Distributed processing is great…until it isn’t. Similarly, distributing tasks among independent nodes allows us to scale up easily and to achieve greater reliability. However, these goals are often in conflict. The more cooks you have in the kitchen, the harder it is to maintain consistency between them, and the more critical it is that you get the networking element of the problem right. Strange emergent properties of the system may surprise you, and it seems to be a law that the consumption of drink scales O(log n) with the number of cooks.: from this nice piece by occasional FT pub-fancying commenter Alex the Yorkshire Ranter, likening cookery to computing and vice versa. (The ingredients can be found in the comments thread at this post on Unfogged, but the final salad of all the gags is smart as as it’s funny.)