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Shibboleth

Started: 2009-01-24 11:47:03

Submitted: 2009-01-24 12:07:03

Visibility: World-readable

I used a physics shibboleth yesterday.

I was in a meeting with a few other engineers discussing the overall design for my first major project at my current employer. (It took me a few days to realize it but this project -- a nontrivial redesign (and rethinking) of a core communications system -- seems likely to occupy the majority of my time for the next year at least, as I build out the rethought system and deploy it to the myriad of platforms we support.) We were discussing addressing schemes; we had both our current named-pipe scheme and a proposed numbered-port scheme and we were trying to come up with ways to easily identify them. The named-pipe scheme was written on the whiteboard in blue marker and the numbered-port scheme was written in red marker, so we identified them as the "red scheme" and "blue scheme" for a few minutes until we got sidetracked and started proposing new naming schemes. Various suggestions came up before I suggested "charm" and "beauty". (Apparently my information is a little old; "charm" is a legitimate quark but the subatomic particle formerly known as "beauty" is now referred to exclusively as "bottom".) The engineer at the whiteboard took a beat to catch my reference and turned to me and asked, quizzically, "Physics background?" I had to confess that I did not have a physics background. (Though I did take a year of physics in college, as required by my engineering degree.)

There are a few acceptable redhead jokes. There's nothing wrong with
inspiring fear and trembling in the hearts of men.
- Gem Stone-Logan, 15 October 2002