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How to Hunt Elephants

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: Go to Africa. Start at the Cape of Good hope. 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. DATABASE ADMINISTRATORS do not need to go out and capture elephants when they can retrieve them simply with an ad hoc query: STATISTICIANS hunt the first animal they see N times and call it an elephant.

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