Random Thoughts

Science 2.0 is not like most other science sites. Aside from not being a part of a billion-dollar conglomerate, our audience is also a little off kilter. By off kilter, I mean ahead of everyone else.
Last week I spent my time playing in a strong chess tournament in Padova. The tournament had 50 participants, among which 11 grandmasters and 10 international masters, and was definitely the strongest event I took part in during my amateur chess career.
A recent article entitled "Fluctuating Environment May Have Driven Human Evolution", proceeded to take something that is obvious and attempt to create even more significance from it.  It is obvious, that environmental changes [yes, including fluctuations] have driven ALL of evolution, so to even qualify it as "human" indicates some attempt to make the results more significant than they are.

However, the intent of this article in trying to assign relevance was exemplified by this quote:
According to Magill, many anthropologists believe that variability of experience can trigger cognitive development.
In May of last year, I accepted an invitation from Prof. Dave Deamer to visit U.C. Santa Cruz and it game me the chance to meet Dr. Dick Gordon and also to visit the home of Dr. Bruce Damer.
I just left the following comment in the thread of my most recent posting, but thought it was more visible here, so I am cut-pasting it:

sorry for leaving comments unattended here for long. The fact is I am playing a chess tournament and have no internet connection at home because of a move, so I am a bit disconnected for a while. Will be back at full speed next week.
So maybe I can complement the information here about the chess tournament.

This is the XVth "Città di Padova" tournament, and it runs from December 16th to December 23rd. It is very strong (for my standards) with 11 grandmasters and 10 international masters, plus a few lesser souls such as yours truly acting as a mattress.

Trousers have to be tried on – the variation between size labeling and actual clothing size is huge. This is shown by the report "Large? Clothing sizes and size labeling", which looks at the relationship between clothing sizes and the actual clothing measurements as well as consumers' views on and experiences of this.

Last week I flew to Dallas, Texas to do a spot for a pilot program on The Blaze Network, started by conservative political commentator Glenn Beck.
Chess News

Chess News

Dec 06 2012 | 1 comment(s)

About one year ago I started playing competitive chess again, after a hiatus of almost a decade. Because of the hiatus and some change in the organization of chess in Italy, my status from that of candidate master (with an Elo rating of about 2120, which however would correspond to something like 2020-2050 in fide rating) was taken back to the status of a first national category, with an Elo in the lower 1800's.
Venice is a wonderful place to visit, if you have a week or even a weekend to spend immersed in art and history, or just to get lost in it and enjoy the romanticism of the place. However, if you live there you tend to hate the town as much as you love it.

Take a house move for instance: nowhere is a house move a kid's game -it is in fact a well-known cause of stress in any circumstance. But in Venice it may become a real trauma. The problem is multi-fold: houses do not usually have an elevator; stairs are usually too narrow for any piece of furniture; space in front of one's windows may be too limited for any manouver.

During just two months, the buzzword “diaosi” has invaded China.  An article on Hello Nanjing explains more about the origin of the term “diaosi”, but its essence, and hence its popularity, has to do with one particular problem in China: