An oddity in list comparison and element assignment

anton.vredegoor at anton.vredegoor at
Sat Jun 3 07:36:37 CEST 2006

Alex Martelli wrote:


Can somebody please shut down this bot? I think it's running out of 
control. It seems to be unable to understand that "don't be evil" might 
be good when you're small (at least it's not very bad) but that it 
becomes distinctly evil when you're big.

What is good when you're big? I really don't know and I think there's 
even not many other people who do. But simply forbidding things that are 
not precisely definable -the way mathematicians have been doing before 
physicists shook them out of it- seems to do more harm than good.

In my opinion it looks like there is a path from rigid rule adherence to 
slowly accepting more doubt and inconsistencies -because we're all 
adults here- and this has something to do with letting go of things like 
childish adherence to static typing and confusion between equality and 

Let me qualify that last paragraph before anyone concludes I have become 
disfunctional too and will lead everyone to their destruction.

There seem to always be certain unclear parts in a programming language 
and people are constantly trying out new structures in order to map some 
new territory. I remember sets, generators and metaclasses. Only after 
people noticing problems (don't modify the thing you're iterating over) 
ways are found to solve them (you can if you put everything back just at 
the right moment) and finally these ways are condensed into officially 
endorsed coding practices. Now we're struggling with immutability and 
sequences. They're not a problem if you know what you're doing, but what 
exactly is it that those who know what they're doing do? It indicates 
that maybe it's the birth of a new language construct.

But why should it stop there? I expect a certain openness and 
willingness to discuss controversial matters from a community even if it 
were only to educate newcomers. But it might be the case that such 
willingness to accept doubt, without it turning into actively seeking it 
-that seems to be foolish, but who am I to judge even that- is what 
makes it possible to develop higher language and cognitive structures.


'even if it means turning into lisp before moving on'

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