Alvin Alexander | Java, Scala, Unix, Perl, Mac OS X has a nice interview with Walter Isaacson, who has written terrific autobiographies about Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs. He also wrote The Innovators, a terrific retrospective of the invention and use of computers, and recently released a biography of Leonardo da Vinci.

In the article he says that a common thread of all of these great people is curiosity across disciplines.

Yesterday a nurse told me about a Human Occupied Vehicle named Alvin. which, among many other things, made twelve voyages to the Titanic. You can read the basics here, and more here at

A quote from the first article: “Currently rated to 4,500m, which gives researchers in-person access to about 2/3 of the ocean floor, the most recent upgrade increased the depth rating of many of the vehicle’s systems, making it just steps away from having a depth rating of 6,500m, or approximately 98% of the seafloor.”

“Many functions in Lisp are list-eaters.”

From the book, Land of Lisp

(The same can be said about pure functions in Scala.)

“Look, I have no illusions, okay? I know that the life I live ... I know how it’s gonna end for me. Whatever. I’m okay with that. But I wanted you to know ... that when I do picture myself happy ... it’s with you.”


And it can dwell on moonlight glimmer,
On evening shade and loneliness;
And, while the sky grows dim and dimmer,
Feel no untold and strange distress —
Only a deeper impulse given,
By lonely hour and darkened room,
To solemn thoughts that soar to heaven
Seeking a life and world to come.

~ from Evening Solace, but Charlotte Brontë

If you ever wanted to see a panda playing in the snow, here you go.

“All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don’t, our lives get made up for us by other people.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, The Wave in the Mind (Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and Imagination), 2004.

If you ever need to convert HTML to plain text using Scala or Java, I hope these Jsoup examples are helpful:

In case you ever need to read an Atom or RSS feed using Scala, this example code shows how to use the Java ROME library in your Scala code:

Next invasive medical procedure is Monday morning. I have to admit, I’m not looking forward to this one, or what comes after it. But it needs to be done.

Back in 2009 I had a concussion. At some point after that I drove to Illinois to see my family. I was tired after the drive and fell asleep on my sister’s couch, only to be awakened by a loud noise. I opened my eyes and looked in the direction of the noise. A woman standing in the kitchen looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, did I wake you?”

I replied, “Um, that’s okay, no problem.” I didn’t know who the woman was, but she seemed nice, and seemed genuinely sorry for making the noise.

After she turned and walked away I looked around; I didn’t know where I was. My first instinct was to panic, but I tried not to. I thought hard, “Where am I? Who is that woman?” I also thought, “Who am I?,” but those first two questions bothered me the most.

After at least ten seconds of trying to control my panic and search my memory, it finally came back to me. I was Al, the woman was my mother, and I was at my sister’s house. The panic subsided.

I write this because of a dream this morning, and because I can only begin to imagine the fear that people with dementia/Alzheimers must deal with on a regular basis.

With the Earth’s atmosphere getting warmer, NPR has an article, Is there a ticking time bomb under the Arctic? (The short story is that there’s twice as much carbon in the thawing permafrost as their is in the Earth’s atmosphere.)

Cool: Tuesday’s earthquake in Alaska affected the levels of water wells in Florida. has the story.

Alaska earthquake affects water wells in Florida

In case you ever wondered where salt comes from, here’s an article titled, How is salt made?

Back in 2016 I posted this photo on Facebook with the caption, “The current minefield that may one day grow into a book.” Those notes eventually grew into Functional Programming, Simplified.

The notes that became Functional Programming, Simplified

“Talk is cheap. Show me the code.”

~ Linus Torvalds

If Apple’s “Upgrade your OS” notifications are driving you insane, has an article on How to Stop “Upgrade to MacOS High Sierra” Notifications Completely on a Mac.

How to stop Upgrade to MacOS High Sierra notifications

The Google blog has this new article, Making AI accessible to every business., which describes their new cloud offering, Cloud AutoML.

In case you ever need to manually a certificate to your ${JAVA_HOME}/jre/lib/security/cacerts file, it turns out the password for that file when using the Java keytool command is changeit.

To add a certificate to that file, you’ll want to use a command like this:

keytool \
    -import \
    -alias "" \
    -keystore ${JAVA_HOME}/jre/lib/security/cacerts \

I had to do this today for a Java/Scala script that accesses an HTTPS URL, and the site I’m accessing uses a “Let’s Encrypt” certificate.

If you ever need to parse JSON stock data from using Scala, here’s a test class I just wrote that uses Lift-JSON.

The JSON data format

First, here’s the JSON I get back from them: