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not geeky  not geeky

Case 32


The temple was in need of an additional developer, and two potential initiates had applied for the position. Java master Banzen sent a monk to interview them.

“They were equally qualified on all counts,” reported the monk that evening. “Of identical age, weight, bearing, grooming, proficiency with the sword, and preference of caffeinated beverage. So I posed the same logic problem to both candidates. One failed to solve it; the other succeeded.”

Java master Banzen said: “Take me to the rooms where they were interviewed.”

They first came to the room of the failed candidate, whose working of the problem still lay on the whiteboard in jade green marker. Painfully neat figures marched across the board in precise rows and columns. Java master Banzen quickly found the error in the candidate’s reasoning.

Said the Java master: “Here is a grove of pea-vines, struggling to break through the winter snow. If we nurture them we shall dine well in spring.”

They next came to the room of the successful candidate. Here also the critical problem had been worked in green marker, but in this room it sprawled across the board with no discernable order. Hasty scribblings wound over and around and even right through each other—a dense tangle of gibberish.

The Java master shook his head. “Here you tell me there is fresh dill and lemon-grass, but I would never find them for all the weeds.”