I don’t like hearing that “floats are dead”. No, they still have a very important place, and have a very useful job to do—such as forcing text to wrap around an image.
I also dislike hearing that floats “were never meant for things like columns”. Well, it may not have been their main purpose, but the W3C acknowledged from the earliest days of CSS that floats could usefully be used for laying out page elements like columns, even including demos to this effect on their site (sadly gone now). The best examples aren’t even to be found on WayBackMachine, but there is this page from 1999, which gives a taste of it.