Wednesday, 2 May 2001

Bread and roses; computer science

Listening to:

Fauré, piano quartet no. 1 in C minor, op. 15.

A recent movie:

Bread and roses. This film is directed by Ken Loach, quite a famous British director. I’d never seen anything by him before seeing this film though. I read a review of the film before going to see it that suggested it was a bit of a polemic, and this verdict is accurate I think. The story is all about a young Mexican woman who illegally crosses the border into California, and gets a job as a janitor. Her job is with a exploitative non-union company, and the crux of the movie is her (and her workmates’) struggle for better conditions.

The acting, particularly of the three main characters: the woman, her older sister, and the union rep, is good and the plot has some good twists and turns. However, the film is also blatant, one-sided propaganda. It’s not the content of the propaganda I have a problem with, but the simple fact that it is propaganda. None of the obvious arguments against the film’s thesis are even mentioned, let alone replied to. If you can get over the irritation of being preached to, then you may well find this film quite enjoyable.

The predicted May-day riots in London didn't really eventuate yesterday. The police were better organised than the anarchists (but then, you might expect that; anarchists representing the antithesis of organisation, right?), and contained the various potential problems. So much so in fact, that you couldn’t help but think that the non-violent protesters got a raw deal. Perhaps they should have asked the police permission for a march. Getting official permission might not be that easy, and doing deals with the state might be anathema for your typical anarchist. Try this page for a (brief) humorous slant on it all.

A little “maths” problem that was discussed at tea recently:

Is it always possible to write a bitstring of length 2 to the n, such that all the possible bitstrings of length n are present (including wrap-around)?

For example, 0011 is the only possible solution (modulo rotations) for n = 2. The string 10 is present because of the wrap-around, and the other three possibilities are all obviously there. A solution for n = 3 is 00010111.

Finally, a little something from Usenet:

Good code in perl is fine, but there's something about bad code in perl thats worse than bad code in other languages, something very HP- Lovecraft-mad-servants-of-the-elder-gods-chattering-in-the-extra- dimensional-insect-language kind of bad that makes my head hurt when I have to read it. ["Jish Karoshi" <> in c.l.ruby]