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

I was recently working on some images of a mobile phone, where the mobile phone was surrounded by a solid color that I wanted to make transparent. Unfortunately the phone was black, and that color was dark gray, so when I made the dark gray a transparent color in Gimp using my usual approach — clicking Colors > Color to Alpha, then choosing dark gray — it had the effect of bleeding a lot of color out of the black phone. This was wrong.

Per this story on ycombinator, it appears that political issues can affect clocks:

The short version of the story is that grid electricity in Europe is produced by rotating the turbines 50 times a second and that's where the 50Hz AC electricity comes from. Apparently to match the demand at given instance electricity plants rotate their turbines a bit faster or a bit slower instead of switching a complete plant on and off, which results in slight deviations from the 50Hz standard but it is fine as long as it stays between the limits.

At the end of the day, as the demand increases and decreases, the average frequency would be 50Hz and engineers took advantage of that fact to create clocks that may not be accurate to the second but accurate on average. How do they do that? They count the change in the electricity and assume that 50 changes are exactly 1 second.

Unfortunately, due to political issues in the Balkans, the grid was under-supplied or over-supplied for a prolonged period and this created a deviation from the average of 50Hz and the clocks that depend on this average to be 50Hz also lost accuracy that currently amounts to 6 minutes.

In the third line of her song, Thank You, Alanis Morissette sings, “How about them transparent dangling carrots?” In this article I’ll take a little look at what that line means.

Here’s a good story about how Intel missed out on the mobile CPU market, and what they’re trying to do about it now. It’s always interesting to me to read about how leaders of large corporations misread the possibilities of the future, thereby endangering the future existence of their business.

A bit on how Intel missed out on the mobile CPU market

If you’re into technology, I highly recommend Benedict Evans’ weekly newsletter. In this weeks email you’ll find stories like, The Inside Story Behind Pebble’s Demise, Google’s blog post titled Assessing Cardiovascular Risk Factors with Computer Vision, a story about how Intel Fights for its Future by Jean-Louis Gassée, and Pete Warden’s story of Why Low-Power NN Accelerators Matter. All good reads.

MedicalNewsToday.com has an interesting article for people with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases titled, Could targeting gut bacteria prevent autoimmunity? Except for their desire to use drugs to solve the problem, the concept is consist with autoimmune diets like The Wahls Protocol.

The image here shows two photos of the Pedersen Glacier in Alaska. The black and white image is from 1917, and the open green field is from 2005. I found those photos in this YouTube video after viewing a short video about how warm it is in the Arctic Circle this year, where glaciers are melting during the winter instead of forming new ice.

For more information, the USGS has this page which shows many more examples of disappearing glaciers in Alaska.

The disappearing Pedersen Glacier in Alaska

As @olafurpg notes, this image shows a good “elevator pitch” description of the Scala programming language. See this Github link for the rest of the description.

A good elevator pitch description of Scala

Because of the MCAS I usually see a series of specialists and only see my primary care physician (PCP) once every year or two, but I had to go her office a couple of days ago. One of the benefits of going there is that she has this terrific view of the Rocky Mountains.

Doctor's office view of the Rocky Mountains

A new study shows that Android users have a higher “loyalty” to their OS than iOS users have, 91% to 86%. techcrunch.com has the story.

When I started meditating I was filled with anxieties, I was filled with fears ... kind of a depression and anger. And I took this anger out on my first wife, and after two weeks of meditation she asked, “What’s going on?”

I said, “What do you mean?”

She said, “This anger, where did it go?”

And I didn’t even realize it had lifted.

~ David Lynch, in this video

David Lynch (the director, not the realtor I knew in Kentucky) is a big proponent of transcendental meditation (TM). He writes about how he started with it, and about the transcendental meditation technique (with clips from Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, and others). Here’s a YouTube video titled, David Lynch on Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain, and here’s a related Jerry Seinfeld video on TM.

The book, Advanced Scala with Cats, has a nice little function you can use to run a block of code “slowly”:

def slowly[A](body: => A) = try body finally Thread.sleep(100)

I’d never seen a try/finally block written like that (without a catch clause), so it was something new for the brain.

In the book they run a factorial method slowly, like this:

slowly(factorial(n - 1).map(_ * n))

FWIW, you can modify slowly to pass in the length of time to sleep, like this:

def slowly[A](body: => A, sleepTime: Long) = try body finally Thread.sleep(sleepTime)

I don’t get too much news from inquisitr.com, but this story that shows that 7% of astronaut Scott Kelly’s DNA changed permanently is interesting.

Just read that JavaFX is going to be removed from the Java JDK. From the article: “Making JavaFX its own module will make it easier to adopt and clear the way for new contributors, Oracle said. The company added that with the faster release schedule being implemented for standard Java and the JDK, JavaFX needs to be on its own pace driven by contributions from Oracle and others in the OpenJFX community.”

Doctor: You have more bacteria DNA in your body than your own DNA.

Me: My body??? (spoken in high-pitched voice)

Doctor: Yes. No. I mean not just you, everyone.

Me: Oh, good. I thought you were trying to tell me something.

March 10, 2017: My immune system has been struggling the last two weeks since I had some bad Kroger yogurt. (The yogurt didn’t taste bad, but I got very sick within an hour of eating it.) Today I put a mala on my wrist like I have 10-15 times this year, and after a little while it felt like it was itching and burning. This is what my skin looked like almost half an hour after I took it off. I’m assuming that this is a result of the mast cell disease (MCAS).

MCAS skin reaction

“Man is drawn between two paths: One drags him downwards towards fulfillment of desires and sense gratifications, leading to bondage and destruction; the other guides him upwards towards purity and realization of his inner Self. Desires fog his mind and veil his true Self. It is the mind alone which leads to bondage or to liberation. It is his reason which either controls his mind or allows itself to be dominated.”

~ from the book, Light on Pranayama

I woke up Thursday morning at 2:15 am and quickly knew something was wrong; if I didn’t act fast I was going to go unconscious for the eighth time. I threw down some Zyrtec and Benadryl, put some ice in a towel, went outside, and sat down with my head between my knees. (When I get close to passing out I feel extremely warm, like some form of hyperthermia, so I try to cool down as fast as possible.) I don’t even know what I did wrong this time, but that’s how life with MCAS rolls.

I’ve been seeing a therapist for the last several years. With all that I’ve been going through health-wise, it’s been nice to have someone to talk to.

When I got to her office last night there was nobody else there, so we just sat in the lobby and started talking. But after a while some other people came in, so we had to move. When we got up to move I used telekinesis to move some of the chairs and our things. “How .. how .. how are you doing that?,” she stammered.

“Well, I guess I think about the objects, and then I kind of create my own gravity, or maybe something like a tractor beam, and well, then I move them.” Nobody had ever asked me that before, so my answer wasn’t very well thought out.

Anyway, she said I’m doing fine, but she took a couple of pills herself.

(Notes from a dream, March 9, 2017.)