Freesteel Blog » Non-machining wikiing

Non-machining wikiing

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006 at 5:04 pm Written by:

Just wasted two solid days editing a few new entries onto wikipedia. It’s really addictive, and better than blog posting because there’s a good chance it will be read by people in a long time to come.

This session got sparked off by the headline news on the radio in Denmark which Peter translated during the drive into Cimco one morning. It was about a seven man terror cell that had just been arrested in Miami with plans to blow up the tallest building in America.

It sounded to me like sham, and I got criticised for saying so and not taking these frightening events seriously. I got a reputation for being like a wacko peacenick who always thinks the government is lying. (Funny how no one gets a reputation for being a gullible fool on these matters.) Such is the distinction between perception and reality. Perception is the headline news that embeds certain notions in your mind, and reality is forgotten when there is as usual no follow-up to correct such notions.

Anyways, the result after a great deal of editing is: Wikipedia Sears Tower bomb plot. I’m insanely proud of this article. I think I’m the first one to dig up the fact that the incident occurred just in time for the FBI Director to mention it in his threat of homegrown terrorism speech that afternoon. In his speech he mentioned two other terrorist “incidents” that I also followed up and made pages for. You can find them all at the bottom of the List of terrorist incidents in the U.S. page in the arrests section. Both of them are pitifully weak. They include four armed robbers who founded a terror cell while in a jail cell, and a group of three who were going to use a car dealership business as cover for flights to Iraq.

My mind boggles. I don’t know how they can make these accusations with a straight face. Back in the old days you could be burned at the stake for committing witchcraft, which at least meant you were supposed to have had done something dodgy at midnight with a goat. But what exactly do you do to found a terrorist organization? Are there forms to fill in? I think we should be told. There may actually be some credible terrorist threats out there, but this clowning around and posing as the only al-Qaeda agent in town has nothing to do with finding them. People will believe anything in the land of the UFO abduction.

Same garbage happens here in the UK, where I started the List of terrorist incidents in the UK, which is gradually filling up. It’s pretty full of IRA stunts, but the most important sections relating to politics today are at the bottom, where there are several fake incidents as well as the case of the London nail-bomber, which was exactly like terrorism, but didn’t get designated as terrorism, because — I presume — it didn’t fit into the narrative that our politicians are spinning.

This narrative requires the report of a certain level of violence — or promised violence — directed towards us by people associated with the middle-east in order to justify the awesome level of violence we are dishing out on them. I’m not making this up. When politicians are forced to tell us something about the massacres they are presiding over in Iraq, they usually change the subject to the war on terror, and run through the same embarrassingly short list of incidents to balance it out, often feeling the need to pad it with false accusations such as these. And whenever one of these accusations can no longer be supported, like Iraq’s WMD, it simply disappears from the list. No further mention is voluntarily made. No acknowledgement that they got something wrong. No reconsideration of the policy that it was supposed to have justified. Nothing. They’re like salesmen, puffing up their product for sale rather than working out what’s actually needed.

I am so looking forward to a day when politicians start to Get Real, and are willing to observe reality, and deal with it. I posted up another page on related stuff I know about New Labour Terrorism Laws, which gathered all the warning wikipedia flags within minutes. The first version deserved it, but now I think it’s good, and stands as a good complement to the list of actual terrorist incidents, of which you would have hoped it was a reflection.

Oh well. I have actually done a bit of programming between these distractions. I’m going to wiki-ize the machining parameters in the camkernel, me. No one else seems to be doing it. The problem is exactly as we had with Machining Strategist, where you make up the necessary parameters to control the algorithm you are writing in the hope that you are going to come back and sort them out at a later date when they’re all done and you know what they are. (Of course, you never do.) The naming convention gets a little screwed, but the names are pretty bad anyway, so what?

One of the Danes decided to improve it yesterday by changing the capitalization of some of the letters. So, “stockzhi” became “stockZHigh”. I am not sure this was enough of an improvement in the names to warrant the inconvenience of breaking the code. I tried to argue about it, but have just given up again. As was stated in the Python style guide:

A Foolish Consistency is the Hobgoblin of Little Minds

I couldn’t have put it any better. However, this doesn’t really help, because it doesn’t advise what to do when you encounter a little hobgoblins going around and screwing up your code. “Oh, but it’s got to be consistent,” I get told. Well, it doesn’t ever seem to need to be consistent with anything I write ever, does it! He puts two line functions in the middle of thousand line “.cpp” files, and insists on using this crappy curly-bracket layout that’s different from everything else that’s there, including this pointless “throw()” statement at the end of every single function declaration that’s said to gain half a percent in speed from the idiotic compiler that’s apparently too stupid to work out that a function consisting of the single statement “return bFlag”, isn’t going to throw an IOException. I tolerate this crap with great patience. But I won’t tolerate any lectures about “consistency” from people who do this kind of thing!



  • 1. Steve Youngs replies at 3rd July 2006, 3:14 pm :

    You may want to read this

    before allowing throw() to be added to the end of every function in sight.

  • 2. Julian replies at 4th July 2006, 3:52 pm :

    That’s a good point. I’ve passed it on, with little effect yet. C++, by its nature, seems pretty half-baked in certain areas. This is definitely one of them. Java does it properly because this info is part of a function prototype, so they don’t link if they’re not correct.

    I did also read this:
    Times could be good for programmers who know what they’re doing.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <strong>