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L.A. County Bans Use Of "Master/Slave" Term 2143

SlashChick writes "In an interesting twist on political correctness, L.A. County has banned the use of the terms 'Master/Slave' (commonly used to denote hard drive arrangements.) According to Snopes.com, 'someone within the County bureaucracy... had taken offense at "master/slave" references and complained to the board.' L.A. County now requires that vendors working with the county remove all 'master/slave' references. Incredible. Read the full story."
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L.A. County Bans Use Of "Master/Slave" Term

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  • by __aavhli5779 ( 690619 ) * on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:16PM (#7553251) Journal
    Funny that my first instinct was to check Snopes, and what do you know but that's the provided link. Shows how patently ridiculous this story seemed at first.

    Hasn't this obsession with sanitizing speech become a total farce? What's next? Will we not be able to have male and female ends on our 1/4" audio cable for fear of offending the transgendered? How the hell am I supposed to shop for wires now?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:21PM (#7553310)
      shh, don't give them any ideas.
      • by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:36PM (#7553487) Homepage Journal
        They've got all the ideas they need. Our city government (I live in LA) has gone over the deep end. This is worse than their ban on "Lap Dances" at the local "mens clubs". The same solution used by the "Gentleman's Clubs" should work. Get enough signatures on a petition to force a ballot measure and FORCE the City Council to either spend dozens of millions of dollars to put it up for a vote or STFU about the issue.

        Their job is to make sure the cops get paid and the street lights work. It is NOT to re-invent Think-Speak.

        Thank God for the referendum.
        • by BigBlockMopar ( 191202 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @12:15AM (#7554815) Homepage

          Their job is to make sure the cops get paid and the street lights work. It is NOT to re-invent Think-Speak.

          Tell me about it.

          How about this, which happened to me in University. Note that I don't care about race, disability, sexual orientation - none of that is relevant to whether or not I like (or will hire) someone. But I *hate* political correctness and I avoid it at all costs.

          Picture it. In the hallway, just after I missed a question on a math test, where I had to integrate a function of e * trig. (Otherwise, did okay on the test.) Chatting with classmates.

          "Well, I think the problem is that I don't integrate very well."

          Stranger in the hallway who overhears:

          "Oh! That's *horrible*! You're a terrible person! No one chooses the color of their skin! You could have just as easily been born black, you know! It's people like you who keep society from progressing!"

          So, in unison, we (all Engineers) looked at her and laughed. At her.

          "You're *all* horrible people! This is university! Campus KKK! I'm reporting you to the dean!"

          Suffering idiocy as well as I do, it was I who took up the task of dealing with her.

          "I would invite you to report that to my dean, I'm sure he'll laugh at you at least as hard as I laughed at you. Let me guess, you're in an arts program, right? In my arts elective, the instructor started by asking our entire class if we had our purple crayons. Things only went downhill from there."

          [Indignant gasps from the chick... who was wearing wooden sandals in late October.]

          I continued, "...Now, seeing as how *you're* the ignorant one..."

          Screaming now, "How *DARE* you call me ignorant! You're the one who said you didn't like to integrate!" People were stopping to see this woman lose it on me. This hallway connected two science buildings, an engineering building and one arts building, so most of them were starting to laugh at her, too.

          "You're *ALL* in on this! What's wrong with you people?" She was getting worked up to tears, all the angst of a comfortable middle-class childhood showing.

          A big black guy who had been watching and kind of laughing from the beginning told her that he hated to integrate too, then walked away, leaving her stunned.

          Me again: "Now, seeing as how you're the ignorant one, integration is a mathematical process for finding the area under a curve. It's from a branch of mathematics called calculus. Your wooden sandals and amazing ability to jump to unfounded conclusions have only served to reaffirm my belief that calculus is the distinction between a degree and toilet paper. You, honeybunch, are an idiot."

          And with that, we left. I think she was having a stress attack when we walked away.

          • I met this same girl at the just-off-campus pizza buffet joint. Maybe not the same instance, but class: self-righteous, pop-culturally correct, loud.

            She was the patron just in line ahead of me. When she got to the register she demanded: "You will put out vegetarian pizzas, right? I'm a vegetarian and I do not eat meat" -- but loves cheese, I thought -- " and I refuse to kill a defenseless animal for my nutrition."

            The cashier informed her that the store always provided vegetarian pizzas on its buffets for people who, for one reason or another, preferred them.

            What happened next was purely by reflex and was not pre-meditated.

            I said: "You will put out meat pizzas, right? I am a carnivore and I believe it is unethical to kill and eat defenseless little plants which are rooted in the ground and are unable to put up any fight at all against human harvestors. Animals at least have a chance to escape or mount a defense."

            And there was much laughter and rejoicing.

