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Shady Illuminations

Time Bandits

by John Shade

Generic image illustrating the article
  John is too laid back to spring forward.  

A sick gag that came up last summer is repeating on us. I refer to the “brogrammer” meme, the sophomoric conceit that there are actually programmers who act like fratboys, belong to rowing teams, listen to the Dave Matthews Band, and call everyone “Bro.” The Revenge of the Winklevosses.

I call Fail on this meme-manqué.

No good can come of it when people with no formal training in neologistics invent their own words. Because words breed. Before we’re done with Natural Light-drinking brogrammers we’ll be neck-deep in spurious fauxgrammers, dilatory slowgrammers, contrary nogrammers, non-pro amateurgrammers, and pompous and pedantic kelseygrammers.

(Hmm. Kelsey Grammer’s prep school had a rowing team and he’s the same age as Bill Gates. Could he have been a proto-brogrammer? Nah, I can’t picture him hacking 8080 code for the Altair in his dorm room at the Julliard.)

But the real problem with the brogrammer gag is that it isn’t plausible. We have too much solid scientific research on what programmers are really like.

Science tells us that good programmers are lazy, impatient, and filled with hubris. They are angry, pessimistic, cautious nerds. Also calm, adaptible, humble, assertive, and self-deprecating. These are uncontrovertible facts, the result of solid, objective research. I’d merely add that programmers are the kind of people who overthink it. A brogrammer might comment on a Rick Moranis movie, but the comment wouldn’t involve the Schwartzchild radius.

In other words, there are no brogrammers, and this talk about them is taking up bits that could be dedicated to overthinking one of the real issues facing us today. Like the hour that’s being cruelly stolen from many of us this month.

Sprung Logic

If you do a search on “converting 32-bit applications into 64-bit applications,” you’ll find a lot of complicated advice. It seems to me there’s a really simple solution that’s being overlooked. Just define 32 to be 64:

 int 32 = 64;

or do this:

 32 += 32;

Isn’t that the logic behind Daylight Savings Time?

Daylight Savings Time, or DST, is the legally-prescribed resetting of clocks twice a year: forward in the spring and back in the fall. Most of the world is spared this nonsense, but we the the USA are afflicted by it, and this is the spring forward month.

As you can tell, I think DST is stupid. It messes with our circadian rhythms and puts us through a pointless routine twice a year of remembering to adjust all our clocks, remembering what direction to adjust them, remembering where all our clocks are (hint: they’re not all in the house), and fixing the blame when our household clocks don’t get adjusted correctly. DST causes accidents, reduces worker productivity, causes people to miss flights, increases pollution, and gives people heart attacks. And makes programmers write hideous code. Brogrammer code.

So what was the idea behind this changing of the clocks? That’s a little unclear, at least to me. Apparently it involved entomology in New Zealand. And since the seasons are reversed in their hemisphere—no, I’m getting confused.

Or was the idea to save energy? If so, does it work? If it worked once, is that any reason to think that what worked for 1940s conditions still works today? The evidence is contradictory on that, but seems to say that the potential energy saving or cost of DST depends on things like the annual usage of air conditioning. So Indiana might be getting penalized in order to benefit Florida.

Or was if for the benefit of farmers? You hear that claim, but it appears to have no foundation. Dairy cows, in fact, are particularly vocal opponents of DST, objecting loudly to having their biological clocks messed with twice a year. Or so I hear.

Whatever. I have thought the matter over thoroughly and I say Daylight Davings Time is the bunk. Here’s my alternative plan:

If you need to get up an hour earlier, get up an hour earlier.

It’s a crazy idea, but it just might work.

John Shade was born under a cloud in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1962. Subsequent internment in a series of obscure institutions of ostensibly higher learning did nothing to brighten his outlook. He says he’s bitter over this Daylight Savings Time business and wants his hour back to fritter away unproductively, as is his wont. Send the author your feedback or discuss the article in the magazine forum.