Random Thoughts

The 35th international chess tournament in Mogliano Veneto this year did not feature strong grandmasters or international masters, but a pack of 24 local players of average strength around 2150. Still, it was a very hard-fought competition, with almost no game ending as a draw before all winning attempts had been tried.

I scored a rather disappointing 2 points out of 5, losing two games -one of them undeservedly, for a performance rating is 2030, a bit less than what I believe is my current playing strength. Below I report my only win, against Enrico Danieli, an elo 2070 player.

Danieli-Dorigo, Mogliano 2014
1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Bf5 3.e4?!
Debris Find - Likely Came From A Caravan

Yet another mystery object turns out to be unrelated to missing flight MH370.

FAIRFAX Media has received photos of the debris found near Augusta which investigators have since confirmed is not linked to the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

Mat Franklin and his son discovered the debris on Easter Monday four kilometres from Augusta.  

Augusta-Margaret River Mail

Today, the Boy Scouts of America seemed to back peddle on last year’s promise to accept and recognize gay scouts--by rejecting and banning a gay scoutmaster who was...gay.

Why did the organization do that?

Nasty administrators? Probably not.

Bigoted leadership? Maybe.

I suspect another factor: the organization’s core values.

Long-time readers of this blog (are there any left ?) know me well since I often used to  write posts about personal matters here and in my previous sites. However, I am aware that readers come and go, and I also realize that lately I have not disclosed much of my personal life here; things like where I work, what's my family like, what I do in my pastime, what are my dreams and my projects for the future. So it is a good idea to write some personal details here.
Boeing 747 AAIB Accident Report Reveals Electrical Failures

An accident report published April 11 2014 by the AAIB - the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch - reveals that on August 17 2012 a large number of serious electrical faults occurred after an engine failure in Boeing 747-4H6  9M-MPL.

When you have been around as long as Harvard, and your library contains 15 million books, you are bound to have a few that are bound in human flesh.

Wait, what?

Yes, an interesting article by Samuel Jacobs in The Crimson from 2006 got resurrected recently. It detailed what librarians would rather not become an object of morbid fascination - that some of their books are bound in human skin. Odd, right? 
MH370 Transcript - Official Release

Malaysian authorities have released the transcript of communications between flight MH370 and ground.  Unfortunately, most media outlets reporting this news are either not citing the transcript in full or are not providing their readers with a link to the original.

As a public service I am posting here  the two pages as published in pdf form together with a plain text version.

Original pdf file source:

page 1

page 2
If there is one thing wealthy elites across the developed world share in common, it is increasingly denying vaccines and genetically modified foods.
We often think of April 1st as more of a modern event, because it's sort of stupid and we think of our ancestors as being more serious.  

Not so.

Even the eminent biologist Charles Darwin got pranked by his shipmates on the HMS Beagle, April 1, 1832, as evidenced by his diary

While March 31st only noted a "A fine rattling breeze" the following day had him excited to make a new discovery:
The reboot of Cosmos was on the must-see television list for many; it is a prime-time non-fiction science program, with one of the best hosts in science media, a generous budget, airing on 10 channels, and even had music by the guy who did Captain America. Excitement was high.

Then it actually began. It had an alarming non-science gaffe - the story of the likely insane philosopher Bruno reconfigured to be...what exactly, no one is sure. 25% of Episode One was devoted to talking about mean old religion in the middle of a narrative about cosmology only to have Neil Tyson then dismiss the entire story as Bruno not being a scientist anyway.