[Edu-sig] re: promoting computer literacy through programming python

Arthur ajsiegel at optonline.net
Thu Jan 1 16:31:52 EST 2004

Kirby writes - 

>Were you perhaps alluding to other difficulties we've discussed, such as
>Python's "by reference" approach, and the resultant confusions about "same
>as" versus "copy of" that might arise, say, when you go 'm = [1,2,3]' and
>then 'n = m' (so now n and m both reference the very same object)?

>If so, I think you should be less elliptical.

I am talking about hosts of things, best summed upped quoteth Mr. Elza:

Python *is* hard, because programming is hard.

And if I made the effort I could couch what I am trying to say by coining
appropriately elliptical and weighty language - "cognitive gestalt", I think
sounds cool.

But I think I am saying things that are incredibly simple, to the point of
being self-evident.  And frankly only worth saying at all because I read a
study that has a list of "Disadvantages of Python" and prominently mentions
zero based indexing. Presumably because it is less intuitive to someone who
has never programmed than 1 based indexing.  As if that common sense
observation was sufficient to conclude on the matter.

It seems to me that Python would be a worse language in *all* respects, were
it to decide to go its on way, on this issue - among others.  

Again, as Mr. Elza says - we are trying to talk to transistors.  Some
adjustments to our normal methods of communication might only be expected. A
fact we can hide only so long.  

And when we are down to talking about things like zero based indexing we are
at a point where we are simply far removed from talking about anything that
represents the true barriers to getting into communication with the

Red herrings are bad.

And, if you want elliptical:

Pickled herring is good.  


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