Celebrity advice (was: Advice to a Junior in High School?)

poiboy bitbucket at safe-mail.net
Fri Aug 29 01:34:29 CEST 2003

Alex Martelli <aleax at aleax.it> wrote:
>> In this day and age it's hard to make a case for deliberately
>> inefficient arrangements, although it IS possible to do so (e.g.,
>> the mandatory trailing ':' in the head clauses of several Python
>> statements;-).  People who don't want ID cards to exist, don't want
>> government DB's to be cross-linked, etc, plead much the same case
>> -- they prefer inefficient government (whose inefficiencies may
>> help terrorists and other criminals) to efficient government (whose 
>> efficiency might allow more effective oppression).

Dear Alex,

Thank you for your segway. I was looking for an excuse..

I disagree that vestigial colons are in any way sympathetic to
terrorists. Their requirement is a common law which arose from the
practice of writing some doohickey after certain conjunctive clauses.
Their 'inefficiency' is analagous to the inefficiency of joining nouns
and adjectives with an indicative ('is'.join(['car', 'fast'])). A
violation of common *law*, failure to include vestigial colons results
in swift, unavoidable, and equally applied punishment from the
governing authority (specifically,  the interpretive branch). Compare
this with violations of common *practice* (here, leaving out an 'is')
which normally just throw user-level warnings. In contrast, __slots__
do appear to favor a criminal element by making it appallingly easy to
frustrate common practice (however, I'll be the first to admit that it
is my own fear and inadequacy which motivates my branding __slots__
use as criminal).

'Inefficiency' should not be confused with 'scope'. 'Scope' implies a
social contract or order, the enforcement of which is frustrated by
and disruption of which is inflamed by 'inefficiency'. As it turns
out, not merely inefficiencies but also blatant errors in logic are
found more often in the mechanics of things which try to order larger
scopes (however it is interesting to note that even blatant errors in
logic can be swallowed with a heavy enough dose of MS/NBC). I believe
that people who value freedom prefer limited governed scopes, not
inefficiencies. In particular, inefficiencies of vanilla Python
(perchance indirectly, tacitly accomodating terrorism of the C#/.NET
ilk) are *neither required nor preferred* by the righteous and are
suffered only because of allegiances to much higher authorities (in
the case of vestigial colons we pledge aesthetic allegiance).

And in defense of those who may be mistakenly charged as terrorists
by a modern, sophisticated community like comp.lang.python:

Those who won't "go along to get along" by giving up their semi-colons
and braces and subjecting themselves to communal indentation exemplify
the rugged individualism that built the foundation upon which *our
ability to choose* communal indentation rests. And it is the freedom
to opt into or out of indented or braced communities which encourages
the improvement of both.

ze Poiboy :)

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