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I'm surprised that Python's interpreter tech isn't advanced enough to try and JIT some of this away. Python could probably learn a lot from various JS interpreter advances.

The PyPy project is doing that http://pypy.org/ (is mentioned on the article)

There is also Numba, which is a JIT python to LLVM compiler that supports optional type annotations. Unlike pypy, it is designed to seamlessly integrate with CPython.

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