The Vegan Militia

... because we are all made out of meat!

The Parable of the Brush Turkey


[Disclaimer and credit: I do not remember where I first heard about the brush turkey, but I suspect it was Douglas Adams during a book signing for his book Last Chance to See. The details of the brush turkey are exaggerated and maybe even wrong, but this is to serve a narrative purpose, so any zoologists can sit down, this parable isn’t for you.]

The brushturkey is very prone to boredom. Every time she lays an egg, she thinks to herself, “sitting on these eggs for several weeks is going to be really boring. There has to be a better way. I have an idea! I will build a compost pile on top of the eggs, and that will keep the eggs warm and I can go have fun.” She gets up and runs all over the place gathering organic matter and piles it up on top of the clutch of eggs. She has to gather quite a bit in order to get the temperature high enough to incubate the eggs. But finally she finished! Now she can relax!

After a while she thinks: “I better double check the temperature.” She sticks her head into the pile. “That feels too cool, let me gather more material”. She runs around gathering more material to add to the pile.

A few hours later she checks again. “Oh, no! It’s too hot, I’ll have to take some of the material off”. More running around.

She repeats this, constantly running around adding and removing material from the pile to keep the temperature just right. Day in and day out for several weeks.

Those with ears, let them hear!

As a programmer the urge to automate tasks is constant. However, there are many times when the effort of automating the task may be far greater than just doing the task manually. Let’s say you have a task which takes you 15 minutes, but with some automation you could reduce that to 5. So you spend a day writing a program to do the automation. But you only do that task twice a month. It will take years to break even.

You would have been better off sitting on that egg!

Tags: computers programming automation