Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Hesitation is Dangerous and Distance is Brilliant

City of Ghosts is an article about the state of Falluja after the massive assault by US and Iraqi forces last year. I read it feeling like I was pushing my way through some ludicrous, surreal town filled with a viscous and horrible liquid. I seem to have joined the rest of the world in trying to ignore the fact that Iraq is in no state to hold elections and just waiting for things to fade away.

Having said all this, I was just as insensed by various interviewees in Radio 4's Beyond Belief programme about various beliefs about the end of the world. One person in particular stated her belief that we are living in the 'end times' as witnessed by all the signs listed in that old fallback for religious-minded conspiracy theorists - The Book of Revelation. The world is apparently becoming a worse place than it ever was and this means that God's judgement is about to be visited on us. Oh and as well, we scoffers are proof that this is true because scoffing is listed as one of the symptoms. Can't win that one can we. Well in the long run I suppose but who will be here to say I told you so? The real world is stranger than any religious image of it. I argued with my wife about the ability to appreciate beauty in such things as chemical reactions or mathematical equations. If you are a coder of any sort then I am sure you can appreciate the beauty in a simple elegant way of doing things as opposed to the usual mess of flags and if statements. You could apply this to the argument between design and evolution though of course the analogy breaks down at some point because all code is currently 'designed'. What I mean is that functionality that simply 'falls out' of a process because that process was well designed is always better than the heuristic approach. Maybe one day, we will have code that simply arrives after some form of business rule is input. But then again, what will be the machine code level be?

I suppose that living things are a mess at the equivalent to the machine code level. But they are a working mess after all.

And now for something completely different. Gang of Four. GO4 never came on my radar at the time, apart from the name and maybe a few looks up when they were on the Peel show. Too much music, so little time. This depresses me like everything else. So I have reached the fracture for today. I was so hoping to keep going for ages today but coding beckons.

No comments: