OT: Flashlights [was Re: PEP8 and 4 spaces]

Rick Johnson rantingrickjohnson at gmail.com
Sun Jul 6 17:41:29 CEST 2014

On Saturday, July 5, 2014 5:15:32 AM UTC-5, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> (By the way, outside of the USA, flashlights in the rest
> of the English- speaking world are usually called
> "torches", so called because, like the old-fashioned
> burning torch, they provide light.)

Well Steven all i can hope is that one day you and i will be
working on a project together, and you will ask me for a
"touch", and when i return with a petrol soaked rag burning
on the end of twig and proceed to light your hair on fire,
hopefully at that moment, you will THEN gain a healthy respect
for logical naming conventions! 

You see, just as a "proper" programming language utilize the
punishments of Exceptions for illogical behaviors, life
utilizes the power of pain for even greater effect.

Ah, what's that old adage about doing the same things over
and over but expecting different results? Oh well, maybe
someone can chime in...


> A few minutes googling would have given you the answer:
> flashlights are called flashlights because originally you
> could only flash them on and off. Due to the high power
> requirements and the low battery capacities at the time,
> leaving the torch switched on would burn out the filament,
> exhaust the battery, or both.

So what you're telling me is that in the early days of the
"portable light" the function of the device was so terrible
that the best all one could hope for was limited
intermittent functionality with a great chance of destroying
the device simply in the course of its normal use?

Wow, and people actually paid money for these devices?

Sounds like window 95 all over again!


> So far from being an illogical term, the name "flashlight"
> actually gives you a glimpse into the historical
> background of the invention.

Yes, because when my power goes out, and i need to get to
the electrical panel during a torrential rainstorm, at 2am
in the morning, after a long day working in the company of
idiots, and then coming home to a nagging "significant
other", and then my dog dies... whist i tromp through the
mud and the muck, at least my mind will be at peace knowing
the historical significance of an illogical naming
convention coined for a device that was so impractical as to
render itself completely useless...


More information about the Python-list mailing list