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How to Hunt Elephants?
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 to step 1 as a subordinate exercise.
PROFESSORS OF MATHEMATICS will prove the existence of at least one unique
elephant and then leave the detection and capture of an actual elephant as
an exercise for their graduate students.
COMPUTER SCIENTISTS hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A:
- GOTO Africa.
- BEGIN at the Cape
of Good Hope.
- RUN <north>
- FOR (traverse) = east
- WHILE (traverse)
- GET each animal
- IF animal caught
- ELSE 5
- <north> = <north+1>
- GOTO 4
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
HARDWARE ENGINEERS hunt elephants by going to Africa, catching gray animals
at random, and stopping when any one of them weighs within plus or minus 15
percent of any previously observed elephant.
ECONOMISTS don't hunt elephants, but they believe that if elephants are paid
enough, they will 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 color to the efficiency of elephant-hunting strategies, if someone
else will only identify the elephants.
POLITICIANS don't hunt elephants, but they 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 prehunted before the vice president sees them. If the vice president
does happen to see a elephant, the staff will:
SENIOR MANAGERS set broad
elephant-hunting policy based on the assumption that elephants are just like
field mice, but with deeper voices.
- compliment the vice
president's keen eyesight and
- enlarge itself to
prevent any recurrence.
QUALITY ASSURANCE INSPECTORS ignore the elephants and look for mistakes the
other hunters made when they were packing the jeep.
SALES PEOPLE don't hunt elephants but spend their time selling elephants they
haven't caught, for delivery two days before the season opens.
SOFTWARE SALES PEOPLE ship the first thing they catch and write up an invoice
for an elephant.
HARDWARE SALES PEOPLE catch rabbits, paint them gray, and sell them as desktop