Thursday, 20 May 2010

Overheard: Moving the stars - part 2

Earlier in the week [here] I quoted Gustave Flaubert:

Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to ........... while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.

I'd had that quote nestled in my notebook for a good while before I heard the following, similar, phrase whilst in a computer programming lecture in Spring 09:

Lecturer: When I started programming at 13 I wanted to get the stars to move ….

He then seemed to drift into a nostalgia-filled pause during which I was struck by the similarity between what he'd just said and the Flaubert quote in my noteboook. However ...... turned out that, the stars he'd had his adolescent heart set on moving where the kind you get on a computer screen which, unlike Flaubert's, apparently proved easier to move:

Lecturer: I used to think it must be hard to do but really, it’s actually quite simple, it all depends on ....

...and he went on to describe the coding necessary to create the effect of moving stars on an early home computer.

Perhaps not quite the romantic idea Mr. Flaubert had in mind .......


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