From: doufexi ioanna (doufexi(@)students.uiuc.edu)
Date: Δευ 13 Νοε 1995 - 19:50:32 EET
Mathematicians hunt elephants by going to Africa, throwing
out everything that is not an elephant, and catching one of
whatever is left. Professors of mathematics prove the
existence of at least one elephant and leave the capture of
an actual elephant as an exercise for one of their graduate
Computer scientists hunt elephants using 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
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.
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
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, but they can be hired by
the hour to advise those who do.
Operations research consultants can measure the correlation
of hat size and bullet color to the efficiency of elephant
hunting strategies, if someone else will 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.
When the Vice President of R&D tries to hunt elephants, his
staff will try to ensure that all elephants are completely
prehunted before he sees them. If the VP sees 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
Salespeople don't hunt elephants but spend their time
selling 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
gray and sell them as "desktop elephants."