Random Thoughts

I am happy to report, with this rather unconventional blog posting, that I am getting married on January 12. My companion is Kalliopi Petrou, a lyrical singer. There will be no huge party involved in the event, as Kalliopi and I have lived together for some time already and the ceremony will be minimalistic. None the less, we do give importance to this common decision, so much so that I thought it would be a good thing to broadcast in public - here.
The STENDEC Puzzle

Ever since BSAA Avro Lancastrian Star Dust vanished on a flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago, the ending of its final transmission - STENDEC - has continued to puzzle experts and amateurs alike.

Star Dust, registration G-AGWH, an Avro 691 Lancastrian 3, departed Buenos Aires for Santiago at 13.46 on 2 August 1947.  It was not seen again until wreckage was discovered in 1998 by two mountaineers climbing Mount Tupungato.  The wreckage was found about 50 miles (80 km) east of Santiago.

If I wanted to create a fake news story – I would lead with a sensational headline. Something that would incense and shock the readers and be extra “clickbaity”. Perhaps a hook about a teenager getting raped to death. That should get some serious traffic.

The Pitch and the Pendulum

(Pace1 Edgar Allan Poe)
Some people take comfort in the back-and-forth sway of the political pendulum. It is part of the greatness of our ‘two-party system’, they contend; it reflects the American aversion to extremism on ‘either side’. For the mainstream media, charting each degree of the pendulum’s swing is the essence of the 24-hour news cycle.
New Internationalist Magazine, November 2010
Did Donald Trump Really Win Bigly?

Did President-elect Donald Trump Win Bigly, or did he suffer an attack of the mumpsimus?

We all know that the Donald loves to use superlatives, but 'bigly'?  Really?  Well, no not at all really.

We are all subject to preconceptions about our environment.  A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest, right?  But we often miss-hear words and are puzzled by what we think we heard.  As Earwig O1 would say, "sailor vee"2.

Allegation - a new -ism

Having marked my return to blogging with one new word - egestatism - I thought I may as well invent another.

We already have handwaving and whataboutery which appear to be de rigeur in any scientific or political discussion.  And now, may I present - roll of drums - allegationism.
The Neglected Majority

In every nation, state or county that I am aware of there is a tendency for lawmakers to discriminate against the poor, whether directly or indirectly.

Some politicians favour tax reductions for the wealthy.  The flip side of that coin appears to be a belief that everyone else should pay for the nation's needs.

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.”