Securing a future for anonymous functions in Python

James Stroud jstroud at
Fri Jan 7 22:28:09 EST 2005

On Friday 07 January 2005 01:24 pm, Paul Rubin wrote:
> Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at> writes:
> > Add in the fact that there are many, many Python programmers with
> > non-CS backgrounds, and the term 'lambda' sticks out like a sore thumb
> > from amongst Python's other English-based keywords.
> Richard Feynman told a story about being on a review committee for
> some grade-school science textbooks.  One of these book said something
> about "counting numbers" and it took him a while to figure out that
> this was a new term for what he'd been used to calling "integers".

I think we should not try too hard to make everything "English" like. Its a 
crappy language anyway (though its the only one I speak good). Matt Neuberg, 
in _AppleScript: The Definitive Guide_, refers to "the English-likeness 
monster". His example is that instead of

x = 4

you have to say

copy 4 to x

I think every reader of this list would prefer to look at the former.

The point is that once we learn new symbolics of expression, they are as 
simple to decipher as plain old English if we format properly and

So I think that being fearful of new additions to the language (read "more 
ability for expression") is mainly fear of abuse by poor programmers--and 
that is akin to being afraid of the dark.


James Stroud, Ph.D.
UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics
611 Charles E. Young Dr. S.
MBI 205, UCLA 951570
Los Angeles CA 90095-1570

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