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Kangaroos with Stringers -- a Debugging Tale

HERE'S A STORY going round Internet newsgroups such as rec.humor.funny.

It was supposedly related by a high-ranking Australian army official at a defense science lecture in June, but may well turn out to be another urban myth. Believe it or not, as you wish.

Australian army experts had been working on virtual-reality simulations of armed reconnaissance helicopters on exercises, using virtual vegetation and animals to recreate conditions on the ground. This being Australia, the programmers working on the project created virtual kangaroos, modeling their movements and reactions to the helicopters -- a necessary task, since hordes of disturbed kangaroos might well give away a helicopter's position. To concoct the creatures, they modified some code that was originally used to model the reactions of infantry detachments under the same stimuli.

The time came to demonstrate the simulation to a group of visiting American defense experts. The pilots operating the system decided to get "down and dirty" with the virtual kangaroos, so they buzzed them and watched them scatter.

The visiting Americans nodded appreciatively. Then their jaws dropped as the kangaroos ducked around a hill and launched a battery of Stinger missiles at the helicopters.

The programmers were left looking suitably sheepish. They had forgotten to remove that section of the infantry code.