From: firstname.lastname@example.org (William Garrett)
Subject: Hunting Elephants
Date: 25 Sep 1993 18:56:42 GMT
Organization: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Mathematicians hunt elephants by going to Africa, throwing out everything that is not an elephant, and catching one of whatever is left.
- Experienced mathematicians will attempt to prove the existence of at least one unique elephant before proceeding, as a subordinate exercise.
- Professors of mathematics will prove the existence of at least one unique elephant and their graduate students.
- Computer scientists hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A:
- Go to Africa
- Work northward in an orderly manner, traversing the continent alternately east and west
- During each traverse pass
- Catch each animal seen.
- Compare each animal caught to a known elephant.
- Stop when a match is detected.
- Experienced computer programmers modify algorithm A by placing a known elephant in Cairo to ensure that the algorithm will terminate.
- Assembly language programmers prefer to execute Algorithm A on their hands and knees.
- Engineers hunt elephants by going to Africa, catching grey animals and stopping when any one of them weighs within plus or minus 15 percent of any previously observed elephants.
- Economists don't hunt elephants, but they believe that if elephants are paid enough, they'll hunt themselves.
- Statisticians hunt the first animal they see n times and call it an elephant.
- Consultants don't hunt elephants, and many have never hunted anything at all, but they can be hired by the hour to advise those people who do.
- Operations research consultants can also measure the correlation of hat size and bullet colour to the efficiency of elephant-hunting strategies, if someone else will only identify the elephants.
- Politicians don't hunt elephants, but will share the elephants you catch with the people who voted for them.
- Lawyers don't hunt elephants, but they do follow the herds around arguing about who owns the droppings.
- Software lawyers will claim that they own an entire herd based on the look and feel of one dropping.
- Vice-presidents of engineering, research and development try hard to hunt elephants, but their staffs are designed to prevent it. When the vice-president does get to hunt elephants, the staff will try to ensure that all possible elephants are completely pre-hunted before the vice-president sees them. If the vice-president does see a non-pre-hunted elephant, the staff will
- compliment the vice-president's keen eyesight, and
- enlarge itself to prevent any recurrence
- Senior managers set broad elephant hunting policy based on the assumption that elephants are just like big field mice, but with deeper voices.
- Quality assurance inspectors ignore the elephants and look for mistakes the other hunters made when they were packing the jeep.
- Salespeople don't hunt elephants, but spend their time selling the elephants they haven't caught, for delivery two days before the season opens.
- Software salespeople ship the first thing they catch and write up an invoice for an elephant.
- Hardware salespeople catch rabbits, paint them grey, and sell them as desktop elephants.
Bill Garrett (email@example.com)
University of North Carolina Department of Computer Science
This message transmitted on 100% recycled photons.
Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!
What's New? • Search this Site • Website Map
Travel • Burning Man • San Francisco
Kilts! Kilts! Kilts! • Macintosh • Technology • CU-SeeMe
This page is copyrighted 1993-2008 by Lila, Isaac, Rose, and Mickey Sattler. All rights reserved.