Programmer Day 2009
On the 256th day of the year, the timid programmer (Homo sapiens analyticus) emerges from his technology-covered desk to eat delicious cake and discusses Markov chains with fellow members of his subspecies. He does this because programmers like nice, round numbers like 256, 65536 and 2147483647.
Similar to the chlorophyll in green plants, the thin, pale skin of a programmer is capable of converting light into simple sugars used to power their analytic brains. However, unlike chlorophyll, a programmer's skin can only work properly in the presence of a computer monitor refreshing at 60Hz. (A fluorescent light source at 60Hz produces a similar, albeit weaker, effect.) The process works through biochemical induction, and is finely tuned to the technology produced by engineers (Homo sapiens constructor) due to their long-lasting symbiotic relationship. Because of this, programmers are not able to leave their monitors for prolonged periods of time.
While programmers are powered primarily through the skin, they can also consume the flesh of animals such as donuts and cakes to provide them with limited autonomous power supply. It is imperfect, but when the programmer has to move from one monitor to a superior, distant one it is the only way to avoid the slow death of starvation.
The day star proves to be another hazard to programmers. Because their skin is optimized for converting technological energy into chemical energy, natural sources like the sun, fires and all-night dance parties serve only to confuse the programmer and damage his frail skin. Ergo, programmers choose to cover themselves in heavy clothing and avoid unnecessary contact with natural sources of energy.
The programmer evolved from the mathematician (also Homo sapiens analyticus) but has not diverged enough to form its own subspecies yet. Like its mathematical ancestor, it is highly interested in numbers, logic and xkcd. Unlike the mathematician, the programmer has additional interests in games (including computer, card, ball and board games) and forcing non-sentient machines to do their bidding.
In fact, this last point is the defining characteristic of programmers. The programmer has an almost-sadistic way of approaching machines, forcing them to do things that they probably wouldn't want to do (if they were capable of not wanting to do it). For example, programmers have a massive affinity for forcing computers to increment numbers. If a programmer has a number, his favourite thing to do with it is to increase its value by one. For example, I cannot resist incrementing the round numbers used at the beginning of this post to 257, 65537 and -2147483648, respectively.
Computers probably don't want to be forced to increment those numbers. But they don't have a choice so screw them! I'll force them to increment every number imaginable (especially ones that only exist in imagination — I'm looking at you, i)! Bwahahahaha! Wait, my anthropological documentary is getting off track.
Programmers harbor an animosity toward artists (Homo sapiens generandus) for their stupid love of the cursed day star. It's already well documented that artists hate programmers because they like trading space for time. Artists believe that time and space are independent, an irrational view stemming from their inability to comprehend the fact that computers are non-sentient slaves. Because of this trade off that programmers make on a regular basis, artists are enraged at the audacity of programmers for making large, fast software. "How can something big be fast?" asks the artist, angrily. Stupid artists.
Rare hybrids between artists and programmers exist and they, like their leader Steve Jobs, are all trendy French people, with their iPods and their Starbucks coffee. Neither programmers nor artists like them.
In the future, when programmers have taken over the world, we're going to blow up the sun and replace it with 65538 computer monitors with refresh rates of 61Hz. Unless those artist jerks try to stop us!