Teaching Python

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Wed Apr 20 18:04:23 EDT 2011

On 4/20/2011 6:17 AM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:

> It's hardly just the press. "Hack" is a fine old English word:
> "The jungle explorer hacked at the undergrowth with his machete."
> "I was so hungry, I didn't take the time to neatly slice up the meat, but
> just hacked off a chunk and stuffed it in my mouth."
> "Good lord, have you seen the completely botched job that carpenter has
> done? He's such a hack!"
> Given the wide range of pejorative meanings of "hack" going back at least
> to the 19th century (to cut roughly without skill, a mediocre and
> talentless writer, a person engaged to perform unskilled and boring
> labour, a broken-down old horse, etc.), what's remarkable is that anyone
> decided to start use "hack" in a non-pejorative sense.

How about "The indefatigable exploror hacked through the seemingly 
impenetrable jungle for a month to arrive at the well-hidden ancient 
temple. Since it was itself covered in overgrowth, he hacked away 
another month to reveal it in its ancient glory." Make the appropriate 
substution of code jungles and hard-won prize.

Terry Jan Reedy

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