** ********* *** ** *** ******* ****** ** ** THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*".
I woke up again in my basement and prepared to give else...if first aid after he choked on the smoke from the burning chips up in the kitchen. I felt uneasy. Why had I been whisked off by Ursula at that time? If I hadn't surely we both would have choked to death.

The Machine went ping on:
December 22, 1997.
December 24, 1997.
December 25, 1997.
December 29, 1997.
December 30, 1997.
January 1, 1997.
January 2, 1997.
January 5, 1997.
January 6, 1997.
January 8, 1997.
January 12, 1997.
January 15, 1997.
January 17, 1997.

At Mon, 29 Dec 1997 16:38:47 -0500, Balsamic Dragon posted the following guess:

Okay this is the first time I've tried to guess at one of these, because I always wait for a clue and then someone gets it before me. So:
Is it true that IF AND ONLY IF today is Monday, Thursday or Christmas Eve in the seasons ending in er THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*?

At Mon, 29 Dec 1997 16:55:43 -0500, The Gingham Wearer responded to Balsamic Dragon's guess:

I'm hardly surprised that this is your first attempt at guessing the truth. The thing that amazes me is that you thought this could possibly be right. Surely no feebler guess as to the sacred truth has ever occurred. It makes me ashamed to be scholar, it really does. I can only prey that the rest of you have some brains in your head as opposed to the sawdust clearly resting between Balsamic Dragon's ears.

At Sat, 3 Jan 1998 23:15:05 -0500, else...if picked y as the Magic Letter (though there was some confusion as to whether he was referring to the Machine when picking this letter).

At Tue, 6 Jan 1998 13:13:52 -0500, The Gingham Wearer filled in the Magic Letter y:

IF AND ONLY IF today ** *****y, *******y ** ********* *** ** *** ******* ****** ** ** THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Sat, 17 Jan 1998 14:01:50 -0500, Slakko picked t as the Magic Letter.

At Sat, 17 Jan 1998 14:12:59 -0500, The Gingham Wearer filled in the Magic Letter t:

IF AND ONLY IF today ** *****y, T******y ** *****t*** *** ** t** ******* ****** *t t* THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Thu, 22 Jan 1998 17:43:40, The Gingham Wearer admitted that he had messed up with the *ping*ing, and posted the truth(thus giving up the Machine):

IF AND ONLY IF today is Monday, Thursday or Christmas Eve or the scholar wishes it to THEN the Machine That Goes *ping* shall go *ping.

### The Twenty-Second Truth

At Fri, 23 Jan 1998 18:19 -0500, Crackfoo became scholar.

At Tue, 27 Jan 1998 17:55:11 -0500, Crackfoo posted the truth:

While dreaming last night, which never happens to me, the machine that goes ping, did thus reveal the truth to me.
IF AND ONLY IF today ** *********, ******, ** ********* ********, THEN the machine that goes *ping*, shall go *ping*.

The Machine went ping on:
January 28, 1998.
January 30, 1998.

At Fri, 30 Jan 1998 14:03:46 -0500, Balsamic Dragon made the following guess:

IF AND ONLY IF today is wednesday, friday, or Crackfoo's birthday, THEN the machine that goes *ping*, shall go *ping*.

At Fri, 30 Jan 1998 15:19:44 -0500, Crackfoo congratulated em on eir correct guess:

Balsamic Dragon is much too wise. For your correct guess after only 2 guesses, I congratulate you. You have correctly guessed the truth.

At Fri, 30 Jan 1998 16:54:07 -0500, Alfvaen determined eir Boon, a Bonus Vote.

### The Twenty-Third Truth

At Fri, 30 Jan 1998 15:19:44 -0500, Balsamic Dragon became scholar, and failed to post a truth within 7 days.

At Sun, 8 Feb 1998 23:55:41 -0500, two-star became scholar.

At Tue, 10 Feb 1998 04:33:38 -0500, two-star posted:

In my dream I was flying over the tower of bandwidth, past Kansas and other moons yet unnamed, to the border between the steel and aluminum hemispheres, and there I saw an inscription glowing, dull red at first, then searingly bright, and it said:
IF AND ONLY IF today *** *** ** ****** ** *** ****** ************* ******** ** ****, THEN the machine that goes *ping*, shall go *ping*.

The Machine went ping on:
February 12, 1998.
February 14, 1998.
February 16, 1998.
February 18, 1998.
February 20, 1998.
February 22, 1998 (late).
February 24, 1998.

Malenkai picked "w" as the Magic Letter at Tue, 24 Feb 1998 21:29:18 -0500.

At , two-star posted:

There is no "w" in the Truth of the Machine.
The Truth remains: IF AND ONLY IF today *** *** ** ****** ** *** ****** ************* ******** ** ****, THEN the machine that goes *ping*, shall go *ping*.

At Wed, 04 Mar 1998 18:08:01 -0500, Hubert pointed out that the Machine had not gone *ping* for seven days. E became Scholar as a result.

