Pasadena CA – Police are reporting today that a gangland dispute between warring factions at CalTech and UCLA degenerated into full-scale violence Friday.
The dispute has been simmering beneath the surface for several years and centers on the benefits and drawbacks of the PERL programming language versus Python.
Both gangs are members of their respective computer science departments, with the CalTech group favoring Python, whereas the UCLA gang favor PERL.
The dispute is rumored to have started off as good-natured banter between the two groups at the IEEE Conference two years ago, but things quickly turned sour when one of the “captains” of the UCLA gang – known by the gang name “C compiler” – suggested that Python indented code was “dumbass”.
A small fracas broke out, but at that time cooler heads prevailed and the situation stayed calm and there were no injuries.
“At this point, it was nothing major – some knives were pulled, no biggie”, said an insider.
However, last year, some of the CalTech gang, clearly still angry at the perceived slight of twelve months earlier, arrived at the IEEE meeting armed with pointed snarky comments about PERL. Their chief weapon seems to have been that PERL was old-fashioned and was falling behind in terms of new libraries, particularly in bioinformatics and astrophysics.
These comments seem to have resulted in relations between the two gangs reaching an all-time low, some shots were fired, some noses broken and it is believed that some collaborations between the two universities were not renewed.
This year’s IEEE meeting was always going to be a bit fraught, but nobody foresaw what was going to happen.
The CalTech gang brought a weaponised quadcopter with an iPhone-controlled 50,000 mW laser, while the UCLA gang brought miniature grenades loaded with Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin and dum-dum bullets with spent uranium tips.
Hostilities commenced after one of the junior UCLA gang members, known as “grad student” or “little G”, made a comment to CalTech senior gang member, a “post-doc” called “P-diddy” that Python wasn’t even a programming language since all you ever did was import everything. P-diddy replied that little G looked like a Geography major.
The mayhem and carnage that ensued has shocked the LAPD, many of whom lived through the Rodney King years and has resulted in five dead and 12 hospitalized with symptoms ranging from botulinum paralysis, laser burns and some of the worst wedgies ever seen. A further four victims have become web developers.