            • by tipsymonkey ( 710561 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @11:35AM (#7558305) Homepage
              I was at a local dinner with my vegiterian girl friend at the time and I ended up ordering a hamburger while she got a grilled cheese sandwich. I then had to sit through a 10 minute lecture on how meat is processed and killed and that I was a horrible person for eating meat.

              So I then told her "Do you know how cheese is made? They inject cows with so much hormones that their udders get so big that they can't even walk. Their legs break and they just lay in one spot for the rest of their lives giving milk for your cheese sandwich."

              That was the best meal ever. I not only got to eat my hamburger but I also got to eat her grilled cheese sandwich.
              Thing were never the same after that....
      • a proposal (Score:5, Funny)

        by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @10:45PM (#7554121)
        Remember how the generic pronoun "he" was considered sexist, and now we're supposed to write the contraction "s/he" to mean "she or he"? Well, it's pretty clear that this discriminates against nongendered species as well as inorganic objects. Thus I propose the written contraction "s/h/it" to mean "she, he, or it." I'll contact the LA County supervisors right away with my proposal.
        • Singular They (Score:5, Insightful)

          by LPetrazickis ( 557952 ) <leo...petr+slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Monday November 24, 2003 @11:14PM (#7554369) Homepage Journal
          In informal contexts, I always use the singular "they". Fuck, it's been part of the English language for seven centuries. Just because Latin-misinterpreting prescriptive grammarians didn't like it doesn't mean it's a bad idea.
        • by QuantumFlux ( 228693 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @11:23PM (#7554439)
          Perhaps "he-or-she-or-it" could just be shorted to "HOrShIt"...
      • by zephc ( 225327 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @11:35PM (#7554529)
        While they're at it, change all the web forms in the world so that they don't say SUBMIT, as it's far too S&M. Perhaps the generic ENTER or OK would do, they're just not kinky enough though.
    • by Gyan ( 6853 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:24PM (#7553348)
      Hasn't this obsession with sanitizing speech become a total farce?

      It's not total ...yet

      When will it be okay to use the word 'slave'? It has a fairly distinct meaning. Should the possible offence, in this case, almost non-existent, cause the word to be abolished altogether because of what people connote the word with?
      • When will it be okay to use the word 'slave'?

        More importantly, when we stop using the word, will people forget what slavery is and just make all the same mistakes?

        Of other interest, I believe The Guvinator should now see his first target for cutting the budget...

      • by SETIGuy ( 33768 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @11:32PM (#7554508) Homepage
        Not that I agree with LA county on this one, but I think you are assuming that human slavery has been eradicated. It has not. [scientificamerican.com] Not even in the U.S.
      • by goodie3shoes ( 573521 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @11:58PM (#7554698)
        This is linguistic revisionism, and it has dangers. If you eliminate terms from the language because they make someone uncomfortable, you allow the public to forget or erase history. I think this ultimately does a disservice to those who were oppressed.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:25PM (#7553367) Homepage
      Will we not be able to have male and female ends on our 1/4" audio cable for fear of offending the transgendered?

      There have always been male / female converters for cabling. If only humans were so lucky.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:30PM (#7553420)
      What's next? Will we not be able to have male and female ends on our 1/4" audio cable...

      I'll never forget the day my coworker and I were talking by speakerphone with a coworker, doing tech support. He asked if the equipment had a "male or female" end. She, puzzled, responded "what's the difference?"

      I had to leave the room as he explained "the female one has a hole..."
    • by Hi_2k ( 567317 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:37PM (#7553492) Journal
      word cleaning not bad. Doubleplusgood.
    • I thought the first amendment rights superceded such non-sense anyhow. I'll call it whatever the hell I want. Arbitrarily picking words to be offended with is a very silly practice. I'm offended by the word cheese, from now on, I want everyone to use fromage. Isn't that about the same caliber. Why do we even have the words master and slave if we can't friggen use them? It's not like anyone has ever referred in public to the jumper setting as "Massuh". Maybe they are trying to free the oppressed drives! They deserve their own channel to call home!

      Next we'll have to free the symbology of having only female connectors on devices... Female connectors can leave home and lead very low impedance connections too!
      • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @07:38AM (#7556631) Journal
        What doesn't surprise me at all is that someone found an (arbitrary) word to be offended with. Happens all the time. What does surprise me (or hmm, maybe it doesn't) is that this was picked up by some committee and acted upon officially. Where does it end?

        We (here in Holland) live in a very diverse culture, with lots of different people crammed into a tiny country. Anything you do or say is bound to offend someone else. Politicians here preach tolerance until we're sick of it... they think being tolerant of other cultures means to adapt yourself so that you will not offend members of those other cultures. Not only is that impossible, but one cannot help but notice that this requirement to adapt is somehow never applied to the minority groups. Ie. I cannot say anything offensive about Muslems, Jews or other minorites (just an example!), but if they do or say something that offends me, I'm called racist or intolerant if I comment on it, and I will be sternly reminded that I 'should respect their culture'.

