Geeky DST Reflections

I hope all our American readers remembered to make the Great Leap Forward on their clocks this morn. If you'd like to read an amusing essay on the topic, Joel Achenbach is your man:

Daylight saving time is here already, weeks ahead of the normal schedule, rousting us from bed, speeding up an already accelerated existence. By government edict, the sun does not rise when it should, and you must emerge from your comfy bed in predawn darkness. The moment when the clocks move forward by an hour has been moved back by nearly a month. Forward: back. Confused? Temporally discombobulated? Can you honestly say what time it is "right now"?

I can, of course, because I am a Linux geek, and the patch that fixed our timezone settings to reflect the new date for the shift was issued last March. While there's been quite a bit of frustration among my peers stuck with less well-designed operating systems …

"This is INSANE. I buy a standard product for 2500 bucks and then I get a note telling me to update it for a problem known for a couple years. And the patch screws up my system. How long will my appointments be shifted? For three weeks now and two weeks at the end of "old" dst?," a post from customer on the Microsoft DST chat said.

(<schadenfreude>heh</schadenfreude>) I've been able to ignore the hassle. (I'd say "Thanks, Linus!" but in fact Linux inherited its sensible design in this area from old-school Unix.)

What really impressed me was my watch, a Casio with (what they call) "Waveceptor" technology. I was prepared to have to kick it into DST mode, a trick that involves multiple button presses, incantations, and (often) breaking out the reading glasses to peruse the 3-point type in the manual.

But no! This morning, the watch had done its usual early-AM listen to WWVB in Fort Collins, Colorado, and (apparently) WWVB told it to do the switchover. The watch seemed proud of itself, perhaps even veering into smugness. (I'd have probably known about this behavior if I'd read the entire 3-point type manual.)

(True geeks will really want to check out that WWVB link, by the way. Those NIST guys are really smart.)


Last Modified 2012-10-19 2:26 PM EDT

Borat

[Amazon Link] [3.5
stars] [IMDb Link]

Or, the full title: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The film's premise, in case you don't know: Borat comes to America to make a documentary, becomes infatuated with Pamela Anderson after watching an episode of Baywatch, decides to road-trip it out to LA, runs into a lot of actual non-actor people along the way (who are not clued into what's really going on with the movie) and gets them to behave amusingly.

I was prepared to maybe dislike this movie for the reason David Brooks pointed out (quoted here):

The genius of Sacha Baron Cohen's performance is his sycophantic reverence for his audience, his refusal to challenge the sacred cows of the educated bourgeoisie. During the movie, Borat ridicules Pentecostals, gun owners, car dealers, hicks, humorless feminists, the Southern gentry, Southern frat boys, and rodeo cowboys. A safer list it is impossible to imagine.
He's right, of course.

I went into the movie knowing that, though, and still had a pretty good time. The title character is bigoted, vulgar, and ignorant, but still manages a naive sweetness, which is kind of a neat trick. I found myself smiling most of the way through, and laughing out loud a number of times. So there, David Brooks.

I seem to recall there was some controversy about the ways in which the movie's targets were deceived into behaving the ways they did. In addition, it's a certain bet the movie was creatively edited to give the impression the filmmakers wanted. I think finding out more about that would decrease my retrospective amusement, so I've avoided researching the topic.


Last Modified 2012-10-19 2:25 PM EDT