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Re: Python and Bash more useful than Perl?

by ww (Archbishop)
on Aug 06, 2012 at 02:49 UTC ( #985592=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Python and Bash more useful than Perl?

And there was a time when the question of 'how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?' was a compelling (not to say, 'critical') issue for some of the best (theological) minds of the age.

Worrying about results of a /. poll makes about as much sense.

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Re^2: Python and Bash more useful than Perl?
by tobyink (Abbot) on Aug 06, 2012 at 07:09 UTC

    As I understand it the angels dancing on the head of a pin question was never a serious topic of debate, but just an example put into the mouths of late medieval rhetoricians to make them seem ridiculous. Of course they did in fact debate some ideas which we'd judge fairly ridiculous these days, but there are no contemporary records indicating that this particular question was a topic for debate.

    Kind of like how people these days assert that Columbus' contemporaries worried about him sailing off the edge of the Earth. They did not. The fact that the Earth is roughly spherical was known to Aristotle. Their concern was that he'd vastly underestimated the distance to Asia. The royal courts of Portugal, Genoa, Venice and England rejected sponsoring his proposed voyages for that reason; the Spanish had reservations but gave him the benefit of the doubt. It turned out his critics were right; Columbus would never have made it to Asia without running out of food and fresh water; he was extremely fortuitous to find an entire super-continent blocking his path.

    If only those medieval philosophers had had Perl...

    use 5.010; # See use constant AREA_OF_THE_HEAD_OF_A_PIN => 2.000; # square millimetres # Based on the assumption that angels are non-corporeal. use constant SPACE_TAKEN_UP_BY_ANGEL => 0.000; # square millimetres + my $angels = 0; my $area_remaining = AREA_OF_THE_HEAD_OF_A_PIN; while ($area_remaining > 0) { $angels++; $area_remaining -= SPACE_TAKEN_UP_BY_ANGEL; } say "$angels angels can fit on the head of a pin";

    Of course, the above assumes that angels tessellate perfectly. But I consider that to be a reasonable assumption. An angel that did not tessellate would not be especially angelic.

    perl -E'sub Monkey::do{say$_,for@_,do{($monkey=[caller(0)]->[3])=~s{::}{ }and$monkey}}"Monkey say"->Monkey::do'

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[Corion]: Mhmm. I'm writing a database export, and two supposedly identical files compress to different sizes... So either the order of rows is different (which would be OK) or something else is bad (which wouldn't be OK). I guess I have to test with smaller tables

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