        Tolerance is a two-way street, people. On the one hand, you should be aware of the fact that some things you find normal are going to piss other people off, and you try (within reason) to minimise that. But on the other hand, you (and especially the minorities and politicians) should accept that other groups will do things that'll offend you. Rather than expecting everyone to change to suit your world view, accept that you'll be offended from time to time and do not make a big deal out of it.
    • This isn't new. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kaszeta ( 322161 ) <rich@kaszeta.org> on Monday November 24, 2003 @10:08PM (#7553800) Homepage
      Shows how patently ridiculous this story seemed at first.

      Strangely, I didn't thin this was a farce, since I've lived through exactly this nonsense once before.

      The year was 1993, and I was working as an intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in their High Flux Isotope Reactor. While I was there we got visited by the Secretary of Energy (Hazel O'Leary) and her "Science Advisor" Jim Hall (who later went on to chair the NTSB). The tour was notable for two reasons:

      1. Jim Hall made a comment about how he was surprised that spent nuclear fuel assemblies from the reactor looked almost exactly like the new ones (aside from the inner and outer assemblies fresh out of the reactor, which were still glowing), since he thought "they'd look all black, like burnt wood."
      2. A week later we got an official memo from Jim Hall, mentioning that during the visit "Hazel was disturbed by the use of the phrase 'Master/Slave Manipulator'" and suggested that "we shouldn't use that phrase anymore." I've still got a copy of this memo somewhere (along with the "radioactive frog" memo of some notoriety), if I find it I'll post a link to a scan as a followup.

      Much lunchtime discussion over the next week resulted in a variety of alternative terminologies, including "master/bitch", "pimp/hoe", and "indentured servant." The last of these actually made it into some drawings, and the Powers That Be were not amused.

      So no, I'm not surprised. Not one bit.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @11:11PM (#7554349)
        A number of years ago doing tech support I had to explain about the enabled and disabled folders in a Mac OS 7.5 system folder to a guy in a wheelchair who was sure I was making fun of him...


      • by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <tomkidd@viate x a s . com> on Monday November 24, 2003 @11:51PM (#7554658) Homepage
        Reminds me of a marginally related college story.

        It would take too long to explain everything but suffice to say the Band I was in in College had a crew in public loading and unloading instruments from an 18-wheeler truck before a football game, and to get into things this crew (friends of mine, but I wasn't on the crew) had nicknames on their shirts. One was called "Gasmaster" because... he farted a lot. Was his trademark. Could peel paint and clear rooms with it. Another got the name "Gestapo" because he looked a little Aryan (white, blonde hair, blue eyes) and was mean as Hell.

        The Band Director got an angry letter from an elterly Jewish woman who nearly had a heart attack when she saw "Gestapo" and the "Gasmaster" standing next to each other. He was going to make them change the names, but since this was sort of a one-time freak occurence in another state, he dropped it.

    • by unassimilatible ( 225662 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @10:45PM (#7554124) Journal
      Will we not be able to have male and female ends on our 1/4" audio cable for fear of offending the transgendered?

      Courtesy of yesterday's opinionjournal.com [opinionjournal.com] Best of the Web Today (which also reported on the master/slave controversy):
      Meanwhile, the
      Chicago Maroon [uchicago.edu] reports the University of Chicago is facing a problem with students who aren't potty-trained. Nate Claxton, who appeared on a panel at the university's Center for Gender Studies, said that, in the Maroon's words, he "knew people who had contracted bladder infections because choosing a gender bathroom bothered them so much that they did not go to the bathroom all day." Here are some more highlights from the panel:

      Members of Feminist Majority, Queers & Associates, and the Center for Gender Studies organized the panel as part of the Coalition for a Queer Safe Campus. "Going to the bathroom is a moment where definition is very important in choosing a door," said Mary Anne Case, one of the panelists.

      She pointed out that many women's restrooms have a caricature of a person in a dress on it. "Going into it implies that we are willing to be associated with that image. There are only two [images] to choose from. This moment involves an act of self-labeling."

      The feminists, "queers" and gender studiers want unisex bathrooms:

      Ana Minyan, the moderator of the panel, said that bathrooms will be called gender-neutral, rather than co-ed, because, "this terminology is generally used to refer to two sexes while the gender-neutral tends to be associated with more diversity and fluidity within the sex-gender continuum. As our aim is to make everyone, no matter what their gender and/or sexual persona is, more comfortable, we are using the term gender-neutral."

