PEP 526 - var annotations and the spirit of python

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at
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).

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? :)


"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.


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

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