What's better about Ruby than Python?

Anton Vredegoor anton at vredegoor.doge.nl
Thu Aug 21 23:06:47 CEST 2003

Alex Martelli <aleax at aleax.it> wrote:

>Anton Vredegoor wrote:
>   ...
>> tiny chance. Suppose you could make a bet for a dollar with an
>> expected reward of a thousand dollars? Statistically it doesn't matter
>> whether you get a .999 chance of getting a thousand dollars or a
>> .00999 chance of getting a million dollars.
>This assertion is false and absurd.  "Statistically", of course,
>expected-value is NOT the ONLY thing about any experiment.  And
>obviously the utility of different sums need not be linear -- it
>depends on the individual's target-function, typically influenced
>by other non-random sources of income or wealth.

Non linear evaluation functions? Other random sources? Seems you're
trying to trick me. I did write statistically, which implies a large
number of observations. Of course people seldom get to experiment with
those kinds of money, but a simple experiment in Python using a random
number generator should suffice to prove the concept.

[snip tricky example cases]

>> Another relevant meme that is running around in this newsgroup is the
>> assumption that some people are naturally smarter than other people.
>> While I can certainly see the advantage for certain people for keeping
>> this illusion going (it's a great way to make money, the market
>> doesn't pay for what it gets but for what it thinks it gets) there is
>> not a lot of credibility in this argument.
>*FOR A GIVEN TASK* there can be little doubt that different people
>do show hugely different levels of ability.  Mozart could write
>far better music than I ever could -- I can write Python programs
>far better than Silvio Berlusconi can.  That does not translate into
>"naturally smarter" because the "given tasks" are innumerable and
>there's no way to measure them all into a single number: it's quite
>possible that I'm far more effective than Mozart at the important
>task of making and keeping true friends, and/or that Mr Berlusconi
>is far more effective than me at the important tasks of embezzling
>huge sums of money and avoiding going to jail in consequence (and
>THAT is a great way to make money, if you have no scruples).

And you're eliminating mr. Berlusconis friends out of the equation?
Seems like trick play again to me. Why are there so few famous classic
female philosophers or musicians? Surely you're not going to tell me
that's just because only the very gifted succeed in becoming famous?

>> there are those that first leap and then look. It's fascinating to see
>> "look before you leap" being deprecated in favor of "easier to ask
>> forgiveness than permission" by the same people that would think twice
>> to start programming before being sure to know all the syntax.
>Since I'm the person who intensely used those two monickers to
>describe different kinds of error-handling strategies, let me note
>that they're NOT intended to generalize.  When I court a girl I
>make EXTREMELY sure that she's interested in my advances before I
>push those advances beyond certain thresholds -- in other words in
>such contexts I *DEFINITELY* "look before I leap" rather than choosing
>to make inappropriate and unwelcome advances and then have to "ask
>forgiveness" if/when rebuffed (and I despise the men who chose the
>latter strategy -- a prime cause of "date rape", IMHO).
>And there's nothing "fascinating" in this contrast.  The amount of
>damage you can infert by putting your hands or mouth where they
>SHOULDN'T be just doesn't compare to the (zero) amount of "damage"
>which is produced by e.g. an attempted access to x.y raising an
>AttributeError which you catch with a try/except.

Somehow one has to establish that a certain protocol is supported.
However trying to establish a protocol implies supporting the protocol
oneself. Perhaps not initiating protocols that one doesn't want to see
supported is the best way to go here.


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