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My unbirthday

Today I celebrated my unbirthday, at the age of 46½.

You see, I'm actually born on the 16th of December. However, it's usually cold and dark and miserable. The sun rises as I'm getting changed for work (about ten to nine) and it has set before I get home at quarter past five (if not going shopping). That's assuming it's not a leaden sky that makes the eight hours and twenty odd minutes of daylight look darker than a clear sky with a full moon.
June 16th, on the other hand, the sun comes up just after six, and sets just after ten, to give a solid sixteen hours of daylight. That's almost twice as long. And while today was a bit of a letdown, it's usually warmer and nicer. Well, even in a thunderstorm I could walk around in a (soggy) t-shirt if I felt like it. Try that in December if you aren't Nordic...

As is usual, some (few) people were like "oh, okay". One thought it was cute. Several needed it explained a few times, to then tell me I'm weird. Well, weirder than normal. And, as usual, it totally broke some people's brains.
But... you can't change when you were born!
That's not what I'm doing, I'm just changing the day I celebrate.
Yes but no but yes but no but yes but no.... fzzzt!

I got up, went to work, came home, and am writing this. It's not much of a celebration, is it? Well, I'm going to make some pasta and then tuck myself into bed and watch something on Netflix...for the rest of the evening. Whoo, so exciting. ☺


Pointless virtue signalling

The tech sector is getting its panties in a twist over phrases like "master and slave" (often used to refer to bus behaviours, such as old IDE harddiscs, or IIC devices). While I am happy to agree that there are unfortunate implications to referring to devices as "master" and "slave", it does actually specify something quite specific that is perhaps lost using alternate phrasings like "primary and secondary".
Consider a redundant system. If the primary should fail, the secondary would be expected to kick in and continue working.
However with master and slave, the master device is the one in control and the slave is the one that obeys commands given to it. Always. If the master device should fail or go offline, the slave will not take over.
So perhaps some rather less problematic phrases should be used, but these phrases will need to reflect the distinction described above. So... may I suggest parent and child?
[note: in the IIC protocol, a "slave" is only permitted to hold the clock line in order to signal that it needs more time, it does not and cannot take control of the bus to initiate the transfer of data; only a "master" can do that]

And now to the pointless virtue signalling as mentioned in the topic title. GitHub is going to remove references to "master" in repositories and replace them with "main". Despite the fact that there is no reference whatsoever to "slave", as master in this sense refers to master as in the primary copy of something (as in the master disc that records were pressed from). In a broad sense, it means several things such as "one who is extremely skilled" or who "performs at a high level" (as in master craftsman, chessmaster, etc), one who has "a degree conveying the authority to teach in university" (master's degree), something that can "master" multiple objects (such as a master key or master card), and indeed gives rise to the work known as "masterpiece".
Yes, there was a "master race" and, yes, "master" was half of the "master and slave" relationship, but the origin of the word isn't from slavery but from the Old English mægester, which is magister in Latin, and also turns up in other European languages: maître (French), Meister (German), maestro (Spanish/Italian)....

So basically GitHub are replacing the "primary copy" with the "main copy" and want to be seen to be doing something all warm and fuzzy and inclusive because we're all "woke" (awakened?) now.

Well, okay. Since GitHub is American, let me ask a question - how many true native American members of Congress are there? The correct answer is not four.
Cole is fifth generation, Mullin is fourth generation, Davids I can't determine but she was born in Frankfurt. Haaland's mother is native, so it stands that she would be as well. So that's one or two true native Americans amongst 435 representatives in the House, and no native Americans in Senate.

These are perhaps the things that ought to be changed. Why is the legislature (Senate and House) only approximately a quarter female? Are women under-represented? Despite Pelosi and AOC?

You see, real change is not making a big fuss over changing a word that didn't even mean what you wanted it to mean so you could feel good about changing it.
Real change means giving a voice to the voiceless. About bringing about more equality to the world. About arranging a style of policing that protects all Americans rather than white Americans. About training officers to be competent at using their tools and arms to get a job done using shoot-to-kill or lethal force as a last resort, not a go-to method of getting a job done. About demilitarising the police, because that's clearly getting out of control. About emphasising the right to human life. And most of all, about choosing people for jobs and schools based upon what they can do rather than the colour of their skin, their religion, or whether they like donkeys or elephants.

I'm sure you can understand that these things are a hell of a lot more relevant to a world where people face daily discrimination than, you know, replacing one word with another. For a person who didn't even get to go to college to become a programmer because of the colour of their skin, this little change will do bugger all to make their lives better. But, hey, if y'all want to feel good about it, don't let me stop this collective glowy inclusive niceness. Just know that you aren't helping. Not really. Because black people are still going to be subject to unreasonable violence from the police. Just ask Rayshard Brooks. Oh, wait, you can't. He was shot twice in the back, just last Friday.
And so it continues.



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John, 16th June 2020, 20:13
If the Queen can have an official birthday, then so can you! 
Happy Unbirthday! 
Gavin Wraith, 17th June 2020, 14:00
Happy 46.5 Rick. I attended a school where, in its first century or so of existence, pupils had to speak Latin. A pupil would be addressed as 'Magister' - I remember when my family moved to my grandmother's house in Lakeside I was always referred to as Master Gavin. Teachers at school were addressed as Dominus, and so were the cooks.
David Pilling, 25th June 2020, 16:05
Yeah comments remind me of getting post address to Master David Pilling when I was a child. I am often called upon to write "white list your email address" and I have wondered for some time how this has been allowed to go on. 'fraid its still what you have to Google to get the desired result. 
Rick, 25th June 2020, 17:33
For the teachers, I was Master Murray. For the other pupils, I was just Murray. Only people I knew well called me by my given name. 
I think the names "whitelist" and "blacklist" persist because the actual origins are clouded in history. There's an explanation that's kind of racist, and one less so. 
I'm afraid I would still use blacklist. I'm not going to freak out over every word that has "black" in it, because not all are implicitly a bad thing... There's a blackbird sitting in the blackberry chirping in my ear as I write this. It's singing at me. Which is more than I can say for the wren, that wants me gone, and is making an incredible racket for something so tiny. 

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