Python "why" questions

Russ P. russ.paielli at
Wed Aug 18 04:15:54 CEST 2010

On Aug 7, 5:54 am, "D'Arcy J.M. Cain" <da... at> wrote:

> Would said beginner also be surprised that a newborn baby is zero years
> old or would it be more natural to call them a one year old?  Zero
> based counting is perfectly natural.

You're confusing continuous and discrete variables. Time is a
continuous variable, but a list index is discrete.

Take a look at any numbered list, such as the top ten football teams
or the top ten software companies. Have you ever seen such a list
start with zero? If so, where? I sure haven't.

When I studied linear algebra way back, vector and matrix indices also
always started with one, and I assume they still do.

The convention of starting with zero may have had some slight
performance advantage in the early days of computing, but the huge
potential for error that it introduced made it a poor choice in the
long run, at least for high-level languages.

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