The Darkness Will Persist…

I had a book deadline this past Friday. Making that deadline, which I did, thank you very much, has been all consuming for the past two weeks. And now I am on the road until July 16. So, the blog darkness will persist for a while. Sorry about that…

My Talk At MoMath

In April I gave a presentation on the Monty Hall problem, at the Museum of Mathematics in New York. That talk has now appeared on YouTube. Here it is: The talk is about fifty minutes, with twenty minutes of questions afterwards. There’s also a short introduction by Jason Rosenfeld, who is a statistician with the…

Blitz Expert!

Back to chess! My quest for the expert title continued at the Continental Class Championship in Herndon, Virginia this weekend. Full report to come. While I was there, I played in the big Saturday night blitz tournament. Blitz chess is rated separately from regular chess, and with good reason! The time control was the traditional…

Edward Feser thinks we atheists have overlooked a few things: The mentality is summed up perfectly in the notorious “Atheist Bus Campaign” of 2009 and its preposterous slogan: “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” As if atheism promised only sweetness and light. As if the vast majority of human beings…

Sunday Chess Problem

The latest issue of The Problemist showed up in my mailbox recently. It contained a very nice selfmate that I’ve chosen for this week’s problem. This is one of those really clever ideas that I think you can only show once. The problem was composed Alexei Oganesyan, and was awarded this year. It calls for…

Speaking of the intellectual collapse of ID, its other major blog, the Discovery Institute’s “Evolution News and Views” also seems to have fallen on hard times. How else to explain the presence of this article, by Steve Laufmann? Laufmann addresses the question, “Is Intelligent Design Science?” He divides his answer into five parts. We shall…

At various times over the last few years I have declared ID to be dead. One of my reasons for saying that is the complete intellectual collapse of Uncommon Descent (UD). When William Dembski started the blog, it was intended as an outpost for serious commentary on intelligent design and related topics. Not for them…

The inevitable has now occurred. Barring something earth-shattering, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for President. She is the first woman to become the nominee of a major political party. In fact, she is the first woman even to be a serious candidate for President. In her speech tonight, Hillary took time out to…

Time for the big finale. The Monday morning game. Since I had already requested a bye for the final round, this was my last chance to make a respectable result. Here’s how it went down. I was playing black. My opponent sported a rating of 1983. But he also had a formidable Russian name, and…

After my win in round two I was excited for round three. My opponent sported a 1952 rating, and he had white. He opened with 1. e4. Now, over the years I’ve tried most of the major defenses to e4. I was an aficionado of the Dragon Sicilian for a while, until I noticed I…

No Sunday Chess Problem this week, but I do have a good excuse. It’s because I just spent the past few days participating in the Cherry Blossom Classic chess tournament. Enough with made-up chess positions! Sometimes it’s good to experience the real thing. For about ten years now I’ve been mostly retired from serious chess…

Political Blues

I think in the end Hillary will win in November, but I become less confident about that by the day. Donald Trump’s latest is to bring up Vince Foster. Those of us who remember the nineties will recall this as one of the many fake scandals the right-wing noise machine just invented from whole cloth.…

I may not blog as much as I used to, but I do still sometimes put myself out there. I just did a podcast with Jim Stein, posted over at the New Books Network. Jim is professor of mathematics at California State University at Long Beach. The conversation was about the book I coedited with…

Sunday Chess Problem

Yes, I know it’s Monday. But it’s still Sunday Chess Problem. Deal with it. One more from the files of Milan Vukcevich for you. This problem was published in 1994 and calls for selfmate in five: Recall that in a selfmate, white plays first and tries to force black to give mate in no more…

I was going to write a real barn burner of a post about the big election, but then I came across this: Folks, sometimes you just have to focus on the good things in life.