JavaFX Spinner for Numbers

The JavaFX version of the popular up-down control is called Spinner. Like its Swing progenitor JSpinner, this control is much more flexible than a typical numerical up-down control. Spinner is designed for arbitrary sequences of objects, with number ranges constituting merely a special case. This has some unfortunate consequences when you do wish to make […]

Civilization VI Released

I got Sid Meier’s Civilization VI a few days ago, shortly after its release. So far I’ve played the tutorial as well as two games on Prince, one with six civs where I won a science victory and another with four civs that I aborted halfway through. First a technical note on the one serious […]

Java Method Reference Evaluation

Along with lambda expressions, Java SE 8 introduced method references as a shorthand notation. These are mostly used to reference static methods (e.g. Double::toString) or constructors (e.g. String[]::new), and these uses are straightforward. However, method references to instance methods can yield results that differ from lambda expressions in surprising ways. This is because the invocation […]

Gehlen’s Moral & Hypermoral

Moral und Hypermoral (1969) is the final work of German philosopher Arnold Gehlen (1904–1976), today somewhat forgotten except among German philosophy students and niche conservatives. I confess that I started reading him myself only recently, obviously far too late. He’s well worth a recommendation, and in this spirit I append a translation of the beginning […]

Duhem’s Aim and Structure of Physical Theory

Aside from his work as an eminent physicist, Pierre Duhem (1861–1916) produced “massive groundbreaking” publications on medieval science (which I have yet to read) and a classic book on the theory of science, La théorie physique, son objet et sa structure. The original (1906) is available on, and so is the excellent German translation […]

Tierpark Hellabrunn with Minadax Telephoto

Munich’s Hellabrunn zoo was founded in 1911 as the first “geo-zoo” in the world. Animals live spacious enclosures, often without any significant barriers at all, that are organized in geographic clusters. Harmless animals that are used to human contact, from goats to peacocks, are free to roam the visitor walkways. Of course there are also […]

Alienware Andromeda X51 R3

I rather happily used a Dell XPS 15 for the last 1.5 years, but there was no denying that its NVidia GT 750M mobile video card was getting rather long in the tooth. It could just about handle the Steam edition of Rise of Nations at 1080p but even the more complex Zen Pinball tables […]

Algorithms in a Nutshell

Algorithms in a Nutshell — George T. Heineman, Gary Pollice & Stanley Selkow, O’Reilly 2016 (2nd ed.), ISBN 978-1-491-94892-7 This fairly slim book covers the basics of algorithmics and benchmarking, and also provides pseudocode and implementations (in C/C++, Java, and Python) for nearly 40 important algorithms. The major drawback is obvious when you consider that […]

Civilization VI Announced

I must admit that I grew rather disappointed with Sid Meier’s Civilization V once the initial enthusiasm wore off. The simplicity of the original Jon Shafer design looked appealing at first, but on closer examination was neither very elegant nor as conducive to a strong AI opponent as one might have hoped. After many erratic […]

Compact Camera Caveat

Modern enthusiast-level compact cameras, i.e. those whose image sensor is smaller than “full frame” (24×36 mm or “35 mm”) and which may use fixed rather than interchangeable lenses, tend to be advertised with surprisingly excellent lens parameters. Generous zoom lengths of hundreds of millimeters are combined with very bright f-numbers of f/2 or less. Users […]