Infinite Wishes 🏳️‍⚧️🚀

Is a weblog by Emma Humphries

18 Sep 2020 » Being Angry

I am yelling, silently
Credit: Mabel Amber

Of course I’m angry.

Not as much at the death of Justice Ginsberg, I hope her memory remains a blessing, but that we live in a system where:

  1. We prayed every day that God grant her another day of life until she could be replaced by another liberal justice
  2. That my existence as a queer, trans, non-binary woman, and my wife’s existence as a queer, disabled woman, and the lives of Black and Indigenous people, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, and anyone with a uterus are a constant referendum where the majority of voters are white, Christian, cisgender, and motivated by an ideology hostile to anything but whiteness

It’s exhausting.

The new issue of Logic Magazine came out last week, and Mar Hicks has an article on COBOL: how it came about, how it enabled a generation of people to learn programming, how academic computer science (and later techbro culture) hated it, and how it was sabotaged not because of it being a bad language, but by austerity programs.

But despite [its accessibility], there’s a cottage industry devoted to making fun of COBOL precisely for its strengths. COBOL’s qualities of being relatively self-documenting, having a short onboarding period (though a long path to becoming an expert), and having been originally designed by committee for big, unglamorous, infrastructural business systems all count against it. So does the fact that it did not come out of a research-oriented context, like languages such as C, ALGOL, or FORTRAN.

This ties back to my previous post on React, and how we make too many technical decisions on the basis of full employment for primarily white men with university degrees.

I’m going to find solace in a couple of things: Dan Hon’s Twitter thread with an alternate history of the 2000’s, and Mona Eltahawy’s The 7 Necessary Sins for Women and Girls.

And rejoice in a glorious takedown, complete with ancient magic and badgers, of the technical interview.

“In Lisp,” you offer. “We often write domain-specific languages to solve new problems.”

“C is not a DSL!”

“If you insist.” Keep going anyway.

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