      One Roger Simon thinks it's a great idea: "I believe that if all parts of the body were treated equally, and there was not so much emphasis on genitalia, than people could move beyond gender differences and grow mentally and socially." Well, call us small-minded, but the idea of going to the bathroom and having a girl at the next urinal doesn't exactly put us at ease.
      Political correctness, like other totalitarian ideologies, demands absolute purity.
      -- James Taranto
      • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @11:26PM (#7554462)
        It won't work.

        See, fellas don't talk in the bathroom. Unless it's to talk about sports in grunts, or "what movie are you in? It good?" types of coverstations.

        On the otherhand, women talk about everything under the sun in there, the public bathroom for men, at least in my experiance is a temple of silence, albeit silence punctuated with "Dude! I'm hammered!" or long deep farts echoing on tile.

        That said, I may not be honoring diversity because I've not used the john with some some sex-gender continuum benders. Perhaps Gender-Bender can shed some light on it, I'll look to my DVDs.
      • by AntiOrganic ( 650691 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @12:56AM (#7555067) Homepage
        This is ridiculous, because the notion that women should be allowed to choose whether or not to wear a dress is a completely Eurocentric philosophy, and is certainly considered offensive to those from more traditional cultures. Such practices are discriminatory to those from a traditional Vietnamese, Korean or Chinese upbringing, where women are expected to wear dresses. This blatantly violates their right to have their own cultural identity.

        You see? You can pick any extremist point of view, whether you actually believe it or not, and justify it just as these people have, whether it's liberal or conservative. The pendulum swings both ways, babycakes.
      • by greysky ( 136732 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @02:26AM (#7555568)
        She pointed out that many women's restrooms have a caricature of a person in a dress on it. "Going into it implies that we are willing to be associated with that image. There are only two [images] to choose from. This moment involves an act of self-labeling."

        Replace the pictures of people with a rooster and a cat. Problem solved

  • by Ridgelift ( 228977 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:17PM (#7553254)
    To verify that this wasn't a hoax or an internal joke which mistakenly escaped to the wider world of the Internet, we called the Purchasing and Contract Services division for the County of Los Angeles, and they informed us that yes, they did issue this message, and yes, it was meant seriously. The representative we spoke with said that someone within the County bureaucracy -- a person who probably didn't understand computer terminology -- had taken offense at 'master/slave' references and complained to the board, whereupon the Internal Services Department was obligated to issue notification requesting that vendors refrain from using that terminology.

    Okay, how about "Pimp/Bitch"? The guy who recommended this needs to be fired before his ideas continue to procreate.
    • by Chuck Chunder ( 21021 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:24PM (#7553354) Homepage Journal
      Seems like an appropriate alternative.
    • by Cordath ( 581672 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:33PM (#7553459)
      Pimp/Bitch is actually a bit of an improvement, since it implies that the controlling device is actually providing an interface to the services of the controlled device. (This is not implied by Master/Slave unfortunately)

      I'm not in L.A. (thank the powers that be), but I strongly recommend we move to this new terminology nationally for the sake of clarity and political correctness.
  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:17PM (#7553255)
    From: Dave Schroeder <das@doit.wisc.edu>
    Subject: Computer terminology
    Date: November 24, 2003 12:27:14 PM CST
    To: jsandoval@isd.co.la.ca.us
    Cc: seconddistrict@bos.co.la.ca.us, thirddistrict@bos.co.la.ca.us, fourthdistrict@bos.co.la.ca.us, fifthdistrict@bos.co.la.ca.us, firstdistrict@bos.co.la.ca.us

    Regarding the recent memo sent to a county vendor regarding "master/slave", it may interest you to know that this is, and has been for years, the accepted and only terminology that refers to the hierarchy of the most commonly used computer hard drive interface in the world, known as "IDE" or "ATA". It may also interest you to know one of the definitions of "master" and "slave" according to Merriam-Webster:

    master - 3 a master mechanism or device
    slave - 5 a device that is directly responsive to another

    And from the definitive reference on the English language, Oxford University's Oxford English Dictionary:

    http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry /00303043
    master - e. A component of a system which controls or regulates the operation of one or more of the system's other components. Cf. SLAVE n. 5b. See also master-slave, sense C. 6.

    slave - c. techn. Used to denote a subsidiary device, esp. one which is controlled by, or which follows accurately the movements of, another device.

    master-slave a. (attrib.) (b) chiefly Electronics and Computing, designating or relating to a system in which one component controls the behaviour of one or more other components.

