Self-licking ice cream cone

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In political jargon, a self-licking ice cream cone is a self-perpetuating system that has no purpose other than to sustain itself. The phrase appeared to have been first used in 1992, in On Self-Licking Ice Cream Cones, a paper by Pete Worden about NASA's bureaucracy.[a]

Recently, it has been used to describe the support from internal IT organizations.

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  1. ^ but was later confirmed to have been said by Ed Niedorf in 1982. Mr Niedorf was an engineer with The Mitre Corporation[1]


  1. ^ "On Self-Licking Ice Cream Cones". Cool stars, stellar systems, and the sun, Proceedings of the 7th Cambridge Workshop, ASP Conference Series (ASP: San Francisco),vol. 26, p. 599. 1992. Retrieved March 10, 2008. 

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