Language And Dirty Water

Seven Day and the atmospheric temperature, at least in the turbulent mixing layer, is considerably less than yesterday. So the constitutional was almost pleasant. Except for the unhappy joints and muscles, of course. 

It has been a good week for articles, perhaps the few competent journalists getting their licks in before silly season really sets in. Although given the grrrr brrrr arising from within the beltway, it is unclear that the silly season has not become perpetual?

On the geeky side, I noted an article [Link] from the Register talking about which language is the most popular at this time. I probably should warn those of the crimson neck club, most fanatics if not matriculates of the campus of the Black Warrior, that the discussion here is about computer programming languages and not what they are supposed to speak and write. 

The discussion seems to revolve around Java and Python. I have to admit that I am illiterate in both languages although I have a text – somewhere – on nerd (as opposed to geek) python that I hope to actually learn someday. Maybe. Probably not. 

Some discussion of both these aspects seems poised on the nib of my electronic pen. First, it is EXCEEDINGLY difficult to do coding if one uses Winders or AppleOS. Linux is the most useful GUI OS (although it doesn’t have to be GUI) because it is still firmly bound to its “command line” roots. This is at once, as is usual, both a strength and a weakness. The strength is that it is at least an order of magnitude easier, perhaps two, to write and run code on Linux than on Winders or AppleOS. It’s rather like being horribly thirsty and in the one instance being in a rain forest and in the other in a desert. Think Great Lakes versus Sahara. 

The weakness is, of course, that this connection to the reality of the OS and computing is rather offputting, frightening even, to those Bogs who can neither really use a computer as anything more than a means to view pornography or visit a social website. They seem – often – unable to comprehend that that same OS is easier to maintain and fix when they vertically copulate it. Insecurity will be the rope that hangs humanity, to paraphrase Joseph Stalin.

My cynicism about Python also flows from this ease of access. My “milk” computer language was FORTRAN, an adventure that I have related previously in this blog. The reason I am ambivalent about Python comes down to the fact that FORTRAN, PASCAL, and LibreOffice CALCBASIC, are quite adequate to fulfill my coding (and crunching) needs. So Python is a nice to have but not a survival thing so far as I can tell.

Needless to say, none of my languages, which also include FORTH and LISP and MODULA and ADA, are even listed on the popular language list. Somehow that seems rather fitting, very Seventyish, very Fonzy even. The whole idea of popularity and programming language seem antithetical. Back in the days when we still drove Amerikan motorcars and fixed them ourselves and women dressed up to leave the house, people who could write computer code were NEVER popular. Except to the smart girls who knew that STEMs got paid better than jocks who weren’t quite good enough to play professionally and didn’t beat their women and children because they weren’t professional porn stars. (Yes, I know the pronouns in that last are ambiguous; it’s deliberate. Think about it.) The thing, as those of us who went back to our tenth or fifteenth high schule reunion learned, is that nerds have better lives, in the mean, than the popular kids. 

Speaking of better, and changing the subject a bit, I see [Link] that the British National Health Service has decided to quit paying for scripts for homeopathic concoctions. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be purely scientific, more a mixture of scientific and fiscal. But even then it does give the Brits a Kudo for doing a right thing even if it is for mixed reasons.

This will probably be ignored inside the Beltway. None of the partisan types will be happy with this. What the partisan types want is to do away with actual medications – for everyone but themselves and their obscenely wealthy donors – because the tax revenues should not be spent on citizens, just on rich donors – and political office holders, of course. So any exposition of rationality and sanity will not be appreciated in the district.

Amusingly, the same occurs in different arcs in Britain. [Link] Seems there is some distress over how real English is being polluted and abased by Amerikan English. This, sadly, is not really new. I don;t think the Brits are as paranoid about this as the French and the Germans, both of whom have government-academic councils dedicated to maintaining the purity of essence of their language. (The Bogs probably didn’t catch that reference to either the novel or the movie based on it.) These councils do wonderful work. The Germans have been trying since before the Great War to get “th” out of every word except “throne”, which is why we have perpetual arguments over Neandertal versus Neanderthal. I shall refrain from mentioning the French efforts because they seem a combination of Looney Tunes cartoon and hydrophobia. (The old ones from my bairnhood, not the politically correct sterilizations of today.)

Surprisingly, our elected guano (as in bat stercus) mental officials seem oblivious to this, probably because, in the one case, their disdain of the grammar abuse of the electorate, and in the other, their ignorance of the grammar abuse of the electorate, preclude any awareness. The elite of the district are incapable of communication so any alteration of language is orthogonal.

Enough. For now. I am tired of churning low hanging, almost rotted fruit. I need to leave a bit for later. And for the elephants to get snockered on. 

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