I think I can read Pinker again. For a long time, I couldn’t read Pinker once I realized my main issue with him is his “hardwired-ness” / anti-connectionist / anti-neural net” stance. It’s a fundamentally different way of seeing things than I do. But I think now I can accept the differences and appreciate what he *does* have to offer again a little better.
I loved Language Instinct but only where I could push aside the places where he had a hard-wired view. But I remember reading another book of his later on and just couldn’t do it. But next time I’m in the library, I’ll look for “Better Angels” and go through it. I think I’m ready.
Language works. Sometimes they’re messy. The author’s trying to pin it down to something that technology can improve. (which also uses languages of course. Python’s been popular for this but they go to C++ for speed and the hard core might use LISP )
I’ve only dabbled in Python (changing code here and there, never anything from scratch) but I like it. I just haven’t had a “from scratch” project I needed to do. C++ much less so.
But when I mess around in Python, I like it. It’s very easy to read and understand. Plus people have made a ton of optimization libraries for the parts that Python isn’t natively great with, making Python’s speed a non-issue (except in those areas that need optimization routines, which are already done )
For a long time I debated about what language to recommend to new programmers. [this is about 10 years ago]. I’d hem and haw, sometimes recommending one or another depending on circumstances.
Then one day, it was obvious. Not sure how many years ago now – maybe six or seven… when it clicked in: Python. Has to be Python. It’s the closest thing to a BASIC style language out there, capturing the ease of reading it, the broadness of the applications for it, the schools all the way down to elementary teaching it. It’s the one I can recommend and have ever since.
lol well it doesn’t pseudo-code the way *I* pseudo-code but I have yet to find any language that does just yet But it’s definitely very close in “feel” to BASIC (which is also pseudo-code like) and if for some reason I had to start using it from scratch for a project, I don’t think I’d have much trouble sliding completely over to it.
Thankfully having to write from scratch is rare. Usually copy/paste/customize is enough.
Love the analogizing to network topology. There’s an interesting parallel in development of network topology and systems thinking. It makes sense, likely part of how we take the highest technology and use it as metaphors for the brain or society and such.