Brian worked for the American government. Specifically, he worked for a small branch on a very small project with a budget so small that it was governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. To cut costs, the pointy-haired, grey-suited bureaucrats that ran the office found all sorts of inventive ways to save money, most of which were just minor nuisances that could generally be ignored.

One particularly annoying technique, however, was that they set the thermostats at 55ºF, then locked them in plastic cages so that those pesky and expensive developers wouldn't waste precious government funds on wasteful things like "heat", "comfort" and "having fingers that aren't blue at the tips". In a state like Hawaii, that might not have been a problem, but these poor developers lived in the other non-contiguous state in the Union, in a place where the average summer temperature was a hair shy of 60ºF.

One day, while shivering at his keyboard, Brian recognized this situation as a problem. Brian had two options: he could use his skills at office politics to raise a complaint and get the temperature issue addressed, or he could use his skills as a developer to come up with a different solution. Since he was a programmer, and hence terminally uninterested in office politics (sub-type: government office politics), he decided to try and program his way out of this situation.

static void Main(string[] args) { while (true ) { } }

Brian compiled that down into "heater.exe" and deployed it to every machine in the developers' team room, along with a short launcher script that would fire up the program at a very low priority. By hosting it on every machine, they had a crude way of managing temperature. During the summer, they'd usually run it on only one machine. During the coldest parts of winter, every computer would be running at 100% CPU utilization.

If their keepers noticed that the electricity bill skyrocketed at around the same time the developers stopped complaining about being cold, they didn't say anything. Brain walked away from that job having learned a valuable lesson: if there's a problem that can't be solved with a clever program, is that problem really worth solving?

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