• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other Pie Elite all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Paul Clapham
  • Ron McLeod
  • Tim Cooke
  • Junilu Lacar
Sheriffs:
  • Rob Spoor
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
Saloon Keepers:
  • Jesse Silverman
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Tim Moores
  • Carey Brown
  • Tim Holloway
Bartenders:
  • Jj Roberts
  • Al Hobbs
  • Piet Souris

what is the hat/elephant problem?

 
author & internet detective
Posts: 40791
828
Eclipse IDE VI Editor Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The book references the hat/elephant problem? What is that? I searched online and couldn't find a reference.

I imagine it is something like the fable where the blind men touch different parts of the elephant and think it is a rope, tree, etc.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 91
Netbeans IDE Java
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Le Petit Prince ?
 
Bartender
Posts: 2899
150
Google Web Toolkit Eclipse IDE Java
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think Mano Ag is right.
the-little-prince-a-hat-or-a-boa-constrictor-duvet-covers.jpg
[Thumbnail for the-little-prince-a-hat-or-a-boa-constrictor-duvet-covers.jpg]
Elephant hat
 
Mano Ag
Ranch Hand
Posts: 91
Netbeans IDE Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Hi Jeanne,

What book is referencing the hat/elephant problem? What is the context?
 
author
Posts: 58
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The quote comes from my book "Optimizing Java" - where I use it to describe the problem of combining different data sets with different characteristics to produce an overall data set with a structure that's obscured - and yes, it's a reference to the Little Prince.
 
Illustrator
Posts: 8
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This diagram is an example – there are three quite distinct data patterns shown in the three coloured lines on the graph, but by taking the data as a whole you only see a bumpy line that's far harder to interpret.

(In much the same way that it's hard to see what's in a snake's belly once it's been swallowed!)

Opt-Java_WebPromo_v1_elephant.png
[Thumbnail for Opt-Java_WebPromo_v1_elephant.png]
 
Marshal
Posts: 26909
82
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not sure why the hat/elephant "problem" is a problem. From what I read when I was googling for it yesterday, Saint-Exupéry seemed to think that children could see the possibility of both hat and elephant but adults couldn't, but I'm very doubtful whether that's really the case.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Posts: 40791
828
Eclipse IDE VI Editor Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh that makes sense. I read that book a long time ago and didn't remember the reference. Whereas Ben's book I just finished.

Also, hi Anna!
 
Greenhorn
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Years later, but I can't stop myself from replying to this thread. In The Little Prince, there is a theme about how kids always have to explain everything to grown-ups because they never understand anything. The narrator tells a story about how he drew a picture when he was a child, showed it to the grown-ups in his life and asked if it scared them. They all laughed at him and asked why they should be scared of a hat. The drawing looks kind of like a floppy brown hat that is colored in brown. He is very disgusted and disappointed because it's not a hat, it's a boa constrictor eating an elephant. In the book, he then shows a drawing of what the picture would look like if it wasn't colored in). Indeed, it is a boa constrictor eating an elephant. But the grown-ups can't see that because they lost that ability when they grew up. They no longer have any imagination. The underlying philosophical question is do you see a hat, or do you see the elephant inside the boa? Do you see only what's in front of your face, or do you have the ability/imagination to see what might be under the surface?

It's a fantastic book that is sort of written for kids and mostly written for "grown-ups." I read it every year (in the original French) with my high school French students. Hopefully, they're old enough to understand the double-meanings, and young enough to learn to keep their imagination or to still get it back if they lost it. Here's hoping some of you haven't lost it and the others can regain it!
 
Marshal
Posts: 74341
334
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I shall have to get a copy: and welcome to the Ranch
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic