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Tetris written (by a female hacker) in sed (doslash.org)
33 points by nickb on July 23, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments

"Please don't do things to make titles stand out, like using uppercase or exclamation points, or adding a parenthetical remark saying how great an article is. It's implicit in submitting something that you think it's important."


>Tetris written in sed (This is the most important story ever!!!!)


Are you implying that any parenthetical remark is out of bounds? It seems to me that "saying how great an article is" captures more of the intent of the prohibition than you suggest.

That said, this particular parenthetical remark isn't all that great, albeit for reasons other than the one you cited.

"by a female hacker"! you should be ashamed of yourself

For the confused who just got up, it looks like the title originally referred to her as a "girl hacker". Right?

Or are you suggesting "female hacker" is a shameful label and that something like "she-hacker" or "hackeress" would be preferable?

How about just "hacker"?

Even just "Tetris written in sed" would be sufficient, since it was obviously done by a hacker.

Clearly the title should be Hacktris...

Neat. (Although, trying to read the code makes my head hurt.)

Hey, is Julia a girl, or would it be better to refer to her as a "female hacker"? Not trying to be a troll, just thinking we should be careful about using "girl" to refer to women, if that's the case.

Not to discredit her, but think the title is best left gender neutral.

I think there should be more women hackers celebrated for doing something cool. We are in a domain that's heavily dominated by males so when a woman does something this cool, I think she might inspire other girls to do the same. Some girl hackers today are more famous for their looks than for their skills. Julia, the author of this, is clearly very talented.

Is it celebratory to tokenize someone in a headline with an irrelevant physical attribute?

Example: We're also in a domain heavily dominated by white people. Would "Tetris written (by a black hacker) in sed" seem as celebratory to you as the female variant?

Personally, to me neither are true celebrations, just tokenism. People, whether women, men, black, white, whatever, don't like to be tokenized and patronized.

i agree with your point, but i look at it differently. while this tetris script is impressive, we see feats like this a lot around the web. however, the fact that it was written by a female makes it more interesting (note that i did not say "more impressive"--that, to me, would be germane to the point you're making). it is more interesting because it was accomplished by someone not normally associated with this type of endeavor (a female). if i saw a headline that read, "zebra wins kentucky derby!", i would think the same thing--interesting because zebras don't usually run that race ;). zoologic inaccuracies aside, one may argue, "a horse won the derby--the fact that it is colored like a barcode is an irrelevant physical attribute." i would agree in some sense, but i'd still prefer to see that the winning horse was a zebra because hey man, a frickin zebra won the derby! that's crazy! i don't see including that detail as being a tokenization of zebras. (tried my best not to strawman this, but i may have gotten a bit carried away...)

zebras are a different species. =) <br/>I agree with you that something that the gender doesn't usually do make things more interesting: "female peacock wins courting championship" or "father bear raising 3 cubs discovered". <br/>But we've had female programmers since the 20's (Jean Bartik et al): if we had 80 years of male cub-rearing bears, 80 years of flashy female peahens, and even 80 years of zebras racing in the Kentucky, should headlines still "celebrate" what is a repeatedly confirmed fact of life?<br/> Perhaps a better written title could be "Russian programmer Julia Jomantaite wrote tetris in SED" or simply "tetris written in SED". If people don't find SED tetris terribly exciting, why should people be excited suddenly when it's a girl?

if we had 80 years of male cub-rearing bears, 80 years of flashy female peahens, and even 80 years of zebras racing in the Kentucky, should headlines still "celebrate" what is a repeatedly confirmed fact of life? a confirmed fact of life that happens infrequently is still something of interest (eg conjoined twins, a shark attack, a winning lottery ticket, etc.). and yes, female programmers have been around as long as male programmers, but that has no bearing on the disproportion of males to females in the programmer community (which is why the fact that the hacker is female is interesting). If people don't find SED tetris terribly exciting, why should people be excited suddenly when it's a girl? they shouldn't, but if people were interested originally, then hearing a female wrote it (an uncommon thing) would probably make them more "excited". (sorry, couldn't resist)

(erh, sorry I'm new here: could someone kindly point me to info on how to properly format comments? my search skills must be broken today)

click "help" in your profile.

it makes me wonder why we dont see more n great contributions of women in scientific advancements, hacking... etc. They have access to almost all that males can access. but why is female behavior so different in this regard?

There are many great contributions by women in all fields of science. Many of the earliest computer programmers were women; indeed, in much large percentages than we see today.

Female behavior is different because males and females /are/ different. If you were to generalize male and female wants and needs, there are clear differences between the sexes in terms of their priorities.

