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The World Wide Web Is Very Good—and Very Bad

You can find any fact (but many are false) and any site—except those that have gone missing

2 min read
The World Wide Web Is Very Good—and Very Bad
Illustration: John Hersey

Some innovations come very close to being purely good, with downsides too minimal to dwell on. Many health-care measures are in this category: inoculation against polio, fortification of flour with iron, electronic monitoring of vital functions in an intensive care unit. But for other innovations it is impossible to offer a clear net appraisal.

Consider cars: Is having the “freedom of the road” (or the freedom to sit in gridlock) worth the eye-irritating, lung-searing, life-shortening effects of photochemical smog? Does the convenience of on-demand mobility outweigh 1.3 million annual deaths on the roads?

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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