[clug] Political (in)Correctness or Just Some Fun?

Daniel Pittman daniel at rimspace.net
Thu Aug 20 01:18:52 MDT 2009

steve jenkin <sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au> writes:

You might find it easier to answer these questions yourself if you stop
thinking about the problem in the terms that your subject line frames it, and
more about the actual problem itself.

You could, for example, as this as:

    Does this exclude, diminish, or attack the role, involvement, presence, or
    acceptance of women in Java, IT, or the broader community?

    Is it just the developer having fun, or are they having fun at the expense
    of someone else?

    Does this have the effect of excluding, diminishing or attacking women
    once outside the original context?[1]

Those are a much, much clearer questions, and probably much easier for you to
try and answer yourself.  Framing the question clearly is valuable in seeking


> "Compiled Java class files (bytecode) start with hex CAFEBABE. When
> compressed with Pack200 the bytes are changed to CAFED00D."
> Ie. Cafe == coffee == Java.  Babe is uncompressed, Dude is
> packed/compressed.  Any significance I can't see?

Probably not.  You seem generally intelligent, so you should be able to do the
analyses yourself and work out the answer.

I would note, though, that part of the question is absolute — structured like
I suggested above — and part of it is about the intention of the original
programmer, and the effect of his actions without that context.

Answering those later parts is very hard.  I don't claim to know the intention
or thoughts of the developer.  Perhaps it was sexist, and now isn't.  Perhaps

One question that leaps to my mind, though, is for you, personally:

Why are you asking?  It isn't clear what sort of answer you hope to get out of
this, or even what your core question is — at least, not to me.

> I loved the IBM convention of initialising unalloc space with
> "DEADBEEF". Cute, possibly accurate if you used the uninit variable.


Generally, I think that cute wordplay in magic numbers really is just that.


...and, yes, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

[1]  This is also a very important question.  At the risk of raising Godwin's
     law, this is somewhat like raising a swastika flag because it was a
     religious symbol bringing good luck for literally thousands of years
     before the Nazi movement grabbed it.

     You are not *wrong*, but you better be ready for an awful lot of people
     to misinterpret your actions, and to be very, very unhappy about them.

✣ Daniel Pittman            ✉ daniel at rimspace.net            ☎ +61 401 155 707
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