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My Speech To the Graduates

Graduation was this morning, and it just so happens that I was the speaker. That I am posting the speech below should tell you that I thought it went pretty well. I’ll do a separate post describing some of the reactions, and commenting on a few of the other graduation-speech related stories that have been…

Sunday Chess Problem

Blogging has been a low priority lately, partly because there’s been too much other stuff going on, and partly because I haven’t had much enthusiasm for it. The end of the semester is always a bit of a grind. But the long-suffering fans of Sunday Chess Problem should not have to wait another week! So…

Sunday Chess Problem

I guess it’s been clear that I haven’t been in a blogging mood lately. There’s plenty of fodder out there, but somehow every time I sit down to write about it I suddenly remember I had something else to do. But that doesn’t mean that fans of Sunday Chess Problem should suffer! So this week…

Sunday Chess Problem

Well, it’s eleven o’clock at night and I just remembered I forgot to do a Sunday Chess Problem for this week. So I guess we’ll have to go with one of those charming lightweights whose main point is a shocking key. This one was composed by Gerhardus Goethart in 1952. White is to play and…

Non-Classical Knights and Knaves

Recently I mentioned my new book Four Lives: A Celebration of Raymond Smullyan. I see the Kindle version is now available, so if you preferred an e-version, now’s your chance! The book is a tribute volume to mathematician Raymond Smullyan. He is best known for his numerous books of logic puzzles. In particular, he took…

A Follow-Up To the Previous Post

I’m back from Atlanta. Did anything happen while I was gone? Well, some people replied to my previous post. Of course, I knew when I posted it that many would disagree with my views. What I had not anticipated was that the main criticisms leveled at me would be so far removed from anything I…

To Atlanta!

Having thrown some red meat with that last post, I guess it’s time to leave town. So, tomorrow I’ll be flying down to Atlanta to participate in the Gathering For Gardner Conference. Lucky me! That’s Martin Gardner, for those not in the know. The conference brings together mathematicians, magicians, puzzle makers and other supercool nerdy…

The Script

Among those who argue that science and religion are compatible, there is a standard script that goes like this: In the late nineteenth century, John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White published, respectively, History of the Conflict Between Science and Religion and A History of the Warfare of Science With Theology in Christendom. In doing…

Coyne and Moran On Teaching ID

Jerry Coyne liked yesterday’s post about teaching ID. I do just want to clarify one point, though. Coyne writes: Jason has a good point. And that point is that although it’s illegal (as well as dereliction of duty) to teach intelligent design creationism in public schools and universities, it is okay to criticize it, for…

Sunday Chess Problem

After our recent excursions into the wacky world of selfmates, it’s time to get back to saner fare. This week’s problem was composed by Milan Vukcevich, who is a strong contender for greatest problem composer ever. This problem calls for Mate in Three: Recall that when we write down chess moves, we label the vertical…

This one requires some set-up. Eric Hedin is an assistant professor of physics at Ball State University. Last year, he was accused of teaching intelligent design, and of making disparaging remarks about non-Christian religions, in a science seminar that he was teaching. Some students complained, and the situation came to the attention of Jerry Coyne.…

Sunday Chess Problem

Last week I introduced the idea of Allumwandlung, abbreviated AUW. This refers to a problem in which all four pawn promotions, to queen, rook, bishop and knight, appear in some way. The problem I showed last week was a crystal clear illustration of the theme, and deservedly won second place in the annual selfmate tourney…

Now Available!

Check it out! “ My new book Four Lives: A Celebration of Raymond Smullyan has just been released by Dover Publications. Don’t know who Raymond Smullyan is? Well, buy the book and find out! Or you can read his Wikipedia page. Smullyan is best known for his many books of logic puzzles, but he has…

The Big Carroll vs. Craig Debate

We just had our second straight snow day around here (in a winter that has already had a lot of snow days). That did provide me with some unexpected free time, which I used to watch the big debate between Sean Carroll and William Lane Craig. All two and a quarter hours of it! Click…

Sunday Chess Problem

Throughout this series I have endeavored to bring to your attention some of the major themes that problem composers use. So far, though, there is one big one that has not been featured. I am referring to Allumwandlung, typically abbreviated AUW. This is a German word that translates loosely as “All conversion.” To chess composers…