These priorities /tend/ to result in women not entering the sciences, though there are many women who do (and thrive). These priorities also /tend/ to result in not many men entering the caring professions although, again, there are many men who do.

The fact that men and women are difference is not something to be shielded, hidden, or "resolved." As long as everyone has the same potential, our differences should be celebrated and we should focus on what we want to do, rather than what society wants us to do.

thanks this was a great relief!

Probably because society has different expectations when it comes to men and women which in turn can cause different behaviors. For example I had a teacher that would only read "gender neutral" stories to her daughter since she didn't like the message sent by the typical "princess waiting to be saved by the prince on a white horse" story.

One of the favorites in my home as a child was "The Paper-bag Princess." It's a turnabout on that old prince charming tale.


It's not just a physical attribute. It's a social and psychological attribute. Whether or not it's relevant for this site is a different issue, but summing it up as a physical attribute is an outright PC falsehood.

At its core, being male or female is a physical / genetic difference. The social side of it is based upon the physical difference (with no physical difference, there would be no genders, therefore no social distinctions to make). The psychological differences (e.g. changes in the wiring of the brain) are based on physical differences.

With that reasoning, all human attributes are physical, so putting "physical" before "attribute" was redundant. But of course, it wasn't redundant--it had a clear message, and a different one from what you're now making it out to be. This after-the-fact damage control on your part is disingenius.

> all human attributes are physical

No. Opinions define attributes of an individual (e.g. "liberal", "conservative", "masochist") but are not physical.

P.S. No "damage control" is needed as no "damage" has been done. You see controversy where there is none.

According to you, "changes in the wiring of the brain" are "based on physical differences". Is difference of opinion anything other than a difference in the wiring of the brain? If you don't believe in the supernatural, then the answer is no, and you've contradicted yourself.

This happens surprisingly often when you defend stuff that you don't really believe.

I confess that my point was poorly worded.

"Wiring of the brain" was a poor cliché to use to refer to the innate physiology of the brain, if accuracy is demanded. The physiology of the brain, of course, does differ in a number of general senses between males and females.

Opinions, however, are typically based upon memories - and judgments built upon those memories - although emotion and some hormonal factors (such as serotonin and dopamine levels) have a significant effect too.

Short term memory and the executive acts of judgment are defined by variations in potentiation between neurons in the prefrontal cortex. Whether or not you consider "electrical" patterns in the brain to be as "physical" as actual brain layout is, of course, likely to remain a contentious point.

Now.. if you take it out to long term memory, you might, at least, have forced a stalemate. Long term potentiation between certain neurons (as in the formation of long term memory) does, indeed, result in a "physical" change through the formation of synapses. I don't personally consider these changes as "physical" in the sense of my original argument (which was not written with the consideration I'd need to back up the terminology used) but I accept that there is a potential stalemate here, since almost everything can be reduced to physicality depending on how detailed a view you wish to take.

My argument is really that attributes free will cannot change (such as biological gender) are physical in nature, whereas those attributes free will can adjust are not. In this sense, I maintain gender is entirely based upon physical attributes, whereas other human attributes are not necessarily.

I've calmed down a bit now, so I don't want to belabor it any more. It seemed to me that you originally used the phrase "physical attributes" to refer to what most people would mean by it--height, weight, body fat ratio, skin color, bone density, sex organs, and so on. This is the official PC line on what the main (only?) difference between genders is, and it's an evil lie. If you really meant it in this (rather contrived, IMO) way that you've outlined just now, then I suppose we don't really disagree.

Your post reminds me of Black History Month. It's intended to celebrate great accomplishments by black people, but it feels more like pity. It seems as if their race were some sort of handicap so we need to make their work seem grand and donate an entire month to it.

I don't believe that anyone has ever truly been inspired by this feel-good crap.

Many people find it easier to take inspiration from people they view as similar to themselves.

Good point. She's a hacker who just happens to be female. ;)

Let's call it affirmative action.

I think I'm in love...

Typical UNIX user. A girl writes a bit of sed and they're in love. Disgusting...now a girl that writes Emacs-Lisp? That's a different story...

Too bad you can't chain commands like: "wwaaz<return>" but it's very impressive indeed. Looking though all that sed code can give you a headache.

And if you want to make it actually playable:

while (sleep .5); do xvkbd -text "\r" 2>/dev/null; done & sed -nf sedtris.sed; pkill sleep

(Note: I tried just using echo with a pipe but couldn't get it to work. That would naturally be a better solution. If you can get that working, let me know.)

Call me crazy... is there any relevance to the sex of the author?

  # sed -e sedtris.sed 
  sed: -e expression #1, char 11: unterminated `s' command

You need sed -nf.

Any videos?

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