The ancients knew the power of pyramids. Placed on power points around the globe, they allow mankind to channel mysterious, transcendental energy from across the void. Now, the wise folks that figured this out also realized that much of this power is derived from mystery; thus, they made sure that the power of the pyramid would evade any attempt to quantize or otherwise capture it as data.

This power is still with us today. You might that this would prevent these forces from interacting with computers, which are all about quantization and data, but this is not the case. It is said that Kernighan and Ritchie first channeled the C specification at one of these points of power under a blue moon. This, perhaps, is why a portable assembly language has been so successful.

Evidence for the mystical power of C can be gleaned directly from code. Take the example illustrated in the following pyramid, discovered by Ross.

 

if (error)
  if (fprintf(stderr,"An error occured while writing to the file")<0){
    if (fprintf(stderr,"An error occured while writing to stderr")<0){
      if (fprintf(stderr,"An error occured while writing to stderr")<0){
        if (fprintf(stderr,"An error occured while writing to stderr")<0){
          if (fprintf(stderr,"An error occured while writing to stderr")<0){
            return fprintf(stderr, "An error occured while writing to stderr");
            /* lets stop here, its enough */
          }
        }
      }
    }
  }

 

Immediately realizing that the original developer was enlightened, Ross went in search of this guru. His reward was the understanding that error is set to 1 when any error occurs, not just file i/o errors. However, "most of the time it fails, it fails during writing the file, so that's no problem."