PEP 526 - var annotations and the spirit of python

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info
Tue Jul 3 19:51:50 EDT 2018


On Tue, 03 Jul 2018 09:14:37 -0700, Jim Lee wrote:

> On 07/03/18 01:34, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>> I said *indefinite* not infinite.
> 
> Yes, you did.  My bad.

Thanks Jim, your acknowledgement is appreciated.


>> You did read the article I linked to, right? You know that people don't
>> suddenly and instantly turn from "beginner" to "expert" when they
>> exceed 9,999 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds? Quibbling over the exact
>> number of hours is foolish.
> 
> 
> Of course I know that.  I've been familiar with the concept for a long
> time.  I've taught several guitarists and have seen it first hand.  I've
> also trained several programmers.

Okay, so you *do* understand that the "ten thousand hours" concept is a 
rough, order of magnitude, average figure. Great. Which makes your 
quibbling over whether it is 10,000 hours or five years or two years all 
the more mysterious.


> Quibbling over the exact number of hours *is* foolish - but nobody was
> doing that.

Ah nice to see the ol' "deny everything" debating tactic.


> I was simply pointing out that you used three vastly
> different numbers in almost the same breath to describe how long it
> takes a person to master something.

I love watching pedantically precise people panic and dig themselves into 
a hole. Since I'm an extremely pedantic person myself, I can recognise it 
in others -- especially when they're not as precisely correct as they 
think they're being.

It was two numbers, not three, and not even close to "vastly" different.

Both numbers I mentioned (ten thousand hours, a couple of years) are 
within the bounds of acceptable precision to each other: their 
(figurative) error bars overlap.

My first reference to the number was in quotation marks: "10,000 hours", 
not 10,000 hours. That was your first hint that I was not using it as a 
precise number, but as a "vague quantifier" (to give the technical name 
for the concept).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indefinite_and_fictitious_numbers#Specific_numbers_used_as_indefinite

My second reference was to EXPLICITLY state the number was intended to be 
read as an imprecise quantity. No second number was mentioned.

And the third was to reference a number (a couple of years) which even if 
read literally rather than figuratively is within an order of magnitude 
of the original.

Even read as *different*, they're not "vastly" different (a vague 
quantifier which surely means more than merely a single order of 
magnitude: jumping from five to five billion would surely be a vast 
difference, not five to fifty).


> I think we both get the idea - let's back out of this rabbit trail
> before we get lost, ok? :)

Translation: 

"Yeah Steve, you're right, I was kinda a dick for pedantically telling 
you off for imprecision in numbers even though I knew full well that no 
greater precision was possible or desirable, but how 'bout you drop it and 
leave me with the last word, hmmm?"

No worries Jim, I totally agree.

*wink*




-- 
Steven D'Aprano
"Ever since I learned about confirmation bias, I've been seeing
it everywhere." -- Jon Ronson



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