323: Ballmer Peak
Title text: Apple uses automated schnapps IVs.
A Balmer Peak (with one 'L') is a common term used to refer to an emission line in chemical spectra. The curve in the comic is analogously named after Steve Ballmer, who is a key figure of Microsoft and its CEO since 2000. He is known for energetic outbursts and outlandish behavior in public (videos of which tend to go viral). In his state of seemingly constant intoxication, he would well represent the suggested relationship between drunkenness and competence.
Programmers sometimes have a reputation for heavy drinking habits. Hackfests and programmer conferences tend to offer copious amounts of alcohol. Such badly controlled alcohol intake doesn't lead anywhere, and it is suggested that this miscalculation caused Windows ME (a version of Microsoft Windows widely criticized for its bugs and general lack of usability).
- [A graph with "programming skill" on the X-axis and "blood alcohol concentration" on the Y one.]
- [Cueball is making a presentation with the graph.]
- Cueball: Called the Ballmer Peak, it was discovered by Microsoft in the 80's. The cause is unknown but somehow a B.A.C between 0.129% and 0.138% confers superhuman programming ability.
- Cueball: However, it's a delicate effect requiring careful calibration – you can't just give a team of coders a year's supply of whiskey and tell them to get cracking.
- Spectator: ...Has that ever happened?
- Cueball: Remember Windows ME?
- Spectator: I knew it!