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No. 28: Giants of the software industry.

Giants of the software industry.

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Strip by: Ian Boreham

{Fred Brooks, wearing a blue IBM suit, sits behind a desk.}

narrator: In 1975, Fred Brooks wrote the software engineering classic "The Mythical Man-month".

narrator: He argued that the idea of man-months was wrong, and that adding resources to a project that is already late will make it later.

{A copy of his book sits on a table.}

narrator: He did not know, however, that man-months were not mythical... They were merely prehistoric.

{Two figures press on through a snowstorm.}

narrator: The evidence for this came from a most unlikely place.

narrator: Perfectly preserved man-month carcasses were found buried in the permafrost in the Siberian tundra.

{A mammoth skeleton stands in a museum.}

narrator: Unknown to the software community, man-month remains had been found before.

{A latex-gloved pair of hands extracts a blood sample from a mammoth carcass using a hypodermic needle.}

Narrator: But the new finds allowed scientists to sequence a complete genome.

{Two live mammoths stand in the tundra.}

Narrator: They were able to clone these magnificent creatures...

{In a lab.}

Narrator: ...and revolutionise the software industry.

{A row of tanks containing floating mammoths, with blue-glowing implants inserted in the front of their heads and down their trunks. Their tusks are also capped with cables connected to the machinery.

The author writes:

In order to experience this strip correctly, it should be read in the deadly-serious, believe-it-or-not, mystery-unfolding American male narrator voice that seems to be mandatory for documentaries about exciting historical discoveries or the paranormal.

This is the second strip I've done that involves extracting DNA from ancient organic matter to recreate extinct lifeforms. Let's hope it doesn't become a habit.

Fun fact 1: Mammoths and Asian elephants are actually more closely related to each other than to African elephants. Mastodons are more distantly related to all three groups.

Fun fact 2: It is legal to import mammoth ivory into most countries. This has led to people sometimes claiming that pieces of elephant ivory are actually mammoth ivory, meaning that customs inspectors have to be able to tell the difference between them.

Fun fact 3: Mammoths can be easily confused with marmots. Don't do this. It is extremely offensive to both species.

Drawn in Krita and Inkscape.