Rails Creator David Heinemeier Hansson Explains Why He Loves Ruby
David Heinemeier Hansson was bored until the day he met Ruby, and then his life changed forever. No, this isn't a love story—not a conventional one anyway—it's a story of boy meets code. Hansson, the creator of web application framework Ruby on Rails, says that before when he was developing with PHP and Java, he was "always looking for something else."
In his Big Think interview, part of our Shadowy Nerds series, Hansson explained exactly what drew him to the Ruby programming language in the first place: "Ruby has just a deep emotional appeal of how beautiful you can write something." Good programming, like good writing, is concise, and with Ruby, you can express an operation in one line that would take up to 10 lines in Java. Even someone who doesn't understand the code can look at a line of Ruby and see that it is more elegant than Java, just like a non-native speaker knows French is prettier than German.
And for those of us for whom Ruby and Rails are just plain Greek, Hannson offered a helpful analogy to explain their relationship: Ruby is the basic language, whereas Rails is a genre or form that the language can take, like a thriller, he explained. "If you want to write a love story, then you probably use another framework or something else entirely. Ruby is great for both of those things, but Rails is really the tool that sits on top of Ruby that just makes Ruby great for web development." And in the process, he added, Rails lowers the amount of technical expertise necessary to create web applications.
Hannson also talked about the highly anticipated release of Rails 3, saying they're "incredibly close" to unveiling it. And he admitted to us that he feels "let down personally" by Apple's choice to restrict what programming languages can be used for smart phone apps. It was an "insecure move," which Hansson finds strange because Apple is "winning on their merits." It's another case of absolute power corrupting absolutely, just like with Microsoft in the 90s, even though now Microsoft is "irrelevant" to Hansson.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.