Hunting an Elephant
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 SCIENTSTS hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A:
1. Go to
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.
SYSTEMS INTEGRATION ENGINEERS are not so concerned with hunting elephants as with creating a seamless interface between the elephants and their environment.
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.
QUALITY ASSURANCE INSPECTORS ignore the elephant and look for mistakes the other hunters made when they were packing the jeep.
SALES PEOPLE don't hunt elephants, but they spend their time selling elephants they haven't caught, for delivery 2 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.