How to Hunt Lions

Published on Wed 12 February 1997

Hunt Lions by throwing out everything that is not a Lion and catching one of whatever is left. Experienced mathematicians will attempt to prove the existence of at least one unique Lion before proceeding to step 1 as a subordinate exercise. Professors of mathematics will prove the existence of at least one unique Lion and then leave the detection and capture of an actual Lion to their graduate students.
Quantum Mechanics Scientists
Spend their time trying to ascertain whether a Lion is only visible when there is someone there to see it and go on to design fiendishly complicated traps for theoretical Lions involving small amounts of radioactive substances and glass vials of toxic vapour (Schrodinger's Lion).
Don't hunt Lions; for them it is sufficient to prove the existence of Lions and Lion-hunters and an additional theorem which proves that Lion-hunters do indeed hunt Lions (at least in theory).
Computer Programmers

Hunt Lions by exercising Algorithm A.

  1. Go to South Africa
  2. Start at the Cape of Good Hope
  3. Work northward, traversing the continent alternately east and west
  4. During each traverse
    1. catch all observed animals
    2. compare each animal caught to a known Lion
    3. stop when a match is detected

Experienced computer programmers modify Algorithm A by placing a known Lion in Cairo to ensure the Algorithm will terminate. Assembly language programmers prefer to execute Algorithm A on their hands and knees.

Hardware Engineers
Hunt Lions by catching tawny animals at random and stopping when any one of them weighs plus or minus 15% of any previously observed Lions. (Owners of overweight Red Persian Longhairs beware!)
Don't hunt Lions, but believe that if Lions are paid enough they will hunt themselves.
Hunt Lions by cutting off their social security payments as an incentive for Lions to hunt themselves.
Protection Racketeers
Hunt Lions by making them an offer they can't refuse.
Hunt the first animal they see n times and call it a Lion.
Don't hunt Lions. Many have never hunted anything at all, but 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-colour to the efficiency of Lion-hunting strategies, if someone else will only identify the Lion.
Senior Management
Set broad Lion-hunting policy based on the assumption that Lions are just like big Red-Self Persians but with deeper voices.
Don't hunt Lions. They spend their time selling the Lions they haven't caught, for delivery two weeks before the season opens. Software salespeople ship the first thing they catch and write up an invoice for a Lion. Hardware salespeople catch Maine Coon kittens, paint them tawny and sell them as desktop Lions.
Quality Assurance Inspectors
Ignore the Lions and look for mistakes the others made when they were parking the jeep.
Cat Fanciers
Don't hunt Lions but may attempt to breed them. However Lion-breeding strategy is affected by lack of CFA/TICA recognition of Lions and the fact that Lions don't fit into standard show-cages. Any hint of non-Lions in a 5 generation pedigree adversely affects recognition of Lions. Purists argue that any hint of non-tawny Lions (e.g. sporadic occurrence of White Lions, Dappled Lions) invalidates recognition. IRCA may already breed Genuine Lions in which case they will place advertisements which claim that Lions from other sources are half-bred or overbred lookalikes; there are rumours that they have already created the Leonoid, a cat which can be bred to any other cat and produce a Lion. Liberal-minded and progressive Lion-breeders attempt to extend the range of available Lions through outcrossing, resulting in Rex Lions (Li-Rex), Wirehair Lions, LaPerm Lions (LeoPerms), Sphynx Lions, Manx Lions (Li-Manx), Scottish Fold Lions, Spotted Lions, Colorpoint Lions (Liamese), Sepia Lions and calico Lions. Unfortunately most Lion-breeding experiments do not result in newly recognised Lion varieties, not because of genetic faults in the breeding stock, but because Lions view potential outcross mates, Lion-breeders and show judges as between-meals snacks. Miniature Lions (Lunchkins, Leo Tois, Leopuras) may solve this problem.

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