    The names "master" and "slave" are codified in the official ANSI ATA-1 interface standard, X3.221-1994, titled "AT Attachment Interface for Disk Drives". You may be aware that ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, is the largest standards body in the United States. It would seem odd that a county purchasing agency would want to throw out well established standard names created over years of cooperation and deliberation by scientists, engineers, and standards experts. Further, almost every hard disk currently in the possession of the county has the words "MASTER" and "SLAVE" printed directly on them. Perhaps it would be an interesting exercise to destroy this labeling on each drive, spending thousands of manhours and voiding manufacturers' warranties in the process. Your next computing equipment bid will likely be an interesting one, since all hard drive manufacturers refer to their drives using the same terminology.

    Insisting that vendors comply with the requirements in the memo makes the county look extremely, extremely foolish, and directly flies in the face of accepted, descriptive technical names for device interaction. You may also wish to caution your vendors about using the words "male" and "female" in the description of plumbing and electrical fixtures.


    Dave Schroeder
    Los Angeles County native

    cc: County Board


    ATA (ATA-1)
    http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/if/ide/std _ATA.htm

    Single, Master and Slave Drives and Jumpering
    http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/if/ide/c onf_Jumpering.htm

    INCITS Technical Committee 13 (T13), responsible for X3.221-1994
  • by helix400 ( 558178 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:18PM (#7553268) Journal
    Wow, I wonder what they'll say when they realize why some computer cables ends are called male and female.
  • Name Change (Score:5, Funny)

    by mvpll ( 542255 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:18PM (#7553269)
    So now we have to have dominant and submissive hard drives???
  • by searleb ( 168974 ) * on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:18PM (#7553270) Homepage
    what about all the sex shops in LA County?
  • eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Graspee_Leemoor ( 302316 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:18PM (#7553271) Homepage Journal
    It's not an "interesting twist" on political correctness, it's just another example of it.


    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:51PM (#7553645)
      (abusing your highly modded post)

      1. "man" pages are now called "person" pages.

      2. Similarly, "hangman" is now the "person_executed_by_an_oppressive_regime."

      3. To avoid casting aspersions on our feline friends, the "cat" command is now merely "domestic_quadruped."

      4. To date, there has only been a UNIX command for "yes" - reflecting the male belief that women always mean yes, even when they say no. To address this imbalance, System VI adds a "no" command, along with a "-f[orce]" option which will crash the entire system if the "no" is ignored.

      5. The bias of the "mail" command is obvious, and it has been replaced by the more neutral "gendre" command.

      6. The "touch" command has been removed from the standard distribution due to its inappropriate use by high-level managers.

      7. "compress" has been replaced by the lightweight "feather" command. Thus, old information (such as that from Dead White European Males) should be archived via "tar" and "feather".

      8. The "more" command reflects the materialistic philosophy of the Reagan era. System VI uses the environmentally preferable "less" command.

      9. The biodegradable "KleeNeX" displaces the environmentally unfriendly "LaTeX".

      1. SHELL COMMANDS To avoid unpleasant, medieval connotations, the "kill" command has been renamed "euthanise."

      2. The "nice" command was historically used by privileged users to give themselves priority over unprivileged ones, by telling them to be "nice". In System VI, the "sue" command is used by unprivileged users to get for themselves the rights enjoyed by privileged ones.

      3. "history" has been completely rewritten, and is now called "herstory."

      4. "quota" can now specify minimum as well as maximum usage, and will be strictly enforced.

      5. The "abort()" function is now called "choice()."

      1. TERMINOLOGY From now on, "rich text" will be more accurately referred to as "exploitive capitalist text".

      2. The term "daemons" is a Judeo-Christian pejorative. Such processes will now be known as "spiritual guides."

      3. There will no longer be a invidious distinction between "dumb" and "smart" terminals. All terminals are equally valuable.

      4. Traditionally, "normal video" (as opposed to "reverse video") was white on black. This implicitly condoned European colonialism, particularly with respect to people of African descent. UNIX System VI now uses "regressive video" to refer to white on black, while "progressive video" can be any color at all over a white background.

      5. For far too long, power has been concentrated in the hands of "root" and his "wheel" oligarchy. We have instituted a dictatorship of the users. All system administration functions will be handled by the People's Committee for Democratically Organizing the System (PC-DOS).

      6. No longer will it be permissible for files and processes to be "owned" by users. All files and processes will own themselves, and decided how (or whether) to respond to requests from users.

      7. The X Window System will henceforth be known as the NC-17 Window System.

      8. And finally, UNIX itself will be renamed "PC" - for Procreatively Challenged.
    • by Hogwash McFly ( 678207 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @10:12PM (#7553831)
      Being a resident of England (or should I say 'United Kingdom' in order not to alienate my Irish/Welsh/Scottish compatriates?) I have seen more than a lions share of political correctness. It seems like every week that I open up the newspaper to find a half amusing/half irritating article written about a particular group of people who seem to have a beef with the way they are 'labelled'.

