austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

When I crossed that room

On reflection, there is not any reason I couldn't sleep in the guest bedroom, where the air conditioning works.

My students for the programming course have, apparently, finished all their other finals: I got twelve e-mails over yesterday and today. The biggest concerns so far are the topics I covered the very last day of class which I'd said then weren't going to be on the final; what the function of the srand() command is; and the obscure details of print format commands, a subject which I find endlessly uninteresting. The final is Wednesday. I can't wait for Tuesday.

Trivia: The pay for a Roman Legionnaire in Augustus Ceasar's time was 225 denarii per year. Source: The Romans, Donald Dudley.

Currently Reading: The Fellowship of the HAND, Edward D Hoch. 1981 mystery/spy/thriller thing set in 2050, although its sensibilities are much more Goofy Sixties Spy Movie. I think we're supposed to be impressed the protagonist takes helicopters everywhere, including from New York City to Washington. Finally, though, one of the underlings thinks the boss has picked a right silly name for the organization. It had been HAND, Humans Against Neuter Domination (by ``neuter'' they mean ``boring, humorless people with computer analyses of everything ever''), in the backstory, unless this is a sequel to something. There're a lot of references to a previous adventure, but the title page says nothing. The leader, following a brief stint in Ineffectual Jail, the official jail of arch-criminals everywhere, changed it to ``The Fellowship of the HAND'', reminding the underling of Tolkein and getting a question of whether that name wasn't a bit juvenile. He's not killed, then or later.

Other amusing little bits: one of the groups (not the important one) which hopes to rule the world (I think that's their goal; it's not clear, but it seems like a safe bet) plans to do it by assembling a gigantic searchable com-pu-ter database of all available information. There's a group called ``Trekers'', fans of some old late 20th-century TV show who are pretty harmless, but a fine source for a young woman who wants sex to go to for it. And the plot involves -- if you can imagine such a thing -- the threat of electronic voting machines being tampered with. The computer guy explains if one candidate is represented with a dot and the other a dash, electrical interference could make dots into dashes. Fortunately, we're far away from anything like that happening. Earth's colonies on Venus are an important supporting detail, in that they're places a person can disappear to for a long time and be physically affected in unpredictable ways by the experience, not to mention go for years without being seen by anyone on Earth.


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