# Hunting an elephant

rounder (rounder)

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:
1. Go to Africa.
2. Start at the Cape of Good Hope.
3. Work northward in an orderly manner, traversing the continent
alternately east and west.
4. During each traverse pass,
a. Catch each animal seen.
b. Compare each animal caught to a known elephant.
c. 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 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 see a nonprehunted
elephant, the staff will (1) compliment the vice president's keen
eyesight and (2) enlarge itself to prevent any recurrence.

SENIOR MANAGERS set broad elephant-hunting policy based on the
assumption that elephants are just like 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.

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 elephants.

(#95821@0)
2001-6-9 -04:00
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