Random Thoughts

This is a warning especially to East Asians, most of which have never seen anything like this, because in China for example, there is no such thing and it is unheard of. Now they are warned to avoid Western European cities such as Berlin, London, and Paris. There are No Go Areas in those cities, but the authorities deny this, and so there are for example no warning signs posted around such areas!

As an old time chessplayer who's stopped competing in tournaments, I often entertain myself with the odd blitz game in some internet chess server. And more often than not, I play rather crappy chess. So nothing to report there... However fluctuations do occur.
I just played a combinative-style game which I wish to share, although I did not have the time yet (and I think I won't have time in the near future) to check the moves with a computer program. So my moves might well be flawed. Regardless, I enjoyed playing the game so that's enough motivation to report it here.
In an essay for The New York Times, (September 28, 2002) Joseph Epstein wrote: "According to a recent survey, 81 percent of Americans feel they have a book in them -- and that they should write it. As the author of 14 books, with a 15th to be published next spring, I'd like to use this space to do what I can to discourage them."    

Christopher Hitchens had a similar sentiment: “Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that's where it should stay.”  
I am truly sorry about certain things that I wrote. For example, I have previously written about "mass incarceration" of blacks and guns in the US. I have done so also with the feeling that such would give me more traction with "liberal" readers - yes, I often cannot stop myself from being an asshole - I am truly sorry about this and hang my head in shame!
Brexit, if it happens as we all fear will make the UK the Puerto Rico of Europe. No, not really... Puerto Rico has more rights as a commonwealth of the US than Britain will have in association with the EU. Puerto Rico can stay outside the union while people of that semi independent nation are full citizens of the union with free trade, free movement, and even serve on our supreme court.  All they need to do to join is hold a binding referendum and have statehood win with a 2/3 vote on a high voter turnout.
In my 2014 article about large systems I wrote that "what makes a system large is our inability to observe everything within the system".  Large systems theory has been one of my personal thought experiments for a long time because I have long wondered how much of a system you would have to map before you could understand (more-or-less correctly) how it worked.  This was a consequence of having wiped out a few large data files on computer systems back in the days when it was neither easy nor simple to create a backup for your data.
Hiatus

Hiatus

Jan 18 2016 | 7 comment(s)

The few of you who regularly follow this blog may be rightly wondering why I have not published new posts in the last two weeks. The reason is overload. I have a few deadlines on January 31 that I need to meet, and several other errands to attend in the meantime. Hence I have decided to leave the blog behind until the end of this month.
In the mood for some science on Thanksgiving? 

Me too, science is the one thing that has not been steamrolled by Christmas. Instead, Thanksgiving is arguably the most scientific holiday, because it involves agriculture, chemistry and physics.

If you are worried about chemicals, for example, there is good news on Thanksgiving: You can buy a 100 percent organic, shade-grown, no-GMO meal AND IT WILL BE 100 PERCENT STUFFED with cancer-causing carcinogens.

It's Halloween and I am in New York and I wanted to do something local. But since Sleepy Hollow does not have a way to get there by subway (I don't even know where I would rent a car in Manhattan, I suppose I could get there by bus, but even using a subway is a populist stretch for me) I instead decided to get up and create a Ghostbusters tour.  Why? Because even though only three actual weeks of filming took place here, it is strongly associated with the city.

Fortunately I am just a few blocks from Spook Central where all of the real action takes place, and almost all of it was on a subway line, minus some technology hiccups.(1)