### The Twenty-Fourth Truth

At Fri, 06 Mar 1998 06:25:18 -0500, Hubert posted:

It was The Dream.
I knew it was. The same one I've had ever since... the accident...
I was fleeing through the forest, the sounds of my pursuers echoing blindly behind me. The branches seemed to reach out for me, to grab me, to stop me. All around me I could see signs of... of _them_. Out of the corner of my eye, I'd catch a glimpse of some unspeakable horror scuttling away into the undergrowth, or a pair (or trio) of malevolently glowing red eyes watching me struggle through the trees, but when I turned to look there'd be nothing. And all the time, I could hear them after me. The shuffling of feet, the squishing of tentacles, the chittering of thousands of tiny voices eager to bathe in the blood of their prey -- me. But, though I knew they were gaining on me, I also knew somehow that I dared not look back.
I don't know how long I ran, how far through that dank and unearthly forest I stumbled in a futile attempt to escape the voices that, no matter how fast I went, never seemed to recede. But suddenly the foreboding trees gave way, and I plunged into the moonlight. The change was like an electric shock: the vague and dim outlines of the forest giants gave way to a crystal clarity of vision in which the tiniest blade of grass looked sharp enough to draw blood.
The sudden light, rendering my surroundings in a stark clarity, was enough to show me the futility of my flight. For in front of me lay a huge chasm, whose bottom I could not see despite the cold light of three full moons. Behind me lay the forest, and even as I whirled around, my back to the chasm, I realized that my pursuers had reached the edge of the trees. Slowly now, for they knew they had me cornered, they advanced into the moonlight, grinning evilly as they clenched what passed for hands in anticipation.
And then, suddenly, they stopped. Silence reigned supreme in the night; the only sound was that of my heart thudding frantically against my ribs. The grotesqueries in front of me stood frozen in anticipation, some looking tensely over their shoulders into the forest, some slavering as they stared at me, smelling the warm blood flowing in my veins, but all unwilling -- or unable -- to move further.
At that moment, as I knew He would, He came. The mighty trees at the edge of the forest were tossed apart like firewood by a pair of clawed hands many times bigger than my own puny body. As He stepped out of the forest into the light of the moons, He threw His head back and howled.
Although I hear that howl every night in my darkest dreams, nothing can ever prepare me for it. Wild and primal, it has a terrible soul-chilling beauty that seems as likely to burst your heart as freeze it solid. In utter terror, I tried to scramble backward as He advanced on me, not caring about the chasm behind me but just wanting desperately to escape that ghastly apparition. But I was as powerless to move as I was to wake.
He leaned forward over my cowering form, His saliva searing gaping wounds into my chest as it dripped. But the pain was nothing compared to the dread I felt as He locked eyes with me. Long I stared into that hideous visage like a rabbit transfixed by a beam of light, unable to break away, unable to move even to breathe. Suddenly He drew back like a snake about to strike, and as I cringed, waiting to feel His teeth rend my flesh, I heard Him cry out in a demoniac voice, loud and clear and strong and terrible:
"IF AND ONLY IF today *** ******* ****** ******* **** **** ****** ** * ****** *****, THEN the Machine That Goes *Ping* shall go *ping*."

The Machine went *ping* on:

Saturday, March 7, 1998.
Friday, March 13, 1998.
Saturday, March 21, 1998 (too late)

At Sat, 21 Mar 1998 16:59:39 -0500, Hubert pointed out that e had not made the machine go *ping* for a week. It therefore transported itself back to his house, at which point e said that e had weighter matters to research, such as the shape of the earth. It then transported again.

### The Twenty-Fifth Truth

At Sat, 21 Mar 1998 21:18:15 -0500, the Machine arrived in Attila the Pun's House.

At Sat, 21 Mar 1998 22:13:27 -0500, Attila the Pun (Micah Smukler) posted Truth #25:

As I was wandering through my completely nondescript home, I noticed a single object which, merely by virtue of possessing a definite existence, seemed to stand out from all the primordial chaos. I was astonished to discover that it was the Machine that goes *ping*. As I stared in awe at the machine, a small voice emerged from its innards, stating; "IF AND ONLY IF today *** * **** ***** **** ***** ************** ** ***** ** **** ***, THEN the Machine that goes *ping* will go *ping*."

At Sun, 05 Apr 1998 14:19:47 -0400, Slakko picked 'r' as the Magic Letter.

At Sun, 05 Apr 1998 15:48:02 -0400, Attila the Pun posted the Truth with 'r's filled in:

IF AND ONLY IF today *** * *** ***** **** ***** r**r********** ** *r*** ** **** ***, THEN the Machine that goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

At Sat, 02 May 1998 21:06:01 -0400, Hubert picked 'h' as the second Magic Letter.

At Sat, 02 May 1998 21:38:46 -0400, Attila the Pun posted the Truth with 'h' and 'r' filled in:

IF AND ONLY IF today h** * **** *h*** **** ***** r**r********** ** *r*** ** **** ***, THEN the Machine that goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

The Machine went *ping* on:

March 22, 1998.
March 29, 1998.
March 31, 1998.
April 2, 1998.
April 3, 1998.
April 5, 1998.
April 8, 1998.
April 10, 1998.
April 17, 1998.
April 22, 1998.
April 29, 1998.
May 2, 1998.
May 3, 1998.
May 5, 1998.
May 8, 1998.

At Fri, 08 May 1998 16:41:50 -0400, /dev/joe guessed the following Truth:

IF AND ONLY IF today has a date whose base seven representation is prime in base ten, THEN the Machine that goes *ping* shall go *ping*.

This was confirmed correct by Attila the Pun at Fri, 08 May 1998 19:30:39 -0400.

Page by: Joseph DeVincentis, Aaron Humphrey, Duncan Richer.
Last Updated Thursday, June 10, 1999