Alvin Alexander | Java, Scala, Unix, Perl, Mac OS X

This is a photo of the RV campground in Seward, Alaska. Several people had small fires burning, and it was great to talk with the people there.

The RV campground in Seward, Alaska

If you need to iterate over the elements in a Map in Java 8, this source code shows how to do it:

Map<String, String> map = new HashMap<String, String>();
map.put("first_name", "Alvin");
map.put("last_name",  "Alexander");

// java 8
map.forEach((k,v)->System.out.println("key: " + k + ", value: " + v));

I spent some time last night reading the book, Practical Common Lisp. In all Lisp books you’ll read about S-expressions, but very few authors explain what they are. This image comes from this Wikipedia page, which states, “In computing, s-expressions (for “symbolic expression”) are a notation for nested list (tree-structured) data, invented for and popularized by the programming language Lisp, which uses them for source code as well as data. In the usual parenthesized syntax of Lisp, an s-expression is classically defined as a) an atom, or b) an expression of the form (x . y) where x and y are s-expressions.” See that link for more information about Lisp and S-expressions.

Lisp: What is an S-expression?

“I love you so much that I want you to be happy, even if that happiness no longer includes me.”

A quote from the movie, The Longest Ride (which, thanks to my illness, I have no memory of watching)

The Milky Way is moving at over half a million miles per hour. (In the time it took me to type that, we sailed about 1,500 miles through the Universe.)

Inside the Milky Way, the Earth revolves around the Sun at 66,600 mph.

The Earth rotates around its axis at about 1,040 mph (depending on your latitude).

And yet, somehow I feel like I’m sitting perfectly still in this chair.

That’s quite an illusion.

“I can’t stand when someone treats you like crap and then they act like the victim. Noooo ... get the heck out of here with that B.S.”

A friend just shared a slightly more profane version of that on Facebook, and (sadly) I know exactly what she means.

“There’s my mom when she’s little. She has my eyes; blue-grey, with flecks of panic.” ~ In Your Eyes

I’ve been interested in the Lisp programming language since I first learned about it, but in the books I’ve read about it, no author has explained the background of terms like cons, car, cdr, and S-expressions. Tonight I found this “History of Lisp” document, which explains the meaning of some of those names.

(If you’re really interested in those terms, this Wikipedia page describes them even more.)

The National Popular Vote website proposes a way to keep the Electoral College but also elect our President based on the popular vote. From their website, “The U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 1) gives the states exclusive control over awarding their electoral votes: ‘Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors....’ The winner-take-all rule was used by only three states in 1789.” Their idea is that Electoral College voters will vote for whichever candidate wins the popular vote.

National Popular Vote

Polishing the Mirror by Ram Dass is the best book I know on spirituality, and this quote was posted on his Twitter page yesterday.

Who you are is more than who you think you are

Zen koans often turn into humorous Abbott & Costello skits. For those new to Zen, the “It would be better if you died” reference just means that you should meditate like you’re in your coffin, which is further embodied in the Zen phrase, “Dead men have no desire.” (As long as you have desire, Zen will keep its distance from you.)

Zen koan

Louisville, Colorado’s Blue Parrot property has been purchased by investors based in Superior. Here’s the story on, a source of news for Boulder and Broomfield counties here in Colorado.

Louisville, Colorado's Blue Parrot property purchased

“Perhaps ninety-five percent of the suffering we endure every day is not at all necessary. Because of our lack of insight, we cause suffering to ourselves and others, including our beloved ones.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, in this article

“You’ve got to be real. Don't be a phony. Find ‘you,’ who you are ... Say, ‘Here I am. Take me for what I am with all my frailties, all my stupidity, and so on. And if you can’t, leave me alone.’”

~ Leo Buscaglia in the book, Living, Loving, & Learning

I don’t remember the original source of this photo, but it shows an early attempt at using a sled to get around in Alaska. It worked well until that one day ...

First attempt at using a sled in Alaska

Here’s a 2017 Budweiser Super Bowl ad titled, “Born the Hard Way”:

Marius Eriksen has a good article titled Hints for writing Unix tools. Some key points: a) consume input from stdin, produce output to stdout; b) output should be free from headers or other decoration; c) output should be simple to parse and compose. There’s much more to it than that, and it’s a good read (or reminder).

“I am lost in your fabulousness.”

A special shout out to the great humanitarians and citizens of Planet Earth.

Here’s yet another article that helps demonstrate that mindfulness meditation helps to reduce stress.

Mindfulness meditation reduces stress