Thursday November 23, 2006
Thanksgiving, Firinel, chess with Rio, janitors, daft patent
- Today is Thanksgiving here. I am grateful for many things, but largely I want to echo Fin's wonderful list, and I'm especially thankful for zir. We went to Sharon's house, and ate dinner. The man next door to Sharon has just moved here from out of state, and his wife has to work today, and he was minding the baby. Fin actually put a portion of everything on a plate and took it round to him, because there was no big party happening at his house. Did I mention that Fin is someone I'm thankful for?
- played chess with me today and won. She checkmated me with her queen while my king was still on the back rank, hedged in by too many of my other pieces, and I was busy elsewhere on the board. I shall have to keep my wits about me more when playing her in future.
- I am very pleased to hear that the Houston janitors have been given health insurance and a living wage. See what people can do if they work together! They were being paid half what janitors in other cities get, and given no benefits, and they'd been striking for a while, and been treated quite violently by the authorities.
- It's quite sad that something as basic as doubly-linked lists can be patented. This is no less silly than the famous XOR patent 4197590, which is so trivial that any schoolchild can work it out faced with the problem and a pencil and paper (and in fact, as a child, I did). I can't believe that this will have any real effect in the world other than making people take the patent system less seriously, yet again. Sad.
- Strange story from Canada : a postal worker refused to deliver a church's leaflet called "The Consequences of the sin of Homosexuality (AIDS)" which they had sent to every address in the gay quarter of Vancouver. All their colleagues ended up agreeing with them and walking off the job. Their managers were concerned not to look like they were censoring the post (though they do refuse to deliver pornography), but since none of the workers would do the job, the managers ended up delivering the leaflets themselves.
- No major hacking today; just plugged what I thought was a leak in someone else's program, and fixed a few translations.
- Wandering around websites, I found an interesting interview with a professional dominatrix, especially on how she reconciles her job with her anarchist politics. She criticises her job as being something where you have to play a role for money, and where you have to prepare your body a certain way; I don't see how this is different from almost any other job, especially since in most jobs now you can't have visible tattoos or piercings. I was rather interested to learn that the British sex workers' union is now affiliated to the huge GMB union, which like most large unions is affiliated to the Labour party. I can imagine the headlines it would cause if a sex workers' union became attached to either of the big parties on this side of the pond.
- has been adjusting rapidly to using GNOME. It's always a joy to see people learning the system, and Fin has been learning fast. One problem zie's having is with Rhythmbox; it seems to have a lot of quirks, like stopping playing the current track when you do something as trivial as opening the file chooser. I'm compiling the version from HEAD to see whether it has these faults; if it does I'll try to fix them. But maybe zie'll be better off with Amarok or something.
- Today's Video That I Like: One of the good things about YouTube and Google Video is that you get to see TV from several years ago that you'd almost forgotten about. Today I found Fry and Laurie's spoof talk show, Photocopying My Genitals With... . Stephen Fry is always lovely, of course; if you're one of the people who apparently don't realise Hugh Laurie is English, here he is in his natural element.