Python Newbie

Chris Angelico rosuav at
Tue Feb 26 21:57:15 CET 2013

On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 6:42 AM, Piterrr <piotrekd at> wrote:
> This reminds me, when I first started working with databases and saw an
> error msg which said that my query had "ambiguous columns" I laughed for 1/2
> hr. I found it incredibly exitaining that a 100% deterministic piece of
> hardware could have the word "ambiguous" in its internal dictionary.

Enjoy your laugh (laughter's good!), but there are a couple of wrong
assumptions here. The hardware doesn't use the word "ambiguous", and
the SQL engine (which is what does) isn't 100% deterministic. Or to be
more technically correct, it's 100% deterministic with such a large
set of inputs (many of which are outside your access, let alone
control) that it may as well have a random component.  Also, there's
nothing strange about ambiguity: "Go and get the cornflour and the
icing sugar. Put some of it into the cake mix." - what should you put
in? Some of each? That's what the database has been asked to do, and
it's not clear what should be done.

Sorry to be the wet blanket on your joke (I think that metaphor's as
mixed as cake batter), but facts is facts :)


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