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

A few days ago a bear walked into a liquor store in Juneau, Alaska. On the video it seems to be looking for a candy bar.

A bear walks into a liquor store in Juneau, Alaska

In my new book on functional programming in Scala, I’m not a salesman trying to “sell” anyone on functional programming. I prefer to think of myself as a reporter who reports what he has learned. I describe this as the reporter metaphor.

“When people feel connected to others, that brings out their best selves. When people feel disconnected, their worst impulses often come out.”

From an interview with a Zen priest, who also happens to be the director of analytics for Facebook’s News Feed.

“He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary.”

~ Seneca (as seen in this tweet)

“I was very happy to hear from you, and that you have such a position in the Research Laboratories. Unfortunately your letter made me unhappy for you seem to be truly sad. It seems that the influence of your teacher has been to give you a false idea of what are worthwhile problems.”

“The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to. A problem is grand in science if it lies before us unsolved and we see some way for us to make some headway into it. I would advise you to take even simpler, or as you say, humbler, problems until you find some you can really solve easily, no matter how trivial. You will get the pleasure of success, and of helping your fellow man, even if it is only to answer a question in the mind of a colleague less able than you. You must not take away from yourself these pleasures because you have some erroneous idea of what is worthwhile.”

The next release of my book on Scala and functional programming will include at least two lessons on ScalaCheck.

“There is always a Netflix to your Blockbuster. Nothing is static. Keep learning, or face the consequences.”

That’s a good quote from this Twitter link. It reminds me of the text in The Heart Sutra that says, “Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha.” I read once that the first part of it can be translated as, “Gone, gone, totally gone, totally completely gone.” That reminds me of Blockbuster.

Seeking enlightenment? There is no door. There is no spoon, either. ;)

Seeking enlightenment? There is no door (cartoon)

This is a fun article on Wired: A retiree discovers an elusive math proof, and nobody notices. The mind doesn’t stop working just because you’re retired.

“Ten things fab leaders do,” a nice graphic from Helen Bevan.

Ten things fab leaders do

“Live in the now.” From a favorite book by Eckhart Tolle, Guardians of Being.

Guardians of Being: Live in the now

I just ordered The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works by Shinzen Young. I haven’t read it yet, but he’s someone that I trust implicitly, and the preview of the book looks like what I’d expect from him. Like me — but way ahead of me — he’s interested in the science of meditation.

The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works

The sbt-errors-summary plugin looks cool. Here’s a summary from its author:

“A simple plugin that makes the error reporter a bit more concise. I find it useful when doing refactoring: I get a lot of compilation errors, and I waste a lot of time switching between files and looking for line numbers in the error message, when I can immediately see what's wrong when looking at the faulty line.”

SBT errors summary plugin

At the 2013 Buddhist Geeks Conference, Shinzen Young gave a talk about The Meaning of Life. I just found this image on my phone, and apparently the meaning is in there somewhere. :) The graphic was created by Kelly Kingman.

The Meaning of Life, by Shinzen Young

“Shut your mouth, work extremely hard and be the first one in there, last one to leave, and to lead by example.”

Denver Broncos QB Chad Kelly, talking about the advice he got from his uncle, Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly.

I’ll write more about this in the future, but for now, here’s a look at the three nen actions, as described in the excellent book, Zen Training.

Zen Training: The three nen actions

I’m always curious about how people think, and these days I’m most interested in how functional programmers think about programming problems. Along those lines I found a good blog post (tutorial) titled, “Thinking Functionally with Haskell”, and these are my notes from that post:

Table of Contents1 - A little `lazy val` conversion example2 - A second `lazy val` conversion example3 - One more `lazy val` conversion example4 - The end

I don’t have any major conclusions to share in this blog post, but ... what I was curious about is how Scala implements lazy val fields. That is, when the Scala code I write is translated into a .class file and bytecode that a JVM can understand, what does that resulting code look like?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a report titled, Measuring the Progress of AI Research.

Measuring the Progress of AI Research

If you were ever interested in learning about research at Google, here’s their Research at Google website.

Research at Google