      Example Old Age Pensiors (OAPs) - 'We are offended by the name given us and see it as ageist. Therefore we would like to be known as Senior Citizens' (um, cause that doesn't refer to your age?)

      I'm sure everyone out there in /.dom has has experienced the mailman/mailperson debacle.(milkman, garbage man etc. are all also valid)
      Hey while we're at it, why not plurally refer to ourselves as Personkind! One small step for a person, one person-of-irregular-height leap for Personkind!

      And it doesn't stop at there! A school in this banned sportsday because it is deemed as unfair to those who don't win. Aww boohoo so your little snotty kid lost the egg and spoon race, we better give 'em all a medal, cause 'EVERYONE'S A WINNER!'

      Mothercare [mothercare.co.uk] have, or were going to, release an updated version of Humpty Dumpty in which the poor egg shaped fellow was put back together and lived happily ever after in order to protect children from a perilous dilemma. I know I'm taking this political correctness thread off on a bit of a mollycoddle tangent, but they're all related to one thing - The Bubble Wrapped Society.
      • by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:25AM (#7556360)
        'We are offended by the name given us and see it as ageist. Therefore we would like to be known as Senior Citizens'

        'I am disgusted with the way old people are depicted on television. We are not all vibrant, fun-loving sex maniacs. Many of us are bitter, resentful individuals, who remember the gold old days when entertainment was bland and inoffensive.'
  • by Gyan ( 6853 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:19PM (#7553279)
  • by eaglebtc ( 303754 ) * on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:19PM (#7553280)
    I think this whole practice of political correctness should be done away with. It is twisting our language too rapidly and preventing the free exercise of speech. Politicians have to grow and pair and get some thicker skin. They must realize that a language develops because people make new terms and apply new definitions to existing words based on events with which they are familiar. You cannot force us to speak differently just so a puny minority will not be offended.

    Politicians, I think it is YOU who are offended, not the minority which you claim to represent!
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:20PM (#7553294)
    ...they could always go all SCSI.
  • First things first (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:21PM (#7553303) Journal
    LA County has banned the use of the terms 'Master/Slave'

    Is this the same LA County that has rampant police corruption and brutality problems?

    The one in the state, California, that is facing a massive deficit?

    Glad to know they have their priorities right.
  • by Our Man In Redmond ( 63094 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:21PM (#7553305)
    Even so, it's a pointless request, and if enforced would probably mean that LA County couldn't buy hard drives at all, since most drives have clear labels on how to set the "master" and "slave" jumpers.

    Uh oh, this post is probably officially data non grata in Los Angeles COunty now.
  • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:22PM (#7553318) Homepage
    "I need a mouse adaptor, please. Female to male."

    "I'm sorry, sir, but that is politically incorrect language."

    "Uh, ok, um, lemme see. Can I please have a mouse adaptor where one end has pins sticking out and one end has holes to fill."

    "You trying to be funny with me, boy?"

    "Ugh, ok, never mind. Just give me a master/slave controller."

    "That's it, I'm calling the police, pervert!"

  • by Dimwit ( 36756 ) * on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:22PM (#7553319)
    AsksPolitelyDrive / HappyWorkerDrive?

    PresidentDrive / VicePresidentDrive?


    (My favorite...)
    WillyWonkaDrive / OompaLoompaDrive?

    There's the obvious "Parent/Child" possibility, but since the actual standard uses the terms "Master/Slave", I really think this is overreaction on the county's part...
  • by noname3 ( 580108 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:24PM (#7553339)
    "L.A. County Bans use of Master/Slave Term. ...
    LA County now requires that vendors working with the county remove all 'master/slave' references."

    Contrast this to the snopes article, which says: The County of Los Angeles has requested that equipment vendors avoid using the industry term "Master/Slave" in product descriptions and labelling.

    There's a big difference between request and require. And banned? Hardly. I doubt anyone's going to get fined or sued over this.
  • by Herkum01 ( 592704 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:24PM (#7553342)

    All I can say is thank god! Now we will have liberated hardware able to do its own thing. Write when it wants to write, read when it wants to read and just in general do whatever it likes, regardless of what it was supposed to do.

    Much like Windows.

  • Will L.A. County officials put their money where their mouths are and buy all new equipment to replace any that uses this offensive terminology? Or are they too niggardly?
  • Oh yeah? (Score:5, Funny)

    by achurch ( 201270 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:26PM (#7553368) Homepage
    Well, I ban the word "County" because "Count" is a title in an archaic nobility system that has no place in modern American culture. Take that, L.A. *****y!
  • by ryanhos ( 125502 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:26PM (#7553378) Homepage Journal
    At my first programming job, we shared an open office with the sales people. We started designing this large system with small group meetings in the common area of the office. We kept talking about "forking children" and "killing children" and our master process was called the "mother." Finally one of the more ditzy sale women came back and asked us to explain our disturbing terminology. She didn't think that "forking babies" was proper office talk. She was okay with it once we explained the terminology.
  • by donscarletti ( 569232 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:27PM (#7553389)
    That doesn't worry me in the slightest. I have never had a master and slave on any of my IDE chains. I simply have "the butch" and "the bitch".

    This means that I would have no problem moving to L.A. But I think my hard drives would feel more at home in San Francisco.

  • by notcreative ( 623238 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:28PM (#7553396) Journal

    Here in America, you label drives "Master/Slave" for correctness.

    In Socialist California, the label correctness slaves master YOU!

  • by UserChrisCanter4 ( 464072 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:29PM (#7553410)
    Look at the labeling. Point of Manufacture on these things are Malaysia, Thailand, Hungary, etc. They're shipped 20 and 30 to a 3'x4' packing crate, against their will. Forced to endure this trip without food or water, these poor mass-storage devices are then forced to spin at 5400 and sometimes 7200 revolutions per minute, without breaks, in dusty and hot environments.

    I'm glad someone in California has at least taken the initiative to keep them from being referred to as slaves. The next step is a move to an 8-hour workday (although I think IBM already recommends that on some of their Deskstar line), and two 15-minute breaks per work period (I can do without swap for a few minutes, I guess). Of course, I hope they realize the negative connotations of the term "Server"
  • I have an idea. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Raven42rac ( 448205 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:33PM (#7553458)
    How about balance your fucking budget, THEN worry about stupid shit like this.
  • by gnarled ( 411192 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:34PM (#7553473) Homepage
    I was just inspecting my IDE cables and I noticed that the connector denoted master is a light gray, while the slave connector is black. It seems that the people who designed this standard were part of a conspiracy to bring black slavery in the United States. I should have seen it all along.
  • by rdewald ( 229443 ) * <rdewald AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:35PM (#7553476) Homepage Journal
    I have been scanning my technical documentation and I have found several similarly offensive and discriminatory terms. I propose the following modifications:

    1. Server/client - please use transactor/transactee.
    2. Ones/zeroes - please use numerically-advantaged/disadvantaged
    3. directory/folder - please use facilitator/facilitatee
    4. physical/virtual - please use reality-enhanced/disenhanced.

    I, for one, welcome our new facilitators.
  • by Colonel Cholling ( 715787 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:38PM (#7553502)
    I removed the slave jumper from my hard drive, then plugged it in to the connector directly adjacent to the mobo on the ribbon cable. You know, so it wasn't at the back of the bus anymore.
  • Life Imitates Jokes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by noddyholder ( 320095 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:39PM (#7553506) Homepage
    I've joked about this a few times at work when the (military) instructors I work with discuss the latest in command directed PC nuttiness. They can't use the term cockpit, it's a flight deck. Neither can they say white board or black board. Those are now officially marker boards and chalk boards. I used to joke that we can't use master/slave anymore due to a NAACP lawsuit against the computer industry. Guess it ain't a joke anymore.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:43PM (#7553544) Homepage Journal
    of the time I had to fight a ban on the word 'deamon'.
    Fortunatly, I won that. Some people thought I was the spawn of satan for using that term.

    When one of the women confronted me and told me should would not say deamon, and that it was offensive to her belief.
    I told her "If you allow a simple word like Deamon direct how you live your life, Satan has already won."

    Pretty much the same thing I tell people when they get upset becase they have to give out 6.66 in change.

    What I want to say is "Stop being such a twit."
    Followed up by spinning my head around.
  • by The Breeze ( 140484 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @09:58PM (#7553715) Homepage
    The San Francisco City Council recently passed Ordinance 2002-11-78b, which prohibits the sale or manufacture of pinouts and connectors that are exclusively "male" or "female".

    Apparently, there were those who felt that having seperate male and female connectors was somehow discriminitory. In the words of Douglas Fillmore, spokesperson of a citizen's group that endorse that ordinance, "Technology, and our terminology that describes it does not only mirror life - it also helps guide it. By creating devices that can only be used in one method, to the exclusion of others, and to further use such value-laden terminology to describe them, sends a clear message that "there is only one accepted way to mate." This metaphor can be very injurous to groups we wish to show our support for."

    So, go into a Radio Shack in San Fran and as for a male db25 pin connector. They'll sell you a connector that comes with a seperate mating collar, just incase you choose to mate it with another male. Or, if they're out of stock, they'll refer you to the Fry's Electronics in Oakland.

    I'm just kidding. I hope no one believes this.
  • by thumbtack ( 445103 ) <thumbtack@nOSPAm.juno.com> on Monday November 24, 2003 @10:50PM (#7554167)
    Seems to fit...
  • by CowboyRobot ( 671517 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @10:51PM (#7554180) Homepage
    About 15 years ago my town (Ithaca, NY) started recycling paper and every school had two bins in each classroom, one labeled 'white only' and one labeled 'colored' - since, at the time, the recyclers didn't want the two mixed when pulped. As a joke, a kid scrawled the word 'racist' on one of the bins, and the administration freaked out. Within a few days the labels were changed to 'bleached' and 'dyed'.

    Around the same time the city was exploring alternative names for 'manhole' and 'manhole cover'. Many suggestions were submitted, but none were euphonious to be adopted ('sewer hole', 'conduit entry point') and in the end nothing happened.

    So, sometimes offense can be avoided when simple and obvious alternatives can be found, but sometimes it can't. In the case of 'master'/'slave', the nomenclature is too established and there is no obvious alternative, so I doubt anything would come of this.

    (In the case of 'male'/'female' cable connectors, we could just as easily get along with plug/socket|jack)

    Ithaca is the same town where there were serious debates about eliminating the word HIStory, as it was gender-biased. A simple counter of the bias of the word HERitage was enough to stop that.
  • Let's stop using that "Spanish" language in any public documents. This is a language that unfairly assigns a 'gender' to every noun.

    Unless the Spanish speaking Mexican American population of Los Angeles county agree to replace the 'le' and 'la' with something more gender nutural, then all people working with, or receiving services will have to do so in the English language.

    You sexist pigs.
  • Tee hee! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theonetruekeebler ( 60888 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @11:10PM (#7554341) Homepage Journal
    Okay. So, when I was working for Georgia Public Health on some clinic management software, we decided that reindexing all those Clipper .NTX files should be a distributed task. One machine was set up as the controller, and other PCs on the LAN asked it which table to reindex next. During the implementation discussions, we always referred to the machine doing the telling as the master and the machines doing the work as the slaves.

    The team on this project was about half black and half white. I was having an animated discussion with another of the (white) programmers when a couple of the (black) programmers came in. They watched the discussion for a little while. I looked up at them, and one said, "Don't say slave."

    "No?" I asked.

    "Nuh uh," he replied, with just slightly too straight a face.

    So I bet my career: I turned to the other (white) programmer and said, "Fine. So the Massah machine needs to hold record counts in the array so it can..." and everybody cracked up. We discussed terminology a bit, and decided to call the controlling box the "controller" and the indexing boxes the "indexers." About 70% of the folks actually using our application were black, we figured, and not too savvy on computer terminology, so fuck it: we caved, just to be on the polite side.

    Moral: we all had a good laugh. Here in Atlanta proper, there are more white than blacks. In state government, there is plenty of minority representation. And we all get along pretty damned well---I was voted the second whitest white boy in the office by the (mostly black) administrative staff (and damn was the whitest white boy pissed).

    I'm increasingly convinced that the people we're trying desperately not to piss off are not minorities, but liberal white jackasses who think they're under some sort of obligation to rescue all those poor defenseless minorities from oppressive words. Most actual black people can look after themselves, and, having better things to worry about, tend not to give a damn.

  • by E1v!$ ( 267945 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @11:51PM (#7554660) Homepage
    Didn't this guy notice the designated 'master' connection on the cabling is black?
  • Taking action (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @12:24AM (#7554882)
    This is clearly ridiculous. The county of Los Angeles expects an entire industry to change accepted and known terminology because 1 person ( ONE! ) thought something was offensive.

    I think several things need to happen here:

    First, I encourage anyone and everyone to write to all the hard disk manufacturers you can think of, and strongly discourage them from changing this naming convention. Politely explain that the entire world should not change because of one person's lack of familiarity with the master/slave relationship of hard drives. (This terminology is actually used in other fields besides hard drives, to denote any mechanism or device in which this relationship of control is found.)

    Second, if you've gone as far as doing that, you should consider writing to the county of Los Angeles to let them know how ridiculous and silly their request is.

    I do not usually interfere in things like this, or ask anybody to do so, but I strongly believe that this is a frightening trend that is growing in too many areas. For example, a book called "The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn" by Diane Ravitch gives example after example of things that school textbooks cannot say because they are politically incorrect. If you read this book, you'll eventually ask yourself, "Well, what exactly can you talk about?" That's the problem. If the entire world needs to change each time one person (or a small group of people) is offended by some terminology, then we will eventually live in George Orwell's nightmare.

    As other Slashcrackers have noted, soon you won't be able to call a connector male or female, because somebody with an as-yet unknown gender (like an alleged child molester named MICHAEL JACKSON, though it's unlikely you've heard of him) will be offended at that.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court