W4D3 - L'esprit de l'escalier

On perfect replies

Today RC hosted Remotehost, a virtual technical talk series (and the remote version of Localhost). The theme was virtual spaces, the demos were really cool. At the chat roulette session afterwards I was paired with Mai. I had shared some feedback with Mai earlier in the week, and I mentioned how my feedback was even better articulated when I described it to someone else after.

This is such a common occurrence that there's a term for it - l'esprit de l'escalier. As per Wikipedia, it's the predicament of thinking of the perfect reply too late. Curiously, the opposite of touché.


I was paired with Julia Evans next, who described a recent focus on CSS and new features like Flexbox and Grid (also shared on Twitter here). I brought this up at the Nix OS event later in the day, to discover the latest version of CSS is Turing complete. Mind blown!


I've my hands full on new languages, but somehow keep coming across Swift and Julia (no relation) over the past week. Fun fact: Rust came out of a personal project by Graydon Hoare when he was at Mozilla, he left the project and later on worked on Swift (both are LLVM-compiled).


I first came across Julia in 2015. There was optimism on how the language would take over Python for scientific computation. It's not clear to me how much this is the case, if anything Python has grown a lot and is even taking on Excel use cases. Julia is 1-indexed; this doesn't seem like a great choice to boost adoption (adds to context switching) but making note to self to look up why this decision was made.

Content: Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat

I thought I was past hero worship. It's hard not to when it's about these two.


Didn't think I'd see this in the New Yorker. Love the prose describing systems.